Five Business Books All Lawyers Should Read

Understanding best business practices will propel law firms into the top tier of industry leaders. At the same time, understanding the business dilemmas of your firm’s many corporate clients will also provide tools for successful. So, curl up with these five business books tonight to make the billable hour tomorrow more effective.

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

Malcolm Gladwell’s book is not new, but his ideas still resonate with the world. The Tipping Point is about the spread of ideas, trends, and social behaviors. For lawyers, who aim to defend justice, send poignant messages, and start trends in the legal system, Gladwell’s book has a lot to contribute.

“We all want to believe that the key to making an impact on someone lies with the inherent quality of the ideas we present. But in none of these cases did anyone substantially alter the content of what they were saying. Instead, they tipped the message by tinkering, on the margin, with the presentation of their ideas… There is a simple way to package information that, under the right circumstances, can make it irresistible. All you have to do is find it.”

Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make that Sabotage Their Careers

There are still very few female law partners. Lois P. Frankel’s book may explain why. As a woman, you’ll either embrace the advice and push your career forward. Or, you’ll be outraged at her audacity, which serves to motivate a woman even more.

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

Dan Ariely, a MIT professor of behavioral economics, explains why intelligent people make unintelligent decisions. “But suppose we are nothing more than the sum of our first, naive, random behaviors. What then?” postulates Ariely. Here’s to hoping attorneys can (at least) prevent this behavior in court.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t

Jim Collins is the premier expert on business success. Law firms, like other businesses, can benefit from the case studies of Good to Great. It’s a good reminder that corporate culture and human capital are the most important aspects of the best and biggest growing firms. And, it’s a great reminder that innovation and change–rather than standing still or sticking with the status quo–are essential to longevity.

“Making the transition from good to great doesn’t require a high-profile CEO, the latest technology, innovative change management, or even a fine-tuned business strategy. At the heart of those rare and truly great companies was a corporate culture that rigorously found and promoted disciplined people to think and act in a disciplined manner.” (Amazon.com review)

The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business

There’s really no need to summarize Clayton M. Christensen’s book as the title says it all. Associate professor at Harvard Business School, Christensen explains why technology and anticipating markets is the key to success.

“The innovator’s dilemma [is] that ‘good’ companies often begin their descent into failure by aggressively investing in the products and services that their most profitable customers want.”

In fact, although feedback from customers is crucial to improving business practices, it is the trend over time that will help firms anticipate market demand to provide relevant services. For law firm administrators, this means asking the biggest corporate clients for advice and suggestions, but not relying exclusively on their opinions to make decisions.

Law firms, like Fortune 500 companies, often fail to adapt or adopt new technology that will meet clients’ unstated or future needs. These firms will lag behind, argues Christensen. This book is one more reason law partners and firm managers should implement cutting-edge, technological changes in firm operations, both around the office space and in cyberspace.

-WB

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