April 12, 2020

COVID Special Edition: Books for unusual times

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We are living in a strange time, one that will be written about, analysed, reflected on and remembered for decades. And everyone’s experience of it is so very different – whilst some are struggling with loneliness or financial insecurity, others are seeing the opportunities that come from adapting and embracing some new ways of working.

Whilst pushing us physically apart, it’s also unifying people – with many people commenting on how they are connecting more with the people who matter most, albeit in a different way.

This week, I’m taking a little break from the usual big ideas from one book and bringing you a little special episode talking about some of the books that I feel are fitting reads for this period in history.

Some of these are books I’ve already talked about on the podcast, others are ones still on the ‘to be recorded’ pile, but all of them will take on a slightly different meaning when read in the context of COVID and everything that comes with it.


Priya Parker on how to gather well remotely https://www.instagram.com/tv/B-iOI_BpUaP/?igshid=1cq12mbxo82fk

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl (4:22) – whilst we can’t compare Viktor’s experiences as a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps during World War II with what’s happening today, there’s a lot to be taken from his reflections and lessons. During this time he identified his purpose in life and used this to guide and provide comfort to his unimaginable experiences.

Buy the Book from The Book Depository - https://www.bookdepository.com/Mans-Search-For-Meaning-Viktor-E-Frankl/9781846041242/?a_aid=stephsbookshelf 

Essentialism by Greg McKeown (6:00) – A book about productivity.  By thinking more closely about what is essential, we are able to regain control of our own choices and priorities.  As many people are reporting a productivity increase as a result of working from home, this book will be food for thought as we look to redesign work ‘post COVID’ and where we channel our time, energy and effort to make the most impact on the elements of our life and work that matter the most.

Listen to this episode - https://www.stephsbusinessbookshelf.com/essentialism-by-greg-mckeown/ 

The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker (8:07) – The way we gather matters just as much virtually is as it does in person, so we need to get it right.  Whatever the gathering or the format, it needs to have a purpose; why are we there? Who do we need to gather with? How do we need to gather better? How do we need to gather more… or less?  This book invites you to take a longer look at your role as a host and reimagine what gatherings can be.

Listen to this episode - https://www.stephsbusinessbookshelf.com/art-of-gathering-by-priya-parker/ 

Lost Connections by Johann Hari (10:23) – This book is about mental health and how what appears to be depression, may actually be loneliness caused by the function of the way we live. Given the loneliness pandemic that could run alongside the COVID pandemic, it’s an interesting book to revisit when thinking about redesigning the way we live, connect and operate as a society after this pandemic is over. 

Listen to this episode - https://www.stephsbusinessbookshelf.com/lost-connections-by-johann-hari/


Other Recommended Books

Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle is the Way

Buy the Book from The Book Depository - https://www.bookdepository.com/The-Obstacle-is-the-Way/9781781251492/?a_aid=stephsbookshelf 

Bad Science by Ben Goldacre

Buy the Book from The Book Depository - https://www.bookdepository.com/Bad-Science/9780007284870/?a_aid=stephsbookshelf


Music By: Teenage Dream Song by Curtis Cole

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LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/steph-clarke

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