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CultureJan 13, 2020

From the Shelves of Credera: Chapter 1

Sarah Barber

Books have the power to grow, entertain, challenge, and inspire you. With that in mind, we decided to ask different leaders at Credera, “What are you reading?”

In this chapter, we’re highlighting a few leaders from Credera’s Open Technology Solutions practice. We’ve asked them to share not only their current reads, but also the books that have been most impactful in their lives. Read on, friends, and hopefully you’ll feel inspired to add a new book (or several) to your shelf in 2020.

jason goth

Chief Technology Officer, Open Technology Solutions

current reads:

for work:
for fun:
  • The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. This one was highly recommended by Andrew Warden – he’s never steered me wrong in the book department, so I’m excited to start it.

influential reads:

personal:
work:
  • The Secrets of Consulting by Gerald Weinberg. Every consultant that works on my projects hears me quote this book often, especially the 1st Law of Consulting: “All customers have problems, and they are always people problems.”

  • Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss what Matters Most by Doug Stone. I always struggled with this and am always impressed by how well our CEO & President, Justin Bell handles these discussions. He recommended this to me and it’s been a big help. Hopefully, I’m getting better at it…

  • The Feynman Lectures on Physics. I read through (most) of these while studying physics at Georgia Tech. What impacted me most is how Dr. Feynman can make even the most complex subjects understandable. I’ve often used the “Feynman Technique” to learn or teach concepts in my consulting career, although I’m nowhere close to effective at it as Dr. Feynman was.

marshall treadaway

Senior Architect, Open Technology Solutions

current reads:

2019 reads:

up next in 2020:

influential reads:

  • The Bible

    • Unquestionably, this has impacted me the most. It has changed everything about me and defines why and how I do everything I do, including business. It is the key to a life of purpose, significance, love, humility, sanity, and a hundred other good things I could write here. I read it daily.

  • The Mythical Man-Month by Fred Brooks, Jr.

    • Much of this book is outdated in its particulars but the principles are pretty timeless. Here’s a few off the top of my head:

      • Effort cannot simply be measured in man-months

      • The impact of team size, communication, and meetings on project costs

      • “Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later”

  • Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

    • This book took a very “outside the box” approach to software, business, productivity, entrepreneurship, teams, culture, etc. I read this early in my career and took many things away that stayed with me. Here’s a few off the top of my head:

      • Software/products should be opinionated…don’t try to be everything to everyone

      • Interruptions are the enemy of productivity

      • Scratch your own itch (a.k.a. “dog-fooding”)

  • Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding The Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty by Patrick Lencioni

    • I read this early in my career at Credera. I had incorrectly learned that, as a consultant, I had to always think about money first, look at clients as people I had to impress/influence/manipulate, and be an expert on everything, including things I didn’t know anything about. I had to “look good” in front of clients. I kind of hated consulting, because I didn’t want to be about any of those things. This book was held up as an example of how we wanted to go about our business at Credera, and it helped dispel those misconceptions I had. It showed me that consulting, if done right, was actually in-line with my personal values. I learned to think about clients first, put their need above my own, immediately start solving problems and adding value, “give the business away,” and worry about money later. It was very refreshing, and it probably saved my career in consulting.

johna rutz

Senior Consultant, Open Technology Solutions

current reads:

best of 2019:

books i couldn’t stop talking about this decade:

  • Difficult Conversations by Douglas Stone (Conflict Resolution)

    • In order to resolve a conflict, you need to first acknowledge that both people are (probably) on the same side, and then understand what part you played in creating it. Incredibly pragmatic advice on identifying, approaching, and engaging in uncomfortable discussions, particularly if you’re the kind of person who is right most of the time.

  • Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business by Danny Meyer (Hospitality/Leadership)

    • No offense to JB, but I’d love for Danny Meyer to be my CEO. Part memoir, part business-book about how Meyer went from opening his first restaurant to running a hospitality group encompassing restaurants nationwide. My biggest takeaway: You can’t control if a client has a bad experience but you can control the narrative, and the best way to end that story is by making it a funny one.

  • Everybody Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People by Bob Goff (Relationships)

    • His anecdotes range from relatable (airport security) to outlandish (flying your own plane through the middle of nowhere), but no matter how many times I reread this Goff never fails to make me want to be a better, kinder, creative, and more open person.

  • Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Taleb (Mathematics)

    • “The world we have in our minds is different from the one playing outside” – It is both tempting and myopic to think that we’re always (or ever) the heroes in the narrative we’re in, or that with a little more insight we could have predicted what in hindsight seems so obvious. Black Swan is a nice reality check on how you perceive the world around you.

  • Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez (International Economics)

    • Data-driven decisions aren’t always the best decisions, depending on how that data is gathered, analyzed, and used. Read this book for yourself, your mother, your daughters, the person who sits next to you at work. It’s a delightfully frustrating crossover of Gender Intelligence and Weapons of Math Destruction in both tone and number of footnotes.