As you turn the page and anticipate the busy final quarter of the year, it’s a good time to find some fresh stimulus in the form of reading.
Here are 5 must-read books for this season, covering how to be more connected in your personal and professional life, how to be more creative, and how to be much more intentional in your life as we pivot out of the pandemic.
2-Hour Cocktail Party: How to Build Big Relationships with Small Gatherings – Nick Gray
At a time when the loneliness epidemic is regularly in the news, this book offers a cheerful prescription of how to take control of your own social life. Gray is a 2-time successful entrepreneur and a student of social skills. He has a passion – maybe an obsession – for hosting cocktail parties to make friends, and he’s codified his system into this fun and readable book.
This book presents a step-by-step instruction set on which days are best to schedule the party, who to invite, what to say to people, the importance of name tags, and when and how to kick everyone out. He also shares specific case studies and clear scripts for what to say when it’s awkward, how to welcome the first guests, and how and why to stop your party mid-swing to do icebreakers.
Read this book and get inspired to host your own parties and welcome in some magic.
Ideaflow: The Only Business Metric That Matters – Jeremy Utley & Perry Klebahn
If one of your goals is to be more creative, you’ll find a lot to love in Ideaflow. It seeks to answer the question “where are great ideas born?” And, what can you do regularly to increase your own pipeline of good ideas?
Utley and Klebahn have a lot of experience exploring and ultimately answer that question through their years of teaching innovation, leadership, and entrepreneurship at Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (known as the d.school.)
You’ll learn what gets in the way of you having ideas and why you should generate a lot of ideas – way more than you think. You’ll see why you should mess things up on purpose and show your work regularly, even if it’s unfinished. If you’re a manager, you’ll learn how to upgrade the creativity of your team and build a sense of camaraderie while you do so. Most importantly, Utley and Klebahn give you a lot of permission to screw up and be playful, and with that attitude, it turns out that bad ideas sometimes are ultimately the most useful.
You’ll find a fresh inspiring take on how to improve your own idea flow.
When Women Lead: What They Achieve, Why They Succeed, and How We Can Learn from Them – Julia Boorstin
Julia Boorstin brings together the stories of 60 pretty impressive women business leaders including Gwyneth Paltrow (Goop,) Jenn Hyman (Rent-the-Runway), and Whitney Wolfe Herd (Bumble) along with new studies to shine a light on what it takes to succeed as a female professional.
Boorstin is CNBC’s Senior Media and Tech correspondent as well as the creator of the CNBC Disruptor 50 list. It’s no surprise that the book is meticulously reported!
When Women Lead is divided into three sections: How and Why Women Build Strong Companies; Fixing Problems; Creating New Patterns. Each section weaves the stories and the data together to tease out what these successful women have in common and how you can augment your own style by using these approaches. Boorstin shines a light on how characteristics such as empathy, adaptability, and generosity can be superpowers that you can use to chart your own successful strategy to get to the top.
You, Me, We: Why We All Need a Friend at Work – Morag Barrett, Eric Spencer, and Ruth Vesely
Relationships are the keys to a company’s success and to your career success, according to this new book by Morag Barrett, Eric Spencer, and Ruth Vesely. The authors are leaders of Skyeteam, a leadership consultancy. They’ve created a framework called the Ally Mindset: a model for how you can show up in the relationships that matter the most to you.
There are a lot of benefits to having close relationships at work, and Gallup research has popularized the importance specifically of having a “best friend at work.” Having this close connection makes you more effective, ensures that you experience more purpose and meaning in your work, and – surprisingly – helps you stay healthier.
But you can’t get the benefits of having a best friend at work unless you start with yourself and become a best friend at work. To show you the way to do this they’ve created a model called the Ally Mindset. The five principles are Abundance and generosity; Connection and compassion; Courage and vulnerability; Candor and debate; Action and accountability. These elements are all demonstrated with highly relatable stories and practical tools that you can use to increase your ability to connect. Your work-life will change in a major way.
The Future is Analog: How to Create a More Human World – David Sax
As tech becomes more embedded in the workplace, best-selling author David Sax is out with a new book exploring why the digital revolution we were all seeking – and unexpectedly came into reality during the pandemic – didn’t meet our expectations. And as it turns out, some of the digital substitutes (online school, remote work, zoom cocktail parties) might have stood in for a period of time, but ultimately are not sustainable.
Sax calls this work a manifesto, a call to arms to invest in the analog world right now. With anecdotes and research, he invites us all to reflect on the way we want to live – and where technology can augment that and where it actually gets in the way. Ultimately, he builds a case for being intentional with what you want to create in your life and how to do it. Good advice for all of us as we navigate an increasingly complex world.
I’ve learned a lot from all of these books, and I hope you’re able to incorporate one or more into your reading list this season.
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