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November 18, 2019

18 Books The Grossman Group is Reading (for Your Holiday Reading List)


Starting to think about what book(s) to read over the holidays? The senior thought partners here at The Grossman Group and I shared a few of our favorite books on leadership, communication, personal development, business or just an all-around good book that resonated with us. Find out what some of us have been reading (in alphabetical order under each category) and our thoughts on each one.

We hope you enjoy these recommendations. Just so you know, we’re including links for each book to make it easy to buy (we don’t receive any residuals from your purchases, in case you’re wondering).

Communication books: 

"Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work & in Life One Conversation at a Time" by Susan Scott (foreword by Ken Blanchard, PhD)


Picked by: Julie Well, Senior thoughtpartner

Julie said: “A go-to reference for building relationships and making conversations count—at work, in life and in leadership—by engaging with passion, integrity, authenticity and collaboration.”

Get it here >> 



"Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die" by Chip Heath and Dan Heath


Picked by: Linda Kingman, Senior Vice President and Senior thoughtpartner

Linda said: “The Heath brothers do a great job of providing a formula for cutting through the noise and making your idea or message stick. Their S.U.C.C.E.S. (simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, and tell a story) formula is a good one for leaders and communicators to embrace.”

Get it here >>  



"Stories for Work: The Essential Guide to Business Storytelling" by Gabrielle Dolan


Picked by: Meg Breslin, Senior thoughtpartner

Med said: “Many business leaders seem to understand that storytelling is a critical part of getting their message across, but often revert to boring PowerPoint decks when push comes to shove. This book makes the case for just how much of an impact stories can have on actually achieving an organization’s vision and goals. It provides great examples of well-told business stories that help motivate employees to act on the things that really matter to the organization.”

Get it here >> 


Leadership books:

"1001 Ways to Reward Employees" by Bob Nelson (foreword by Ken Blanchard, PhD)


Picked by: Linda Kingman, Senior Vice President and Senior thoughtpartner

Linda said: “This is an oldie but a goodie. It contains practical, low-cost tips for recognizing employees for their efforts. Formal recognition programs are great, but so is more informal recognition and this book is chock-full of them.”

Get it here >> 



"Bad Blood: Secret and Lies in a Silicon Valley Start Up" by John Carreyrou


Picked by: Dave Zitlow, Senior thoughtpartner

Dave said: “As you turn the pages of this book, you keep thinking the story must be fiction, but it’s not. It’s a master class in investigative reporting and storytelling about how an inexperienced leader became more focused on creating the image of success rather than building a team that could help achieve the company’s ambitious vision.  There are many lessons on leadership and communication that can be gleaned from this book – particularly what not to do – but one of my biggest takeaways is that culture is paramount. Teams can’t win if they don’t have the information, structure and leadership support to do so. Read the book before the movie comes out!”

Get it here >>  



"Head, Heart & Guts: How the World’s Best Companies Develop Complete Leaders" by David L. Dotlich, Peter C. Cairo


Picked by: David Grossman, Founder & CEO

David said: “This book came as a highly recommended read from one of our clients, who has seen the benefits in his organization’s performance by following a ‘head, hearts and guts’ approach. The key message is that successful leaders need a combination of analytical skills, an ability to foster authentic and trusting relationships, and smart risk-taking that aligns with their values. For leaders looking to elevate their game, this book presents a terrific roadmap and practical insights. I draw on its insights regularly in our work with leaders today.”

Get it here >> 



"Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change" by Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, Kerry Patterson, and Al Switzler


Picked by: Julie Well, Senior thoughtpartner

Julie said: “A simple, data-validated approach to accelerating behavior change by focusing on stakeholders’ personal, social and structural motivations and abilities.”

Get it here >> 



"No Ego: How Leaders Can Cut the Cost of Workplace Drama, End Entitlement, and Drive Big Results" by Cy Wakeman


Picked by: David Grossman, Founder & CEO

David said: “I’m a member of the Cy Wakeman fan club, and have had the pleasure of seeing her keynote at a client’s leadership team meeting. Interestingly, Cy accidently fell into a career as a drama researcher. As a result, she brings a refreshing perspective on how to better shape the workplace culture by eliminating drama and shifting to more accountability. It’s a great approach to inspiring employees at all levels to be great.”

Get it here >> 



"Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity" by Kim Malone Scott


Picked by: Meg Breslin, Senior thoughtpartner

Meg said: “I read this book initially after a client had asked his entire team to study it as a reference for great leadership. I embraced its message completely. The author, a former executive at Google, Apple and at various start-ups, describes her experience helping her team open up to provide candid and honest feedback, and how she strives to give that type of feedback herself. The lessons for leaders are spot-on, with practical advice on how to build a culture where teams feel motivated and supported yet challenged to continually improve.”

Get it here >> 



"The End of Loyalty: The Rise and Fall of Good Jobs in America" by Rick Wartzman


Picked by: David Wright, Vice President & Senior thoughtpartner

David said: “A clear-eyed history of the introduction, rise and fall of the corporate social safety net and the decline of the social contract companies have with employees. Essential reading for leaders and communicators to understand what drives connection and engagement today versus some of the commonly held beliefs created by past realities.”

Get it here >>


Personal motivation and development books:

"I Miss You When You Blink: Essays" by Mary Laura Philpott


Picked by: Debbie Field, Senior thoughtpartner

Debbie said: “This collection of essays offers honest, thoughtful commentary on balancing life, a career, parenthood and an all-too-common personal drive to achieve that is found in many ‘Type A’ personalities. Having checked all of the boxes myself, I appreciated the candid, often humorous, perspectives that Ms. Philpott has pulled together into a singular collection that not only makes you think, but also reminds you of the benefits of stopping to appreciate the here and now. A good read for any driven professional, especially those in creative fields that are simultaneously raising humans.”

Get it here >> 



"The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know" by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman 


Picked by: David Grossman, Founder & CEO

David said: “As the father of girls and a strong advocate of all people in the workplace, I found this book fascinating and one that I’d recommend to any woman in business today. The book’s authors are journalists who interviewed many of the world’s most successful and powerful women in a variety of fields. They found that many of them, even the most successful women, lacked confidence. The book lays out this harsh reality in detail, and offers wonderful insights, backed by scientific research, on how to achieve more self-assurance and be even more effective in your career.”

Get it here >> 



"Becoming" by Michelle Obama


Picked by: Senior thoughtpartners, Debbie Field and Peg Wander

Debbie said: “No matter your politics, this thought-provoking memoir offers some incredible lessons in communications and life. Most notably, I was struck by Ms. Obama’s storytelling ability. At a time when leader communicators are working to build connections with employees around the world, she masterfully demonstrates the power of storytelling through the book. Additionally, her commitment to painting a vision and working toward that came shining through—a prime example of what leaders can do to heighten employee engagement and performance in the corporate world.”

Peg said: “This book is both inspirational and insightful about making a transition to a ‘big’ stage. Granted, we probably all won't be the first lady, but we can all learn from her own self-reflection on how leaders can manage change in sometimes difficult circumstances. It's also a good history lesson on where we've been and how we might rechannel our efforts today."

Get it here >> 



"Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood" by Trevor Noah


Picked by: Peg Wander, Senior thoughtpartner

Peg said: “This is a funny and poignant read about 'making lemonade out of lemons.' Noah finds lessons in difficult parts of his life that we can all apply to our challenges."

Get it here >>



"Grant" by Ron Chernow


Picked by: Linda Kingman, Senior Vice President and Senior thoughtpartner

Linda said: “A fascinating look at U.S. Grant’s successes and many failures over the course of his life. It will spur thinking on what leadership really is and the power of perseverance in business and in life. (I still am amazed at what Lin Manuel Miranda did with Ron Chernow’s Hamilton biography. A lesson from that one might be more about not missing your opportunities. ‘I’m not going to miss my shot…’)”

Get it here >> 



"Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike" by Phil Knight


Picked by: Meg Breslin, Senior thoughtpartner

Meg said: “A highly compelling memoir from the Nike founder and board chairman, Phil Knight. Phil describes taking Nike from a start-up to one of the most successful, profitable and iconic companies in recent history. Knight’s unflinching honesty and great storytelling is what makes this such a wonderful book. He shares his many mistakes and personal struggles and describes in detail the various challenges Nike faced over time in building an inventive and winning employee culture.”  

Get it here >> 


A book on connecting and growing with our children:

"How to Talk So Kids Listen and Listen So Kids Talk" by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish


Picked by: David Grossman, Founder & CEO

David said: “In my career as a communications leader, I’ve always emphasized the importance of listening to better understand where your audience is coming from. And of course, better listening also fosters more effective conversations and a stronger workplace culture. Yet as a father, I’ve realized there’s a whole new set of skills needed to listen to my children, especially if I want to inspire them to actually talk about the things that matter most to them. This book has been a wonderful resource to think a little differently about communication with a different audience, my children. It has also helped me think through new approaches to listening with other audiences as well – whether at home, in the workplace, or among friends.” 

Get it here >>  


Fiction book: 

"Copperhead: A Novel" by Alexi Zentner


Picked by: David Grossman, Founder & CEO

David said: “I’m excited to recommend a recently released fiction book written by one of my family’s dearest friends, Alexi Zenter. The novel, which was reviewed by The New York Times, is deeply relevant to our culture today, helping readers consider how bigotry plays out in real life. The book also highlights how much of our fate is determined by the family that raises us. It was a hard book to put down, with well-drawn characters and a message that truly resonated with me.” 

Get it here >> 

Which one of these books might you put on your holiday reading list?

—David Grossman

This is not a sponsored post and we do not make any residuals from sales resulting in clicks from this blog.

Click below to download—22nd Century Communications: Strategies to Deliver Cutting-Edge Communication, Engage Employees and Strengthen Reputation—and get key insights into the top 10 principles some of the best organizations employ to ensure their communication strategy is a positive lever in building a stronger business.


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