07/14/2012 06:19 pm ET Updated Sep 13, 2012

Screw Business as Usual and the Rest of My Corporate Diplomacy Summer Reading List

Summertime is always an excellent time to reflect, recharge and catch up on reading you've been meaning to read for longer than you can remember. My reading list this summer is longer than in years past as the sheer volume of new work critical to those in the global engagement, corproate diplomacy and public diplomacy spheres has exploded. It could be that this is due to a pervasive feeling of discontent and urgency - where ideas are formed, issues collide, and independent action has a new meaning and consequence for peoples around the globe.

As I work with businesses, governments and NGOs as well as teach both MPD and MBA students, I am reminded daily by how differently leadership in each sector thinks and behaves. My reading list is reflective of this dynamic as they speak their own langages and operate in fundamentally different ways. The nature of global business issues and challeneges today requires all of these groups to partner where appropriate and work effectivley together. With this in mind, I selected the following for my Summer Corproate Diplomacy Reading List which apply to leadership in all sectors - business, government and NGOs. At a minimum these should also be required reading for MPDs and MBAs as well as anyone working or travelling globally.

First up on my list is Richard Branson's Screw Business as Usual which I initially learned of at Secretary Clinton's Global Impact Economic Forum at Georgetown earlier this spring. The forum was exceptional, with a blend of fresh thinking and new voices, something which is rare in Washington. Branson appeared at the forum with a host of others issuing a rallying cry and drawing attention to what the Secretary called, "a convergence of the recognition on the part of government, the private sector, civil society, that we can be so much more effective working together than working at cross-purposes." In his book, which is as candid and direct as Branson has become known for, he outlines various arguments and approaches on why and how good business can be a force for good in the world. It is a re-thinking and re-imagining of how business operates globally and where business can expand its role in developing solutions that benefit all. The book is only one piece of a broader Screw Business as Usual movement Branson is championing which has an incredible companion website where stories are shared, key inshgiths and lessons profiled, with numerous portals for action.

In addition to focusing on issues of import for global business, I've taken my reading list and distilled out key Corporate Diplomacy trends and issues that those who operate in a cross-sector capacity should be tuned into over the coming months. This is by no means an exhuastive list and I welcome your reccomendations as I am always eager to expand my library and learnings.

Summer 2012 Corporate Diplomacy Trends & Reading List

Global Leadership - in addition to the numerous global crises, there is a tremendous amount of global leadership turnover with over a dozen national elections occuring this year; how countries and regions respond to this change, who they put in power, and how the private and public sectors engage will be key
Book Reccomendations:
-- Every Nation for Itself: Winners & Losers in a G-Zero World by Ian Bremmer
-- Screw Business as Usual by Richard Branson

Cross-Sector Engagement - no longer can governments, companies or large non-profits go it alone to solve global issues or respond to crises; partnering and working effectively across multiple sectors is becoming an ever more critical skill set and one in which too few are prepared to effectively engage in
Book Reccomendations:
-- Megacommunities: How Leaders of Government, Business & Non-profits Can Tackle Today's Global Challeneges Together by Mark Gerencser, Reginald VanLee, Fernando Napolitano, & Christopher Kelly
-- Being Global: How to Think, Act, & Leader in a Tranformed World by Angel Cabrera and Gregory Unruh

Women in Leadership - for years the discussion around women typically fell in the catergories of empowering girls, health, and education. Now the global discussion has shifted to include preparing women to lead with a heightened focus on women harnessing and honing their power for leadership and decision-making roles in business, government and their communities.
Book Reccomendations:
-- I'd Rather be in Charge: A Legendary Business Leader's Roadmap for Achieveing Pride, Power, and Joy at Work by Charlotte Beers
-- How Remarkable Women Lead - The Breakthrough Model for Work & Life by Joanna Barsh & Susie Cranston

Cybersecurity & Information Protection - if the recent exhaustive news coverage of the Flame virus and detailing of cyber secruity strategyies of the US government is any indidication, protecting information and critical infrastrcuture networks will remain a key national security and corproate security issue that will permanently impact how everyone operates globally. Ironically and even with all of the advances in technology, most vulnrabilties and attacks still come down to the human compentnet and social engineering - system access, information, and errors.
Book Reccomendations:
-- Social Engineering: The Art of Hacking Humans by Christopher Hadnagy
-- Hacking Exposed 7 Network Security Secrets & Solutions: Network Security Secrets and Solutions, Seventh Edition by Stuart McClure, Joel Scambray, George Kurtz
-- Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It by Richard A. Clarke, Robert Knake

And finally, though there are numerous magazines and blogs that I also reference to stay current on global issues my favorite must read every week is The Week. The UK based weekly publication is a digest of all the world's leading news, issues, and analysis with quotes from some of the best opinion pieces and articles, as well as sections on art and culture. For those who don't have the time to read The Economist cover to cover or 10+ newspapers a day this is for you. It saves you time, keeps you current, and it actually fun to read. I have The Week downloaded on my ipad so I always have it with me though I enjoy the look and feel of the actual magazine more, especially when I need break from the digital deluge.

Look forward to feedback on my reading list and reccomendations for further reading and reosurces.

Originally Posted on the USC CPD Blog.