Women Of The Channel: What To Read

30 Top Execs Give Business Book Recommendations

CRN's Women of the Channel share their top-of-mind tomes -- although most are all-business, others are literary works that'll get your creative juices flowing. Some are classics you've been meaning to get to, and others are little-known gems. Also, be sure to check ck out the board on Pinterest.

Mary V. Piehler, Northeast Region Director, Absolute

My favorite nonbusiness book that still inspires me in business is the "Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude." Very short and thought-provoking, it's about how to incorporate gratitude into your life, every day. It taught me to recognize and appreciate the opportunities presented to me through my work and the people I have been blessed to meet along the way. It coaches me that even on a bad day there are things to be grateful for.

Lisa Graham, Senior Director, Strategic Accounts, North American Channels, Adobe

"The First 90 Days" is one of my favorite business books; I encourage all new team members to read it to inspire new thinking about how team members can have immediate impact in a new role or new organization. I appreciate the book’s guidance on how leaders at all levels can take charge in a new environment, build momentum, and deliver immediate results -- particularly important in the quarterly driven sales cycle of a channel and partner organization.

Andrea Thomas, Director, Channel Development, Enterprise Networks Division, Adtran

Years back, I would have pointed to "Principle Centered Leadership" by Stephen Covey because it helped me balance and prioritize my time more effectively at a time when I needed that the most.

Another great choice for any of us involved in channel activities is "Break Points" by Larry Kesslin and Chris Winter; the book is quite enjoyable, as it is written in fable style, and helps solution providers (and other SMB-like businesses) to identify and overcome obstacles preventing growth and success.

Annie Elizabeth Flaig, Sales Director, Arrow

In Khaled Hosseini’s "A Thousand Splendid Suns", the two main female characters aspire to be "somebody" and to do "something," in a time and place during which this seemed impossible. However, they survived this time with dignity and were not impaired by resentment. In our business, we have to deal with the exhilaration of making quotas -- as well as disappointment. I aspire to be more than what can be measured by business imperatives and spreadsheets; I aspire to inspire.

Jessica Couto, Director, Business Development, Channel, Bit9

I enjoy reading. I just finished "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson; it was inspiring. It showed that Steve Jobs did not succeed at everything he did and that he managed in a very black-and-white manner. I could barely put the book down. Others I have read include "Good to Great" by James C. Collins, and "Winning" by Jack and Suzy Welch.

Laurie Usewicz, Vice President, Americas, Channel Sales, Bluecoat

"The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People", by Stephen Covey. This book, from a business perspective, articulates the mind-set required of a successful entrepreneur. Also, "Innovation and Entrepreneurship" by Peter Drucker. A classic on the subject of entrepreneurship with a clear distinction between economic activity (your average business) and the game changers (entrepreneurial organizations).

Raelyn Kritzer, Diector, Global Channel Marketing, Brocade

I just read "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins, and I was enthralled by the characters and how the book, even though it is set in a post-apocalyptic world, deals with issues that are prevalent today. While parts of it are sad and tragic, I was inspired by the human race's drive to survive, and ability to adapt, survive and even thrive in the face of adversity or transformation.

Toni Clayton-Hine, Vice President, Global Partner Marketing, CA Technologies

I recently reread "Innovator's Dilemma" -- its relevance to our partners and customers in a cloud-connected, SaaS-based world is helping us think about ways we can work with our partners to continue to help transform their businesses with new competitors and new customer requirements.

Valeria Pedemonte, Supply Chain Director, Cellistics

One of my favorite books of all time is "The Art of War" because it explores the nature of conflicts and seeks solutions. One of my favorite quotes from the book which I try to apply both in my personal and professional life is: "The best victory is to win without going to battle." In addition, I also like "Many Lives, Many Masters" because the book represented a spiritual awakening that has made me see life from a different perspective.

Maria Cannon, Vice President, Worldwide Partner Organization, Cisco

"Doing Business by the Good Book" by David Steward is an excellent book and a reinforcement of my personal values: You don’t have to compromise your personal values to be successful in business. The book focuses on trust, integrity and core values as the foundational elements of a good business leader and the management of a solid business. I feel as though I’m here to serve, and the book resonates the principle of giving rather than receiving.

Beth Burnside, Owner/President, CMIT Solutions of Denver

I am an avid reader and have found "The 100 Best Business Books of All Time" by Jack Covert and Todd Sattersten to be an invaluable resource. I have read the majority of the books on the list and love how the the 100 titles are segmented into subcategories such as Leadership, Strategy, Management and Entrepreneurship, to name a few. I recently shared this book and my all-time favorite business books with my intern to supplement her formal education.

Jessica Baker, Global Director, Partner Programs, Compuware

"Consumption Economics" by Todd Hewlin. His book has shaped how I view the future of my marketplace and how I craft programs to take advantage of the changes.

Shannon Kohn, Director, Marketing and Channel Relations, Datto

I love Malcolm Gladwell books. I have read "Outliers" and "The Tipping Point", and I have found them all fascinating. His books make you think outside of the box and give you great insight into social psychology. And, of course, I recommend a staple in any business library: "Good to Great" by Jim Collins.

Kala Ranganathan, Director, Global Channel Marketing, Dell

I have recently started reading "The Organized Executive" by Stephanie Winston. It is the classic program for productivity: New ways to manage time, paper, people and the digital office. I wish I had more time to read. I also read magazines like The Economist and Time when I get a chance. These publications provide a global perspective and help me understand the international context in each country that we do business in.

Frances Marie Harrington, IT Eastern Sales Manager, Eaton

I have read much of Peter Drucker, who coined the phrase "knowledge" worker, and reminds me that, "most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done." Stephen Covey validates that personal and professional leadership are not mutually exclusive. Howard Gardner updates the essential truisms of Drucker and Covey by substantiating in "5 Minds for the Future" how we can excel in the world of information overload.

Julie Ison Haley, CEO, Edge Solutions

"Bass-ackward Business" by Steve Beecham reminded me of the importance and benefits of helping people rather than just pushing a sale. Also, "Buddha" by Deepak Chopra. That book reinforces focusing on the important things in life, and that everything else will fall into place. So true!

Anne Wimmer, Director, Global Channels, BRS Division, EMC

"Decision Points" by George W. Bush: This book has really helped me see the logic in a scenario before making a decision. I now take the time to hear all sides, and consider all information, before jumping to conclusions.

Theresa Marie Caragol, Vice President, Global Channels, Extreme Networks

"42 Rules for Your New Leadership Role" and "Right From the Start" have recently assisted with my transition into Extreme Networks. I have found them both incredibly helpful and insightful as I begin my journey at a new company.

Julian Coy, Vice President, Client Services, Explore Consulting

"50 Shades of Gray" -- just kidding!

Everything I read anymore pertains to the channel and tends to be more educational in nature, but it seems like I am a sucker for reading and retaining inspirational quotes. I cited this oldie but goodie from Mark Twain in this morning's planning meeting: "The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one."

Pamela Doyle, Director, Fujitsu

"The Ultimate Question" teaches you to embrace your customers. We joke about "the customer always being right," when it’s really about the customer being No. 1. You sell, service, teach, whatever you do, you should be customer-oriented. "Good to Great" analyzes companies that were good but became great. The author doesn't look at the common denominators that make companies great; instead he looks at what all these companies do better than their competition.

Donna Waida, Director, Marketing, Channel Enablement, Americas Channel MPS, Solutions, Printing and Personal Systems, HP

"Moonwalking with Einstein" by Joshua Foer. It's about improving your memory, but it's actually a bigger message that there's far more potential in our minds than we assume, and that it's possible, with training and hard work, to teach oneself to do something that might seem really difficult.

Christy Sacco, Director, Operations, HTG Peer Groups

"The Go-Giver" by Bob Burg is not so well known, but a must-read in my opinion. "Mastering the Rockefeller Habits" by Verne Harnish is a book I tend to revisit several times each year and reference often. Anyone who has not read that one should take the time. It is a quick and easy read, but so valuable.

Lori Gabrielli, Executive Director, Marketing, Insight Integrated Systems

"The New Normal" by Peter Hinssen. I recommend this book for every person working to succeed in business today because it demonstrates how the rapid change in technology is impacting us all, and more importantly how to adapt to it, embrace it, and how we can make it work to our advantage. Also, "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson -- clearly one of the greats, Steve Jobs was a visionary that taught us not to prejudge people or ideas and to look for brilliance outside the box.

Joya Chatterjee, Development Program Manager, Intel

First, Barry Oshry’s "Seeing Systems: Unlocking the Mysteries of Organizational Life". Second, Trina Paulus' "Hope for the Flowers". She is a member of the International Women's Movement, which is committed to spiritual search, social transformation, global solidarity, ecological sustainability and the release of women's creative energy worldwide. The book helps us think about life, goals and how to embrace the important and become who we really are, instead of pursuing the carrots dangled in front of us.

Carol Ferrari, Vice President, Marketing, Community, Intronis

"Seven Choices for Success and Significance". What I love about author Dr. Nido R. Qubein is that his advice is simple and usually comes in threes. For example, he says when implementing success, remember the three Ds: Decide, Determine, Do. He also says success is not a matter of luck. Most successful people he knows are ones that "have something to do, somewhere to be and someone to love." Google Dr. Nido’s work for High Point University; we can all learn from his work there.

Susan Elder, Director, Marketing, Jenne

"Drive" by Daniel Pink. Most of us believe that the best way to motivate ourselves and others is with external rewards: like money or the carrot and stick approach. Daniel Pink says that this is a mistake. He says that the secret to high performance and satisfaction at work, at school at home is the deeply human need to direct our own lives. He says this is important for us to learn and create new things, while doing better by ourselves and the world.

Nicole Petriello, Director, Distribution, Channel Programs, StorageCraft

The first book that comes to mind for me is "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill. I read this book about 16 years ago when I started my first job. Since reading it for that first time, this book has inspired me to keep moving forward with my aspirations, no matter what obstacles I may encounter.

Kim Girards, President, CEO, The Ergonomics Group

The novel "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte is a work of literature that gives the perfect example of a strong woman who maintains her beliefs and morals in spite of the difficult obstacles that life throws in front of her. With the ability to control only her own destiny, Jane remains honorable and true to herself and I feel that through every obstacle someone faces, it is important to work hard in spite of any hardships you may endure during the process.

Colleen Courtney Kapase, Senior Director, Global Partner Programs, VMware

"Practically Radical" by Bill Taylor examines driving an emotionally charged culture within a company can truly differentiate your organization. This is an area where we as women can add value, but to often tend to shed this strength in a quest to become more like our male counterparts.

Susie Galyardt, Founder, CEO, XIOSS

"Steve Jobs", the biography by Walter Issaccson, is amazing. I admire the many different industries Jobs transformed or created through his vision of possibilities and excellence.