2020 was a mad year, I think we can all agree.
My madness extended past the global trash fire, to set myself a goal of reading one book a week. When I started in January, I had no idea that I would assisted in my crusade by being locked in my house for part of the challenge, with only Tiger King to keep my brain active, so… silver linings I suppose.
I get asked a lot about this challenge. So, I thought I would put together a short blog to explain my why and also give my list of recommends to others can go on their own journey.
As many of you know, I undertake annual challenges. My reason is primary the fact I get to immerse myself in a completely different world, have different conversations, learn new skills all while testing my ability to commit to something longer than a goldfish.
My challenges have included things like – running every day for a year and yoga everyday. I have given up chocolate and more recently meat, people often think the reason must be to get fit, or get skinny, or bendy or something physical. However, my biggest lessons have always been much more visceral.
My reading challenge taught me two main things:
My first and most challenging was my stopping my inner monologue that kept telling me that reading was wasting time.
It consistently told me I could have been finishing the washing, the dishes, going to the gym… anything else, but the fact I was sitting down and reading was neglecting my other duties.
It took me a long time to accept, it was not.
Correcting myself and my brain was a real exercise in consistent reinforcement. Reading a page and realising you hadn’t taken anything in, as you were reprimanding yourself for jobs not done was a steep and thankless learning curve.
Audiobooks vs Physical Books
I am the first person to tell you podcasts and audiobooks have changed the way I use my spare time, their entry into my life has fueled my appetite for knowledge, and as a person I believe I have grown exponentially because them.
However, this challenge taught me, although I can ingest more information through my ears, my retention of that information is far lower than when using my eyes. This might be different for others, but I definitely got more long term retention out of a ‘read’ book, than a ‘listened’ book.
Anyway, here is what you are after – some recommends based on the books I read in 2020.
For Business Development
Start with Why, Simon Sinek
In a sentence: In business, it doesn't matter what you do, it matters WHY you do it.
The Thank you Economy, Gary Vaynerchuk In a sentence: Business should be built on both the time-honoured techniques of listening to and appreciating customers.
Turn the Ship Around, L. David Marquet
In a sentence: First hand experience questioning, challenging, and testing basic leadership assumptions from take-control authority to give-control empowerment.
Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, Chip and Dan Heath
In a sentence: Change management tools to engage yourself and others by using patterns to make the adjustments that matter.
Who Killed Change, Ken Blanchard
In a sentence: A whodunnit murder mystery about who killed ‘a change’ in business, a quirky way of engaging and identifying suspects in your own organisation.
Legacy, James Kerr
In a sentence: Analysis of the All Blacks rugby team success and culture, with powerful and logical lessons for leadership and business.
For Being a Good Human
Daring Greatly, Brene Brown
In a sentence: Challenging us to embrace vulnerability and imperfection, to live wholeheartedly, and to courageously engage in our lives.
What I Know for Sure, Oprah Winfrey
In a sentence: An easy, joyous book that celebrates the appreciation of small things as much as big ones.