Top Book Recommendations for Healthcare Executives

We asked the Managed Healthcare Executive editorial advisory board, what book would you recommend to other executives? Here's what they said.


We asked the Managed Healthcare Executive editorial advisory board, what book would you recommend to other executives? Here's what they said.




StrengthsFinder 2.0by Tom Rath

The test that you take as part of reading the book helps you understand your strengths, learn to better manage people, and play to their strengths, says Perry Cohen, chief executive officer, The Pharmacy Group. The test is so useful that Cohen recommends readers recommend it to other key players within their organizations. 





First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differentlyby Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman

In this book, Buckingham puts forward twelve "rules," based on his research, for reducing employee turnover and keeping a workforce engaged. "If you want to know how to keep a happy and committed workforce, Buckingham has the answers," says Don Hall, principal of DeltaSigma LLC.





Medicaid Politics and Policyby Judith D. Moore and David G. Smith

"This book is the definitive history of the legislative and regulatory history of the Medicaid program," says Margaret Murray, chief executive officer, Association for Community Affiliated Health Plans. "It’s essential and accessible reading for anyone who needs a deeper understanding of how Medicaid works today. In conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Social Security Amendments that provided Federal authorization for the program, it’s been updated to provide some background on how the program has been changed with the passage of the Affordable Care Act."




What if...?  Dare to Do More, Be More, and Reach Farther Than You Ever Thought Possibleby Mike Rayburn

"This very short, yet fascinating book, helps executives think in a whole new way by encouraging them to disregard the natural boundaries that can limit how traditional business leaders think," says Daniel J. Hilferty, president and chief executive officer, Independence Blue Cross. "The author encourages leaders to ask themselves, 'What if I could?' or 'What if that was possible?' when dealing with big opportunities or problems. Rayburn points out that this doesn’t mean that you have to do what you dream up, but to simply explore all the possibilities."





The Creative Destruction of Medicineby Eric Topol, MD

"Dr. Topol offers a clear vision of where he sees healthcare moving," says Hall. "Healthcare executives ignore his perspectives at their own risk. I particularly liked his use of real-life examples of each of his points."





The Dilbert Principle: A Cubicle's-Eye View of Bosses, Meetings, Management Fads & Other Workplace Afflictionsby Scott Adams

"Executives who read this will see themselves in the stories," says Hall. "Adams used actual emails and real stories to create his well-known cartoons. This is a great what-not-to-do primer."





The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Rightby Atul Gawande

"Dr. Gwande has an amazing ability to simplify what appear to be complicated aspects of healthcare," says Hall. "This book is a must read for all healthcare executives because it demonstrates the serious yet overcome-able flaws in our approach to delivering quality healthcare outcomes."









Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Gameby Michael Lewis

"Why would a healthcare executive and technologist read about how Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane ran a baseball team?" asks Mark Boxer, executive vice present and chief information officer, Cigna Corp. "Because healthcare is a data-driven business where we use data to segment populations, advance evidence-based medicine, and target populations most at risk. The theme of this book is that we must not make decisions based on instinct, but on data, insights and analytics.  That vision holds the key to improving our healthcare system. Beane showed that the collected, conventional wisdom of the baseball world for over the past century was subjective.  He embraced a vision of insights, statistics and analytics that enabled his team to compete and win."





Leadership is an Artby Max Depree

"This book was shared with me by our CEO when I joined the company as she has used it to guide her approach to leadership," says Kevin Ronneberg, MD, vice president and associate medical director of health initiatives, Health Partners. "It is a quick read and practical in nature without being prescriptive. In the rapidly changing ecosystem of healthcare, our organizations and patients/consumers benefit from caring and compassionate leaders who, as Max Depree says, lead by 'liberating people to do what is required of them in the most effective and humane way possible.'"





Becoming the Best: Build a World-Class Organization Through Values-Based Leadership
by Harry M. Kraemer

"As an excellent follow-up to his 2011 book, From Values to Action: The Four Principles of Values-Based Leadership, in this book [Kraemer] provides leaders with a very straightforward, practical guide to applying his value-based principles in day-to-day leadership activities, says David Calabrese, vice president and chief pharmacy officer, Catamaran. "For me personally, his insights here have helped to reinforce certain tenets of my own leadership style and to nurture other new ones, thus providing a clear framework for continued leadership success."





Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Health and Dan Heath

"The three core behavior change principles [identified in this book] are relevant to leadership, consumer engagement, and personal growth: Direct the rider, motivate the elephant, and shape the path," says Dennis Schmuland MD, chief health strategy officer, Microsoft Corporation.