From one lean in, learning junkie to another- my top reads from 2017 Part 2


From one lean in, learning junkie to another, a few posts ago I introduced you to my top 5 books from 2017 & briefly described what I learned & why you should read them too.


I shared books for your funny bone & for your heart. This week I’ll share books about how people work & (do or don’t) manage, books about learning, teams & business communication & strategy … there’s something for most everyone.


And I’ll share the books I’ve already set aside to read this year (she says with a gleeful, let me at ‘em, delicious delirium).


But first let me add another book to my top favs from last year. It’s Your Personality Explained: Exploring the Science of Identity by National Geographic. If you’re a person or you work with people or you know people, you’ve got to read it. Seriously. So good. Bite size morsels, easy to digest & chock a block full of tips to help you understand yourself & others.


Okay, on with the rest of my reads from 2017 (I shared the first batch in last week’s post).



Books about how people work & (do or don’t) manage

  1. The Body Keeps The Score: Brain, Mind & Body in the Healing of Trauma
  • Your brain on trauma & the anatomy of survival& paths to recovery including EMDR, Yoga, self-leadership (way cool), & other things based on neuroscience
  • Read if: you want some insight into how trauma affects us all & how to heal


  1. Quiet: the Power of Introverts in World that Can’t Stop Talking
  • Oh such much goodness in this book. Check out author Susan Cain’s TED talk
  • As an introvert who’s constantly mistaken for an extrovert I love this quote from the book: ‘Our culture made a virtue of living only as extroverts. We discouraged the inner journey, the quest for a center.’ Anais Nin
  • Read if: you’re an introvert or know an introvert


  1. Ready..Set..Change..Again – Take Control of Change Before IT Takes Control of You
  • I’m fascinated by theories of change – how to effect, provoke & prompt change & this little book is an easy to read overview of different models like:
  • Kurt Lewin’s model: unfreeze, change & refreeze
  • Kotter’s 8 step model: create urgency, form a power coalition, create a vision, communicate the vision, remove all obstacles, create short term wins build on the change & make it stick
  • Kubler-Ross’ model; denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance
  • Bridges’ transition model: ending, neutral zone & new beginning
  • D.K.A.R. model; awareness, design, knowledge, ability, reinforcement
  • C.A.R.F.: status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness, fairness
  • Read if: you want to manage & understand change processes better



Books about learning


  1. The One World Schoolhouse
  • By Saul Khan, the founder of the Khan Academy, writes a compelling book about how our education & our assumptions about education need to radically shift.
  • ‘…an even more basic question about the artificial boundaries of formal education. Why does ‘education’s stop at some point? Why isn’t it lifelong?’ Amen to that. Speaks to my heart & my head.
  • Read if: you’re curious about how to revamp & revitalize education

  1. Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends
  • Loved this one so much I gave it to my oldest kiddo for Christmas
  • ‘Most of us have up to 10 discreet interdependent social identities- identities. which are often in conflict’
  • The author digs up clues like ‘sleeping without a bedspread, charred paper, toy cards & pixie dust’ which ‘help decipher the meaning of quality in China.’ Now if that doesn’t get you curious I don’t know what will.
  • It’s a fascinating ride as you follow the author while he unravels mysteries by pulling together clues to come up with some pretty interesting ways to market products (don’t let the mention of marketing put you off, I figure any profession that can convince us to spend hard earned cash on things that will kill us, like cigarettes, really knows a lot about human behaviour overall)
  • Read if: you like anthropological mysteries (aka figuring out how people work) & you’re into big ideas & how small things can influence them



Books about teams


  1. The Secret Of Teams: What Great Team Know & Do
  • 3 pillars of great teams: selection, training & esprit de corps
  • Read if: you want to build on the assets of your team


  1. The Five Dysfunctions Of A Team
  • Easy to digest read which unravels 5 trouble spots for teams: absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, inattention to results
  • Read if: your team is driving you batty & you want to know why


  1. The Consultants Tool Kit; Facilitating Change, Performance Improvement Team Problem-Solving
  • Loads of activities based questionnaires, activities & guides for diagnosing & solving problems
  • Read if: you need some practical activities for your next team building, board retreat, staff meeting etc.


  1. The Systems Thinking Playbook: Exercise to Stretch & Build Learning & Systems Thinking Capabilities
  • Lots of interesting activities: I loved the ladder of inference & levers through which participants in a system can change the behavior of the system e.g. change the rules, add reinforcing processes, alter information flows, select a different time, change a perspective, enhance capacity for learning, improve dialogue
  • Read if: you need some inspiration & practical activities that are all geared to system thinking



Books about business communication & strategy


  1. Lessons Learned: Straight talk from the worlds to business leaders: Making Strategy Work
  • From Harvard Business Review (HBR), this little pocket book can easily be read during your lunch break
  • On the benefit of evidence based management “20 years of experience is not 20 years of experience. It’s one year of experience repeated 20 times.” Jeffrey Pfeffer, Stanford University
  • Read if: you need a quick guide to strategy & some how-to’s



  1. Virtual Collaboration – From HBR’s 20 minute manager
  • Communicating with virtual colleagues can feel like screaming into the wind. It takes much effort, but you’re still not sure you’re being heard. So make sure to ‘match the mode of communication with the content.’
  • Here is a sample recommendation: To decide which mode is best ask yourself 2 questions: what do you want the recipient to do after your communication? If you expect loads of questions or details, phone or video is best.
  • Or conversely if details & anticipated questions are few, try email text or messenger.
  • Read if: you want to get better at virtual meetings



  1. Get Momentum; How to Start When You’re Stuck
  • I love the authors acronym that they say we have a tendency to stuck with, which is WUTW (what used to work)
  • Instead the author focuses on 5 stages of momentum: motivation, mentors, milestones, monitor, modify
  • Read if: you need help getting unstuck



  1. The Hero And The Outlaw; Building Extraordinary Brands Through the Power of Archetypes
  • ‘We all love stories, & we need them. From fables to novels, from musical to advertising, we instinctively crave stories, which can provide the human context for forces that are often vast, ancient & abstract. Stories are the best teachers.’ Alex Kroll in the forward
  • Remember my missive about marketers? We can learn so much from that profession.
  • Read if: you want to delve into more about archetypes after reading The Hero Within; 6 Archetypes We Live By which was one of my top 5 reads from last year.



Like I mentioned in my first post, every year I pick a minimum of 12 books to read. I’ve already got mine lined up for this year which I’ll write about from time to time this year.


In the meantime enjoy the learning well © – whether it’s books for your soul, for your mind or your heart. Dig deep & inhale the lessons.


Thanks for (pun intended) reading. See you next week.



Annnnnnnd take action

  • Click on the 2 or 3 of your favourite sounding books above & pick 1 or 2 to read this coming year.
  • Check out my top five favs
  • Share a recent favourite read of yours



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