Leaders from Obama to Oprah invest in their own development through the power of books, Bill Gates famously reads 50 books a year (even taking specific ‘think week’ holidays dedicated to reading). But with over 20,000 new titles published annually in Australia alone, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the choices. If you’ve set yourself a reading habit for this year, here are seven titles to get you started.
If you want to expand your network
It’s Who You Know – Janine Garner
If the concept of networking makes your stomach turn, think again. ‘It’s Who You Know’ rethinks networking. Janine emphasises the overriding concept that it’s quality over quantity – going beyond the idea of spraying business cards at soulless networking events. She distils your network into the necessary ‘core four’ and twelve ‘key people’ to focus you on who you need, where, when and for what.
The book is both strategic and practical, with diagnostics and checklists (supplemented by the resources on Janine’s website) to help you determine who’s missing from your life, how to find them, and who to avoid in your inner-circle.
Quote: “A balanced, interconnected network enables diversity of learning, reduces bias in decision making, and increases opportunity for personal growth and opportunity.”
If you want less busy-ness
This no-nonsense book goes hard on our inability to focus on one thing at a time, and the opportunity cost on the quality of our work, health and relationships. The book focuses on the philosophy of doing less to do more (and do it better) by saying “no” gracefully.
Gary reminds us of the value of sleep and play and shares the importance of knowing your ‘hell yeah’ criteria for decision making. This book will help you maximise your freedom by minimising your choices.
Quote: “Make peace with the fact that saying “no” often requires trading popularity with respect”
If you want to get that promotion
What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There, Marshall Goldsmith
This book is the work of seasoned executive coach Marshall Goldsmith, who has seen it all when it comes to dysfunction, denial and delinquency. The book will shake you to the uncomfortable realisation that some of the habits and behaviours that have led to your current success, might not be the ones that will take you to the next level.
Quote: “Successful people become great leaders when they learn to shift the focus from themselves to others.”
If you want to worry less
The Courage to be Disliked, Ichiro Kishimi, Fumitake Koga
Through a dialogue shared between a youth and a wise man, the conventional wisdom-defying concepts of Adlerian psychology are explained and applied to everyday personal challenges.
If you suffer with the need to please others, imposter syndrome, the joy-thief of comparison or a tendency to attribute your current situation to your previous experiences then this book will provide a challenging alternative perspective.
Quote: “The courage to be happy also includes the courage to be disliked.”
If you want to start your own business
Employee to Entrepreneur, Steve Glaveski
Melbourne-based corporate-slave-turned-start-up-founder, Steve Glaveski, shares his story and advice in this one-stop handbook for first time entrepreneurs.
The book packs a practical punch – covering everything you need to kick-start your entrepreneurial journey. You’ll find chapters on finding your purpose, setting a healthy entrepreneurial mindset, funding models, idea validation, prototyping, sales and finding a team through to looking after yourself along the way.
Quote: “It’s time to stop just doing something and get busy being something. The world needs you.”
If you want to change your life
This book is the cornerstone for habit building – containing the best practices for solid, sustainable behaviour change. Using the cue – craving – response – reward model, James explores the internal and external success [or failure] factors of habit formation.
With examples throughout the book from business, career, health, fitness and relationships – you can easily relate the lessons to the lifestyle changes you want to create.
Quote: “Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become”
If you want to be a brave leader
Fierce Leadership, Susan Scott
Susan Scott goes deep on how to apply courage and bravery in leadership to stop the spread of apathy and acceptance of toxic behaviours.
From powerful feedback conversations to radical interview questions and painful self-reflection, the book is full of frameworks on how to step up as a leader and be known for doing the right thing.
Quote: ‘the biggest problems will be from the conversations you didn’t have’
Steph Clarke is a team performance facilitator and team coach based in Melbourne. She is the Host and Chief Bookworm of the Steph’s Business Bookshelf podcast, where she shares the three big ideas she’s learnt from the business books she’s read.