The more we rely on technology to make us efficient, the fewer skills we have to confront the unexpected, says writer and entrepreneur Margaret Heffernan. In this Ted Talk she shares why we need less tech and more messy human skills like imagination, humility, bravery, to solve problems in business, government and life in an unpredictable age.
What’s the best way to get people to change their behaviour? In this funny and information-packed talk, psychologist Dan Ariely explores why we make bad decisions even when we know we shouldn’t and discusses a couple tricks that could get us to do the right thing (even if it’s for the wrong reason).
Looking to give the gift of inspiration this year?
Make sure you shop our ‘recommended‘ section where we have handily popped all of the best books to make your Christmas shopping that little bit easier. You’re welcome.
Everyday it seems like a sports team is on the field, court, pitch or in the pool. The great thing about sport, other than the healthy living skills you gain from taking part, is that it it can teach you lessons that go way beyond the rules of a game.
We have had a hunt around for sporting books that have been released this year so you, too, can learn and gain insights from the wonderful world of sport.
Just a note of warning: reading this may make you want to pop your running shoes on or ride your bike through France… or get that horse you’ve always dreamed about.
Sevens Heaven by Ben Ryan
This is the inspirational story of how one man changed a nation, how that nation changed the man and how together they made sporting history. It is late summer 2013. Ben Ryan, a red-haired, 40-something, spectacle-wearing Englishman, is given 20 minutes to decide whether he wants to coach Fiji’s rugby sevens team, with the aim of taking them to the nation’s first-ever Olympic medal. He has never been to Fiji. There has been no discussion of contracts or salary. But he knows that no one plays rugby like the men from these isolated Pacific islands, just as no one plays football like the kids from the Brazilian favelas, or no one runs as fast as the boys and girls from Jamaica’s boondocks. He knows too that no other rugby nation has so little (no money and no resources) only basic equipment and a long, sad history of losing its most gifted players to richer, greedier nations. Ryan says yes. And with that simple word he sets in motion an extraordinary journey that will encompass witchdoctors and interfering prime ministers, sun-smeared dawns and devastating cyclones, intense friendships and bitter rows, phone taps and wild nationwide parties. It will end in Rio with a performance that not only wins Olympic gold but reaches fresh heights for rugby union and makes Ben and his 12 players living legends back home.
Red Card by Ken Bensinger
The story of FIFA’s fall from grace has it all: power, betrayal, revenge, sports stars, hustlers, corruption, sex and phenomenal quantities of money, all set against exotic locales stretching from Caribbean beaches to the formal staterooms of the Kremlin and the sun-blasted streets of Doha, Qatar. In Red Card, investigative journalist Ken Bensinger takes a journey to FIFA’s dark heart. He introduces the flamboyant villains of the piece – the FIFA kingpins who flaunted their wealth in private jets and New York’s grandest skyscrapers – and the dogged team of American FBI and IRS agents, headed by Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who finally brought them to book. Providing fresh insights on a scandal which has gripped the world, he shows how greed and arrogance brought down the most powerful institution in sporting history. A wild, gritty, gripping, and at times blackly comic story, Red Card combines world-class journalism with the pace of a thriller.
Keep an eye out too as Red Card is set to become a major film produced by Pearl Street Films (the production company owned by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck).
My World by Peter Sagan
From 2015 to 2017, Peter Sagan achieved the seemingly impossible: he won three road race World Championships in a row, ensuring his entry into the history books as one of the greatest riders of all time. But to look at Peter’s record in isolation is to tell only a fraction of his story, because Peter doesn’t just win: he entertains. Every moment in the saddle is an opportunity to express his personality, and nobody else has succeeded in making elite cycling look so much fun. From no-hands wheelies on the slopes of Mont Ventoux to press conference mischief with clamouring journalists, Peter exudes a passion for the sport and a loveable desire to bring smiles to the faces of his fans. So, for the very first time, you will have the opportunity to glimpse behind the scenes of Peter’s world. You will discover the gruelling training programmes necessary for success, and how Peter copes with the pressure of high expectation. You will feel that sense of elation when crossing the line ahead of the pack, and moments of desperation, like in 2017 when Peter realised he wouldn’t be allowed to challenge for his sixth Tour de France green jersey. But what better tonic than to ensure a third year in rainbow – an achievement which may never be repeated again.
Range by David Epstein
Range is the ground-breaking and exhilarating exploration into how to be successful in the 21st Century, from David Epstein the acclaimed author of The Sports Gene. What if everything you have been taught about how to succeed in life was wrong? From the ‘10,000 hours rule’ to the power of Tiger parenting, we have been taught that success in any field requires early specialisation and many hours of deliberate practice. And, worse, that if you dabble or delay, you’ll never catch up with those who got a head start. This is completely wrong. In this landmark book, David Epstein shows that the way to excel is by sampling widely, gaining a breadth of experiences, taking detours, experimenting relentlessly, juggling many interests – in other words, by developing range. Studying the world’s most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors, and scientists Epstein discovered that in most fields – especially those that are complex and unpredictable – generalists, not specialists, are primed to excel. They are also more creative, more agile, and able to make connections their more specialised peers can’t see. Range proves that by spreading your knowledge across multiple domains is the key to success rather than deepening their knowledge in a single area. Provocative, rigorous, and engrossing, Range explains how to maintain the benefits of breadth, diverse experience and interdisciplinary thinking in a world that increasingly demands, hyper-specialisation.
Life as I know It by Michelle Payne
Ahem, technically this books wasn’t released this year, nor last, but this book is definitely worth a read so we’ve popped it in.
Michelle Payne rode into history as the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup. She and her 100-to-1 local horse Prince of Penzance took the international racing world by surprise but hers was no overnight success story. Michelle was first put on a horse aged four. At five years old her dream was to ride in the Melbourne Cup and win it. By seven she was doing track work. All of the ten Payne children learned to ride racehorses but Michelle has stayed the distance. She has ridden the miles, done the dawn training, fallen badly and each time got back on the horse. So when she declared that anyone who said women couldn’t compete in the industry could ‘get stuffed’, the nation stood up and cheered.
Michelle has the audacity to believe she can succeed against all the odds. Her story is about hope triumphing over adversity, and how resilience and character made a winner.
The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle
Okay, one more cheeky book that wasn’t released this year, nor is it a sporting book, but it does cover the topic of excellence, so we thought this earned a spot alongside the great books above.
Where does great culture come from? How do you build and sustain it in your group, or strengthen a culture that needs fixing?
In The Culture Code, Daniel Coyle goes inside some of the world’s most successful organisations—including the U.S. Navy’s SEAL Team Six, IDEO, and the San Antonio Spurs—and reveals what makes them tick. He demystifies the culture-building process by identifying three key skills that generate cohesion and cooperation, and explains how diverse groups learn to function with a single mind. Drawing on examples that range from Internet retailer Zappos to the comedy troupe Upright Citizens Brigade to a daring gang of jewel thieves, Coyle offers specific strategies that trigger learning, spark collaboration, build trust, and drive positive change. Coyle unearths helpful stories of failure that illustrate what not to do, troubleshoots common pitfalls, and shares advice about reforming a toxic culture. Combining leading-edge science, on-the-ground insights from world-class leaders, and practical ideas for action, The Culture Code offers a roadmap for creating an environment where innovation flourishes, problems get solved, and expectations are exceeded.
Culture is not something you are—it’s something you do. The Culture Code puts the power in your hands. No matter the size of your group or your goal, this book can teach you the principles of cultural chemistry that transform individuals into teams that can accomplish amazing things together.
Some Monday mornings you need a little reminder to get on with things. Here’s one of our fav quotes from the uber cool Michael Jordan to help you start your week off the right way.
Along with many other business across the globe, we’ve signed the Not Business As Usual pledge. Today, we are joining the millions of children around the world because we believe urgent and meaningful action needs to take place to ensure future generations can enjoy our planet too.
Science knows something that businesses don’t. In this highly popular Ted Talk career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don’t: Traditional rewards aren’t always as effective as we think. Be sure to listen for illuminating stories, and maybe, a way forward.
Continuing to develop your career can not only invigorate your passion for your chosen field but also help you get ahead if you are intending to climb the corporate ladder (or want to build your own ladder to climb). Sometimes to get ahead you need to extend and invest in yourself. Thankfully there are a plethora of books being released that all aim to help you extend yourself.
Make yourself a cup of something tasty and get comfy, these titles are bound to inspire you to take the next steps for your career.
The Third Door by Alex Banayan
The Third Door takes readers on an unprecedented adventure; from hacking Warren Buffett’s shareholders meeting to chasing Larry King through a grocery store to celebrating in a nightclub with Lady Gaga, as Alex Banayan travels from icon to icon, decoding their success. After remarkable one-on-one interviews with Bill Gates, Maya Angelou, Steve Wozniak, Jane Goodall, Larry King, Jessica Alba, Pitbull, Tim Ferriss, Quincy Jones, and many more, Alex discovered the one key they have in common – they all took the Third Door. Life, business, success is just like a nightclub. There are always three ways in. There’s the First Door – the main entrance, where ninety-nine percent of people wait in line, hoping to get in. The Second Door – the VIP entrance, where the billionaires and celebrities slip through. But what no one tells you is that there is always, always a the Third Door. It’s the entrance where you have to jump out of line, run down the alley, bang on the door a hundred times, climb over the dumpster, crack open the window, sneak through the kitchen – there’s always a way in. Whether it’s how Bill Gates sold his first piece of software or how Steven Spielberg became the youngest studio director in Hollywood history, they all took the Third Door.
Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk
In his 2009 international bestseller, Crush It!, Gary insisted that a vibrant personal brand was one of the primary paths to entrepreneurial success. In Crushing It!, Gary explains why that’s even more true today, offering his unique perspective on what has changed and what remains timeless. He also shares stories from other entrepreneurs who have grown wealthier-and not just financially – than they ever imagined possible by following Crush It! principles. The secret to their success (and Gary’s) has everything to do with their understanding of social media platforms and their willingness to do whatever it takes to make these tools work to their utmost potential. Crushing It! is a state-of-the-art guide to building your own path to professional and financial success, but it’s not about getting rich. It’s a blueprint for living life on your own terms.
Willpower Doesn’t Work by Benjamin Hardy
If you’re relying on willpower alone to help you lose weight, improve your relationships or achieve more at work, you’re doomed to fail. The environment around us is far too powerful, stimulating, addicting and stressful to overcome it through sheer determination. Willpower, grit, being positive – basically, all the tools you’ve been told are the keys to creating lasting change in your life – are insufficient in this high-paced, information-overloaded world we live in. The only way to stop just surviving and learn to truly thrive in today’s world is to proactively shape your environment. That’s the premise of Willpower Doesn’t Work, by organisational psychologist and Medium’s most-read self-help guru Benjamin Hardy. Building on copious existing research, as well as his own experience of growing up in a broken family afflicted by addiction and drug use, Hardy explains how people can change their lives on every level by making small, impactful changes in your environment.
When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink
Everyone knows that timing is everything. But we don’t know much about timing itself. Our lives are a never-ending stream of “when” decisions: when to start a business, schedule a class, get serious about a person. Yet we make those decisions based on intuition and guesswork.
Timing, it’s often assumed, is an art. In When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, Pink shows that timing is really a science.
Drawing on a rich trove of research from psychology, biology, and economics, Pink reveals how best to live, work, and succeed. How can we use the hidden patterns of the day to build the ideal schedule? Why do certain breaks dramatically improve student test scores? How can we turn a stumbling beginning into a fresh start? Why should we avoid going to the hospital in the afternoon? Why is singing in time with other people as good for you as exercise? And what is the ideal time to quit a job, switch careers, or get married? In When, Pink distills cutting-edge research and data on timing and synthesises them into a fascinating, readable narrative packed with irresistible stories and practical takeaways that give readers compelling insights into how we can live richer, more engaged lives.
The Alter Ego Effect by Todd Herman
There’s only one person in the way of you un-tapping your potential: You. There’s also one person who can move you out of the way so you can perform at your peak. That person is already inside you. You just need to unlock them. This other part of you is your Alter Ego. After twenty-one years of working with elite athletes, performers and leaders, Todd Herman has discovered how you can use your alter ego to achieve the seemingly impossible. It all clicked for Todd when he met Bo Jackson. When Herman met Bo Jackson, the professional athlete told him, “Bo Jackson never played a down of football in his entire life.” Bo explained that when he was young, he’d get into trouble because chaos caused by his anger issues. Then, he saw Friday the 13th and became fascinated by the cold, calculating nature of Jason Vorhees. In that moment, he resolved to stop being Bo Jackson, and start being Jason the moment he stepped on the field. In this transformative guide, Herman teaches you how to create and control an Alter Ego like Bo-and the thousands of other athletes, business leaders, entrepreneurs, and entertainers who have used this simple tool to change their lives. Herman also shares his own story: he knew that inside was a confident, self-assured, intelligent person who could help others get better results in their lives. When he started using superman’s classic trick-putting on a pair of glasses he learned to trigger the specific traits he needed to achieve his goals. The Alter Ego Effect is not about creating a false mask – it’s about finding the hero already inside you. It’s a proven way of overcoming the self-doubt, negativity, and insecurity that hold you back, and empowering you to ultimately become your best self.
Atomic Habits by James Clear
People think when you want to change your life, you need to think big. But world-renowned habits expert James Clear has discovered another way. He knows that real change comes from the compound effect of hundreds of small decisions – doing two push-ups a day, waking up five minutes early, or holding a single short phone call. He calls them atomic habits. In this ground-breaking book, Clears reveals exactly how these minuscule changes can grow into such life-altering outcomes. He uncovers a handful of simple life hacks (the forgotten art of Habit Stacking, the unexpected power of the Two Minute Rule, or the trick to entering the Goldilocks Zone), and delves into cutting-edge psychology and neuroscience to explain why they matter. Along the way, he tells inspiring stories of Olympic gold medalists, leading CEOs, and distinguished scientists who have used the science of tiny habits to stay productive, motivated, and happy. These small changes will have a revolutionary effect on your career, your relationships, and your life.
Continuing to develop your career can not only invigorate your passion for your chosen field but also help you get ahead if you are intending to climb the corporate ladder (or want to build your own ladder to climb).
Do you have a go-to leadership book you like to read?
It’s early Spring here in Melbourne which is a time of fresh starts for many. If your considering a little extra professional development to give your career a nudge then you’ll want to make sure you read the blog later this week where we’ll be sharing the top selling professional development books of 2019.
But for now, we have this little nugget for you. Happy Monday everyone!