It’s a challenge in today’s world to keep your brain fresh, engaged and up to speed with new trends, advancements and skills in any profession, including communications and business. There is the old theory that if you’re standing still, you’re going backwards. How then, given our busy lives, can you stay on top of your professional game and not just stand still or slide backwards?
When I was a little girl, I was a voracious reader of many types of fascinating fiction. As I got older, that gave way to non-fiction learning. I read all I could find on how to be better at whatever my focus was at the time: parenting, raising boys, starting a business, leading a team, financial management, training dogs and horses, living a balanced life, and the list goes on. As my career as a publisher and communications specialist turned to non-stop reading and writing, I stopped reading books. This was unfortunate, as I missed the learning, but I needed the time away from reading as much as I needed the time outside.
A few years ago, someone I respect greatly recommended audiobooks as a versatile way to learn and grow professionally. He pointed out that you can listen while you’re doing other things (driving, hiking, gathering cows, building fence, yard/garden work, etc.) and with the right narrator, even be mildly entertained. He recommended Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek – and I was hooked almost instantly. Many years and books later, I have encountered a few duds, a few life/game changers and a whole host of books that I have learned plenty from and am better for.
We really try to make this blog something that is of value to our readers, our clients and our peers, and in that vein, we offer the following suggested “reading” list. It is compiled from the many books others and I have consumed that may trigger a thought, an idea, a skill, an improvement or even a pivot that will make you better at your profession or bring greater enjoyment to your life. None of this is in any particular order, but the favorites are certainly at the top. All of these can be found on Audible.com, but other reading services are available.
Suggested Audio Book List
ANYTHING by Brené Brown: If you have not heard of Brené Brown you may be living under a rock as she is wildly popular – but deservedly so. She has two TED talks that have 17 million and 57 million views respectively, two podcasts (Dare to Lead and Unlocking Us), a Netflix special named The Call to Courage, a five-part series on HBO Max, and what started it all, a series of books that span a variety of topics from connection to leadership and more. As a quantitative researcher with a practical approach to living, she is so much fun to listen to that you’ll not even realize you’re learning. Highly recommended! https://brenebrown.com
Women in Business: Women and men have different perspectives in most things, but in a business world that is still dominated by men, the different perspectives can be enlightening. Suggestions are:
- Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, the bestselling book by Sheryl Sandberg. It’s a great read and I highly recommend it. Sift through to find what speaks to you and ignore the rest.
- Lean Out: The Truth About Women, Power and the Workplace by Marissa Orr. This book is the counterpoint to Lean In and you do have to get past the first few chapters and a bit of bitterness that she is getting off her shoulders. Once beyond that, there is some good stuff there.
- Radical Candor by Kim Scott. Great content, but the narration may not appeal to all.
- The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates. Some very interesting perspectives on women’s contributions to global agriculture, marginalized people and how to lift other humans.
- Cowgirl Power: How to Kick Ass in Business and Life by Gay Gaddis. Great ideas and insights, particularly in regard to marketing; narration may not appeal to all.
- Leap Frog: The New Revolution for Women Entrepreneurs by Nathalie Molin Nino and Sara Grace. Fifty proven hacks for women entrepreneurs. Great listen; even better ideas.
Business and Entrepreneurship: There is no shortage of books in this realm and rightfully so. Being in business for yourself is not an easy road and, let’s face it, those in agriculture in the form of a ranch, farm or feedlot that is not corporate-owned are entrepreneurs and independent businesses. How to spend time ON your business vs. IN your business is always a struggle. Each of the suggestions below help encourage, enlighten, teach and guide.
- The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek. A different perspective on how to be in business for a very, very long time.
- The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber. An absolute must-read/listen for anyone in business for themselves. Time-tested principals that hit home hard.
- The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster by Darren Hardy. No, you’re not crazy or alone, and this book does a good job of exploring both those thoughts as well as offering insight, tips and actionable suggestions on how to succeed.
- Scaling Up Excellence by Robert l. Sutton and Huggy Rao. Want to grow your business? If so, this is a good one that gives concrete, sound advice to do just that.
- Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to Money-Making Machine by Mike Michalowicz. I admit – I found it almost impossible to listen to him, but the principles are sound so if you need some good profit/financial advice, this may be worth it.
- The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle. A look inside some of the world’s most successful organizations and groups but with the ability to drill down into what can help any group.
This is a very short list and there are many that did not make this list. What are your favorites? What have you read or listened to that made a difference in your professional or personal life? Please share your suggested favorites!
Lisa has been involved in agriculture, communications, non-profits and publishing her entire life. Raised on a commercial and seedstock cattle operation in northern Arizona, she came to Colorado for college and never left, raising her family there. Her diverse experiences lead to capabilities in management, communications, design, administration and marketing. Learn more about Lisa.