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Summer 2020 CFO Reading Recommendations

By Richard McBride, Editor | CFO Magazine

After a year of fires, floods, lockdowns, travel restrictions and many CFOs banished to kitchens, studies, and bedrooms, all whilst running finance from home, there was one silver lining… the time to read! As social activities became restricted, many took the opportunity to get stuck into a good book or two, or three…

CFO Magazine posed the question to CFOs ‘which books have inspired you this year’ and here, in no particular order, are the results which make up this year’s CFO Summer Reading Recommendations:

Catch of the Decade | Gabby Leibovich & Hezi Leibovich

How did two brothers, the founders of Catch.com.au, Gabby and Hezi Leibovich, disrupt four sectors and build an empire of digital businesses including Catch, Scoopon, Menulog, and Luxury Escapes? And then to top it off, sell them for over $1 billion!? This practical, funny, no-bull guide is packed with hints and tips that will inspire you to start your entrepreneurial journey today.

Dare to Lead | Brene Brown

The ultimate playbook for developing brave leaders and courageous cultures. Daring leadership is a collection of four skill sets that are 100% teachable. It’s learning and practice that requires brave work, tough conversations, and showing up with our whole hearts.

Atomic Habits | James Clear

People think when you want to change your life, you need to think big. But world-renowned habits expert James Clear has discovered another way. He knows that real change comes from the compound effect of hundreds of small decisions – doing two push-ups a day, waking up five minutes early, or holding a single short phone call. He calls them atomic habits. In this ground-breaking book, Clears reveals exactly how these minuscule changes can grow into such life-altering outcomes.

The Art of Gathering | Priya Parker

Priya Parker argues that the gatherings in our lives are lackluster and unproductive–which they don’t have to be. We rely too much on routine and the conventions of gatherings when we should focus on distinctiveness and the people involved. At a time when coming together is more important than ever, Parker sets forth a human-centered approach to gathering that will help everyone create meaningful, memorable experiences, large and small, for work and for play.

Cassandra Speaks: When Women Are the Storytellers, the Human Story Changes | Elizabeth Lesser

What story would Eve have told about picking the apple? Why is Pandora blamed for opening the box? And what about the fate of Cassandra who was blessed with knowing the future but cursed so that no one believed her? What if women had been the storytellers? Elizabeth Lesser believes that if women’s voices had been equally heard and respected throughout history, humankind would have followed different hero myths and guiding stories-stories that value caretaking, champion compassion, and elevate communication over vengeance and violence.

Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist | Kate Raworth

In Doughnut Economics, Oxford academic Kate Raworth identifies the seven critical ways in which mainstream economics has led us astray – from selling us the myth of ‘rational economic man’ to obsessing over growth at all costs – and offers instead an alternative roadmap for bringing humanity into a sweet spot that meets the needs of all within the means of the planet. Ambitious, radical and thoughtful, she offers a new, cutting-edge economic model fit for the challenges of the 21st century.

The 80/20 CFO: How to Make Strategic Transformations in Your Company | Janice Berthold & Suzy Taherian

What makes one CFO able to make lasting and sustainable transformations inside an organization, whereas other CFOs struggle to make a difference? One of the biggest challenges for a new CFO is often there’s not a job description. It’s usually something vague along the lines of “Make the CEO look good and help the company succeed”. How do you do that, exactly? This book is unlike any other of its kind. We’ve cut to the chase and shared with the new CFO what they need to do and how to do it.

The Future Is Faster Than You Think | Peter Diamandis & Steven Kotler

The bestselling authors are back with The Future Is Faster Than You Think, a blueprint for how our world will change in response to the next ten years of rapid technological disruption.

Executive Excellence: | Koralia Timotheou & Nicos Timotheou

Executive Excellence will help you to excel in your role and drive business success by creating and delivering extraordinary value to the delight of the organisation’s customers, shareholders, and all other stakeholders.

Leadership Strategy and Tactics Field Manual | Jocko Willink

Decorated ex-US Navy SEAL officer Jocko Willink delivers hard-won leadership principles that have been tested and proven on the battlefield, in business and in life. Leadership Strategy and Tactics takes the guesswork out of leadership by translating theory into practical skills and manoeuvres that leaders at all levels can apply, practice and execute. This book is a powerful and pragmatic step-by-step guide to leading any team, in any situation, to victory.

The Future Leader | Jacob Morgan

Are you a future-ready leader? Based on exclusive interviews with over 140 of the world’s top CEOs and a survey of nearly 14,000 people. Do you have the right mindsets and skills to be able to lead effectively in the next ten years and beyond? Most individuals and organizations don’t even know what leadership will look like in the future. Until now.

Forged in Crisis – The Making of Five Courageous Leaders | Nancy Koehn

An enthralling historical narrative filled with critical leadership insights, Forged in Crisis, by celebrated Harvard Business School historian Nancy Koehn, spotlights five masters of crisis: polar explorer Ernest Shackleton; President Abraham Lincoln; legendary abolitionist Frederick Douglass; Nazi-resisting clergyman Dietrich Bonhoeffer; and environmental crusader Rachel Carson.

Think like a Monk | Jay Shetty

Jay Shetty, social media superstar and host of the #1 podcast ‘On Purpose’, distils the timeless wisdom he learned as a practising monk into practical steps anyone can take every day to live a less anxious, more meaningful life.

The Power of Now & The New Earth | Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth” will be a cornerstone for personal spirituality and self-improvement for years to come, leading readers to a new levels of consciousness and inner peace. Taking off from the introspective work “The Power of Now”, which is a number one bestseller and has sold millions of copies worldwide, Tolle provides the spiritual framework for people to move beyond themselves in order to make this world a better, more spiritually evolved place to live.

The Buddha and the Badass: The Secret Spiritual Art of Succeeding at Work | Vishen Lakhiani

If you’re the average person in the developed world, you spend 70 percent of your waking hours at work. And if you’re the average person, you’re miserable for most of those hours. This is simply not an acceptable state of affairs for your one shot at life. No matter your station, you possess incredible unique powers. It’s a modern myth that hard work and hustle are the paths to success. Inside you is a soul. And once you unleash it fully into the domain of work, magic happens. Awakening the Buddha and the Badass inside you is a process that will disrupt the way you work altogether. You’ll gain access to tools that bend the very rules of reality.

Letting Go | David R Hawkins

Letting Go describes a simple and effective means by which to let go of the obstacles to Enlightenment and become free of negativity. During the many decades of the author’s clinical psychiatric practice, the primary aim was to seek the most effective ways to relieve human suffering in all of its many forms. The inner mechanism of surrender was found to be of great practical benefit and is described in this book

The Resilience Project | Hugh van Culenburg

Hugh van Cuylenburg was a primary school teacher volunteering in northern India when he had a life-changing realisation: despite the underprivileged community the children were from, they were remarkably positive. By contrast, back in Australia Hugh knew that all too many children struggled with depression, social anxieties and mental illness. How was it that young people he knew at home, who had food, shelter, friends and a loving family, struggled with their mental health, while these kids seemed so contented and resilient? He set about finding the answer and in time came to recognise the key traits and behaviours these children possessed were gratitude, empathy and mindfulness.

The Personal Mastery Program | Dr Srikumar Rao

Are you chasing your ideal life but aren’t sure how to get there? If so, you’re not alone. Professor Srikumar S. Rao found himself successful in his career and personal life, but felt something important was lacking. So he began a quest for the “perfect life.” What he discovered was the power of our creative ability – and the most effective ways to use it – to shape our reality

The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever | Michael Bungay Stanier

In Michael Bungay Stanier’s The Coaching Habit, coaching becomes a regular, informal part of your day so managers and their teams can work less hard and have more impact. Drawing on years of experience training more than 10,000 busy managers from around the globe in practical, everyday coaching skills, Bungay Stanier reveals how to unlock your peoples’ potential. He unpacks seven essential coaching questions to demonstrate how–by saying less and asking more–you can develop coaching methods that produce great results.

The Lean Startup | Eric Ries

Most startups fail. But many of those failures are preventable. The Lean Startup is a new approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built and new products are launched. Eric Ries defines a startup as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty. This is just as true for one person in a garage or a group of seasoned professionals in a Fortune 500 boardroom. What they have in common is a mission to penetrate that fog of uncertainty to discover a successful path to a sustainable business.

Traction – Get a Grip on Your Business | Gino Wickman

Do you have a grip on your business, or does your business have a grip on you? In Traction, you’ll learn the secrets of strengthening the six key components of your business. You’ll discover simple yet powerful ways to run your company that will give you and your leadership team more focus, more growth, and more enjoyment. Successful companies are applying Traction every day to run profitable, frustration-free businesses—and you can too.

Principles | Ray Dalio

In Principles, Dalio shares what he’s learned over the course of his remarkable career. He argues that life, management, economics, and investing can all be systemized into rules and understood like machines. The book’s hundreds of practical lessons, which are built around his cornerstones of “radical truth” and “radical transparency,” include Dalio laying out the most effective ways for individuals and organizations to make decisions, approach challenges, and build strong teams.

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