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It’s the end of 2019 – which means it’s time to look back on the five best books I read this year.
Join me as I share the non-fiction reads that I applied, shared, learnt from and recommended the most over the last twelve months.
Did these books make it onto your best reads list for the year? Which of them are going into your future reading list?
A book all about how effort, and sticking with something, counts much more than any innate talent. This book made me realise how ‘un-gritty’ I am and (most importantly) what to do about it.
I loved the case studies and the fact that the key lesson isn’t about just working longer hours / ‘knuckling down’, but being smart with how you practice your skills and how to decide what to maintain and what to quit (yes, you can, and should, quit things sometimes).
Hear more on episode 46 – Grit by Angela Duckworth: How to dig in and get more done
Good to Great by Jim Collins
The title is a bit of a misnomer because a fundamental principle of this book is that good and great are not two points on the same spectrum, but instead two totally different approaches and mindsets.
It pairs nicely with Grit because to be ‘great’ you need to stay in your lane and focus on the core thing ‘you could be the best in the world at’ (your ‘hedgehog’).
Whilst a few of the ‘great’ companies included in the research haven’t stood the test of time (some of them proved themselves to be rather ‘bad’ around 2008), the concepts remain relevant.
Whether you run a business, or have a leadership role in one, if you find yourself distracted by ‘shiny objects’, this book will help you re-think your success factors and narrow down what you should be keeping your eyes on.
I’ll be sharing more about this book in a future podcast episode.
This is hands-down the book I have taken and applied the most lessons from. Ever. Despite its click-bait sounding title, this is a book packed with solid strategies and mindsets for getting your personal finances in order.
I personally put several methods in place immediately whilst reading the book; from splitting my savings accounts up from two accounts to nine, moving more money into my investing account, cancelling unnecessary subscriptions and looking at where I spend money to realign priorities.
I love that this isn’t another ‘DON’T BUY LATTES/AVOCADO ON TOAST’ book, and it talks about the fact that there’s no upper-limit on your potential earnings, but there is a lower limit on how much you can cut from spending. A great re-frame and forces a different focus on upping your income rather than cutting more and more expenses.
Hear more about this on episode 27 – I Will Teach You to Be Rich: Terrible title, great book
Quiet by Susan Cain
Whether you are an introvert who wants to understand yourself better, and why the Western-world is so anti-introvert, or an extrovert who wants to better understand and value your introverted family members/friends/colleagues, this book is a must-read.
My mind was blown at how introverts and extroverts are physically wired differently and their brains respond differently to different stimulants. It gave me a huge level of appreciation and empathy for those around me who seem to wilt at the very idea of talking to a crowd / going for a group dinner / facilitating an all day workshop.
The book does a great job at presenting the science and giving practical tips to introverts and extroverts alike about the values and benefits of having different styles, and how to better work together to get the most from everyone.
Find out the three big ideas from the book here on episode 40 – Quiet by Susan Cain: Why introverts should actually rule the world
When by Daniel Pink
Whilst this might sound like ‘yet another’ productivity book, it’s a different take on the usual prioritise this / time block that / use this tool / meditate / don’t touch Instagram in the morning jazz.
Daniel takes you through the fascinating science of WHEN you will operate best for different tasks depending on your chronotype (your biological preference of when you are at your best according to your circadian rhythms).
Cue scary stories of afternoon earnings calls resulting in more arguments and stock misquotations, ‘killing season’ in hospitals when a new intake of student doctors start and the alcohol-like effect on our brain if we’re doing the wrong tasks at the wrong time.
He also shares the recipe for a perfect nap, listen to episode 45 – When by Daniel H. Pink: How You’re Not Spending Your Day the Best Way to plan your own nappucino.
Two wild-cards that ALMOST made it into the top five (and I will include because it’s my podcast and I am in charge).
Tiger Woods Biography
What happens when you push a child into a sport and isolate them from the rest of the world. (Spoiler alert: it’s impressive but it’s not pretty).
Listen to more on this book here: 34 – Tiger Woods by Jeff Benedict & Armen Keteyian: The Cost of Being a Master
How Pixar became the powerhouse of industry-changing creativity it is, and the very intentional decisions made early on to develop and foster this culture.
I’ll talk about this one in a future episode.
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