CFO Bookshelf is focused on lifelong learning for financial and all other business leaders.
In following its mission, guests include best-selling authors in the fields of finance, management, operations, organizational health, and leadership.
The Little Book of Boards
54:39Curiosity drives much of the content on this podcast, and when Erik Hanberg's book, The Little Book of Boards, showed up in my email, I felt compelled to buy it for several reasons.Of the six or seven boards I've served on, some have been boring experiences, others have been exceptional. I was curious if this book would have been valuable to me during my first board experience, which wasn't great--it definitely would have been.While Erik's background is in the non-profit world, this book and conversation apply to any organization. Some big ideas we hit are performing due diligence for the board you are considering, getting involved outside board meetings, strategic planning, compensation committees, and mission statements.
The Indiana Jones of Business Archives
17:09Not only is Neil Dahlstrom the author of the business historical narrative Tractor Wars, but he's also the Branded Properties and Heritage Manager at John Deere. Before that, he was Deere's Corporate History and Archives Manager.Neil admits he wanted to be Indiana Jones when he grew up and even worked in a museum in high school.During this conversation, we learn what a corporate archivist does, how to start a company archive, and how to start a career in this field.
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37:29All of us have heard of the cola wars, the tennis shoe wars, and certainly the PC wars. But the tractor wars?Neil Dahlstrom is a historian and archivist for John Deere, and he's the author of Tractor Wars, a historical narrative of the race to be the top manufacturer of power farming at the turn of the twentieth century. Will it be International Harvester, Ford, or the much smaller player, John Deere?Neil's book is a story of what-ifs, including pricing wars, business rollups, marketing insights, and bold moves by Henry Ford.
Derek Sivers, The Reluctant Entrepreneur
45:55Derek Sivers was an accidental business founder. All he wanted to do was put his music online and sell it online before the dotcom bubble when PayPal did not exist yet.During one four-year period, his revenues jumped from $1 to $20 million while his staff count surged from 8 to 85. He eventually sold CD Baby for $22 million in 2008.Derek tells his founder's story in the book, Anything You Like. Since it's a book I recommend to every CFO, I invited Hannah Munro, the host of the CFO 4.0 podcast, to unpack this story full of ups and downs for this fascinating business founder.If you like books similar to Shoe Dog and Derek's, we list our top ten titles in this unique leadership genre. You can revisit that list here: Books Similar to Anything You Like and Shoe Dog.
The First Tech Freelancers in the 1960s
34:09One of the best books we've read in 2023 is the story of Dame Stephanie 'Steve' Shirley, who started a business of women freelance programmers in a male-dominated world in the 1960s based in London.The bookends of this remarkable story include an escape from the Holocaust from her homeland in Austria to her new adopted country in England, thanks to Kindertransport.While there are many business insights in Steve's book, Let It Go, she pulls back the curtain to reveal the many ups and downs in her family life, including the love, care, and hardship of raising a son who was profoundly autistic.The other bookend describes Steve's goal of co-ownership with her staff, along with the gifting of many millions of dollars through philanthropic causes.Read the show notes - LINK
A Systems Thinking Mindset
52:10We learned many linear frameworks in business school to help us solve simple to complex problems. Yet, systems thinking was probably missing from that curriculum.The Fifth Discipline (Senge) and Systems Thinking (Meadows) are typical starting points for learning systems thinking. However, those books are not written from a business person's perspective.Simple Complexity, by Dr. William (Willy) Donaldson, is the most readable and pragmatic book I've read on systems thinking. The author has a business background and uses stories from the field to simplify what otherwise would be obtuse and confusing concepts.In this conversation, we will learn the bare essentials of systems thinking and how to apply this skill in our organizations.
1:08:27David Axson is called a CFO whisperer, but I'm also calling him an expert on calling the flaws and weaknesses of some of the biggest name management tools and systems from the past that are still influencing our decision-making today.David is the author of the 2010 book, The Management Mythbuster. In this conversation, we hit on a variety of topics, such as:annual budgetingperformance paycalendar-driven reportinginformational vs. analytical dataEBITDAmanagement GURUscost allocationWe wrap up with David's appreciation for the business classics, and we'll hear his five favorites.Show Notes: Read Here
The Magical Tradecraft of Consulting
33:58Behind his back, I call him a Peter Drucker. He's the co-host of one of my favorite podcasts, 2Bobs. He's also the author of six business books.His name is David C. Baker, and I could listen to him all day with his pearls of wisdom on accumulating and sharing expertise with others.David's newest book is Secret Tradecraft of Elite Advisors. You do not need to be a third-party business advisor to appreciate this conversation. The content of this book applies to anyone who is a knowledge worker.
NetSuite Interviews CFO Bookshelf
1:02:33Are you curious about the origin story of the CFO Bookshelf podcast? The great people at Oracle NetSuite wanted to know that about a year earlier when they asked that question during one of their webinars.In this recording, the Head of Marketing at Netsuite, Ranga Bodla, asks the host of CFO Bookshelf why he started the show, who his favorite guests and been, and even some conversations that didn't turn out too well.
The Building of a $100 Million Brand
49:21I enjoy reading books by transparent business founders who are not afraid to let their guard down in the stories they share.Titles quickly coming to mind are Boss Life by Paul Downs, Anything You Want by Derek Sivers, and Wild Company by the founders of Banana Republic. High on my list in this genre is What it Takes by Raegan Moya-Jones, the gritty and successful co-founder of aden + anais. Like many startup arcs, this book reveals many obstacles encountered by founders: necessary startup capital, constant cash constraints, people issues, supply chain inefficiencies, and other frustrations.More importantly, Raegan gives us a firsthand look at the challenges of creating and building a business in a male-dominated space. Her research in the book and the advice provided in this conversation are inspiring and insightful.Episode Highlights, Q&A with the Host, and Bookclub Starter Questions: Link