Check It Out: Book recommendations by local business people

Friday, August 24, 2018

Felecia R. Blanton

Principal, Richmond + Blanton in Sikeston, Missouri

“On Managing Yourself,” Harvard Business Review

More than 17 months ago, I shifted my career and felt I needed a refresher and enlightenment on how to manage myself as an independent consultant. “On Managing Yourself” is a series of essays from leading business experts including the late Peter Drucker, Robert Kaplan and Clayton Christensen. From the beginning essay, it argues our lives should not be about money, but about the opportunity to learn, grow in responsibilities, contribute to others and be recognized for achievements. Christensen writes doing deals does not yield the deep rewards that come from building up people. You must define for yourself what you stand for and draw the line in a safe place. This is a great maxim to write down and keep, no matter your age. While many of the essays cover common topics such as self-care and health, this compilation contains great lessons for anyone in a leadership position or just starting out. It is light and an easy airport read. My bet is that you will take away reminders or tips for better management and self-development, as I did.

Dr. Carlos Vargas

President, Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau

“There is Life After College,” by Jeffrey J. Selingo

Jeff Selingo, a former editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education, wrote a book that is directed to students and parents to help them prepare for the “jobs of tomorrow.” In reality, though, he wrote a book that also provides advice for institutions of higher education. This book starts by describing the ways in which today’s emerging (post-college) adults transition into adulthood: as Sprinters, Wanderers or Stragglers. The book provides advice for college graduates to optimize their chances of success after college. The book is invaluable for high school students, too; it is an excellent resource to help decide on the college to attend and, interestingly, whether to take a “detour” along the way. The last two chapters of the book describe how employers hire. They are a wonderful resource for new college graduates, helping them understand how important it is to be authentic and true when interviewing, and how important is to show the skills that employers are looking for: tolerance for ambiguity, experience with failure and the willingness to learn.

Kathy Bertrand

Community Bank President, First Midwest Bank, Cape Girardeau Branch

“The New Gold Standard — Five Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company,” by Joseph A. Michelli

Two years ago, I attended the Global Leadership Summit. One of the video presentations was by Joseph A. Michelli, president of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. The book he referred to in his talk discusses being a leader at all levels of an organization, a role every business team member should take on at the president’s/CEO’s discretion and blessing. There were two other principle ideas that have helped me along the way. One: “The answer is yes ... now what was the question?” Two: “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” I love that. If we look at both ourselves and our customers as ladies and gentlemen, good things will happen. Never forget that.

Dr. Neil Glass

Superintendent, Cape Girardeau Public Schools

“Ego is the Enemy,” by Ryan Holiday

Ryan Holiday writes from a stoic philosophy about ego being the enemy of success. In other words, the same drive that can make us successful will lead to our demise if not kept in check; the ego will manifest itself in negative ways if we start believing in our own greatness. Egos, however, can be managed. Life is not all about a highlight reel. Every great journey begins with a calling. Humility and reality are the cure to the ego. Many of us will have forks in the road that force us to make a decision if we want "to be" or "to do." Do we want the job title and empty suit, or do we have a deeper purpose? This book is a great read for any individual who has the drive to make this world a better place. The difficult part is understanding one's shortcomings and being able to self-evaluate and correct those areas where we fall short. In the end, always be true to thyself.