From my early days reading “Choose your Own Adventure,” I’ve been in love with books.
Reading the right book at the right time can change your life. It certainly has for me many times over.
As the holidays approach, perhaps you’ll be lucky enough to find some downtime that you can devote to reading. Or, maybe you’ve got a reader on your shopping list.
The best way to discover great books is through recommendations. So, I thought I’d share with you a list of a few of the books that had a profound impact on me.
Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely
Traditional economics is built on the assumption that people are rational and will act to maximize self-interest. Dan Ariely, a professor at Duke University, reminds us through clever research and story-telling that human beings are anything but rational. As emotional creatures, we are highly irrational. But, as he shows, we are predictable in our irrationality. This book is a must read for those in leadership and HR. I’ve read this book a few times because the insights are so powerful (and useful).
Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott
This book is a master class in how to effectively interact with others. While the title mentions conversation (and there is plenty in there on this topic), it’s really a book about leadership. Susan Scott is a compelling storyteller. What makes this book so good is that it’s full of tools and mindsets that can be immediately extracted and put to use. I’ve had nearly every team I’ve lead throughout my career read this book together. It is that valuable.
Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink
Nobody likes being wrong, myself included. But, we should love discovering new truths that improve our thinking and help us see the world around us more clearly. Drive by Dan Pink is a book that did this for me. It challenged and broke down some really powerful beliefs I had about how people are motivated. Most fundamentally, the insights and research in the book completely changed how I viewed monetary rewards as incentives.
The Halo Effect….and Eight Other Business Delusions that Deceive Managers by Phil Rosenzweig
If you are a regular reader of business books, as I am, this is a must read. This book is one part business insights and one part lessons in logic. Phil Rosenzweig very cleverly takes on some of our most cited business books and illustrates how flaws in logic and research methodology are rampant within them. This book helped train my critical eye towards questioning the “research” cited in some of these books. It also helped me to recognize these flaws in my own practice and research.
What Color is Your Parachute by Richard Bolles
If you or someone you love is at a point in their career where they know they need a change but aren’t sure what to do next, this is the book the buy. About fifteen years ago, I was similarly stuck. My entrepreneurial plan hadn’t played out and I needed to find a job. But, despite being a trained recruiter who helped others with job searches successfully, I could not find my own path forward. This book provides a step by step process to identify and clarify your best next steps (and how to pursue them). I have recommended this book to dozens of people over the years. It works.
What books have changed your life?