Once again, my end of year book list is a combination of old and new leadership and business books though admittedly one of my favourites this year is an evidence based hardcover found in the “personal development” category.
I’m delighted that there are not one but two Canadian authors, a bestselling academic, a Pulitzer winning journalist, a corporate executive and the curator of the world’s leading public speaking forum. I have also included what is on my bookshelf waiting for me to read in early 2017.
“The Power of Habit- Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business” by Charles Duhigg 2012
Duhigg’s most recent book “Smarter Faster Better” made one of my previous book list so now this 2012 New York Times bestseller is a standout on my 2016 list. Duhigg is a Pulitzer prize-winning New York Times investigative reporter so it is no surprise that all of his books are expertly researched and the story telling is top-notch. The Power of Habit is broken into three sections most notably the habits of individuals, successful organizations and societies. He takes us from a basic understanding of our habit loop to how to change our habits and this is all done with hundreds of telling examples. Make no mistake, this is not a self-help book. It is a great work of journalism, storytelling and readers will learn how habits and routines can bring out the best (and in some cases the worst) in individuals, organizations and our society as a whole.
Influence, the Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini 1984 revised 2007.
Cialdini opens the book by stating that he has been a “patsy” and “an easy mark for the pitches of peddlers, fundraisers and operators…” That may explain why a noted social psychologist and celebrated academic would write a landmark best-selling book on the topic of influence, compliance and persuasion. In his revised version he includes, at the end of each chapter, experiences of readers since its initial publication. Nice touch. Cialdini’s book has become a reference for anyone needing to persuade others and especially for those of us looking for ways to say no. As he outlines what he calls the weapons of influence”, namely reciprocation, commitment and consistency, social proof, liking, authority and scarcity, he includes in each of those chapters advice on how to recognize what is happening and say no. The examples and illustrations are somewhat dated though no less true today.
“Your Leadership Story” by Timothy J Tobin 2015.
The author, a vice president of global learning and leadership development at Marriott International argues that our own leadership story can serve as a powerful tool for learning. The book has numerous exercises to take you through a five step process around plot, characters, conflict, your theme and the setting for your leadership narrative. It also includes a number of questions for reflection as well as a series of tips that summarize the book. It’s a quick read at 142 pages however the exercises and reflections deepen the reader’s experience and help them write their leadership story.
“The Happiness Equation- Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything” by Neil Pasricha 2016.
A book on happiness although grounded in the most influential research on positive psychology should be fun and this one is fresh, funny and insightful. This Canadian’s take on being happy is shared through 9 secrets complete with hand drawn quirky illustrations and loaded with evidence-based advice. My kind of reading.
“Everyone's An Artist- How Creativity Gives You The Edge In Everything You Do” by Tite, Kavanaugh & Novais,2016.
Lead author and Canadian Ron Tite has just the background to argue why we all need to be more creative in our work and in our lives. He leads a content marketing agency in Toronto, was trained at the famous Second City Comedy Troup and is a creative and compelling speaker on the circuit today. You won’t find extensive notes or research at the back of this readable and humourous 250 pager. Tite starts by congratulating the reader for being an artist, and among other things urges you to be unrealistic and to “flip the flop” by highlighting well and lesser known mistakes from modern day business and great artists including Picasso and Van Gogh.
“Ted Talks- the official Ted guide to public speaking” by Chris Anderson 2016.
Everything from wardrobe to how to take an audience’s breath away whether in the meeting room or on the big stage. Given Anderson’s role as the curator of Ted Talks since 2001, examples are easily found on YouTube and really bring his stories and advice to life. This is a must read for anyone who presents.
My reading list for early 2017:
“People Shock-The Path to Profits When Customers Rule by (Canadian) Tema Frank 2016
“Words That Change Minds- Mastering the Language of Influence by (Canadian) Shelle Charvet 2012
“Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives” by Tim Harford 2016.