I came to the end of 2018 feeling incredibly blessed and excited to have the opportunity to end another year. Although life was hectic with constantly having to juggle my two babies (an 8 year old boy and a 2-year-old girl) and work, I stuck to my goal of carving out reading time as part of prioritising myself and enjoying “me time”. I read some great books and its probably the first time in a long while that I’ve read from a wide genre of books. It is an eclectic list but I hope you find them interesting and that they make it to your own reading list this year.
Becoming, By Michelle Obama
I loved becoming so much that I wrote a whole review of it for the Yorkshire Post. I was initially not going to buy this book because arrogantly I thought I already knew the Obama’s and their story and everything else was hyped for book sales. I could not be more wrong. The book has been a complete revelation. It shares candid behind the scenes stories of the Obamas' life before becoming public figures. It takes you through their pre-political careers, life in frontline politics and finally leaving the White House at the end of an eight-year tenure in office. The memoir validated my own journey as a working mum and all the challenges and scrutiny you face when you dare to be bold and to use your voice to champion issues that matter to you. I laughed, I felt tearful and rejoiced as I read her memoir. Her honesty about their home life, their worries about childcare, being saddled with student debt, juggling work and family life, the struggles of sharing your life with a partner who is just as ambitious and invested in their work were a real revelation and refreshing to read. I could relate to every single one of those challenges.
The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
I’ve been on a crusade about the ONE thing since reading it. My sister was reading it so I thought well why not find out what it is all about. I have completely changed how I work on the basis of the strategies shared in this book. I believe I’m more focused and purposeful in how I spend my time now and I attribute this to my focus on my ONE thing. I’ve recommended it to all my friends and family and I hope you find it as transformative as I did.
Nonviolent Communication: Create Your Life, Your Relationships, and Your World in Harmony with Your Values, by Marshall Rosenberg PhD
Communication is a skill that few people have mastered. I see myself as a life long student of this book and its approach. The strategies in the book help you to resolve difficult issues and to discuss divisive topics without confrontation. I use it on my children, my husband in with my team. We managed to resolve some team challenges by using a print out of the framework.
Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenry, Ron Mcmillian, Al Switzler
This book was recommended by Executive Coach and Author Jacqui Harper when discussing some challenges I was facing with a client.
A fantastic one for those that need to have high stake conversations with people who might yield some power and influence. It gives some practices strategies for negotiating through any difficult situations at work in order to reach a win-win solution for all.
Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman, By Yvon Chouinard
This is one of my favourite books of all time. The author, Yvon Chouinard is an American rock climber, environmentalist, and outdoor industry billionaire businessman whose vision includes using business as a force for positive change. In 1983, When Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia’s iconic founder, and his wife Malinda started their business, their employees were friends and family and they wanted to support them as they started their families. So they started a crèche for their staff. The child care program was not put in place to fight the war for talent, or because its executives wanted to fix the leaky pipeline of women leaving before reaching senior management levels. The solution was not to fix a problem but to respond to what humans need, including a place to nurse new-borns, and later, to provide safe and stimulating childcare. The results three decades later are not surprising: 100% of the women who have had children at Patagonia over the past five years have returned to work. About 50% of managers are women, and 50% of the company’s senior leaders are women. I love this book because it validates my belief that you can still be successful whilst doing good.
Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh
This is another book by an entrepreneur with a focus on people and happiness. How does one turn a shoe retail business into one that transforms the lives of its staff? Retail is known to be a tough industry but Tony demonstrates that anything is achievable with the right mindset and with the right team. There are some great ideas in there for both entrepreneurs and the seasoned corporate leaders.
Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well, Douglas Stone, Sheila Heen
This is yet another recommendation from Executive Coach and Author Jacqui Harper. Feedback is always difficult to receive but almost always it has a gift in it for us if we are open to receiving it. I’ve recommended this book to my team and I’m constantly learning how to receive and give feedback as objectively and positively as possible.
Why I’m no longer talking to white about race, Reni Eddo-Lodge
This book is a revelation on the issues of race and how our biases are so ingrained that we do not always realise the privileges we enjoy. The book started as a blog that went viral and I would really recommend that every single person who wants to be more conscious of our bias and its impact on others reads this book. I most certainly must be a must-read for leaders, diversity and inclusion teams and HR managers.
Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization by Dave Logan, Halee Fischer-Wright, and John King
There are many tribes in our communities and in our workplaces. These tribes and the leaders that head them determine what the values and cultures are and have an impact on the experiences we all have at work. This book was recommended by Tony Heish (Delivering Happiness) as he claims his approach to leading teams and growing his business although initially intuitive is validated by the principles shared in this book and wishes he could have been involved when it was being researched and written.
Remote: Office Not Required, Book by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried
The authors of this book also authored another of my favourite books REWORK which I recommend last year - HERE.
This book explains the benefits of remote working. I’ve always hated dressing up, the daily commute only to turn up and work from the same desk but somehow as I grew my team I ended up with an office and a desk and the need to turn up every day and work from my allocated desk! This year, I’m exploring a new way of working was excited to see this book. It shares some great ideas of how we (employers and employees) can all reap the full benefits of remote working. It’s a quick read but you’ll gain a new perspective on the value of remote working and its rise as the future of work.
The 5 languages of love by Gary Chapman
I did not want to add this book to the reading list because it's about love :). I decided to in the end because it really helped my husband and me and I thought it would be selfish if I just kept it all to myself.
We all know that our successes at work are interlinked to the quality of our relationship with our significant others so it makes sense that as we all strive to be more this year that we spend some time working on our relationships with our significant others. As you may have guessed from the title, it is about communication and love languages and how our personal preferences affect what we value and expect from our partners. This book comes with an online test as well. Take it and share it with your partner. I’m intrigued to know what you thought about the book.
What the Heck Is EOS? A Complete Guide for Employees in Companies, Book by Gino Wickman and Tom Bouwer
I was complaining to a friend, Mr Scott Riley over lunch about the challenges of running a small business when he encouraged me to consider the EOS approach. He had just made partner at PKF the accountants and he couldn’t stop raving about how fantastic the EOS approach was to their well being and growth as a firm. I turned up to my office the next day to a surprise delivery from Scott (I was so impressed!) which was two copies of this book and abridged version and a more detailed version. Its provided a framework for planning and structuring my businesses so you are focussed on all the right areas. I’ve implemented some of the approaches and I look forward to adopting more of the EOS approach this year.
Have you already read any of these books?
What books transformed your year?
What books would you recommend I read in 2019?
How have you carved out time to fit in the things that matter to you in 2019?
Please leave a comment or share this article if any of the books resonated with you.
I'd love to hear from you.