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Each month we find ways to boost productivity with our pick of business resources – whether it's a book, podcast, cool gadget, handy app or new tech.
A quick way to sort bookmarks, a hot new tablet, hard-earned lessons from the world’s most profit-generating CEOs, a 40-year-old goal-setting technique that Google credits its success to, and a desk accessory that tackles two problems at once – these are our favourite business resources to try for August.
Doing just what the title promises, in this podcast hosts and investors Stig Brodersen and Preston Pysh analyse the moves of extreme money makers such as Warren Buffett. But the show is at its finest when it takes inspiring strolls through associated subjects such as philanthropy, adversity and creativity. In “Tip 197”, The Creative Curve author Allen Gannett demolishes an often-shared idea that 90% of us consume while 1% create. Gannett tells the hosts that, rather, creative geniuses are marked by “prior knowledge” and deep consumption habits.
Business resources don't come handier than Pocket. This read-it-later service allows you to save articles, videos and stories from any publication, page or app and tuck in one place all those items you want to spend time with eventually. These are then accessible on all your devices and offline, saved in a clean, easy-to-read format, or you can opt to have articles read aloud. The app’s chief draw is that you can tag choices – useful if you’re categorising research or want to separate leisure reading – and it also gives recommendations for other articles catered to your interests. The free app is available for iPhone, Android or browser but £3.95 ($7) monthly for the premium service buys an advanced search tool and a permanent library.
In the realm of “I should have come up with that” inventions is a pale grey desk accessory that acts as both a pen cup and a phone stand with a wireless charger inside. Any phone that supports wireless charging, from an iPhone 8 or a Samsung S7 onwards (plus other assorted Qi-enabled devices), is compatible. An LED indicator shows the charging status and once your phone is souped up, the device switches to an energy-saving mode. This gadget is for anyone who is 1) committed to decluttering; 2) keen to keep their phone in reach but out of the way; or 3) always looking for a pen.
This New York Times bestseller came out in 2019, but it’s worth a fresh look given Bill Gates recently dubbed it “a business book I’d actually recommend” because of its “smart insights” into building and running an organisation. Iger is the stratospherically successful chief executive who led the transformation of The Walt Disney Company through acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox. In his memoir/how-to, Iger lays out just how hard he’s worked for more than 45 years to make it to the top and offers lessons in innovation, failure and developing people.
Useful business resources also encompass frameworks for productivity. OKR (Objectives and Key Results) is a goal-setting technique that emerged from tech company Intel in the 1970s and that counts Spotify, Twitter and the ING Group as fans. There’s been a surge of interest as people transition to remote working because the method is a simple way to ensure everyone understands the big picture. Basically you determine an intent for a meeting, project or product and beneath that set measurable milestones with deadlines. “Cascading OKRs” align individuals’ OKRs with the ultimate company goals. Google swears by the technique; co-founder Larry Page credited it as helping deliver “10x growth, many times over”.
From the good-things-come-in-small-packages portfolio is the second generation Lenovo 8-inch tablet, an Android treat for binge streamers, internet surfers, gamers, social media gurus and their like. Packed into a slimline metal body is an IPS HD display and a Dolby speaker system, making it an excellent entertainment choice. Then the quad-core processor and up-to-18-hour battery life put the workhorse into the thoroughbred. But this handy device has one more clever feature: a display that cuts back on blue light, so you can feel less guilty about using this Lenovo Tablet as an electronic babysitter for your little ones... or yourself.