Reading for success

Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Tesla's Elon Musk both reportedly read a lot of books. As this holiday season gains steam, help the engineer in your life follow such best practices by providing them with one, some or all of the following tomes. After all, it is the season of giving.

Compiled by Michael Hughes

Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Tesla's Elon Musk both reportedly read a lot of books. As this holiday season gains steam, help the engineer in your life follow such best practices by providing them with one, some or all of the following tomes. After all, it is the season of giving.

Ask More Ask More 
By Frank Sesno
AMACOM Books, $25

Most managers aim to have the right answers. The subtitle of Frank Sesno's book, "the power of questions to open doors, uncover solutions and spark change," explains upfront that the real power comes from the right questions. The Emmy Award winning journalist provides techniques to make the right questions work for you by asking them strategically, listening actively and using them as a tool to accomplish what you want to achieve. In doing so, Sesno makes a compelling case that embracing the practice of assuming less, asserting less and asking more can help diagnose issues, break down barriers, gain a sense of purpose and find solutions.

Being Supervised: A Guide for SuperviseesBeing Supervised: A Guide for Supervisees
By Erik de Haan and Willemine Regouin
Karnac Books, $27.86

Most management books offer advice to those in supervisory positions. But supervisory relationships are at least a two-way street. While such relationships can be rewarding, engaging with your supervisor can be tough and challenging. Erik de Haan and Willemine Regouin turn their experience and research into how supervisees can get the most out of supervision and reap the unique and substantial benefits that you can get from your manager's experience, a developmental process often mixed with quality assurance, performance reports or marking and evaluation.

Competing on Analytics: The New Science of WinningCompeting on Analytics: The New Science of Winning 
By Thomas H. Davenport and Jeanne G. Harris
Harvard Business Review Press, $35

Upon its release 10 years ago, Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning heralded the coming of the digital age. The book put analytics on the map, rewriting the rules of competitive advantage. This re-release is updated with new information to provide a road map for organizations that aim to create new strategies based on sophisticated analytics. The authors describe a five-stage model of analytical competition and add new topics, including machine learning and other artificial intelligence technologies, the internet of things and its implications, cloud computing and visual analytics.

Culture Matters: Decision-Making in Global Virtual TeamsCulture Matters: Decision-Making in Global Virtual Teams
By Norhayati Zakaria
CRC Press, $69.95

As globalization spreads each company's workers across the planet, multinationals have responded with a work structure called global virtual teams. This effort at efficiency and cost-effectiveness can run aground because of cultural differences. Management's goals should be harnessing those differences to gain insights in perspective, creativity and innovation. Norhayati Zakaria sheds light on strategies for creating an optimal intercultural environment, examining areas of failure that include language barriers, attitudes toward time and relationship- versus task-oriented behaviors. Vignettes and lessons learned offer a glimpse at theory and decision-making strategies that can keep your teams focused on achievement, regardless of their geographic dispersion.

Driving DigitalDriving Digital 
By Isaac Sacolick
AMACOM Books, $29.95

The modern world creates about 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day, and organizations that want to remain in business need systems in place to handle that information. Isaac Sacolick begins at the tactical level, offering ways to build those systems from the bottom up in four major steps: getting the information technology team ready, propelling investment and innovation, developing the foundations for digital execution and driving digital growth and culture. Driving Digital covers agile practices, DevOps, making sure quality and data drive decisions, reducing the complexity of legacy practices and determining what types of data must be collected for success.

Lean Transformations for Small and Medium Enterprises Lean Transformations for Small and Medium Enterprises 
By Arnaldo Camuffo
CRC Press, $39.95

Based on quantitative analysis of 100 cases of lean transformations and 20 in-depth case studies of small and medium enterprises that successfully underwent a lean transformation, Lean Transformations for Small and Medium Enterprises: Lessons Learned from Italian Businesses details how to make sure your lean transformation improves your finances and operations. The businesses used the lean transformation framework, conceptualized by John Shook at the Lean Enterprise Institute, as a practical approach to design and limit risks from the change process. Arnaldo Camuffo details how to commit to the transformation, choose the right value streams to improve, build capabilities and create a culture of respect for people.

Lies, Damned Lies, and Cost AccountingLies, Damned Lies, and Cost Accounting 
By Reginald Tomas Lee Sr.
Business Expert Press, $34.95

Reginald Tomas Lee maintains that the purpose of accounting does not match with its actual use in business. A regular contributor to IISE publications, the executive advisor and researcher argues that accounting was designed to report financial performance, not model cash flow. Because the largest expense for most organizations is capacity – space, labor, materials, equipment and technology – Lee introduces capacity management. Organizations properly manage cash by properly managing what they buy and how effectively they use it. Lies, Damned Lies and Cost Accounting: How Capacity Management Enables Improved Cost and Cash Flow Management explains how modeling and managing capacity will give your enterprise the cash flow results you need.

Simply BrilliantSimply Brilliant
By Bernhard Schroeder
AMACOM Books, $24

A Harvard Business Review study concluded that creativity is 20 percent inherited and 80 percent learned behavior. Bernhard Schroeder, a director at the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center at San Diego State University, agrees. Schroeder's book offers techniques that can help anyone unlock their creativity and spark new ideas, which often come from hard work and diligence, not flashes of inspiration. Readers can find out how to develop a growth mindset, ways to cultivate the traits of a leader who values creativity in others,how notions of the "lone inventor" truly depend on teamwork, adding in a dash of ingredients that can create a creative company culture.