Our Favorite Personal Development Books, March 2018

1. The CEO Next Door

The 4 Behaviors That Transform Ordinary People into World-Class Leaders

By Elena L. Botelho, Kim R. Powell and Tahl Raz

The conventional notion of what makes a CEO is wrong. For example, a degree from an elite university is not required. In fact, only 7 percent of CEOs receive an Ivy League education, while 8 percent do not graduate from college at all. Elena L. Botelho and Kim R. Powell, consultants at ghSmart, a consulting firm in Chicago, explode this and other executive myths.

Their insights result from the CEO Genome Project, a 10-year analysis of 17,000 executives and 13,000 hours of interviews. The four traits that do matter are surprisingly unflashy: decisiveness, reliability, quick adaptability and the capacity to manage relationships. All are traits that anyone can master, the authors say. They show how to get on the fast track while avoiding common career missteps. (March; Currency; $28)

2. Micromastery

Learn Small, Learn Fast, and Unlock Your Potential to Achieve Anything

By Robert Twigger

Forget about the 10,000-hour rule, popularized in Malcolm Gladwell’s 2008 book Outliers, which says 10,000 hours of intense practice are needed to master any difficult skill. To Robert Twigger, the 10,000-hour rule discourages people from trying anything new. He says instead of trying to become an expert at one big thing—like playing the violin or throwing the two-fingered fastball—try working on several little things.

If you are interested in fine cooking, as Twigger was, start by learning to make the perfect omelet. Learn to chop a log. Surf standing up. Climb a rope. “Learning must not be like school,” Twigger writes. “It must not be boring. It doesn’t need to be silly fun, but it mustn’t be deadening or dull or too hard.” This is not frivolous advice. Competence in small things breeds confidence and optimism in all things. (March; TarcherPerigee; $16)

3. In Defense of Troublemakers

The Power of Dissent in Life and Business

By Charlan Nemeth

What could be better than agreement among respected professionals devoted to a common goal? Dissent, says research psychologist Charlan Nemeth. For one thing, dissent is smarter. Even when it’s wrong, dissent gathers more information, sparks deeper thought, and results in increased creativity and better decisions. No matter how annoying that one disagreeable team member might be, he or she could also be one of the most valuable.

For more than 20 years, Nemeth, a specialist in small group decision-making at the University of California, Berkeley, has researched the role dissent plays in thinking and understanding. Left unchallenged, she has discovered, consensus devolves into complacency, bias, received wisdom and stupidity. Often only dissent can avert disaster. With this book, Nemeth makes her research accessible in a lucid and at times beautifully written form. (March; Basic Books; $27)

6 Books to Read This Month to Create Your Legacy

4. When Likes Aren’t Enough

A Crash Course in the Science of Happiness

By Tim Bono, Ph.D.

Tim Bono, Ph.D., a psychology professor at Washington University, believes that we hunger for authenticity. Researchers quizzing young adults around the world discovered their top goal is happiness. In When Likes Aren’t Enough, Bono reframes the new science of positive psychology for today’s young adult. Authentic happiness is possible, he says, but it might not be what you think. (March; Grand Central; $25)

5. Loving Your Spouse When You Feel Like Walking Away

Positive Steps for Improving a Difficult Marriage

By Gary Chapman

Gary Chapman, a globe-trotting marriage and family life consultant, says millions of people trudge through miserable marriages, but it doesn’t have to be that way. “I believe that in every troubled marriage, one or both partners can take positive steps that have the potential for changing the emotional climate in their marriage.” For those who want to save their marriage, Chapman shows how to get free of damaging myths, manage a difficult spouse, and take responsibility. (March; Northfield Publishing; $16)

6. Crushing It!

How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence—And How You Can, Too

By Gary Vaynerchuk

Four-time New York Times ­best-selling author Gary Vaynerchuk is following up his 2009 best-seller Crush It! with Crushing It! Vaynerchuk, co-founder and CEO of VaynerMedia, believes whether you’re building a business or not, it’s important to have a personal brand. The essentials to building a strong personal brand include intent, authenticity, passion, patience, speed, work and attention. Once these seven keys are aligned, then you have the formula for crushing your next endeavor. (January; HarperBusiness; $30)

 

This article originally appeared in the March 2018 issue of SUCCESS magazine.

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Chauncey Mabe

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