One of the greatest strengths of the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) community is in the sharing of knowledge, expertise, and best practices that goes on at the Worldwide Partner Conference and all year round. Below is a list of books some members of the MPN Leadership team discovered in 2014 and found educational, inspiring, and illuminating. We thought we’d share these resources because not only do they provide valuable information, they may also give you some insight into what we’re thinking about right now. We hope you enjoy them as well.
 
Phil Sorgen, Channel Chief and Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Partner Group
 
A really good read that articulated well the fundamental basis for IT solution providers to transform now, I really enjoyed Consumption Economics: The New Rules of Tech, by J.B. Wood, Todd Hewlin and Thomas Lah. I found that the core tenets of this book aligned with the shift in thinking needed in the modern day cloud world of the IT business, how business can promote the cloud – from both an innovative and practical standpoint. It is a book full of insights on structuring offers as services and the changing expectations of IT customers.
 
Gavriella Schuster, General Manager, Worldwide Partner Group
 
“I loved Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown. Brene is a researcher on vulnerability.  You can check out her TED talk on the same subject, but the book is an even more powerful reminder of being and loving your authentic self.”
 
Kati Quigley, WPC Experience Ambassador
 
“I chose Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. It was my favorite book for a few reasons. The concepts are so logical and easy to adopt right away, in very simple ways. The changes that it has you make, the immediate improvements are evident in the quality of work, life, and engagements that you have. The other is that it was timely for me, it allowed me to shift my professional focus to the true priorities at hand rather than just the immediate obligations that were in front of me.”
 
Karen Fassio, Director, Worldwide Partner Group MarCom
 
“For personal development, I really enjoyed Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation by James McQuivey. This book teaches how to think about and how to solve customer needs and provide an extraordinary experience. The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail by Clayton Christensen is a fascinating discussion about lessons learned from companies rethinking themselves.
 
“For fun, my all-time favorite book from the year, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is author Neil Gaiman at his best. It’s a beautiful, haunting tale of childhood and love (sigh). I love the way this man writes.”
 
Kevin Price, Through Partner Marketing Lead
 
“I chose The Digital Marketer: Ten New Skills You Must Learn to Stay Relevant and Customer-Centric by Larry Weber and Lisa Henderson. The book does a great job describing how customer online behavior continues to evolve and provides a practical, actionable approach to how you engage through digital marketing (regardless of a company’s size). It taught me a great deal, and I think it’s a very applicable book for our partners to help you think about how to engage with customer in a cloud world.”
 
Niamh Coleman, Product Management MPN
 
“Like Kati, I got a lot from Essentialism. However, for me, reading is escapism for the most part, and I like to recommend books that help with that.
 
“One of my favorite books this year is Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, as it is the story of true tenacity and resilience and a reminder that no matter how tough life may appear, I have it good. I am still reading it and trying to get through it before I see too many clips of the movie.
 
“I am also a die-hard fan of JK Rowling and loved the books she penned under the name of Robert Galbraith, specifically The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm…. I love the character development and the way she keeps you guessing. I am anxiously awaiting the BBC adaptation of the books which is due this year!”