Christmas reading: Why not try a business book? From Amazon’s 14 principles to TED Talk secrets

Find out why Google employs “smart creatives”
Although you might feel mildly frustrated if you’ve missed out on the four day-long Black Friday to Cyber Monday discount shopping extravaganza, that shouldn’t stop you from getting a good Christmas read sorted in advance.
There are plenty of guides to the best books of 2014 – from novels to economic tomes – but if you’ve only got a handful of days, and want to get stuck into something useful but not too heavy, why not try a best-selling and sensibly-lengthed business book? They might even work for presents too.
Here is a handful of suggestions from City A.M.
Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t, by Simon Sinek (Portfolio)
The latest offering from the author and motivational speaker runs through colourful and illuminating anecdotes – from manufacturing to investment banking – exploring what it is that holds a team together. The title is a giveaway: Sinek asked a Marine Corps general what it is that makes a team stick – “officers eat last,” he replied. Sinek explains why watertight teams are led by those who will sacrifice all for them. And with nearly five stars on Amazon, and many readers stressing how refreshing his scientific approach is, it could be worth some of your Christmas break.
The Amazon Way, by John Rossman (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform)
Rossman is an Amazon veteran – and now a director at professional services firm Alvarez & Marsal. His humourous book is a wonderfully managable 170 pages, and he gives a thorough, first-hand introduction into the unique corporate culture (focusing on its 14 leadership principles) that has helped the online retailer go from strength to strength.
How Google Works, by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg (Grand Central Publishing)
It’s longer, but another window into one of the giants. This very popular read sees the pair give an entertaining run-down of what working at Google teaches you, and how technology has changed the power balance between firm and consumer. Their exploration of the “smart creative” will also give you some food for thought.
Talk Like TED, by Carmine Gallo (Macmillan)
Whether or not you see yourself delivering one, there’s no denying that TED Talks have become something of a benchmark for public speaking. Gallo, a communications coach, breaks down and analyses the most popular presentations, and interviews top speakers and psychologists. She details the nine secrets of all successful TED presentations, giving you a step-by-step guide, which lends itself well to dipping in and out.
How We Got to Now, by Steven Johnson (Riverhead Books)
This fun, illustrated history gambols through the stories of the innovations that have, often completely unintentionally, changed our world – like the French publisher who beat Edison to invent the phonograph, but forgot to include playback. Johnson, a popular science writer, weaves a thought-provoking narrative of seemingly unconnected areas – how, for example, clean water led to the manufacture of computer chips.

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