5 Books to Lead You Through a Personal, Professional, or Environmental Crisis
Prepare to embrace your growth mindset
I despised reading when I was growing up. Every book I read that wasn't Harry Potter or Goosebumps seemed like a chore. It was tough to focus, and I had to read sentences two or three times just to derive the meaning. However, in 2016 I decided that I wanted to grow professionally, and so I started listening to podcasts, which led into interesting stores, new subjects, and book recommendations. This quickly evolved into a passion that I have capitalized on in the recent years, and my desire for professional development has led me down a road of much more. Every book in this list has helped shape my personal life, and in turn, has played a role in my professional development. I hope they do for you what they have done for me.
With the state of the world today, it seems like now would be a great time to get into reading or start reading again. So here is a list of five books I have read or re-read this year that I would recommend to anyone who is seeking to further their personal and professional development:
1. Essentialism by Greg McKeown
Greg McKeown is a man who once left the hospital where his newborn baby and wife lay to attend a client meeting that, at the time, seemed extremely important. That was the trigger for him to take a step back and evaluate the essential aspects of his life, and he explains the mentality behind such in his book Essentialism.
This book helps put into perspective the difference between those that want to do it all and those that want to do it great. My paradigm shifted immensely after reading this book, and it has provided some extra direction in my professional life. Actually, this book is the sole reason that my professional aspirations have changed. It gives you the much needed step back from your busy day-to-day and take stock in the essential aspects of your happiness.
2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
This book is just a brilliant work of art. If you have any desire to not only be a better leader, but a better person to those in your life, give this book a read. It discusses the 7 Habits as a framework to shift your mentality in every aspect to one that helps you become a better, more effective, person. This is not a simple do-this-then-that book. It is seriously a foundation upon which one can establish their life, and its benefits span into your professional career in many ways.
Although this book was originally written in 1989, its teachings are timeless. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a book that I will continue to read, time and time again, for the rest of my life as I look to continue to grow.
3. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
Yes, this book has a pretty forward name. The artist's style is not my favorite, and the beginning of this book is rather F-bomb heavy so I would not recommend reading this one aloud to your children; however, the message behind this book is one every human on this earth should experience. It talks about happiness and appreciating what you have.
The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one's negative experience is itself a positive experience. - Mark Manson
In essence, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is more about living life for what it is, not trying to control that which you cannot, and being grateful for the life you have. You only have so many f*cks to give, so spend them on the things that really matter.
4. Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg
This is a great book on leadership and management, and his teachings helped me broaden my horizon when it came to the why in decision-making. Charles goes into the benefits of forecasting, or planning out the limitless scenarios in your mind so that whenever one becomes reality, you are prepared. He talks about SMART goals and why they are so effective when paired with Stretch goals. He also talks about the proven benefits of giving decision-making to those closest to the problem.
Every topic of discussion is met with a great story explaining the why. Smarter Faster Better is a great resource for those who are looking to manage or build high-performing teams that provide purpose and loyalty. Whether you have hundreds of people who report to you or whether you are just now getting into leadership, I highly suggest giving this book a read.
5. Make Time by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky
Make Time is about exactly what the name is: Making Time. Both Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky are former Google Ventures employees who have a stark desire to analyze and improve processes. Interestingly enough, they turned this passion into a spotlight and pointed it directly on themselves in hopes to become more effective and efficient with their time for the things that matter. With the world's current state, and with many people working in a new environment, getting the most out of your time and learning to focus time on the things that really matter is something anyone can benefit from.
Make Time is a fun read, and it includes stories from both Jake and John where they go into how each tip or step works for them. Since every person is different, this really helps put things into perspective when you are reading it in hopes to apply it to your own life. So sit back with some coffee, a pen and paper to take notes on, and give this book a read. I promise you won't regret it.
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