Channel Chiefs 2017: What's The Best Business Book You've Read Lately?

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A good business memoir should challenge its reader to redefine his or her management style, inspire them to look outside of their current industry for inspiration or act as a guide for unlocking the true potential of their team.

Simply put, the key to any good business book lies in what the reader takes from reading it.

As part of the 2017 Channel Chiefs project, CRN asked the honorees to tell us about the best business book they've read in the last 12 months. Here are some of our favorites.

Adaptive Insights

Carolee Gearhart

SVP, Customer Success & Global Channels

My favorite business book this year; "Switch: How to Change Things when Change is Hard" by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. This book had a large impact on the way I think about mobilizing our partners to have both the maximum, and a sustained, impact. One of my key takeaways that we have been leveraging this year in the channel has been to "find the bright spots" - look for what is working naturally on the ground and then work to share and amplify it. Focusing on what is working, rather than what needs "fixing," can be a game-changer.

Alert Logic

Bob Layton

VP, Global Channels

"Management vs. Employees: How Leaders Can Bridge the Power Gaps That Hurt Corporate Performance" by Hayes Drumwright. I met Drumwright when I was living and working in Silicon Valley. Drumwright has founded a number of companies, one of which is Trace 3. I was so impressed with Drumwright, his company and personal story that I invited him to speak at one of the quarterly business meetings at my startup in Palo Alto. Read this book, it is intensely honest and [provides] practical guidance on leadership.


Mike LaPeters

VP, Global Channels

The best business book I've read this year is "Small Data" by Martin Lindstrom. I have always been fascinated by cause and effect. Lindstrom is the master of observation and he demonstrates how the smallest of clues can unlock the largest puzzles. He shows real world examples of how simply paying attention to the details can have enormous impact. In a world of big data and macro trends it is refreshing to see how small data can be valued so highly.


Sue Galvanek

VP, Marketing, Pricing & Product Solutions, AT&T Partner Exchange

"Conversational Capacity" by Craig Weber provides insight into how to equip your teams so they're capable of handling the most difficult problems. I particularly like the author's thoughts on testing your assumptions and filters. This book is a great reminder that we learn more by engaging with people who think differently and don't necessarily agree with our views.


Joseph Schramm

VP, Strategic Alliances

"Enabling Collaboration" by Martin Echavarria. It is an excellent read that focuses on the dynamics of leadership in combination with strategy in the alliance management domain. The book covers a lot of thoughtful aspects of how to get people to work together in a group dynamic which is really what alliances are all about. The book provides a lot of good tools for getting people to collaborate effectively. I bought this book for every member of my team.

CA Technologies

Tony Jennings

VP, Channels & Partners

"Crossing the Chasm" by Geoffrey Moore, a bestselling guide that created a new game plan for marketing in high-tech industries. "Crossing the Chasm" has become the bible for bringing cutting-edge products to progressively larger markets. This book provides new insights into the realities of high-tech marketing, with special emphasis on the internet. It's essential reading for anyone with a stake in the world's most exciting marketplace. The premise is to truly understand what market segments you can break into and buyer behavior - it's incredibly intelligent and a focused way of going after a new market.


Julie Hens

VP, Global Distribution Sales

"The Seventh Sense" by Joshua Cooper Ramo is a great read. It examines many things that are influencing and often disrupting our world in the age of new power and connections and their impact on global economies, markets, social structures and organizations. It also looked at the power and influence when networks are both centralized and at the same time more massively distributed. I loved how it illustrates the push and pull in our network age and the implications we should be considering.


Robert Sexton

VP of Channel Sales & Alliances

"The Hard Thing About Hard Things." Building a startup is not for everyone, it's hard. Ben Horowitz details the challenges of building a startup through a transparent lens that can't be found in a text book or taught in a prestigious business school.


Connor Cox

Director of Business Development

"Cultural Strategy: Using Innovative Ideologies to Build Breakthrough Brands," by Douglas Holt and David Cameron. This is not your typical business book. Holt and Cameron provide a framework for looking at culture and societal changes and how to use that to inform branding strategy. It contains several interesting case studies of companies that have used this framework. The book also provides a really interesting and fresh perspective on branding and rejects many of the more popular "scientific" marketing approaches of the day.

GreatAmerica Finacial Services

Greg VanDeWalker


"Go-Giver." I just read this for the first time last month. There are two main points I took from the book. First, focus on adding value. And then add more value and then more value. If I continue to add more value to the partner program hopefully our partners will benefit. The other point is to help other connect. I think the IT channel is full of people who help others succeed. I love being able to make a connection for others to benefit.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Scott Dunsire

VP & GM of North American Channels & SMB

"People First Leadership: How the Best Leaders Use Culture and Emotion to Drive Unprecedented Results" by Eduardo Brown. This book really impressed me with its new way of looking at how to lead and achieve results. The author shares stories and life lessons from CEOs like Jack Welch who trusted their instincts, followed their passions, and inspired others, creating a culture of success. It certainly made me think of new ways we should use to inspire my team in today's rapidly changing environments. I highly recommend it.


Reza Parsia

Director, North America Channel

"Mindset," written by Carol Dweck. This book clearly outlined what a growth mindset is and those that believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work - brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment as a channel leader. Learning about a growth mindset creates motivation and productivity in the worlds of business, education and sports. It enhances relationships which are critical within a channel community.

LookingGlass Cyber Solutions

Laurie Potratz

Reza Parsia, Global Channels and Alliances

"TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking" resonated with me. Chris Anderson, who has worked with many of the TED speakers, explains how to leverage a short talk for dramatic impact. This is critical to business leaders who are continually selling a concept, behavioral change or plan to external and internal audiences. This book prepares you to perform at your best maximizing your own innate skills. The goal is to give the talk that "only you can give," without fear of failure. Anderson tells the reader about his experiences preparing the most successful TED Talk speakers.

Mellanox Technologies

Darrin Neil Chen

VP Worldwide Channels

Kevin Kelly's book "The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future." He addresses 12 technology trends that are already in motion and how they will shape the next 30 years. I liked how the book shows where to focus on these trends to capitalize on them for maximum business benefit including how to better reach customers and how to invest.


Bill Swales

Group VP, North America Alliance & Channels Sales

"Great Teams: 16 Things High-Performing Organizations Do Differently," by Don Yeager. Yeager interviewed the world's top performing athletes and coaches to identify the common characteristics of high-performing teams. Through these conversations he identified 16 key habits. Each of these strategies, while simple on their own, can have a tremendous impact when applied collectively to a team. As a leader, I work daily to encourage each of these habits in my team. I've enlisted Yeager to create and host a four-part Great Teams webinar series for my staff and partners. The key to our individual success is through our mutual success!

Red Hat

Margaret-Ann Bolton

Senior Director, Global Partner Marketing

"Thrive" by Arianna Huffington. This book is as much a life book as a business book. In it Huffington redefines the parameters of success to be broader than the traditional measures of peer recognition, financial gain and professional status. She talks about deeply understanding our personal motivators, achieving balance and measuring success in how we enrich the lives of the people around us. Her story will resonate with all who want to lead a healthy, productive and meaningful life.


Bill Cordero

Head of Worldwide Channels

"Grit" by Angela Duckworth. We all think about how smarts and vision are really important to starting a successful company. However, I've come to recognize that grit (and luck) is how you turn that startup into a successful company. This book helped me understand how I could foster grit in myself, my team and even in my kids. The book provides some great case studies that make it an interesting and easy read.

Saba Software

Laurie Usewicz

VP Global Sales Operations & Partner Alliances

"Moving to Mastery" by Robert Greene. The book contains useful advice as well as several good examples of what masters such as Albert Einstein did when they lived. Reading the book, I learned that a deep inclination toward a particular subject lies at the core of mastery. This inclination is a reflection of a person's uniqueness. To find your path to mastery, you need to listen to who you are, listen to what dominates your thoughts. You will know what really drives you when you find it. I will encourage my children to read this book before entering college.


Lee Schor

VP, Americas Sales

"Good to Great," by Jim Collins. It's a fact-based assessment on how to create and successfully grow businesses for long-term success. It dispels the notion of quick fixes and, instead, emphasizes hard work, dedication to the cause and getting the right commitments from your team. While descriptive and analytical, it is also aspirational. I always come away with the feeling, "we can do that!"


Janet Schijns

VP of Sales, Verizon Business and Government

"Think Big Act Bigger" by Jeff Hayzlett, for the message of acting like a leader and owning your own stuff. There are 10 core lessons that help you act on your ambitions to be a fearless pathfinder and decision maker while still being a caring and inspirational leader. My favorite chapter is "Clean Your Own Bathroom," which speaks to the importance of knowing what is really going on and doing some of the work to ensure you can help your teams execute with passion.