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KSMC’s 2017 Read, Listen, and Watch List – Part One

To stay at the top of their game, the KSMC team consumes a variety of thought leadership. To find out what books, podcasts, and articles made the team’s must-check-out list this year, read on.

In part one of the series, discover the team’s book and article recommendations. Part two will contain podcasts, media, and a few additional resources that helped the team be better consultants in 2017.


Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg
Sandberg’s openness about overcoming personal tragedy and thoughts on how to support others dealing with tragedy makes this an excellent read. The infusion of research-based facts reinforces Sandberg’s advice throughout the piece.


Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding the Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty by Patrick Lencioni
Getting Naked is a humorous fable that focuses on vulnerability and embracing selflessness, humility, and transparency for the benefit of the client. By integrating these values into their service and overcoming three fears that sabotage client relationships (losing the business, being embarrassed, and feeling inferior), consultants can build loyal, trusting client relationships. We also recommend, looking into other Lencioni books like The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
Nothing is original. Be Influential. The best ideas are remixed. Steal Like an Artist is an evergreen approach to being more creative. After reading, you’ll wish more books were written like this.

Ask More: The Power of Questions to Open Doors, Uncover Solutions, and Spark Change by Frank Sesno
At KSMC, our ability to succeed in client engagements is through asking questions. Sesno takes an analytical and practical approach to asking questions.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
Technology has introduced more opportunity in our lives than ever before. Being able to connect with people, ideas and, things in the click of a button brings both benefits and costs. One major cost is allowing curiosity to deter you from staying committed to a task at hand. Essentialism is a radical approach to finding the essential path. Ultimately, quieting the noise to do more with less.


Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh
Zappos will do whatever it takes to deliver a quality service to their customers. In one instance, a customer service representative helped someone order a pizza. This book is packed with general principles that can be used in any organization to continue to wow your customers.

Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence, and Narrative by Edward Tufte
Tufte is a mastermind at presenting information with evidence. His research focuses on both the art (e.g. use of bullet points and space) as well as the science (e.g. answering what the proper level of evidence is needed to come to a conclusion). For a taste of Tufte’s effective approach, check out this analysis.

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink
Willink is a Navy Seal turned leadership and management consultant. He draws upon years of success in both worlds to share recommendations on team building, fostering culture and accountability, and delivering solutions. Our team also recommends tuning into Willink’s podcast, Jocko’s Podcast.

The Great Game of Business, Expanded and Updated: The Only Sensible Way to Run a Company by Jack Stack
This story is about turning around a nearly-bankrupt company and the lessons that apply to running a company successfully. Stack proves it is not rocket science, but rather granting employees ownership and offering transparency to understand their impact that leads to success.


The Radical Leap: A Personal Lesson in Extreme Leadership by Steve Farber
Leadership can be likened to an extreme sport. There are instances where you have to take on challenges and be ready show humility (e.g. crash). Farber writes a gripping story that shares components of leadership and how to build a healthy workplace culture.

People Before Things by Chris Laping
This book is written to help employees at all levels of an organization prepare people for technology change. Author, Chris Laping, draws on his 25 years of technology and business experience to illustrate why the delivery of new technology will not make an organization more efficient or effective by itself. Instead, Laping argues that it is the human experience that matters and organizations can only succeed in implementing a technology change if employees feel valued, supported, and nurtured.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t by Jim Collins
A well-known business book that helps readers get the right people on the bus, confront brutal facts, and apply accelerators to continually grow and scale.

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown
From the opening of a Theodore Roosevelt quote to the end, Daring Greatly is another impressive work on vulnerability by Brené Brown. Brown’s outstanding TED Talk and book makes a convincing, fact-based case for vulnerability not being a weakness, but rather a strength.

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Amy Wallace and Ed Catmull
What better resource for understanding how to run a creative company than Pixar? Readers learn management skills that cultivate a creative environment by journeying through an in-depth look into the process, meetings, sweat, and tears required to make some of the most successful films and brand.


Declutter Your Mind: How to Stop Worrying, Relieve Anxiety, and Eliminate Negative Thinking by S.J. Scott
Scott helps us take a step back, eliminate emotional reaction, and create “space” in our busy minds. This book presents practical mindfulness techniques that can be implemented today.

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
Grit confronts the battle between talent and grit, and challenges those who believe talent to be the true testament to success. Not only will Duckworth convince you that grit is important, she will show you how to be grittier.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Cain focuses on the diversity of thought that a team can possess and will make you view contributions from your team members in a different way. This book highlights how an introvert can lead in an extrovert-dominated leadership world.

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber
This classic presents Gerber’s analysis on where breaking points exist within a small business. The presentation of this analysis is clear, concise, and consumable; just carve out a day to marvel at learnings.


Ghost in the Wires by Kevin Mitnick
This book takes readers through the life of a computer hacker. It demonstrates how social engineering is often more effective than technical ability.

The Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin
Cixin offers a world not so different from our own where even an incomplete understanding of a solution is better than no understanding at all.

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant
Grant helps us uncover manners in which systematic, creative thought can assist us in having a positive impact in the world.


Seth Godin’s Blog
Daily insights that take two to three minutes to read, but make you think for two to three hours afterward. At our office, we have whole blog posts written on large easel pads, printouts pinned to a corkboard, and a few ship it journals laying at peoples desks.


How to Avoid Distractions in The Workplace
Open floor plans have created more opportunity for distractions. This article provides common examples and strategies to be productive in these environments.

The End of Inbox: The Companies That Banned Email
This interesting read opened many employees’ eyes to getting rid of email “back-and-forth. It’s led to an increase in our employees reaching to pick up the phone or have an in-person conversation instead of simply pressing “send.”

Gartner’s Hype Curve
At KSMC, understanding all aspects of emerging technologies is important to benefit our clients. This diagram gives us insight into emerging technologies current phases.



Create True Innovation
We should not strive to get our customers to execute transactions; rather, the goal should be to transform customers. A real-life example is Google. Google did not create value by adding search, it provided value by transforming customers to become searchers.

This is the tip of the content iceberg that KSMC employees have consumed this year. As I spoke with the team about what they read, listened, and watched this year, I was impressed by the sheer amount of learning that took place and the application of the learning. Check back for part two of the read, listen, and watch series.

What will you add to your list in 2018?

About the Author

Max Brundige is a business and systems analyst for KSM Consulting. Daily, Max is focused on connecting people and process through the right application of technology. Connect with him on LinkedIn.