Our Favorite Personal Development Books, October 2017

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Or, How to Build a Trillion-Dollar Company

Named one of the “World’s 50 Best Business School Professors” by Poets&Quants, Scott Galloway takes on what he has long called The Four Horsemen. These aren’t the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Instead they are the Four Horsemen of the future. Of course, if you work in a competing business category, such as retail, the future probably is an apocalypse. How Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple became so big and disruptive, however, is probably not what you think.

According to Galloway, a professor of marketing at New York University, none of the four giants invented anything significant. Instead they stole, copied or bought their ideas. All four make cunning use of evolutionary psychology to tap into customers’ primordial survival instincts: hunting and gathering, the drive to reproduce, the need for love and acceptance, and the hunger for God. Galloway presents rigorous analysis and warns that a Fifth Horseman is on the way, whether Microsoft, Uber, Starbucks or a player to be named later.

Readinglist Singlemom2. The Kickass Single Mom

Be Financially Independent, Discover Your Sexiest Self, and Raise Fabulous, Happy Children

Emma Johnson was a business reporter when her husband almost died in an accident. Although he recovered, their marriage, already contentious, did not survive. She was left broke and pregnant, with a toddler in tow. In her struggle to make it as a mom and a breadwinner, Johnson learned that it is possible for modern single moms to win on all counts: Raising healthy children, building rewarding careers, finding financial security, keeping fit and even having fun.

Creator of the popular blog WealthySingleMommy.com and the personal finance podcast Like a Mother, Johnson—a SUCCESS contributing editor—shares her secrets and insights in this book. The overarching message is one of hope and self-reliance. Disregard the doubters and skeptics, including those in your own mind, and you can have it all. Ten million fatherless families in America provide a ready audience for The Kickass Single Mom.

Readinglist Makethem3. Things Are What You Make of Them

Life Advice for Creatives

A coherent philosophy of creative personal development needs more than whimsy and cheek. Adam J. Kurtz, author of 1 Page at a Time: A Daily Creative Companion, hides his gravitas like a Fabergé egg. As a designer, he literally makes things by hand. Somehow this has turned him into a surprisingly effective personal-development author, with a take on life that is brash yet childlike.

Handwritten on perforated pages, Things Are What You Make of Them is brimming with the kind of color usually found in children’s books. It’s based on a series of essays aimed at artists, writers, entrepreneurs or anyone who wants to cultivate creativity. By some charming sleight of hand, Kurtz takes platitudes (“It’s Magical, Not Magic”; “Nobody Cares”; “Don’t Look Back in Anger”) and endows them with fresh resonance.

How Modern Companies Use Entrepreneurial Management to Transform Culture and Drive Long-Term Growth

In this follow-up to his New York Times best-seller The Lean Startup, entrepreneur Eric Ries looks beyond his original subject. In the past five years, Ries has applied his startup method to legacy companies (GE, Toyota, Pitney Bowes), Silicon Valley giants (Facebook and Amazon) and startups (Airbnb). Using on-the-ground anecdotes, Ries lays out a new road map for sustainable growth.

Readinglist Unbranding5. UnBranding

100 Branding Lessons for the Age of Disruption

Given the shiny tools of the digital age, it’s easy to be distracted from those things that, shockingly, have not changed. As the husband-and-wife duo Alison and Scott Stratten explain, no new app can fix bad customer service, poor products or damaged branding. New business technologies and strategies work better when they are married to certain timeless values.

Secrets for Powerful Speaking and Listening

A five-time TED Talk speaker, Julian Treasure knows communication. Founder of The Sound Agency, an audio branding company, Treasure believes listening is just as important as speaking if you want people to heed your message. Treasure interviews world-class public speakers, professional performers and top CEOs for their communications secrets. His simple strategies can be as effective in the home as in the performance hall, the classroom and the boardroom.

This article originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of SUCCESS magazine.

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Chauncey Mabe is a freelance writer, book critic, and blogger in Miami, Fla. For 23 years he served as Book Editor and Senior Entertainment Writer at the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale. He was Book Blogger for the Florida Center for the Literary Arts, the parent organization of Miami Book Fair International, from 2009 to 2012. He also blogs for the Betsy Hotel South Beach hotel, which sponsors literary events year round. His reviews and feature stories have appeared in publications such as the Toronto Globe & Mail, the Serving House Journal, Inspicio, the Palm Beach Arts Paper, the Baltimore Sun, the Juneau Empire, and the Chicago Tribune.

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