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Top 11 business development books

Bettering yourself as a business professional is an admirable goal for 2012. While there are many varying routes you could take to make that goal a reality, one of the most simplistic ways is to pick up a few good books that guide you along your journey. And because you may be one who enjoys holding a physical book in your hand rather than an electronic device, here are eleven physical books that are focused on your professional development and potential.

1. The Art of Asking

1. The Art of Asking: Ask Better Questions, Get Better Answers by Terry J. Fadem – According to Fadem, there are essential questions that every manager or business professional needs to ask themselves. With that in mind, Fadem has “ten simple rules for asking every question more effectively.” This book has been positively reviewed by high-ranking business professionals across the country, including the Corporate Vice President of Johnson & Johnson, Garry A. Neil, who says that it is “required reading for every leader.”

2. Networking

2. Networking (52 Brilliant Ideas) by Nicolas King – Knowing the right people can mean the difference between getting your foot in the door and your brilliant idea never being heard or taken seriously. And the only way to get to know the right people is to effectively network. It’s all about turning your everyday professional contacts into powerful networking tools. And King provides you with 52 ways to do just that.

3. Social Pollination

3. Social Pollination: Escape the Hype of Social Media and Join the Companies Winning at It by Monica L. O’Brien – “Social pollination is about embracing the power of communities and using it to your advantage.” O’Brien asserts that potential customers used to go to a company’s website to find out the information they needed. However, today, they usually go straight to the company’s social media page. Social media has allowed users to share your company’s information quickly, conveniently, and efficiently. Marketing your business can be made easier through the proper use of social media.

4. Delivering Happiness

4. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh – Tony Hsieh sold his business to Microsoft for a substantial amount of money. He then became the CEO of Zappos, which was later purchased by Amazon. This book is all about the professional and business lessons he’s learned through his experiences, and it all centers around choosing happiness and helping others finding happiness, too.

5. The Innovator’s Dilemma

5. The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book that Will Change the Way You Do Business by Clayton M. Christensen – An essential way for a business to succeed is to keep up with current technologies. This can be increasingly difficult, as the number of new technology continues to grow. In his book, Christensen discusses the two types of technology: sustaining and disruptive. While disruptive technology is sometimes a cheaper option, it isn’t always the best for the livelihood and growth of the company.

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6. Influence

6. Influencer: The Power to Change Anything by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler – Being an influencer can come with a great deal of responsibility and possibility. We all know influential people who really can make a difference. And you can be just like them. “An influencer motivates others to change. An influencer replaces bad behaviors with powerful new skills. An influencer makes things happen.”

7. Crucial Conversations

7. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler – Using dialogue effectively is a talent that not everyone is born with. However, it is a talent that can be developed. This book will help you prepare for situations when the stakes are high and so are tension and stress levels. It will also teach you how to avoid being abrasive and to be persuasive instead.

8. Secrets of Steve Jobs

8. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience by Carmine Gallo – Whether or not you’re a fan of Steve Jobs’ innovations, it’s hard to deny that he could give a great presentation. He had a passion that was unrivaled. He believed in his product and in his company, and that shined through clearly and strongly. Carmine Gallo takes you through the impact Steve Jobs had on the public and his competition.

9. Leadership

9. Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box by Arbinger Institute – This book takes a unique view of exploring leadership roles. Instead of focusing on methodologies for being a leader in the workplace, the focus is placed on how leaders view those they lead and how and why that makes a large impact on how they lead their staff. Some will never be good leaders because of their personal judgments of others.

10. Presentation Zen

10. Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery by Garr Reynolds – The right presentation can mean additional funding, profit, and professional success. Garr Reynolds encourages readers to be creative and think differently when it comes to professional presentations. Regular slide presentations are no more, and should be replaced with something unique and new.

11. Organizing

11. The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization by Peter M. Senge – There are living companies and there are those that are stagnant. The stagnant companies will never survive for long because the business world is constantly changing. That’s why it’s important to have a “learning organization.” That means your company changes along with the industry. And that’s the only way for a healthy professional life these days.

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These eleven books are just a small sampling of the direction and assistance you can find on many book lists for business professionals. Explore the books that seem interesting or unique and leave the other ones behind. Focus on your goals for 2012 and cut out the business books you feel obligated to read and those that don’t hold your interest. Before you know it, you’ll be improving yourself and your business.

Written By

The American Genius Staff Writer: Charlene Jimenez earned her Master's Degree in Arts and Culture with a Creative Writing concentration from the University of Denver after earning her Bachelor's Degree in English from Brigham Young University in Idaho. Jimenez's column is dedicated to business and technology tips, trends and best practices for entrepreneurs and small business professionals.

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