- The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander. My third time reading this book, you would think I would tire of it. Yet it continues to inspire me. Written by an executive coach/family therapist and a conductor of the Boston Philharmonic, the Zanders draw from their respective worlds to illustrate life practices that will serve you. Here's what I wrote about the book after reading it the second time: "It's a great guidebook to living well. Full of personal stories, the authors give insight into the best of human nature. Take away: Change your mind, change your world. We have the ability to create different outcomes by shifting perspectives." Photo by Ugg Boy, Ugg Girl
Bottom line: Change starts with how we think about things. Read this book to start thinking differently. One other resource that relates to change:
- How to Make a New Year's Non-Resolution. In this blog post by Dan Pink, he highlights a new approach, based on scientific research, to creating personal change. A quote from the blog post: "Force yourself to view every individual choice as a commitment to all future choices. So instead of asking, “Do I want to eat this candy bar now?” (while lying to yourself that you won’t eat another candy bar all week), ask yourself, “Do I want the consequences of eating a candy bar every afternoon for the next year?” Intriguing, to say the least.
- 3 MPH: The Adventures of One Woman's Walk Around the World by Polly Letofsky. Letofsky's tagline is "Little Steps, Big Feat!" She walks the talk (literally) after having navigated on foot over 14,000 miles through 22 countries to encircle the globe and raise over $250,000 for breast cancer education. The book is not just about tackling a huge endeavor, step-by-step, but the author's keen insights into the best and worst of cultures around the world. In the process, she discovers more of what it means to be an American. This book had a paradoxical effect--it made me want to see more of the world AND appreciate exactly where I live today. Letofsky's journey will inform you of what's needed to achieve a big goal--a clear purpose, a little seredipity, a lot of chutzpah, continually following your instincts and putting one foot in front of the other. It also helps to stop and ask for directions.
Bottom line: Life-changing transformation comes from taking a life-changing trip. Read this book if 2012 is the year of your trip. Two other resources that relate to taking on new endeavors:
- Guitar Tricks for a Middle-Aged Dog. In this Wall Street Journal article, the author provides two crucial tips: Take baby steps and always target your weakest skills. Adult learning requires breaking things down into tiny steps and deliberate practice. A quote from the article: "[S]tudies show that we learn new information most efficiently if we spread our practice out rather than trying to cram it all into a short period."
- One Small Step Can Change Your Life by Robert Maurer. The main message from this small but powerful book: Avoid the lizard brain (the one that's driven by fear) by taking a step that feels doable. Then continuously stretch into the next step. For example, the author talks about standing on a treadmill as the first step to getting in shape. The next day, stretch into walking on the tread mill for a minute. The next day,...well, you get the idea. Bypass the fear and resistance that would typically be interjected into a big change by creating ridiculously small milestones.
- Great by Choice by Jim Collins and Morten Hansen. Let's face it. For many people, the last few years have not been easy, especially if you were running a business. In this new book, management guru Jim Collins and his collaborator Morten Hansen examine a critical question for all of us: "Why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not?" It's not just companies that should be interested in the answer. It's anyone who wants to manage their destiny. With his typical rigorous research (a third of the book is devoted to details on the research methodology), Collins and his co-author turn on its head who we typically think of as winners and losers. Risk-takers, fast movers and innovators aren't necessarily winners. People who hold back aren't necessarily losers. Winners aren't more lucky than losers. The book introduces concepts that I immediately was able to apply to my business, and which I've incorporated into my strategy for 2012. Photo by kevin dooley
Bottom line: Those who thrive in uncertain times are individuals who expect and prepare for the worst. Read this book if you want to manage uncertainty better in your life. Two other resources that relate to managing chaos and uncertainty:
- Watch this video of Pam Slim interviewing Jonathan Fields about his new book, Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance.
Have a book to recommend for the new year? Share in the comments below...