Contributors to the March 2023 issue of TD magazine offer their book recommendations.
Nicole Papaioannou Lugara
The New Business of Consulting: The Basics and Beyond
by Elaine Biech
I consider this book to be a primer for individuals who want to start consulting in the L&D space. Between the instructional content, activities and templates, and case studies, Biech distills what it takes to get the work done well and to be successful in business.
Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning
By Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, and Mark A. McDaniel
Every learning designer, adult educator, coach, and manager should have to read this book. On the surface, this book is a useful tool for creating learning experiences that encourage retention and drive behavior change. I have also turned to this book many times to provide evidence that leads to buy-in from project stakeholders. It can help you make the case for nontraditional learning, complex learning solutions, or the time and resources to complete a learning project.
Contagious: Why Things Catch On
By Jonah Berger
What makes something go viral? This is the premise of Berger's book. And as Berger dissects everything from earworms to blenders, you’ll learn what makes things so darn catchy. This book made me think differently about how our learning products can influence behavior change and how we can get people excited about the learning products we create.
Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life
By Rory Sutherland
As someone who applies a four-part needs analysis process with clients and loves to look at data, Sutherland's book is basically an antithesis of my methodology, and I loved it. It’s a great reminder that humans aren’t always rational or logical beings. Sometimes the best ideas are born by challenging the obvious or just trying something new on a hunch (all of which should be tested, of course). The book is written with humor and passion and will leave you wondering what questions you haven't asked yet.
This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See
By Seth Godin
Marketing know-how is a powerful tool for L&D. We are shipping learning products to users. Marketing can help us build the right products and help the right people find the products that they need. But for many L&D practitioners, marketing is a new concept. This book is a great primer. It supports the notion that marketing is an act of service rather than bombarding people with pushy sales messaging. You’ll find a great example in Godin’s story of his “marketing” beginnings, as he comes up with a solution to get his colleagues excited about internal training.
Influence Is Your Superpower: The Science of Winning Hearts, Sparking Change, and Making Good Things Happen
by Zoe Chance
Not only does Chance use stories to bring to life the concept of influence, but she also gives readers practical ways to overcome obstacles to influencing without feeling uncomfortable. She supplies readers with the concept that 95 percent of decision making is unconscious and ruled by two parts of the brain: a fear-based gator and a fact-based judge. Using those two representatives of how people make decisions enables you to be a more effective influencer.
Culture Spark: 5 Steps to Ignite and Sustain Organizational Growth
By Jason Richmond
Culture is intentional in organizations and comes from not only the top but is shaped by each employee. Jason provides several strategies for building, integrating, and measuring culture for organizations that are easy to understand and implement.
Succession Planning That Works: The Critical Path of Leadership Development
by Michael Timms
This book offers a simple process and way of understanding the succession process. Based on in-depth interviews with senior executives from nearly 50 organizations, Timms presents key takeaways that any talent development professional can implement right away.
What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful
By Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter
This book is the gold standard for leadership development, coaching, crucial conversations, and moving up in your career. It is a workshop inside a book—a mandatory read for senior leaders.
The Traveler’s Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success
By Andy Andrews
Described as “a modern-day parable of one man's choices–and the attitudes that make the difference between failure and success,” this book offers sage advice regarding personal growth and development. In addition, rather than a typical business book, it’s written in a very easy-to-consume manner.
The New Mager Six-Pack
By Robert F. Mager
I still rely on Mager’s flagship six-pack to help me solve performance problems and create engaging learning environments. His advice and tools are as useful now as they were 30 years ago.
Analyzing Instructional Content: A Guide to Instruction and Evaluation
By Philip W. Tiemann and Susan Meyer Markle
Tiemann and Markle’s text is a strong foundation for designing effective instruction. Their framework can guide your analysis of learning and informs what you teach and how you teach it.