So many of the buzzy business/networking/productivity books start running together after a while, so that it’s hard to remember where you’ve heard an idea or a statistic for the first time.
Below are four books from which I know I learned something new, even upon rereading.
Three new-to-me books:
FINISH: give yourself the gift of done
By Jon Acuff
If you’re great at starting projects, but not so great at finishing them, this is the book for you (and you will finish reading it, too, because it coats its data-driven insights and highly-actionable prescriptions in a thick layer of funny).
PEAK: secrets from the new science of expertise
By Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool
You know that nugget popularized by Malcolm Gladwell a few years back about 10,000 hours of practice translating into expertise? Yeah… that’s not quite how it works. Anders Ericsson, the psychologist on whose work Gladwell relied for his writing, is the preeminent authority on how we acquire expertise and become better at what we do. He coined the phrase “deliberate practice.” In this book, his knowledge is laid out in an engaging fashion, and shows that people are capable of becoming so much better at their chosen thing than they ever thought they could.
BADASS YOUR BRAND: The Impatient Entrepreneur’s Guide to Turning Expertise into Profit
By Pia Silva
The subtitled says it all – this little book is brash, loud, impatient, and full of great insight about how to figure out what your authentic brand is, how you differentiate yourself from the competition, and how to build a business you actually enjoy running in keeping with that brand.
…and a reread:
THE CHECKLIST MANIFESTO: how to get things right
By Atul Gawande
The more complex our lives become, the easier it is for important things to fall through the cracks and for mistakes to happen. But in arenas such as healthcare, construction, law, and transportation, mistakes can have catastrophic consequences. Simply relying on humans to pay attention is not a recipe for success, especially when humans have so many spinning plates to keep track of. As Gawande shows in this book, the answer is not to penalize mistakes. The answer is learning from how and why mistakes happen, and correcting course accordingly. And often, once these lessons are learned, a simple checklist is enough to reduce the risk of disaster striking. An added bonus: Gawande’s writing is glorious, and the book is full of vivid, riveting stories.
Now it’s your turn: what books moved your needle this year?