Contributors to the July 2022 issue of TD magazine offer their book recommendations.
Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life
by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans
This is a must-have for anyone making a career change and for those coaches who guide others through the process. The tech-executives-turned-professors authors apply the concept of prototyping to career pathing, giving us permission to design, market test, and shift direction as we find the most joyful ways to engage our strengths.
The Leadership Pipeline: How to Build the Leadership-Powered Company
by Ram Charan, Stephen Drotter, James Noel
I refer to this book weekly, especially when coaching managers of managers. The book reviewed the critical turns leaders take on their journey from individual contributor to enterprise manager. Too often we don’t let go of old behaviors when we make the turn, never creating capacity for new skills and mindsets—and then wonder why we hit a ceiling. I’m forever grateful to my mentor for placing this book in my hands more than 10 years ago.
The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations
by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner
Forty years ago, the authors launched their research by asking “What did you do when you were at your personal best as a leader?” We benefit from their wisdom, crystallized into five practices of exemplary leadership regularly validated by global cross-industry surveys. This book has anchored my undergraduate leadership classes, receiving rave reviews from the next generation of people managers. A must-have for your leadership development bookshelf.
House on Endless Waters
by Emuna Elon
This is a powerful and remarkable book. Elon tells the story of Yoel Blum, an author, who against his deceased mother’s wishes travels to Amsterdam. During his trip to promote his latest book, he and his wife visit the Jewish Historical Museum where he discovers something perplexing about his family. Blum is now compelled to research and write about his past. At first Elon keeps the present and past stories separate and then over the course of the book brilliantly weaves the two together in such a way that you envision present-day Blum interacting with World War II Sonia, his mother. Blum’s journey into his past helps him confront his identity and his relationships with his own family. The writing is exquisite, and the story is compelling.
The Premonition: A Pandemic Story
by Michael Lewis
During most of 2020, I halted reading novels and nonfiction books and focused my energies on devouring pandemic news and COVID-19 feeds on Twitter. By 2021, I didn’t think I could read another sentence related to the pandemic response. I was wrong. Michael Lewis has written a riveting account about how the US addressed the threat of COVID-19, a virus that made 2020 one of the most frightening years of my life. Lewis gives us a deep look at the inadequacies in our healthcare ecosystem and its struggle to address the most significant crisis since the 1918 flu epidemic. Thankfully, Lewis also highlights the many unsung heroes who faced the crisis with courage and intelligence. This is an important read if you want to understand what happened in the trenches and go beyond the news headlines.
A World Without Email: Reimagining Work in an Age of Communication Overload
by Cal Newport
Email isn’t the cause of problems, but we use it badly. This book is as much about re-examining how we work as it is about the tools we use.
Going Remote How the Flexible Work Economy Can Improve our Lives and Our Cities
By Matthew E Kahn
This book takes an optimistic (maybe too optimistic?) look at the long-term impact of remote work on individuals and communities. Working from home has changed the workplace forever—we just don’t know for sure how much.
How We Learn and Why: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens
by Benedict Carey
Uncover the truth about how our brains absorb and retain information. This research-based book provides insights, answers questions, and provides strategies that make deep learning a part of our everyday lives.
Millennials, Goldfish, and Other Training Misconceptions
by Clark N. Quinn
This little book is jam-packed with myths, insights, and lots of information about the learning. Quinn masterfully shares some great misconceptions along with what to do when you encounter them. I’m a fan!
What’s Your Formula
by Brian Washburn
This book brought out the geek in me. Washburn brilliantly creates a Table of Learning Elements that can be combined to create the perfect learning formula. It’s genius!
by Richard H. Thaler and Cats R. Sunstein
L&D professional aim to engage learners, but many methods are ineffective. This book—although not an L&D book—provides some insights in appealing to your audience, human behavior, and strategies to nudge people to engage.