Soundview Executive Book Summaries

Business Book Trends Part I

Our editorial staff sees hundreds of business books monthly, through book samples, digital galleys, and catalogs. And because we’ve been watching this market since 1978, we’ve grown accustomed to seeing the trends in topics that ebb and flow from year to year. So I thought it might be interesting to look at some recent trends we’ve observed in 2011.

Leadership – I’m sure this one is no surprise to business readers. This may be the only topic that never goes away. Executives are as much concerned about being good leaders now as they were three decades ago. I guess it’s a natural progression that we all go through as we move up in our company, or take on our own business – we still feel a bit inadequate to the task of leading effectively.

And there are always authors ready with an answer to that feeling of inadequacy. Among those leadership experts, the real standouts are Ken Blanchard, John Maxwell , Ram Charan, Warren Bennis and the team of Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner. Here are some recent and classic titles:

Communication – While this is not a decades-old trend, it has certainly dominated over the past several years. Among the strongest proponents of better communication skills has been Vital Smarts, which includes Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson, Al Switzler, David Maxfield and Ron McMillan. Perhaps you recognize some of their titles:

Also covering communication recently are Susan Scott with Fierce Conversations, John Maxwell with Everyone Communicates, Few Connect, and Frank Luntz with Win. I’m not sure whether people are not getting proper communication training as part of their education, or the issue is more about inter-generational communications, but the demand is there. Crucial Conversations has sold over 2 million copies since it first came out in 2002.

I’ll continue with a look at a few of the newer trends in business books next week, but I’d love to hear what you’re seeing as well.


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