Readers' Choice

Best Business Books of 2012: Biographies

December 13, 2012
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Among the top business biographies of 2012, according to strategy+business are profiles of three icons: Dwight Eisenhower, Steve Jobs, and Clarence Birdseye.

Each of these subjects illustrate how individual success “often is rooted in a merging of disciplinary virtuosity,” writes reviewer Alice Schroeder, author of 2009’s “The Snowball: Warren Buffet and the Business of Life.”

“Eisenhower combined political genius with superb executive skills,” according to Schroeder. “Jobs wed the sensibility of an aesthete to an innovator’s appreciation of technology. As for Birdseye, he once said that he “was not cut out for a career in pure science and wanted to get into some field where [he] could apply scientific knowledge to an economic opportunity.”

Read the review here.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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