Recommended Reading

Knowledge Library

We believe that continued learning is central for organizational success. Most corporate decision makers would agree that it is incumbent upon the executive to seek new information and theories to expand their base of knowledge. With this in mind, we have identified books that can provoke thought, provide insight and be readily applicable to your organization. If you have any recommendations, please let us know.

General Business

Strategic Planning

Management & Leadership

Think, Do, Inspire

Marketing & Sales

General Business

By Julia Flynn Siler

Most of us have worked in family businesses, though few of these operations achieve the scale of the Mondavi wineries.  For awhile, their efforts placed the Mondavi family among royalty in the world of wine.  Still, business decisions were often driven by family alliances.  The results demonstrate how ego and emotion can have devastating effects on a company — as the family’s fortunes came crashing down.  This intriguing, yet cautionary tale is one of the most fascinating business books since Barbarians at the Gate.

By William D. Cohan

Here’s a book about Wall Street that can rival the best novels. House of Cards follows the once venerable Bear Stearns as it comes crashing down during the financial meltdown. The fact that this implosion took place in such a short period guarantees that this book is a real page turner. It is an amazing account of high profile executives who contributed to the success and ultimate downfall of the firm. House of Cards serves as a reminder that top level, successful people are not much different from the rest of us whose lives can quickly deteriorate into a soap opera. It is compelling as it is frightening.

By Robert F. Bruner

Here is a great choice if you are contemplating on being on either side of an acquisition or merger. Or if you have participated in M&A’s in the past. Each chapter exposes a deal that has gone horribly wrong. The author highlights not only the results of the transaction and how the parties were damaged, but also includes an analysis of the factors that caused the breakdown. The deal is then contrasted with a similar merger that was beneficial to all parties. This should be required reading for every executive team considering a merger or acquisition.

Strategy Planning

By Elspeth J. Murray, Peter R. Richardson

Do you need to make some big changes in your organization? Fast Forward is a superb starting point. The authors not only provide insight into strategy development but also emphasize communication as a critical component to implement change. Focusing on the importance of the first one hundred days for driving change, Fast Forward gives the reader direction for mobilizing change within a wide array of circumstances. These include turnarounds, mergers and the implementation of new technology. This is highly recommended for executives looking to increase the likelihood of success when faced with organizational resistance.

Management & Leadership

By Cathie Black

The former chairman of Hearst Magazines shares her achievements as well as her mistakes while climbing the corporate ladder.  Though the book is aimed toward young women, her experience and insight apply to anyone looking for success while trying to maintain a balance between their personal and professional lives.  Cathie Black’s ability to illustrate and explain the critical components of leadership make Basic Black an exceptional book on the subject.  Even seasoned mid-career executives will find some gems.

By the Committee of Corporate Laws

Have you been asked to join a corporate board? Do you oversee a board that needs to work more effectively? Is your board adjusting to new regulatory and reporting requirements? If so, the American Bar Association’s guidebook will provide a great starting point. Conveniently arranged and thoroughly indexed, the writers cover everything from governance to committee responsibilities. It may be the most concise and practical book for any director.

By Albert J. Dunlap

“Chainsaw Al” has been one of the more colorful business leaders of all time – to the point of being polarizing. No doubt, his actions as CEO have changed the lives of thousands of investors and employees alike. While his views on business reflect a level of arrogance, he certainly realizes the role of a leader. He also understands the fact that often people have tendencies toward sentimentality, which can be destructive for any organization. With that in mind, a lot of his observations are right on target.

Think, do, inspire

By Wendy Lustbader

For those of us trying to figure what life is all about, Wendy Lustbader provides assistance. Rather than turning to well-known and acclaimed minds of the day, she goes to older people who have years of experience and the advantage of perspective. The insight and honesty of these people provides a warm retreat from the pressures of the business world and daily life.

Marketing & Sales

By Jeffrey Gitomer

Whether a long-time networker or someone who is late to the game, Jeffery Gitomer has a short and valuable book of tips for building and employing your network. In the age of online networking, he emphasizes quality of bonds with members of your network is far more important than the size of the network. His ability to inject humor with an exceptional frankness makes The Little Black Book of Connections an quick and useful read for even the most easily distracted businessperson.

By Robert Cialdini

This is the right book if you want a full understanding of the factors that cause people to make decisions.  It includes not only the various forms of influence but also how we as individuals are affected.  This will  be useful and interesting reading for all who work in advertising or marketing.  Beyond these fields, any person in a leadership role would find Influence to be helpful in dealing with people within and outside of the organization.

By Nirmalya Kumar & Jan-Benedict E.M. Steenkamp

Many of us remember when the aisles of retailers were dominated by national brands.  Those days are long gone as retailers have continued to build the market share of store brands. The authors make the case that store brands have begun to both dominate and have irreversibly out position national brands.  While this conclusion is debatable, the book is an excellent study of how the relative strength of market forces can reshape an industry in a short period of time.

By Joe Calloway

Many companies have been able to succeed through operational excellence and out positioning the competition. Joe Calloway does a great job of providing clear examples of pursuing success through his experience working with a number of companies. Unlike other books of this genre, it is filled with examples that are up close and personal. It is a truly approachable study in management as well as customer service. All will find it informative and, at times, inspirational.


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