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BY Joel Junker

Self-Development Tools for the JMO to Business Transition

I want to share with you some of the tools and books I have been utilizing for self-development.  I also appreciate if any of you have other books, websites or seminars to recommend.


TED: Ideas Worth Spreading at www.TED.com  Instead of watching TV at night, I have been watching TED talks.  I have recently watch speeches by retired General Stanley McChrystal, Malcom Gladwell, Steve Jobs and numerous other less well known people on a range of topics to include building trust, how a variety of spaghetti sauces relates to embracing diversity (this is a great one by Gladwell), tying my shoelaces properly (did you know you have likely been tying them the wrong way?), and many more.

Khan Academy at www.khanacademy.org/   This is a rich website of 10-15 minute classes, lectures on everything ranging from banking and money to physics and calculus.  If you are going to interview for some finance type of positions, good idea to watch the classes on the Economics of a Cupcake Factory. 

Books (Title, author and short reason to read it):

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand.  One of the best books I have read. 

10-10-10 by Suzy Welch.  Provides an excellent way to evaluate critical decisions and the impact they make in the short, intermediate and long term.

Tangling with Tyrants by Tony Deblauwe.  I don’t like the title, but it does provide useful specific steps to work with difficult people and bosses.  Sometimes, bosses and peers, act irrationally, but they are not necessarily Tyrants. 

Liar’s Poker and the Big Short by Michael Lewis.  Now, I finally understand what caused the financial meltdown.  I recommend you read them in that order.  When you read Liar’s Poker, you may not immediately recognize how it relates to the meltdown in 2008 and 2009, but he makes it clear in the Big Short.

The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.  This has nothing to do with that weird movie with the same title.  This is about understanding random events that have significant impacts.  I learned how to better think critically and I no longer read the news the same way.

The Goldmine by Freddy and Michale Balle.  A very thorough book on manufacturing and the Toyota Production Method told in a story method.  I have not been in a lot of manufacturing facilities, and this book made one come alive.

City of Thieves by David Benhoff.  This is not a business book, but a historical novel that I found to be a nice break from business reading and also a good history lesson on the German siege of Leningrad in WW II.  It’s a fast paced and entertaining. 

Time is a scarce resource.  Yes, we all need time to relax, but I encourage you to focus on self development through reading and using great resources like the Khan Academy and TED.

Joel Junker