“Your thoughts are the blueprint of the life you are building one day at a time. When you learn to channel your thinking — both consciously and subconsciously — you create the conditions that make the achievement of your goals inevitable.” Benjamin Hardy, author of Willpower doesn't work.
The lists below are just my subjective recommendations to inspire pathways for your thoughts and learning. Since my own goal is to read about two books each month, the list will keep changing, so check back once in a while!
Books* - Leadership.
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, by Simon Sinek. Amid my favorite quotes: "People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it. If you talk about what you believe, you will attract those who believe what you believe.” A beautiful argument for inspiration as the more powerful and sustainable to affect our behavior. Sinek shows that the leaders who’ve had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way — the opposite of what everyone else does. This is The Golden Circle, a framework upon which organizations can build, movements can lead, and people can inspire and be inspired. It all starts with WHY. (See also this great TED talk.)
The Meaning Revolution: The power of transcendent leadership, by Fred Kofman. Currently serving as Advisor of Leadership at Google, Kofman offers inspiring, practical insight on how we can apply people-centered solutions for hard organizational problems. Every organization involved in work that is nonviolent and non-addictive has an "immortality project" at its core, Kofman says. And the challenge for leaders is to identify and expand on that core, to inspire all stakeholders to take part. You got to love and lean into your purpose. "When people do business from an enlightened perspective, there is no tension between material and spiritual pursuits." Lots of cool stories, anecdotes, quotes.
The Awakened Woman: Remembering and Reigniting our Sacred Dreams, by Tererai Trent. A very different leadership book, for sure. It’s for any and every woman who is holding back, who has lost her voice, who is staying silent because she doesn't know how to break her silence. It’s for women who have dreams and are afraid to start. And it’s for women seeking a greater sisterhood, a place deeply rooted in this earth where we already belong.
Dan Pink (once a former speech writer for Al Gore) has published books that are al noteworthy, but the ones standing out for me are When: The scientific secrets of perfect timing, which unlocks the scientific secrets to good timing to help us flourish - and yes, naps are in fact an excellent use of our time - and Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, which overturns the conventional wisdom about human motivation, bringing the focus home to our basic needs for meaning, autonomy, and safe spaces to grow.
Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist who won the Nobel Prize in economic science in 2002, is a profound, surprising and deliciously captivating exploration of human irrationality. How do make our choices and decisions? On what grounds and reasoning? What are the many cognitive biases as well as illusions that we unconsciously and immediately bring to our choices? And, ultimately, how do our choices inform our happiness…or do they? A fascinating deep-dive!
Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, by Adam Grant. One of the most lauded books in 2013 (“...[it] just might be the most important book of this young century,” Stanford professor Bob Sutton wrote), Give and Take remains a riveting, necessary deep-dive in the relationship between giving and success, all based on convincing research and fascinating anecdotes. I read it in 2013 and a full re-reading has been way worth it. Grant, a professor at Wharton, shows how givers are primed to succeed in a team-oriented, service-driven world, while also examining what holds them back. And it debunks the notion that nice folks finish last, once and for all.
Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, by Chip & Dan Heath explores one single question, Why is it so hard to make lasting changes in our companies, in our communities, and in our own lives? The primary obstacle, say the Heath brothers, is a conflict that’s built into our brains. More importantly, this fascinating narrative full of real-world examples and counter-intuitive research shows how we can effect transformative change within that tension. Switch shows that successful changes follow a pattern, a pattern you can use to make the changes that matter to you, whether your interest is in changing the world or changing your waistline.
On kindness by psychoanalyst Adam Phillips and historian Barbara Taylor is one of those gems of little books that you can keep returning to. Kindness has a fascinating background and etymology, for one. What is kindness? Does it make us happier? What really is its place in our world? One of my favorite quotes from this thoughtful and concise analysis of kindness in history, in life and in the modern world: "It is kind to be able to bear conflict, in oneself and others; It is kind, to oneself and others, to forego magic and sentimentality for reality; It is kind to see individuals as they are, rather than how we might want them to be; It is kind to care for people just as we find them."
Mind: A Journey to the Heart of Being Human by Dan Siegel asks profound questions into the nature of mind, energy, awareness, and information. It had me spinning with new possibilities and awareness. What is healthy mind in the first place? What if mind is nothing more nor less than “an emergent self-organizing process, both embodied and relational, that regulates energy and information flow within and among us.” What if mind extends beyond our physical selves? And what are the consequences for us as human beings? Read this, download Siegel’s Wheel of Awareness materials, and have fun.
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Here for a booklet I just wrote:
Our questions reveal who we are. With each question we ask, we create an energy that affects us. Some questions can wound us. Great questions are generous. Questions may render us vulnerable, they may be noble gifts. Beautiful questions lead us home. Beautiful questions allow us to go out in the world with authenticity and impact. They inspire our curiosity and awe.
But…there are no rules to questions. So how do you create the beautiful ones?
This 17-page illustrated booklet guides you to reclaim the art of asking questions. Read it, but question everything!
A recent reader review: “Wow! I am so touched by your insights and vulnerability! You have such a beautiful way of framing life. What questions have I not asked you that I should? I look forward to continuing this conversation.”
Podcasts I always return to:
Akimbo. A podcast about our culture and about how we can change it. About seeing what's happening and choosing to do something. With Seth Godin, a writer, a speaker and "an agent of change" with a deeply zen, contemplative approach. I love these podcasts for their calm, practical and radically clear message for all of us to “go make a ruckus.” And be ourselves.
Coaching for Leaders. If you don't have access to formal leadership development or aren't working directly with a leadership coach, podcast founder and host Dave Stachowiak has you covered. In each episode he interviews a guest with a passion for leadership and elicits practical tools so you can take action immediately.
On Being with Krista Tippett. Conversations leaning into the big questions of meaning in 21st century lives and endeavors — spiritual inquiry, science, social healing, and the arts. What does it mean to be human? How do we want to live? And who will we be to each other? Each week a new discovery about the immensity of our lives. I listen often to the unedited versions…they are long, at times messy, but also reveal deeper layers of thinking.
The Reboot Podcast. Entrepreneurs, CEO’s, and Startup Leaders discuss with host Jerry Colonna the emotional and psychological challenges they face daily as leaders. This one goes deep into the heart and soul, the wins and losses, the ups and downs of startup leadership.
The Unmistakable Creative. Insanely interesting people from every walk of life share their stories with Srinivas Rao, himself an unmistakably productive writer and creative. Guests have included authors, successful entrepreneurs, world class artists, social scientists, and people who are up to amazing things in the world.
Waking Up with Sam Harris. In a rigorous commitment to unpacking our truth as human beings, this podcast solely relies on the support of listeners and rejects all advertising. Without flinching, neuroscientist, philosopher, and best-selling author Harris explores some of the most important questions about the human mind, society, and current events with some of the greatest thinkers of our times. Nothing easy about these in-depth conversations, but oh, do they stir thought and renewed purpose.
Women to Watch. Within the space of her powerful multimedia platform inspiring and encouraging women to pursue leadership roles worldwide, Susan Rocco includes a podcast that tells “the real story behind the titles” of some of the most accomplished (and yet not always well-known) women in history.
10% Happier with Dan Harris. As an author, Dan Harris became famous through his skeptic, humorous, scientific and brutally candid, vulnerable investigation into the heart of meditation. The podcast invites the most respected teachers and scientists on the planet to further define a clear, simple approach to what is mindfulness and meditation.