We are constantly being asked about what books we are reading and recommending. Here are a few of our favorites in no specific order that cover leadership, communication, self-growth and understanding. They are ideal stocking stuffers or gifts and we have included a little something for everyone.
In Focus, Psychologist and journalist Daniel Goleman, author of the #1 international bestseller Emotional Intelligence, offers a groundbreaking look at today’s scarcest resource and the secret to high performance and fulfillment: attention. Combining cutting-edge research with practical findings, Focus delves into the science of attention in all its varieties, presenting a long overdue discussion of this little-noticed and under-rated mental asset. In an era of unstoppable distractions, Goleman persuasively argues that now more than ever we must learn to sharpen focus if we are to survive in a complex world.
The key to success in life and business is to become a master at Conversational Intelligence. It’s not about how smart you are, but how open you are to learn new and effective powerful conversational rituals that prime the brain for trust, partnership, and mutual success. Author Judith Glaser presents a framework for knowing what kind of conversations trigger the lower, more primitive brain; and what activates higher-level intelligences such as trust, integrity, empathy, and good judgment.
In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown, a leading expert on shame, authenticity, and belonging, shares ten guideposts on the power of Wholehearted living—a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness.
Each day we face a barrage of images and messages from society and the media telling us who, what, and how we should be. We are led to believe that if we could only look perfect and lead perfect lives, we’d no longer feel inadequate. So most of us perform, please, and perfect, all the while thinking, “What if I can’t keep all of these balls in the air? Why isn’t everyone else working harder and living up to my expectations? What will people think if I fail or give up? When can I stop proving myself?” In her ten guideposts, Brown engages our minds, hearts, and spirits as she explores how we can cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, “No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough,” and to go to bed at night thinking, “Yes, I am sometimes afraid, but I am also brave. And, yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am worthy of love and belonging.”
Education expert Tony Wagner provides a powerful rationale for developing an innovation-driven economy. He explores what parents, teachers, and employers must do to develop the capacities of young people to become innovators. In profiling compelling young American innovators such as Kirk Phelps, product manager for Apple’s first iPhone, and Jodie Wu, who founded a company that builds bicycle-powered maize shellers in Tanzania, Wagner reveals how the adults in their lives nurtured their creativity and sparked their imaginations, while teaching them to learn from failures and persevere. Wagner identifies a pattern—a childhood of creative play leads to deep-seated interests, which in adolescence and adulthood blossom into a deeper purpose for career and life goals. Play, passion, and purpose: These are the forces that drive young innovators. Creating Innovators features its own innovative elements: more than sixty original videos that expand on key ideas in the book through interviews with young innovators, teachers, writers, CEOs, and entrepreneurs. The videos are embedded into the ebook edition in video-enabled eReaders and accessible in print edition via QR codes placed throughout the chapters.
According to the Leisure Studies Department at the University of Iowa, true leisure is “that place in which we realize our humanity.” If that’s true, argues Brigid Schulte, then we’re doing dangerously little realizing of our humanity. In Overwhelmed, Schulte, a staff writer for The Washington Post, asks: Are our brains, our partners, our culture, and our bosses making it impossible for us to experience anything but “contaminated time”? Overwhelmed is a map of the stresses that have ripped our leisure to shreds, and a look at how to put the pieces back together. Schulte speaks to neuroscientists, sociologists, and hundreds of working parents to tease out the factors contributing to our collective sense of being overwhelmed, seeking insights, answers, and inspiration. She investigates progressive offices trying to invent a new kind of workplace; she travels across Europe to get a sense of how other countries accommodate working parents; she finds younger couples who claim to have figured out an ideal division of chores, childcare, and meaningful paid work. Overwhelmed is the story of what she found out.
Of course we are biased; however, it wouldn’t feel right not to include our book!
As leaders or parents (or both), navigating difficult conversations is part of our job description. How do we keep calm and achieve a productive outcome, all while keeping our relationships intact? The secret is curiosity. It’s the innovation-driving, emotion-calming skill that comes so naturally to us as kids, but gets buried so easily beneath our busy, multitasking lifestyles. The good news is that we just have to relearn what we already know!
In “The Power of Curiosity”, we introduce the Curiosity Skills and a full, step-by-step process to use anytime, even in potentially challenging conversations arise. In “The Power of Curiosity”, you’ll learn:
- How to be fully present in every conversation, even when distractions abound
- The five listening choices you always have available to you, whether at home, work, or school
- Specific calming strategies to access when negative emotions run high
- A step-by-step process to transform potential conflict into relationship-building opportunities
Imagine approaching every conversation, even challenging conversations with a sense of calm and even excitement, confident you’ll achieve a win-win result and a stronger relationship than before. That’s the power of curiosity.
What are your favorite books to gift this holiday?