A Reading List for the Holidays

Dec. 15, 2016

In the Headlines
stacks of books

I remember dreading summer. There I was thinking that I would get away from learning and school and yet I knew that most hot summer afternoons were dedicated to forced reading. I was not one of those kids who loved to read. In fact, I hated it! Yet my mother forced me to sit and read. Every day she kept telling me how I had simply not found my favorite book yet. And there I was, dreaming of the nearby beach and of swimming with my friends.

Then one day, age 8 I think, I discovered a book on Greek myths. I was spellbound and I will be forever grateful to a half drill sergeant, half loving Italian Mom.

I read a lot for work now and I wish I had more time to read for pleasure. Here are four that I have enjoyed and that I think many others will too. They make a great read during the holidays and great gifts too!

Grit by Angela Duckworth - The idea behind the book is that a critical component of success is a person's ability to pick a goal keep at it. The idea is interesting and certainly something to reflect on, yet as always a simple trait does not define who we are and what we are capable of.

The Intention Experiment by Lynn Mc Taggart – looks at the step before setting goals and how important it is to manage the way we think. Lynn explores scientific research suggesting that thought generates its own energy and this can be harnessed to improve our lives as individuals and as a species (University of Arizona’s Dr. Schwartz is featured).  What is really exciting about this is that you can be part of a web-based experiment into the power of thinking aside from getting some really good advice on how to manage your own thinking.

Mind Change by Susan Greenfield - Greenfield is a neuroscientist researching how digital technologies are impacting us. Hard to fathom, yet our neurons might be changing in their chemistry and connectivity. It appears that that gaming impacts our chemistry in ways similar to gambling, while the abuse of social media limits the maturation of empathy and identity in digital natives. Fascinating if a little hard to read.

Polarity Management by Barry Johnson – this is the oldest book in the pick. Written originally in 1992, it is more relevant than ever. The idea is profoundly relevant today and extremely simple – our world is made of paradoxes (e.g. global vs local, profit vs value, short term vs long term). In this world, consensus can rarely be achieved, but mostly managed. The book offers some practical ideas on how to manage polarities and the paradoxes that come along with them. We use some of these tools when we teach leaders here at Eller Executive Education.

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