I use the word “fun” a great deal to describe these podcasts with my friend, Wally Bock. There’s something about this collaboration that just works for both of us, starting with our shared passion for reading and uncovering great books that make us think and inspire us to act. And let’s face it, Wally is a fun, witty, wise character who writes the best book reviews in the business world! And at times, we even agree on our selections.

In this episode, we offer guidance on starting your professional library, with a variety of suggestions across the leadership, innovation, and thinking categories. Enjoy, and use the suggestions in great reading and professional health!

Art's Signature


Show Highlights:

Wally kicks us off with his ideas on how to structure your professional development library Some basics, use some lists, listen to our podcast! (1:51)

Art highlights his angst over focusing your professional development library around “leadership” books and suggests you cast a wider net (3:00)

Wally offers his initial suggestions The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner; (3:50)

Art offers Call Sign Chaos by Jim Mattis and Bing West and Wally expresses regret in not beating me to this one. Wally highlights his appreciation of the book and particularly the reading list. (6:05)

Wally offers Mapping Innovation–A Playbook for Navigating in a Disrupting Age by Greg Satell as his innovation choice. (7:35) and Art counters with his innovation choice, Ten Faces of Innovation by Tom Kelley of IDEO fame.

Wally sends us down the Michael Porter rabbit hole. We both agree that we don’t value his writing…which is not a knock on this thinking or tools. (8:45)

Art offers up Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters by Richard Rummelt and Wally grudgingly admits that Art was right on this one. Wally: “Art likes books you can give a framework you can apply when you go back to the real world.” (10:00)

In a moment of weakness, Wally highlights that when Art recommends a book, “He’s usually right.” Music to my ears! (11:30)

Art adds some additions to the strategy category with two from Geoffrey Moore: Escape Velocity and Crossing the Chasm  (11:45)

Art loops back with a leadership suggestion: The Thoughtful Leader-A Model of Integrative Leadership by Jim Fisher (13:00) and then piles on some books about thinking: Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono and What’s Your Problem? by Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg.

Wally highlights his strategy of only buying a book after it has been out there for six months as a quality control tool and encourages readers to look for the three-star reviews to get balanced perspectives (15:10)

Art prods Wally on the lack of history and biography selections on our starter selections. Wally pushes back. Art pushes forward with suggestions on Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill (17:30)

Wally offers some great books that include lists of books: 100 Best Business Books of All Time and Best Business Books Ever as tools to identify some starter selections. He throws in: The Leader’s Bookshelf by Admiral James Stavridis and R. Manning Ancell as a great idea prompter as well (19:20)

Art asks Wally why Peter Drucker’s The Effective Executive isn’t on his list (21:00)

Wally gives a shout-out to Michael McKinney’s great work highlighting and reviewing leadership classics (22:25)

Physical library versus digital library (including audible versions): pros and cons. And, we learn a great deal about Wally’s curious book buying, reading, and listening habits (23:30)

We cap off our guidance on starting your professional library. Wally: “Build your library intentionally and broaden your scope.” (27:45)