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The Best Books of 2009
All of the book covers and reviews featured on the site are highly recommended as we only feature reviews and press releases of the books we believe are valuable. These are the best of 2009 as rated by the editors of The CEO Refresher.
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Best Books



The Best Business Books
of All Time!


I Love You More Than My Dog
I Love You More Than My Dog: Five Decisions That Drive Extreme Customer Loyalty in Good Times and Bad
by Jeanne Bliss
In her first book Chief Customer Officer  Jeanne Bliss established herself as a foremost authority and advocate of customer experience, focus and profitability. She challenged the C-Suite to go beyond "lip service to passionate action", and provided the road map to make it so. In I Love You More Than My Dog she explores how only an elite number of businesses have achieved a level of customer devotion she's called "beloved" -  with passionate, loyal and vocal customers and advocates that sustain their business even in tough times. It's an exciting, edgy and captivating read driven by Jeanne's passion and 'soul', and filled with examples that will thrill you with what's possible! It's guaranteed to "twist your head" and have you take a very good look in the mirror to consider your values, choose your "story," and understand the five key decisions that lead to a "beloved" level of customer devotion.  It's brilliant, and is the very best of the year! (ed.)
The Power of Strategic Commitment
The Power of Strategic Commitment: Achieving Extraordinary Results Through Total Alignment and Engagement
by Josh Leibner, Gershon Mader and Alan Weiss
This outstanding book shows readers how to improve strategic processes and execution by engaging the support of managers, employees, boards, suppliers, investors and all stakeholders, outlining the key factors that determine commitment, and powerful ways to build buy-in and alignment. The authors offer a blueprint for moving beyond compliance towards that magical point where every initiative is embraced by every employee at all levels. This is indeed one of the very best of the year!
Just Listen
Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone
by Mark Goulston
Over his career as an organizational consultant, relationship counselor, and hostage-negotiation trainer, Dr. Goulston has found what works, consistently, to reach all kinds of people in any type of situation. He discovered that the counter-intuitive step of listening is the real key to getting through and influencing others. In this very engaging work, he demonstrates through a wide range of workplace and relationship-related scenarios, how mirroring what others are feeling naturally works to break down barriers and open the way to winning their attention, trust and cooperation. It's an excellent read!
Chaotics: The Business of Managing and Marketing in the Age of Turbulence
by Philip Kotler and John A. Caslione
We have entered into an entirely new era, an age of increasingly frequent and intense periods of turbulence in the global economy. Unlike past recessions, today’s crises have precipitated a need for businesses to develop a new mindset, one that takes into account intermittent periods of disturbance, allowing them to thrive while under the constant threat of chaos. Complete with metrics and measurements, Chaotics outlines a powerful new system for managing waves of uncertainty affecting customers, employees, and other stakeholders.
Take Their Breath Away
Take Their Breath Away: How Imaginative Service Creates Devoted Customers
by Chip R. Bell and John R. Patterson

This ingenious, real-world guide explores a variety of exciting, creative customer experience ideas using examples from remarkable customer-centric organizations. The key to a successful enterprise is value-added service, but the secret to great customer service is surprising customers with a value-unique experience. Take Their Breath Away™ provides ideas and insights for all who want to create a stunning, mind-blowing customer experience.
The Cult of the Customer
The Cult of the Customer: Create an Amazing Customer Experience That Turns Satisfied Customers Into Customer Evangelists
by Shep Hyken
Shep Hyken shows how to design a strategy that leads both customers and employees through five distinct cultural phases – from "uncertainty" to "amazement." By presenting dozens of case studies that show how great companies made this journey, Hyken identifies the critical internal and external changes that allowed them to build a Cult of the Customer – and shows how you can do it too. Hyken’s message is both powerful and timely: the happier your customers and employees are, the more successful your company will be. The Cult of the Customer is your guide to creating a customer-focused culture that turns satisfied customers into customer evangelists.
Investing in a Sustainable World
Investing in a Sustainable World: Why Green Is the New Color of Money on Wall Street
by Matthew J. Kiernan
Investing in a Sustainable World offers clear proof, through facts, figures, and hard documentation, that “going green” leads directly to better stock market performance...and that investors and companies who ignore it will, in fact, lose money. The book reveals the most powerful global mega­trends—from the ongoing focus on emerging markets to natural resource depletion—which are transforming the very basis on which companies will compete, and offers an approach to sustainability-enhanced investing beneficial to both investors and companies.
Strategic Acceleration
Strategic Acceleration: Succeed at the Speed of Life
by Tony Jeary
Tony’s latest book details a methodology that will help you get clear, stay focused, and efficiently execute relevant, high-value activities... thereby getting you the results, and success, you really want.... faster! It's about developing a clear vision, outlining priorities and objectives, and tackling goals with a real sense of urgency and focus. Once understood and deployed, Strategic Acceleration will have a powerful, long-term positive influence on the results and success that so many people want. This is on of the best of the year! (ed.)
Marketing Metrics in Action
Marketing Metrics in Action: Creating a Performance-Driven Marketing Organization
by Laura Patterson
Talk about marketing accountability has become almost commonplace. And most marketing executives get it. They understand the need to know the numbers. The real question is, Which numbers? Marketing Metrics in Action answers those questions and addresses those problems with a balance of sound theory and technique and practical application. The author, a veteran of marketing on both sides, the client side and the consultant side, explains how you need to make marketing metrics work for you. It provides wise counsel for identifying which metrics matter most to your organization and practical guidance for putting all the sophisticated marketing tools to profitable use in your company.
Leadershift: Reinventing Leadership for the Age of Mass Collaboration
by Emmanuel Gobillot
Leadershift is about adapting and changing traditional models of leadership in response to the influence of mass collaboration, a form of collective action which occurs when large numbers of people work independently on a single project.  Mass collaboration requires a form of leadership that is prepared to let go of the experience, expertise and control it holds precious.  Emmanuel Gobillot describes how to adapt traditional leadership roles, and presents the tools necessary to succeed in this new age.
Master Leaders
by George Barna
In MASTER LEADERS, best-selling author and researcher George Barna gives you the opportunity of a lifetime to sit down with 30 of the world’s most respected leaders as they provide intriguing answers to some of the toughest questions and challenges facing leaders today. Based on personal interviews and never before published conversations with “the greats” (including Seth Godin, Patrick Lencioni, Colleen Barrett, Ken Blanchard, Ben Carson, Tony Dungy, Newt Gingrich, and many others). MASTER LEADERS offers 16 essential leadership keys to help you honor God, strengthen and equip others, and manage a high-functioning team. The way you view leadership will never be the same.
Maestro: A Surprising Story About Leading by Listening
by Roger Nierenberg
The author, a veteran conductor, is the creator of The Music Paradigm, a unique program that invites people to sit inside
a professional symphony orchestra to think about leadership and communication in an entirely new way. The book is a parable of how a rising executive facing tough challenges befriends an orchestra conductor and experiences a most profound transformation. There are many very powerful insights here that the best leaders can apply to take their teams to a new level of harmony and excellence. Highly recommended and one of the best of the year!
The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs
The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs - How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience
by Carmine Gallo
Apple CEO Steve Jobs’s wildly popular presentations have set a new global gold standard—and now this step-by-step guide shows you exactly how to use his crowd-pleasing techniques in your own presentations. Communications expert Carmine Gallo has studied and analyzed the very best of Jobs’s performances, offering point-by-point examples, tried-and-true techniques, and proven presentation secrets that work every time. With this revolutionary approach, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to sell your ideas, share your enthusiasm, and wow your audience the Steve Jobs way.
The Communication Problem Solver
The Communication Problem Solver: Simple Tools and Techniques for Busy Managers
by Nannette Rundle Carroll

Managers need top-flight communication skills to keep their staffs productive and collaborative. But often, those who manage lack the ability to get things back on track once miscommunication occurs. This book helps readers analyze their communication skills and challenges and explains how they can use simple problem-solving techniques to resolve the people issues that derail productivity at work. This no-nonsense guide is packed with practical tools to help any manager be immediately effective, as well as a handy list of common communication problems and corresponding solutions.
Leadership RE: Vision
by Jim Seybert
Leadership RE:Vision isn’t about changing your goals or objectives. It’s about challenging the conventional wisdom and long-held premises of what it means to be a leader. It’s about looking at your leadership habits from a new perspective and using a different set of standards to measure the success of your efforts. In Leadership RE:Vision, Jim Seybert challenges conventional leadership thinking, sets a fresh context for leaders’ actions, and calls for a new direction of principled leadership!
The Surprising Solution
The Surprising Solution: Creating Possibility in a Swift and Severe World
by Bruce Piasecki
With their disproportionate power, big businesses now wield a tremendous ability to shape our social landscape, and the author impresses the importance of “Social Response Capitalism,” an approach that emphasizes a business's “social brand” as well as the price and quality of their product or service. The Surprising Solution describes the revolution in business in which the corporations that can best address environmental and social issues by creating superior products will thrive and profit in this new world.
Counter Clockwise
Counter Clockwise
by Ellen Langer
If we could turn back the clock psychologically, could we also turn it back physically? For more than thirty years, award-winning social psychologist Ellen Langer has studied this provocative question, and now has a conclusive answer: opening our minds to what’s possible, instead of clinging to accepted notions about what’s not, can lead to better health at any age. Scientifically riveting and practically empowering, Counterclockwise holds enormously exciting implications for our general health—including vision, old age, cancer, weight, and heart health—as well as for our fundamental happiness.
Now What
Now What?: 90 Days to a New Life Direction
by Laura Berman Fortgang
In Now What? pioneering life coach Laura Berman Fortgang shares the process that she has used so successfully to help hundreds of clients make major changes in their lives. Whether it's moving on from a dead end job, discovering an entirely new creative outlet, or answering the age old question "What am I meant to do with my life?" this book provides a clear and infinitely practical 90-day program that can help you make major changes in your life. Full of inspiring and empowering exercises and tools, this book guides readers-day by day and step by step-through a 90-day process that will lead to true life satisfaction and fulfillment.
Y-Size Your Business
Y-Size Your Business: How Gen Y Employees Can Save You Money and Grow Your Business
by Jason Ryan Dorsey
Jason Ryan Dorsey, The Gen Y Guy®, presents a step-by-step methodology for best employing Gen Y without investing a lot of time or money. A member of Gen Y himself he delivers an insider's view of his generation as well as more than fifty cost-effective, ready-to-use strategies that deliver immediate measurable results. Dorsey collected these creative strategies from the frontlines of business during his work with executives, managers, and entrepreneurs in businesses large and small around the world.  He shows you exactly how to attract the best Gen Y employees, quickly develop their workplace skills, and then unlock their performance, motivation, and loyalty.
Upstarts! How GenY Entrepreneurs are Rocking the World of Business and 8 Ways You Can Profit from Their Success
by Donna Fenn
Upstarts examines and analyzes this entrepreneurial revolution to reveal eight critical lessons every entrepreneur and marketer must learn. Fenn describes a generation of entrepreneurs that is highly collaborative and team-oriented. It’s quick and alert when it comes to new technologies. It’s hell-bent on changing the world. And it’s totally impatient with outmoded business models. The sooner you adapt to the new way of business, the greater chance you have to grow and profit in the years ahead.
Leadership Under Pressure
Leadership Under Pressure: Tactics from the Frontline
by Bob Stewart
In Leadership under Pressure, Col. Bob Stewart draws on his experiences in the army and in business, using those experiences to illustrate the key attributes of a leader. In this timely and personal view of leadership, readers learn how to maintain morale in tough times, deal with a crisis, show courage to colleagues, and lead others by example. Having served in Northern Ireland and Bosnia, where he was British battalion commander, he has faced life and death situations and the toughest decisions any leader can make. Great stories and excellent insights. (ed.)
Lead Your Boss
Lead Your Boss: The Subtle Art of Managing Up
by John Baldoni
Brimming with examples and insights, Lead Your Boss guides you through the subtle yet highly effective leadership style of managing up. It's a powerful new approach that relies on initiative, resilience, empathy, courage, and other positive traits to bring people together-your boss, your peers, and your team-for the benefit of all.
Who Turned Out the Lights
Who Turned Out the Lights?: Your Guided Tour to the Energy Crisis
by Scott Bittle and Jean Johnson
We don't know exactly what the price of gas will be by the time you have this book in your hands, but whether it's high, low, or somewhere in between, the fact of the matter is just the same: this country faces a huge, complicated, and scary energy problem. Not only is it huge, complicated, and scary, it's daunting for most of us because it's nearly impossible to understand unless you're some kind of full-time energy wonk. We all recognize symptoms such as soaring gas prices and pricey home heating oil. But when it comes to the disease -- what's causing the country's energy problems and how to cure them -- that's another story entirely. Confused R Us is more like it.
Womenomics: Write Your Own Rules for Success
by Claire Shipman and Katty Kay
Veteran journalists Claire Shipman and Katty Kay marshal the evidence to show how women's management style is ideally suited to the new business world, resulting in more profitable companies with happier employees. They also show how women can use this power to get what they really want - more time and freedom in their jobs without falling off the professional ladder. Most women will happily trade some responsibility and some cash for more time-that's the new currency. Shipman and Kay give personal accounts from their own lives - the mistakes as well as the triumphs - and they share the stories of women around the country who have carved out great work-life scenarios. Above all they stay positive, encouraging, and humorous.
Rebuilding Your Life After Redundancy
Rebuilding Your Life After Redundancy - The New Life Network Handbook
by Janet Davies
Rebuilding your life after redundancy - the trauma of redundancy currently haunts thousands of people every working day and the media is full of reports about people who are worried about their job security and how to re-invent their careers in today's uncertain and demanding times. Would you know how to rebuild your life if your old career disappeared? If you need a book that will put redundancy into perspective, give some sensible advice and guidance, provide follow-up resources and contacts and do all this without being patronising - this is it. It's also useful if you want to change career or jump out of your box".
Stop Organizationitis
STOP Organizationitis
by Don Burnstine
Through a series of working sessions Burnstine outlines his "Expectation Agreement" approach to resolving conflict and contention within organizations. Following the procedure outlined in the book a simple half-hour of honest discussion and respectful behaviour can resolve days, weeks, months, or even years of unproductive and unresponsive behaviour. This is a quick and easy read that will give you new tools to improve workplace relationships and productivity. Great work Don!
Strategic Customer Service
Strategic Customer Service
by John A. Goodman
Companies that strategically align customer service with their overall corporate strategy can transcend typical good business to become a profitable word-of-mouth machine that will transform the bottom line. The author draws on over thirty years of research for companies such as 3M, American Express, Chik-Fil-A, USAA, Coca-Cola, FedEx, GE, Cisco Systems, Neiman Marcus, and Toyota. Filled with proven strategies and eye-opening case studies, this book challenges many aspects of conventional wisdom using hard data and reveals how any organization can earn more loyalty, win more customers...and improve their financial bottom line.
The Other Kind of Smart
The Other Kind of Smart: Simple Ways to Boost Your Emotional Intelligence for Greater Personal Effectiveness and Success
by Harvey Deutschendorf
The author is an Emotional Intelligence (EI) coach, and in this book uses the the techniques of storytelling, quotes and exercises to show readers how to apply the principles of EI at work and in life. It's an excellent read and a very useful guide to develop stress tolerance, cultivate empathy, increase flexibility, boost assertiveness, resolve problems successfully, and overcome self-limiting barriers to achieve one's true potential. Congratulations Harvey, great work!
Luck by Design
Luck by Design: Certain Success in an Uncertain World
by Richard E Goldman
In 1975 Richard Goldman invested $3,000 into the stock of a three-store retail company - Men's Wearhouse - and helped build it into one of the most successful retailing enterprises in North America. Part memoir and part handbook on leadership, In Luck by Design Goldman offers his wisdom and experiences in trusting your intuition, living with integrity and creating the life you were meant to live. It is a very 'refreshing' read - it's personal, filled with poignant stories and engaging in the values and principles he presents. As I was reading the book, the thought - "a life well lived" - came to mind often. It's a very positive legacy. Thank you Richie for a excellent book!
The Integration Imperative
The Integration Imperative
by Suzanne C. Lowe
When it comes to competing effectively, achieving financial success and delivering optimal client service, professional and B2B firms keep looking for the Holy Grail in all the wrong places. The real Holy Grail can be found by ensuring that marketing and business development are integrated into every function. The Integration Imperative summarizes three structural and cultural frameworks that professional- and B2B service firms can employ to achieve new effectiveness in marketing and business development, and ultimately, improve the firm's value to clients.
International Communications Strategy
International Communications Strategy : Developments in Cross-Cultural Communications, PR and Social Media
by Silvia Cambie and Yang-May Ooi
International Communications Strategy is about the cross-cultural challenges currently facing PR practitioners. Providing information on alternative communication approaches as well as cross-cultural case-studies and examples, International Communications Strategy will give readers points of reference and ideas to use every time they are asked to provide strategic communication guidance to senior management or clients.
The Money Makers
The Moneymakers: How Extraordinary Managers Win in a World Turned Upside Down
by Anne-Marie Fink
When real money is at stake, it tends to clarify the mind, and for over a decade, Anne-Marie Fink has had literally billions of dollars resting on her assessments of companies. As an equity analyst and professional investor, she has been charged with understanding whether businesses are solid, long-term moneymakers–or rotten tomatoes–before investing with them. This is an excellent read for all CEOs and business owners who want to 'get it right!' It's one of the best of the year!
Full of Bull
Full of Bull: Unscramble Wall Street Doubletalk to Protect and Build Your Portfolio
by Stephen T. McClellan
In Full of Bull, you’ll learn how to look for analysts’ favoritism and blind spots; how to react appropriately to upgrades, downgrades, and price targets; and to recognize what company announcements really mean. Drawing on his immense body of experience analyzing top companies, McClellan shows you how to systematically evaluate a company’s prospects yourself and choose investments based on principles that work. This is exactly the kind of objective, focused guidance you won’t be getting from your broker!
Experiential Marketing
Experiential Marketing: A Practical Guide to Interactive Brand Experiences
by Shaz Smilansky
Author Shaz Smilansky offers practical advice and guidance to help you every step of the way with your experiential marketing campaigns. She shows how to set objectives, target markets, bring your message to life, and measure the results. She reveals how to maximise brand experience by careful selection of venue and activity, and how to evaluate and gauge the effectiveness of the whole experiential marketing process. Combining practical insight and experience with practitioner interviews and international case studies, Experiential Marketing will provide a robust platform for you to develop and measure your own brand experience plans.
Young Guns
Young Guns: The Fearless Entrepreneur's Guide to Chasing Your Dreams and Breaking Out on Your Own
by Robert Tuchman
In Young Guns", Tuchman shows readers how to start out on a business venture, how to gain a client base, how to keep those clients, and what they need to sacrifice along the way in order to succeed. He reveals the myths and realities about starting a business when you're young. Filled with real-life examples of entrepreneurs under 35 who have made it to the top, this is the book that will show readers how to go for the gold and lead a passionate, daring and successful life.
On The Firm
On The Firm
by Philip Bryer
Philip Bryer’s first novel, None Of Your Business, introduced Johnson and detailed his growing frustration at the antics of teambuilding geeks, clipboard-toting buffoons, and micro-managing corporate bullshitters. Seeking revenge, Johnson aimed high and resorted to comic sabotage. In the sequel, On The Firm, Johnson finds himself occupying a semi-official role for Her Majesty’s Government with a brief to develop his talents and carry out a campaign of subversion against Britain’s competitors in the international marketplace. Excellent work Philip! It's provocative, a little outrageous and highly entertaining! (ed.)
Greater Than Yourself
Greater Than Yourself: The Ultimate Lesson of True Leadership
by Steve Farber
Steve Farber is a masterful and engaging story teller, and if you appreciate a little mystery, guitar playing and jamming with your leadership principles you will certainly enjoy this quick read. Farber shows that the goal of a genuine leader is to help others — teammates, employees, and colleagues — become more capable, confident, and accomplished than they are themselves. Through the actions of a forward-thinking and extraordinarily successful CEO, Farber reveals the three keys to achieving this: Expand Yourself, Give Yourself, and Replicate Yourself. Great work Steve, and an excellent follow-up to The Radical Leap. (ed.)
Five Deadly Sins
Five Deadly Sins CEO Make in Sales
by Jim Lewis
Whether you are the CEO of a small company with only one salesperson or you manage thousands, it's very likely that you have committed at least one of the sins described in this book. Don't worry; you are not alone. The logic that leads senior executives to commit these sins over and over makes sense and is pervasive. This book is based on the work and experience of the author, who admits to having committed all five sins. Fortunately, he found out soon enough to be able to help others avoid the same fate. The story is short, enlightening, and provocative.
Be Yourself
Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken: Transform Your Life with the Power of Authenticity
by Mike Robbins
“Authenticity is enjoying a new sense of freedom to be who you really are - yourself, natural and without a mask.” In Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Already Taken, Robbins offers five powerful principles of authenticity and then provides action plans, exercises, resources, and anecdotes that demonstrate how to apply these principles on a daily basis in your life. Written for people who want to enhance, expand, and deepen, their lives, their work, and their relationships, this book is brimming with inspiration and practical help.
I Hate People
I Hate People!: Kick Loose from the Overbearing and Underhanded Jerks at Work and Get What You Want Out of Your Job
by Jonathan Littman and Marc Hershon
I Hate People! is a witty, counter-intuitive, and irreverent turn on the classic workplace self-help book that will show you how to identify the Ten Least Wanted--the people you hate--while revealing the strategies to neutralize them. The authors also will teach you how to carve out more time for yourself by becoming a "Soloist"-- one of those bold individuals daring to work alone or collaborate with a handful of other talented people ... while artfully deflecting the rest.
Why Loyalty Matters
Why Loyalty Matters: The Groundbreaking Approach to Rediscovering Happiness, Meaning and Lasting Fulfillment in Your Life and Work
by Timothy Keiningham and Lerzan Aksoy with Luke Williams
In Why Loyalty Matters, renowned loyalty experts Timothy Keiningham and Lerzan Aksoy draw from the most comprehensive study of loyalty ever conducted, the landmark Ipsos Loyalty Study, to show why loyalty is critical to our happiness as individuals and our success as a society.
101 Boardroom Problems
101 Boardroom Problems and How to Solve Them
by Eli Mina
Eli Mina has firsthand experience in dealing with the myriad of problems that boards face. Here he shows readers how to identify board dysfunctions and the damage they inflict, deal with boardroom problems with confidence, increase the likelihood of their board achieving the right decisions, minimize or eliminate flawed decisions, and make a board more credible and trustworthy with its community and stakeholders. This is an easy-to-use guide to help you bring order and sense to any boardroom and enable the best possible decision-making.
The World According to twitter
The World According to Twitter
by David Pogue
New York Times technology columnist David Pogue has tapped into the brilliance of his half-million followers on Twitter by posting a different, thought-provoking question every night. Out of 25,000 tweets, Pogue has gathered the very best 2,524 into this irresistible, clever, laugh-out-loud funny book. It's a very interesting social networking experiment.
Think Like a Champion
Think Like a Champion: An Informal Education in Business and Life
by Donald J. Trump, with Meredith McIver
Donald J. Trump is the very definition of the American success story, continually setting standards of excellence while expanding his passionate interests in real estate, gaming, sports, and entertainment, which include runaway hits The Apprentice and The Celebrity Apprentice. He is one of the most recognizable and credible “brands” in the world. His newest book is a personally selected collection of never-before-published engaging pieces that reflect his philosophy of how to achieve lasting personal and business success.

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