This month’s recommended reading selections offer perspectives that can help you create an optimal work culture, understand the science behind timing, ensure positive customer experiences, and close the gender gap—all key factors that affect your business. Find the tools and solutions that will work best for your organization.

These book picks are informative, inspirational, and entertaining—great to get the year started off in a positive and productive manner.

Book Picks: The impact of work culture, timing, customer experience, and the gender gap

Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility by Patty McCord

Patty McCord believes that most companies aren’t building great teams because they are doing it wrong. Learn how McCord helped to create a culture at Netflix that was “unique and high-performing” in her role as chief talent officer, as well as other lessons she learned in Silicon Valley. Her proven methods include using honesty, letting go of employees deemed unnecessary for the company’s future needs, and inspiring employees with work that is challenging rather than with perks and bonuses. Great advice delivered with “humor and irreverence.”


The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle

To help us understand how successful groups work, Daniel Coyle uncovers how several organizations—including the U.S. Navy’s SEAL Team Six, IDEO, and the San Antonio Spurs—have built and maintained great work cultures. This book teaches the principles behind the “cultural chemistry” that transforms individuals into teams working together. Coyle explains the three key skills that result in cohesion and cooperation, and how diverse groups can learn to function with a single mind. Learn about the strategies that spark learning and collaboration, build trust, and create positive change. Find out where great culture comes from, how it is built and sustained, and how to fortify a culture that is damaged.


When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink

Is timing everything? Learn the science behind timing and how it affects our work, school, and home life. Pink provides the psychological, biological, and economical research to show that timing is not an art form, but rather an actual science. He also provides practical examples like how to use hidden patterns of the day to build an ideal schedule, explaining why certain breaks radically improve student test scores, how singing in time with other people is as good for you as exercise, and the best time to quit a job, change careers, or get married. Readers will receive the insights needed to live richer and more engaged lives.


This Is Service Design Doing: Applying Service Design Thinking in the Real World by Marc Stickdorn,‎ Markus Edgar Hormess,‎ Adam Lawrence,‎ and Jakob Schneider

See what it takes to create a customer-centric culture in an organization and to do service design to improve the interactions between service providers and customers.  This book provides the steps, tools, and methods to ensure consistently positive customer experiences.

“You’ll learn specific facilitation guidelines on how to run workshops, perform all of the main service design methods, implement concepts in reality, and embed service design successfully in an organization.”


The Vibrant Workplace: Overcoming the Obstacles to Building a Culture of Appreciation by Dr. Paul White

Paul White offers workplace leaders a thorough understanding of the most common obstacles to change in their work cultures and the skills to overcome them—pulled from real-life examples. With his guidance, learn to uproot negativity and cultivate authentic appreciation and resilience in the workplace. To bring out the best in employees and teams, you’ll learn to understand the cost of negativity, make appreciation the foundation of your work culture, strategically apply the five languages of appreciation, and more.


Big Potential: How Transforming the Pursuit of Success Raises Our Achievement, Happiness, and Well-Being  by Shawn Achor

“Just as happiness is contagious, every dimension of human potential—performance, intelligence, creativity, leadership ability, and health—is influenced by those around us.”

In his book, Shawn Achor draws on his work in 50 countries to reveal how success and happiness are not a competition, and how we limit our successes when we go it alone. How we connect, relate, and learn from each other are the greatest influences. Achor proposes five strategies—the SEEDS of Big Potential—to propel us to achieve out potential and get happiness and meaning back into our lives. Big Potential offers a new way to approach work and a clearer path to success in the world today.


That’s What She Said: What Men Need to Know (and Women Need to Tell Them) About Working Together by Joanne Lipman

Recent studies have proved that diversity training has actually widened the gender gap and, in a sense, demonized men. So without any “man shaming,” Joanne Lipman offers advice to end the disconnect in order to reach across the divide. She provides the evidence that proves companies perform better when women hold senior leadership positions. The book includes anecdotes, data from the most recent studies, and stories from Lipman’s own journey to the top of a male-dominated industry

That’s What She Said shows why empowering women as true equals is an essential goal for women and men—and offers a roadmap for getting there.”


The Value Equation: Align Your Core Values, Transform Your Business, and Create Sustainable Success by Garry Krum,‎ Steven Smith

When the day-to-day details of your business keep you from doing what you love, this book shows you how to get back to your core values, change your approach, make working more enjoyable, and ensure your business is a success.

“Apply The Value Equation to find what’s been missing. Make your reason for being in business clear to yourself, your employees, your vendors, and your customers. Make what you do something that pulls people in, instead of something you have to push.”


Note: Quotes are from Amazon book descriptions.

If you’d like to share something you’ve read, drop us a note.  Also check out the Technology for Publishing blog, and keep up with the latest industry news coverage by signing up for our This Week in Publishing emails and monthly Publishing Innovations newsletter.

Posted by: Monica Murphy

Monica Murphy has worked in the publishing industry for over 30 years supporting publishing operations of various sizes. In her role as Technical Product Manager for Technology for Publishing, she shares her publishing application expertise supporting a broad range of publishing clients in InDesign best practices, cross-platform content workflows, and InDesign Template strategies. Her weekly tip and blog posts have a committed following in the InDesign community, and as a long-time participant in the InDesign pre-release community, she regularly analyzes and provides feedback for upcoming features. Monica manages the authoring and publication of Technology for Publishing’s handbooks on InDesign, InCopy, and other associated titles.