According to author Jake Breeden, our workplaces are full of people hampered by the “virtue” of excellence, one of seven celebrated traits that he calls vices in disguise. The other virtue/vices pegged by Breeden are balance, collaboration, creativity, fairness, passion and preparation. His thesis that we blindly over-reach in these areas without enough analysis of results raises the question: What's the better approach? Luckily, Breeden supplies the answers.
“Decisive: How to make better choices in life and work,” by Chip Heath & Dan Heath, Crown Business, 2012, $26.
In this amusing book, the Heath brothers demonstrate how our poor decision-making creates problems for us at home and work. Although both authors are business professors at prestigious universities, their book is not laden with biz-speak or academic phrasing. Instead it's a fast-paced and challenging look at how we can improve our work and personal lives with better decision-making.
“Lie Spotting: Proven techniques to detect deception,” by Pamela Meyer, St. Martin's Press, 2010, $14.99.
In this straightforward guide, author Pamela Meyer moves beyond simplistic discussions of body language into more strategic questions of why people lie and how to reduce the impact of lies in the workplace. A comprehensive section on building trust to create more effective business practices elevates this book into a practical management guide.
“Getting Ahead: Three steps to take your career to the next level,” by Joel A. Garfinkle, John Wiley & Sons, 2011, $24.95.
In this book, executive coach Joel Garfinkle provides three steps for moving forward in your career: Controlling how others see you, increasing your visibility and exerting your influence. This is a good book for people who want to go further in their workplaces but don't know where to start.
“The Finch Effect: The five strategies to adapt and thrive in your working life,” by Nacie Carson, Jossey-Bass, 2012, $25.95.
Author Carson provides a compelling argument that not only can workers change their stripes, but they're hard-wired to do so by virtue of being human. Adaptability is an innate and (re)learnable trait that helps pry open doors the economy seems to be slamming shut. Chapters include discussions on nurturing a social network, developing a gig mentality and harnessing entrepreneurial spirit – all good concepts for workers making their way in an ever-changing environment.