Contributors to the March 2019 issue of TD magazine offer their book recommendations.
This Is Marketing: You Can't Be Seen Until You Learn to See by Seth Godin
Grant blows the lid off the idea that "nice guys (or gals) finish last" with surprising and compelling research on the presence and effects of givers, takers, and matchers in the workplace. Grant provides tips and ideas on how organizations can encourage prosocial behaviors in the workplace. This book is a positive, encouraging read that has the potential to affect not just your own leadership but your entire organizational culture.
Compelling People: The Hidden Qualities That Make Us Influential by John Neffinger and Matthew Kohut
This is a fantastic resource for everyone, a fun-to-read and well-researched book detailing how humans quickly size each other up and make snap character judgments on two core elements: strength and warmth. Since this is a universal phenomenon, Neffinger and Kohut provide valuable information on what we can all do to reach the pinnacle of likeability and effectiveness: Have charisma. This book reinforces the fact that we all have the capacity to maximize our influence.
Insight: Why We're Not as Self-Aware as We Think, and How Seeing Ourselves Clearly Helps Us Succeed at Work and in Life by Tasha Eurich
Eurich’s remarkable book on self-awareness is a must-read for all homo sapiens. She’s right on target with her point that “there are two types of people—those who think they are self-aware and those who actually are.” And she boldly takes on the fantastic, humanistic challenge of sharing her research so that we may ensure more people are the latter. Eurich intelligently dissects the components of self-awareness and provides invaluable pointers on how we can all get better. I love her mission of showing how we may move past cultural pressure that places (probably a bit too much) attention on internal self-awareness to also increasing our awareness of the impact we have on others.
The Outward Mindset: Seeing Beyond Ourselves by The Arbinger Institute
All of Arbinger’s books are real gems, but I particularly enjoy this book because of its simple yet powerful argument regarding the transformational power of updating your mindset (superseding mere behaviors) regarding other people. They provide a terrific road map to help us move away from seeing others as objects (those that can help you, hinder you, or don’t matter) and toward viewing them “outwardly”— as people with their own needs, objectives, and challenges. This information creates tremendous opportunities for leaders to further the collective results of their organizations—and may even pay positive dividends in your personal relationships.
Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life by Spencer Johnson
Godin's latest book outlines how to have authentic communication to help people and build trust. Empathy, connection, and emotional connection are core approaches—and these insights can be reapplied to learning to change lives and learner behavior.
Healthy Brain, Happy Life: A Personal Program to Activate Your Brain and Do Everything Better by Wendy Suzuki
This funny, neuroscience-filled autobiography is jammed with practical application to life and learning development. It’s changed how I focus my attention, approach issues, and help others learn. The author distills academic and scientific jargon into practical advice regular people can apply. Furthermore, her blend of story and science makes it an enjoyable read.
I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time by Laura Vanderkam
This book is a discussion topic among my like-minded friends as we relinquish guilt over how we balance our work and home time to reclaim the careers we enjoy. The author has a robust study that breaks away from the anecdotal and remorse-infused stories about sacrifices. I Know How She Does It proves that women don’t have to give up the things they really want to be successful on all fronts.
Everything Matters! by Ron Currie Jr.
I can pick up this book and turn to any page, read a paragraph, and cry (and I am not a crier). Currie's writing is some of the most beautiful I've ever experienced. Go out and read this book. I promise you won't be disappointed.
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
This was the first book I read that made me laugh out loud (granted this happened when I was sitting in a waiting room at a doctor’s office). Sedaris’s books become even more fun when you listen to the audiobook version where he’s reading his life. Hilarious, wonderfully true, and poignant—this book is a warm treat.
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Roy’s powerful novel about childhood and India feels like daggers being stabbed into your heart, chipping away at everything you thought you knew about society. It’s that sort of discomfort that I admire in writing. Her prose becomes even more powerful when you realize this is the only book she’s ever published.