Checking in at a total of 512 pages (that's the total for all 3 put together!) these books are the ones I recommend to everyone who has to work for a living.
So, yeah, pretty much everyone.
Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams
First up is the longest one, but at 272 pages you'll get through it in no time.
While most business books focus on theory, process, or selling, Peopleware shines the light on the real people doing with work, with all of their quirks, idiosyncrasies, and strengths. (I know, what a concept, right?)
Often referred to as a "project management" book, that label doesn't do it justice - the material is helpful to everyone looking to get the most out of, or just survive, the corporate environment. And for those of us who want more, you can use this information to improve your interactions with co-workers and clients.
This is one I re-read every year to keep the insights fresh in my mind. The humorous tone and real-life examples make this an enjoyable read.
How to Lie with Statistics
People love to toss around statistics, don't they? It makes what they say seem so much more credible. And maybe it's all true. But...
It is amazingly simple for people, intentionally or by mistake, to skew and twist statistics. It happens all the time, and can be the cause of bad decisions.
Let this book be your guide on what to watch out for, and avoid, when using statistics as part of your decision-making process.
The PC is Not a Typewriter/The Mac is Not a Typewriter
Come on, admit it, you either still double-space after periods when you type, or you know someone who does...
The PC is Not a Typewriter (and its Mac companion*) is a fast, fun, easy read that will help you make your written communication more professional and sophisticated. Yes, it references older technology, but the technical info isn't the important part here - it's the simple, clear information and inspiration for crafting of better writing. It covers punctuation, leading, special characters, kerning, fonts, justification, and so much more.
Read this, keep it nearby, refer to it often - your writing, and your readers, will thank you for it.
Frankly, these 96 page-long gems are the books I would give to everyone I meet, if I could.
*Why is there a PC and a MAC version? My guess is 1) for the technical references which I'm sure were helpful when it was released 2) to get the full audience - some PC people won't pick up something targeted at the MAC audience, and vise versa.
Some people might skip over these books because they were published "years ago" - but that would be a mistake. OK, sure, some of the examples they include may be a bit dated; however, the concepts and ideas are timeless. Give them a try, and I'm sure you'll agree!
Note: The book images are links to the Amazon.com page for that book. If you purchase the book from there, I will get a few pennies from Amazon that I'll use to support my book habit. But no pressure, get them from your favorite place!