by Dianna Brodine, managing editor
Plastics Business

There is a way to do it better. Find it. – Thomas Edison

I’ve always been fond of Thomas Edison. He’s the inventor behind the light bulb, the phonograph and one of the first movie cameras – and, since I like seeing when it’s dark outside and watching the latest Avengers movie, Edison is an OK guy in my book.

From a manufacturing perspective, Edison is an OK guy, too. Most biographies will tell you he was an inventor, but I like to think of him as an old-school tinkerer. His research lab contained a machine shop and a library, and he had the equipment to pursue his interests in chemistry, woodworking and metals. By the end of his 84 years, Edison held more than 1,000 patents on inventions related to the battery, the telegraph, the telephone, railways and, of course, incandescent lamps.

Edison was always looking for a better way to do things – a way to improve the lives of the people around him. As leaders, we’re called to do the same thing. This issue’s Booklist brings together the freshest releases in 2019 with new and better ways to inspire teamwork, understand behavior and adapt quickly within our organizations.

Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases and Transform Industries
Author: Safi Bahcall
Released: March 19, 2019

LoonshotsIn Loonshots, physicist and entrepreneur Safi Bahcall reveals a surprising new way of thinking about the mysteries of group behavior that challenges everything we thought we knew about nurturing radical breakthroughs.

Drawing on the science of phase transitions, Bahcall shows why teams, companies or any group with a mission will suddenly change from embracing wild new ideas to rigidly rejecting them, just as flowing water will suddenly change into brittle ice. Mountains of print have been written about culture. Loonshots identifies the small shifts in structure that control this transition, the same way that temperature controls the change from water to ice.

Using examples that range from the spread of fires in forests to the hunt for terrorists online, and stories of thieves and geniuses and kings, Bahcall shows how this new kind of science helps us understand the behavior of companies and the fate of empires. Loonshots distills these insights into lessons for creatives, entrepreneurs and visionaries everywhere.

Over the past decade, researchers have been applying the tools and techniques of phase transitions to understand how birds flock, fish swim, brains work, people vote, criminals behave, ideas spread, diseases erupt and ecosystems collapse. If 20th-century science was shaped by the search for fundamental laws, like quantum mechanics and gravity, the 21st will be shaped by this new kind of science. Loonshots is the first to apply these tools to help all of us unlock our potential to create and nurture the crazy ideas that change the world.

It’s the Manager
Authors: Jim Clifton, Jim Harter
Released: May 7, 2019

It's The ManagerPacked with 52 discoveries from Gallup’s largest study on the future of work, It’s the Manager shows leaders how to adapt their organizations to rapid change, ranging from new workplace demands to managing remote employees, a diverse workforce, the rise of artificial intelligence, gig workers and attracting – and keeping – today’s best employees. Who is the most important person in your organization to lead your teams through these changes? Gallup research reveals: It’s your managers.

While the world’s workplace has been going through extraordinary historical change, the practice of management has been stuck in time for more than 30 years. The new workforce – especially younger generations – wants their work to have deep mission and purpose, and they don’t want old-style command-and-control bosses. They want coaches who inspire them, communicate with them frequently and develop their strengths.

When you build great managers – ones who can maximize the potential of every team member – you will see organic revenue and profit growth, and you will deliver to every one of your employees what they most want today: a great job and a great life. This is the future of work.

Leadershift: The 11 Essential Changes Every Leader Must Embrace
Author: John C. Maxwell
Released: February 5, 2019

Leader ShiftChange is so rapid today that leaders must do much more than stay the course to be successful. If they aren’t nimble and ready to adapt, they won’t survive. The key is to learn how to leadershift.

In Leadershift, John C. Maxwell helps leaders gain the ability and willingness to make leadership changes that will positively enhance their organizational and personal growth. He does this by sharing the 11 shifts he made over the course of his long and successful leadership career. Each shift changed his trajectory and set him up for new and exciting achievements, ultimately strengthening and sustaining his leadership abilities and making him the admired leadership expert he is today.

Among those leadershifts are the Adaptive Shift from Plan A to Option A, the Production Shift from Ladder Climbing to Ladder Building, and the Influence Shift from Positional Authority to Moral Authority. Maxwell gives specific guidance to readers about how to make these shifts in their own lives. Each one requires them to change the way they think, act, and ultimately lead so they can be successful in a world that never remains the same.

Unstoppable Teams: The Four Essential Actions of High-Performance Leadership
Author: Alden Mills
Released: March 26, 2019

Unstoppable TeamsThree-time Navy SEAL platoon commander and founder of Perfect Fitness reveals how to put together teams that can accomplish any objective – by leveraging an unexpected set of values and priorities.

Teams are nothing more than a series of interconnected relationships with a collective, single-minded focus. Success almost never depends on individual talent and valor; instead, Alden Mills shows, it depends first on creating a strong foundation for yourself and, second, using that foundation to help others go beyond their individual pursuits and talents to create something bigger and better – an unstoppable team.

Unstoppable Teams shows managers – at every level, at both large and small organizations, including private, public and nonprofit – how to inspire, motivate and lead the people around them. Mills draws on stories from his own experiences to impart surprising team-building lessons.

These lessons aren’t exclusive to the Navy SEALs; they are used by successful entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders, coaches and sport captains – and now you can master them too. Unstoppable Teams is the handbook for how to build care-based teams that will push people to achieve more than they ever thought possible.

WOLFPACK: How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power and Change the Game
Author: Abby Wambach
Released: April 9, 2019

WolfpackAbby Wambach became a champion because of her incredible talent as a soccer player. She became an icon because of her remarkable wisdom as a leader. As the co-captain of the 2015 Women’s World Cup Champion Team, she created a culture not just of excellence, but of honor, commitment, resilience and sisterhood. She helped transform a group of individual women into one of the most successful, powerful and united Wolfpacks of all time.

In her retirement, Abby’s ready to do the same for her new team: All Women Everywhere. In Wolfpack, Abby’s message to women is:

We have never been Little Red Riding Hood. We Are the Wolves. We must wander off the path and blaze a new one: together.

She insists that women must let go of old rules of leadership that neither include nor serve them. She’s created a new set of Wolfpack rules to help women unleash their individual power, unite with their Wolfpack and change the landscape of their lives and world: from the family room to the board room to the White House. In Abby’s vision, we are not Little Red Riding Hoods, staying on the path because we’re told to. We are the wolves, fighting for a better tomorrow for ourselves, our pack and all the future wolves who will come after us.

Book summaries provided by the publishing entity.