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John Polk left Capital One to start his own consulting company called John Polk & Associates. He is a noted communications expert. Specifically, he helps firms with strategy decks, pitch decks, and other strategy-focused initiatives. He developed one of the most popular learning classes at Capital One and he has now gone out on his own to do the same for other businesses.
John tells us of a study that shows that more than $1 billion dollars per day in resources are squandered because of a lack of focus in this area. He talks about the power of practice and why you should not be relying on those trusty bullet points when building your next deck. If you are a leader, whether in business, education, government, or non-profit, I think you'll take away some valuable ideas and perhaps a different way of thinking about how you communicate.

John mentions a list of Top 10 books in the podcast. Here is the list. There are some great recommendations here. How many have you read?

  1. Wellbeing, Rath & Harter – The secret to happiness! Focus on career, finances, social life (friends/family), health, community (doing good for society).
  2. Strengthsfinder 2.0, Rath – Know what you're good at, then find roles that leverage your strengths – also a good team building book.
  3. Making the Most of Your Money Now, Jane Bryant Quinn -- Most comprehensive guide to personal finance. Not a traditional career book, but succeeding with your finances and succeeding in your career are mutually reinforcing.
  4. The Truth About Money, Ric Edelman – Less comprehensive, more entertaining guide to personal finance.
  5. The Leadership Challenge, Kouzes & Posner – Most comprehensive and practical guide to leading. You don’t have to be a manager to benefit from this.
  6. Made to Stick, The Heath Brothers – Tell “sticky” stories to improve your influence.
  7. Decisive, The Heath Brothers – Humans are terrible at making decisions; you don’t have to be.
  8. The 11 Laws of Likability, Michelle Lederman – People like to work with (or do business with) people they like. The laws create a practical networking guide.
  9. Storytelling with Data, Cole Nussbaumer – This is the book on data visualization and presentations I wish I had written. I use it in the MBA class I teach.
  10. Leadership and Self Deception, The Arbinger Institute – Key theme: anytime something’s not going your way, figure out what role you’re playing in that situation.


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