Powerhouse Asks: What Are You Reading?

Summer is right around the corner. That means summer reading lists are being compiled now. We’ve gotta have time to stockpile those “must-have” reads, whether that means taking an online trip to the digital bookstore, stopping by a real life bookstore, or making sure your favorite library either has the books you want or can get them for you. Here at Powerhouse, we’ve been thinking about what we want to read this summer, so we thought it would be interesting to reach out to our clients to see what they recommend. Rissa Reddan, senior vice president of marketing for PayNet, an Equifax company, graciously sat down with us for a chat on life, work, and what she’s reading now and this summer.

PayNet was founded 20 years ago with a desire to serve the small business community. Located just outside of Chicago in Skokie, IL, PayNet’s mission is “to make the lending process faster, easier, more accurate, and more profitable.” Today, they focus on the digital lending revolution and how to help lenders navigate the digital world in order to make better decisions on how and where to lend their money. Reddan came on board about a year ago. With a background in marketing, which she considers to be both an art and a science (and thus perfect for her), Reddan loves the opportunity she has at PayNet to have a real chance to put a fingerprint on a place. Usually in marketing, the brand is already established and the ability to shape that brand just doesn’t exist. However, the entrepreneurial culture at PayNet has allowed Reddan to have an impact on how their brand is grown and how it is marketed. In other words, PayNet gives her that true blend of art and science that she craves.

Because she works in a place that has such a passion for helping small businesses succeed, grow, and thrive in our present economy, is it any wonder that Reddan’s book recommendations all focus either on finance or on how to succeed? Her first recommendation is a book by former Bank of America Executive Vice President Richard J. Parsons entitled Investing in Banks: Strategies and Statistics for Bankers, Directors, and Investors. A highly practical book for serious investors that delves into all aspects of the banking world, it truly is an enlightening read on how banks operate.

She also recommends Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by psychologist Adam Grant, Wharton’s youngest tenured professor, and Let the Story Do the Work: The Art of Storytelling for Business Success by Esther Choy, a Chicago-based author and founder of Leadership Story Lab. Grant’s book posits that there are three types in the workplace: takers, matchers, and givers. He shows how these styles impact success. Choy believes that nobody remembers statistics, but everyone remembers a good story. Her book shows you how to take your life experiences to create a narrative that will help you realize your business goals.

On Reddan’s personal reading list is Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. by Brené Brown, which her entire marketing team is reading right now. Brown’s book claims that empathy, connection, and courage are necessary ingredients to putting your leadership ideas into practice. In Reddan’s queue as well are The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer, The Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World by Tom Wright and Bradley Hope, and Leadership: In Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

A self-professed extrovert, Reddan does best when she has others to share her thoughts and ideas with; thus, book clubs are a big way in which she processes what she reads. It’s no surprise that most of her recommendations come from either past, present, or future book club reads. She highly encourages sharing your thoughts on what you read with someone. Not only does reading improve you, but also sharing what you read helps bring others together and foster new, exciting ideas that can change the world. Is it any wonder that Reddan is one of our favorite people? Now, I’m off to go pitch to Powerhouse President Jessica Bertsch that we absolutely, positively must form a company book club and choose one of Reddan’s recommendations as our first read!

2019-05-01T18:39:59+00:00May 12th, 2019|

Top Five Books for Your Summer Reading List

It’s hard to believe that summer 2019 is almost upon us! What better way to celebrate the beginning of prime vacation season than with a list of small-business-oriented books with which to fill your beach bag. Our list is comprised of the top five books small business owners, or those thinking of starting a small business, should read for inspiration, tips, or lessons learned.

1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey
It’s a classic for a reason. Named the #1 Most Influential Business Book of the 20th Century, 7 Habits author Stephen Covey’s take on business is encapsulated by the following philosophy: We should be living lives of greatness and enduring purpose. His bestseller has been shaping and transforming lives for 25 years.

2. The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber
Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth was a somewhat surprising bestseller. In this edition, he has completely revised his seminal work. Gerber walks you through the life of a business from inception to the end. He draws a distinction between working on your business and working in your business, and the difference can change how you view and run your business. In addition, he supplies plenty of ways to apply franchise lessons to your business model, even if you don’t own a franchise.

3. Built to Last: Success Habits of Visionary Companies by Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras
Collins and Porras spent six years on a research project conducted by the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. They took 18 companies and did an in-depth comparison between them and one of their largest competitors. The results provide countless examples and principles that can be applied to any level of business management.

4. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
One of America’s premier biographers takes on one of America’s great business visionaries. Apple’s founder put nothing off limits, submitting to 40 interviews in a two-year period and allowing family and friends to be interviewed while refusing any creative control over how Isaacson portrayed him. The result is a riveting look into the life and business practices of the man who invented one of the top computer technology companies and then resurrected it from the brink of irrelevancy to make it one of the most powerful companies in the world today.

5. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by Phil Knight
This is the autobiography of the Nike founder and board chairman. It’s a candid look at, as Booklist called him, “the man behind the swoosh.” Bill Gates named this one of his five favorite books of 2016. Rife with hidden gems by one of the top names in sports apparel, this book is definitely worth a read.

Honorable Mentions (because five books just isn’t enough):
1. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap & Others Don’t by Jim Collins
2. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell
3. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

2019-05-01T15:05:17+00:00May 1st, 2019|