Open book with a human glowing brain.
ATD Blog

How to Build Effortless Wisdom With Books 2.0

Thursday, November 9, 2023

“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters,” said Epictetus, one of the ancient Greeks who explored wisdom and other human traits. In his writings, he handed down his insights along with those from countless others.

Nowadays, everyone can do a quick internet search for wise quotes. But that’s not how you find wisdom. And it certainly won’t help your leaders during the many crises they face.

You need the transformative power of books to enable deep self-reflection and continuous learning. Don’t miss out on the whitepaper Beyond Reading to discover how to instill the habit of reading in your leaders, plus a case study on one of the world’s largest corporations and the impact of its reading culture.

Beyond Conventional Training

We live in an increasingly complex and global world with problems that can only hope to be solved if we collaborate across borders. Without wisdom and its traits of good judgment, humility, and open-mindedness, the risk is conflict or inertia.

Similarly, for organizational leaders, wisdom entails letting go of self-serving attitudes to attain the common good. Those leaders are inclusive and authentic.

Conventional training can foster analytical thinking, but if it’s not grounded in values or wisdom, judgment is lost. How many highly intelligent but fraudulent or overly aggressive leaders have existed over the centuries?

With today’s business complexities, some are now advocating for a shift from the “knowledge economy to a wisdom economy.” In short, it’s hard to ignore the benefits of ethical and inclusive decision making.


Kick-start your leaders’ development by tapping into the universal wisdom that books offer:

  • Self-reflection. Books go far deeper when challenging our beliefs than short online content.
  • Acceptance. Books offer the whole range of human emotions and show us just how uncertain life is. They engage our empathy allow us to start cultivating acceptance that life is what it is.
  • Prosocial engagement. Wisdom is guided by values, and reading provides a way to explore the range of human values.

Beyond Reading

You must dig deep to nurture wisdom. More specifically, we need to rewire our brains to change our unwise beliefs, habits, and behaviors. It isn’t just about hoarding facts.

Neuroscience demonstrates that we process information differently when we read on a screen versus holding a book. Moreover, we don’t retain the information as well when reading electronically.

Perhaps most interesting is that we nurture creativity and empathy when we read a physical book—again demonstrated by neuroscience.


But, how do you get all your leaders and teams to read a book?

Why not consider exploring how to build a culture where the power of stillness matters? As an added bonus, your leaders will be more balanced and more effective.

And just like with any habit change, it helps to make it easy and fun for your teams. First, break down books into manageable chunks. Second, engage the team with a productive and powerful BookClub discussion. Finally, create an immersive experience to harness the power of books in the workplace with these tips:

  • Define a higher purpose. Give your teams something to aim for that benefits them all—for example, increasing team success by applying insights from a book or becoming more strategic together.
  • Micro-learn. Bite-sized wisdom works best. You can even let AI map out the learning journey for you.
  • Nurture team cohesion. Create an interactive and fun book club. Everyone loves a good debate.
  • Create rewards. Use competitions, special allowances, sharing moments, or whatever works best for your teams.

Bringing Books 2.0 Into Your Workplace

Changing habits takes time, but if you don’t work toward it, you risk being left behind. The internet only brushes the surface of the wisdom to be learnt and applied from books.

With Books 2.0, you can make reading more accessible because of the power of AI. From personalized paths to synchronous learning, in-depth insights are more readily available to leaders.

And with the right BookClub structure, your leaders will be collaborating and engaging in more dialogue than ever before. That’s the start of wisdom—leveraging the insights and judgements of the universal consciousness.

About the Author

Anne Duvaux is a neuroscience leadership coach who was previously HR director focusing on leadership and development as well as coaching. In a past lifetime she was a chartered engineer and is also multilingual having lived in 9 countries and 13 cities. As an Associate Certified Coach with the ICF and almost 25 years’ experience setting up, partnering and leading teams across Europe and Asia in both corporates and early-stage companies, Anne understands how to navigate the challenges of leadership. Today, as a writer and avid reader, she continues to support people around the world with the wisdom of generations of books.

Be the first to comment
Sign In to Post a Comment
Sorry! Something went wrong on our end. Please try again later.