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15 Valuable Business Books That Can Bolster Your Skill Set

15 Valuable Business Books That Can Bolster Your Skill Set

According to many studies, the value of an MBA is declining. As more and more people pursue business degrees, and as colleges make those degrees more convenient, the value of the knowledge associated with an MBA is becoming less and less powerful. However, for those seeking to gain business knowledge, there are many cheap and affordable alternatives to an MBA. For that reason, we have compiled a list of 15 short business books that are a valuable alternative to costly educational programs.

1. How To Lie With Statistics by Darrell Huff

How To Lie With Statistics is a valuable alternative to any business statistics class. While not necessarily based heavily in math, this book does give the reader a thorough knowledge of how people use numbers to manipulate facts, to create hypotheses, and, most importantly, how to obscure the truth. Grab this one and learn how you’re being lied to on a daily basis.

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    2. Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson

    Who Moved My Cheese is an important work detailing valuable business lessons through the parable of two mice caught in a maze. Each day they realize the cheese is not in the same place it was yesterday; this imitates how the goals of a business change and change often, and how the best businesses are able to readily adapt to those changes.

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      3. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

      In addition to being prime water-cooler conversation fodder, The Tipping Point makes clear how an idea, business or otherwise, turns from an idea into a trend into a social epidemic. Using examples such as the popularity of Hush Puppy shoes in the ’90’s, The Tipping Point identifies three types of people that contribute to social epidemics and lays out how these types of people can be used to create epidemics. It is a business book that is valuable for marketers and others concerned with how trends form.

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        4. Rich Habits by Thomas Corley

        In Rich Habits, Thomas Corley lays out the results of his five-year study in which he observed the daily habits of both rich and poor people. Rich people were more likely to engage in regular routines such as brushing their teeth or calling friends on their birthdays. This work is special because Corley takes some simple data and makes it into a highly readable, pocket-sized work.

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          5. Good to Great by Jim Collins

          This intricately data-driven study by University of Colorado professor Jim Collins makes his case for why many businesses fail, and what drives those that succeed. Good to Great uses many visual metaphors to make clear how certain companies moved from average to amazing, while others struggle. Collins’ terms “The Hedgehog Concept” and “The Flywheel and the Doom Loop” are vital to the vocabulary of any successful business person.

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            6. Turn the Ship Around! By L. David Marquet

            Marquet, a retired Navy submarine captain, lays out brilliant leadership methods that he developed during his tenure as a leader of men in trying circumstances. In the take-orders culture of the military, Marquet become wary of giving commands that could not be followed, so he turned each of his individual sailors into leaders instead of followers. Turn the Ship Around is an important study of how to empower those in your command to use their minds.

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              7. Thinking Fast, and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

              In Thinking Fast, and Slow, psychologist Daniel Kahneman spends his efforts deconstructing the reasons why people are often misinformed at the first glance, and how leaders can control their thinking to make sure they are not hoodwinked by logical fallacies or by their own emotions. This work is a brilliant piece of writing that delves deep into how our brains don’t necessarily operate efficiently in the short-term, and gives insights about how we can train ourselves to think more coherently long-term.

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                8. The Black Swan by Nassim NicholasTassib

                In The Black Swan, many misconceptions about the impact of the highly improbable are diagnosed and dissected. Many business leaders read this book to understand how wrong they are often are, and the impact of their wrong-headedness on others. This is a brilliant read.

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                  9. Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky

                  Alinsky’s book is a manifesto on how to create grassroots support of any idea, no matter how ridiculous or ‘radical.’ Alinsky’s work is often thought of as more of a handbook on how to organize political, but this is the book that created the idea of personalizing trivial issues, and holds many positive thoughts on how to galvanize people.

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                    10. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

                    In the early part of the 20th Century, How To Win Friends and Influence People more or less started the self-help movement. This book is a powerful tool on how to negotiate with others, how to influence conversations, and how to look good while doing both. No business leader should go without it.

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                      11. Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

                      This work is by an Icelandic psychologist and goes thoroughly in-depth on how creative and scientific types dial into their trade and really begin to experience oneness with their work. A brilliant study on how to tap into your potential, Flow is not to be left off this list.

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                        12. The Balanced Scorecard by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton

                        The Balanced Scorecard is all about creating an optimal strategy and implementing it through accurate performance measures that naturally drive goals to completion. These book has a three-pronged approach to justifying strategy, creating measures that will drive the company forward, and optimizing those measures.

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                          13. Sam Walton: Made In America: by Sam Walton

                          What better way to find out about effectiveness in business than by reading the words and perspective of one of the most successful CEO’s in history. Sam Walton’s story is equal part effective narration of his mindset and shrewd business advice.

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                            14. The Art of the Start 2.0 by Guy Kawasaki

                            Kawasaki’s The Art of the Start 2.0  is a diagram of entrepreneurship and how to build something from the ground up. Kawasaki is thought of as a visionary on many subjects; I, myself, was once in a webinar in which he taught social media skills to many, free of charge. If anyone can do it yourself, it’s you, and if anyone can show you how to do it yourself, it’s Kawasaki.

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                              15. The Lexus and the Olive Tree by Thomas Friedman

                              Friedman has several works that could make this list– most notably The World Is Flat– but The Lexus and the Olive Tree gains the last entry because they truly make the reader delve into and even embrace globalization and the shrinking and complicating of business process as they occur. Read about how geographical and geopolitical boundaries are necessary to be maintained even as business circumvents them all.

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                                Featured photo credit: 42-15181265/Rhodri Utility Warehouse Distributor via flickr.com

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                                Last Updated on September 18, 2019

                                15 Best Organizing Tips For Office Organization and Getting More Done

                                15 Best Organizing Tips For Office Organization and Getting More Done

                                You may think that you don’t have time for office organization, but if you really knew how much time that disorganization cost you, you’d reconsider.

                                Rearranging and moving piles occasionally doesn’t count. Neither does clearing off your desk, if you swipe the mess into a bin, or a desk drawer.

                                A relatively neat and orderly office space clears the way for higher productivity and less wasted time.

                                Organizing your office doesn’t have to take days, it can be done a little at a time. In fact, maintaining an organized office is much more effective if you treat it like an on-going project, instead of a massive assault.

                                So, if you’re ready to get started, the following organizing tips will help you transform your office into an efficient workspace.

                                1. Purge Your Office

                                De-clutter, empty, shred, get rid of everything that you don’t need or want. Look around. What haven’t you used in a while?

                                Take one area at a time. If it doesn’t work, send it out for repair or toss it. If you haven’t used it in months and can’t think of when you’ll actually need it, out it goes. This goes for furniture, equipment, supplies, etc.

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                                Don’t forget about knick-knacks, plants (real or artificial), and decorations – if they’re covered with dust and make your office look shabby, they’re fair game.

                                2. Gather and Redistribute

                                Gather up every item that isn’t where it belongs and put it where it does.

                                3. Establish Work “Zones”

                                Decide what type of activity happens in each area of your office. You’ll probably have a main workspace (most likely your desk,) a reference area (filing cabinet, shelves, binders,) and a supply area (closet, shelves or drawers.)

                                Place the appropriate equipment and supplies are located in the proper area as much as possible.

                                4. Close Proximity

                                Position the equipment and supplies that you use most within reach. Things that you rarely use can be stored or put away.

                                5. Get a Good Labeler

                                Choose a label maker that’s simple to use. Take the time to label shelves, bins, baskets drawers. Not only will it remind you where things go, but it will also help others who may have a need to find, use, or put away anything in your workspace.

                                6. Revise Your Filing System

                                As we move fully into the digital age, the need to store paper files has decreased.

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                                What can your store digitally? Are you duplicating files? You may be able to eliminate some of the files and folders you’ve used in the past. If you’re storing files on your computer, make sure you are doing regular back-ups.

                                Here’re some storage ideas for creating a smooth filing system:

                                • Create a meeting folder – Put all “items to be discussed” in there along with items that need to be handed off, reports that need to be given, etc. It’ll help you be prepared for meetings and save you stress in the even that a meeting is moved up.
                                • Create a WOR folder – So much of our messy papers are things that are on hold until someone else responds or acts. Corral them in a WOR (Waiting on Response) folder. Check it every few days for outstanding actions you may need to follow-up on.
                                • Storage boxes – Use inexpensive storage boxes to keep archived files and get them out of your current file space.
                                • Magazine boxes – Use magazine boxes or binders to store magazines and catalogs you really want to store. Please make sure you really need them for reference or research, otherwise recycle them, or give away.
                                • Reading folder – Designate a file for print articles and documents you want to read that aren’t urgent.
                                • Archive files – When a project is complete, put all of the materials together and file them away. Keep your “working folders” for projects in progress.
                                • File weekly – Don’t let your filing pile up. Put your papers in a “To File” folder and file everything once a week.

                                Learn more tips on organizing your files here: How to Organize Your Files for Better Productivity

                                7. Clear off Your Desk

                                Remove everything, clean it thoroughly and put back only those items that are essential for daily use.

                                If you have difficulty declutter stuff, this Declutter Formula will help you throw away stuff without regretting later.

                                8. Organize your Desktop

                                Now that you’ve streamlined your desktop, it’s a good idea to organize it.

                                Use desktop organizers or containers to organize the items on your desk. Use trays for papers, containers for smaller items.

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                                Don’t forget your computer desktop! Make sure the files or images are all in organized folders. I’d recommend you clear your computer desktop everyday before you leave work.

                                9. Organize Your Drawers

                                Put items used together in the same drawer space, stamps with envelopes, sticky pads with notepads, etc.

                                Use drawer organizers for little items – paper clips, tacks, etc. Use a separate drawer for personal items.

                                10. Separate Inboxes

                                If you work regularly with other people, create a folder, tray, or inbox for each.

                                11. Clear Your Piles

                                Hopefully with your new organized office, you won’t create piles of paper anymore, but you still have to sort through the old ones.

                                Go through the pile (a little at a time if necessary) and put it in the appropriate place or dump it.

                                12. Sort Mails

                                Don’t just stick mail in a pile to be sorted or rifle through and take out the pieces you need right now. Sort it as soon as you get it – To act, To read, To file, To delegate or hand off. .

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                                13. Assign Discard Dates

                                You don’t need to keep every piece of paper indefinitely. Mark on files or documents when they can be tossed or shredded.

                                Some legal or financial documents must be kept for specified length of time. Make sure you know what those requirements are.

                                14. Filter Your Emails

                                Some emails are important to read, others are just not that important.

                                When you use the filter system to label different types of emails, you know their priority and which to reply first.

                                Take a look at these tips to achieve inbox zero: The Ultimate Way to get to Inbox Zero

                                15. Straighten Your Desk

                                At the end of the day, do a quick straighten, so you have a clean start the next day.

                                Bottom Line

                                Use one tip or try them all. The amount of effort you put into creating and maintaining an efficient work area will pay off in a big way.

                                Instead of spending time looking for things and shuffling piles, you’ll be able to spend your time…well…working and you’ll enjoy being clutter free!

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                                Featured photo credit: Alesia Kazantceva via unsplash.com

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