Five books to inspire you this summer


recommended reading

I’m always reading or listening to something and so far this year there are five books that have really influenced my thinking. If you’re looking for something to read over the summer, here is a little overview of what I have enjoyed about them so you can get some inspiration for your bookshelf!

Happy Sexy Millionaire by Steven Bartlett

Recommended by my best friend, Advita Patel, during a Calm Edged Rebels podcast recording, Happy Sexy Millionaire: unexpected truths about fulfilment, love and success has some great quotes in it to help us remember what makes us feel truly fulfilled. You might not be familiar with Steven’s story, but it’s excellent if you want to explore the toxic nature of comparison and how he felt when he became a millionaire at 28.

Here are some of my favourite quotes:

“The only worthwhile comparison is you yesterday vs you today”

“Make your context smaller, healthier and more real”

“Social media has made perfect look normal so good has become disposable”

“If you go through life believing that your happiness is somewhere in the future it always will be. It never will be where you are now”

If you’d like to know more about Steven’s thinking, he also has a great podcast – The Diary of a CEO.

The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 move! I listened to Mel Robbins’ The 5 Second Rule: Transform your life, work and confidence with everyday courage on my walks earlier this year. I’m a big fan of Audible and books have kept me company on my walks in the last 14 months! If you’re looking for a technique to beat procrastination and get out of your own head, this is the book for you. Two things that stood out for me in the book:

  • I am using the tool to get moving. It’s helping me get my walks, exercise and movement in every day.
  • It’s not about the outcome. It’s not about what happens when I do the thing after I countdown, it’s about the fact I am moving forward towards my goals.

Mel also has some great TED talks, including How to stop screwing yourself over!

Obviously Awesome by April Dunford

Recommended to me by someone who read my book, Influential Internal Communication. They recommended Obviously Awesome: how to nail product positioning so customers get it, buy it, love it to me because they felt so strongly that my book needed to be read by all CEOs, and wanted to help me find ways to help position it in the right market to have the impact on business.

There are some good takeaways from it and if you’re running your own business it’s a nice read to help you think about positioning.

Here’s a video from April that summarises her thinking – Positioning Jujitsu: How to Win Against Powerful Competitors

Rebel Ideas by Matthew Syed

I don’t think I have shut up about Rebel Ideas: the power of thinking differently! I read it while I was camping in June and I have written reviews on it, been inspired to draw parallels from the stories in it to today and have made changes to some of the work I do with clients.

It’s the book everyone in business should read. It’s packed full of insights from our history as human beings, learnings from what we have done in the past, and current examples from organisations changing how they work. 

The story of Derek Black is a gem. It shows how people can change their minds, no matter how strong their beliefs. Listen to it or read it – it’s a must-read for 2021. I’d recommend buying it in print so you can highlight and tab – as I have done! 

If you’d like to know more about some of the key insights I took from this book, I wrote this blog to share my thoughts: The Pandemic Revolution

Trust Factor by Paul Zak

It might be a few years old, but I have enjoyed reading Trust Factor: the science of creating high performance companies by Paul J Zak. In the book, Paul references “freedom within a framework” and it’s one that I first heard from my Clubhouse co-moderator Jim Egan earlier this year too.

There are some great examples of leadership, trust, and how to create spaces for people to thrive.

As conversations around hybrid working continue, this is a great phrase to keep top of mind. I have been speaking at online events and on podcasts about this topic and giving people choice in a flexible framework is one of the best pieces of advice I can offer.

I talk about how “freedom in a framework is your friend” in this blog about How fear and culture will impact hybrid working.

For the rest of 2021 the following books are on my list:

Mistakes were made (but not by me) by Carole Tarvis and Elliot Aronson – apart from being an excellent title, this book looks at the neuroscience behind the difficulty of changing your mind and I reference it in this blog: Why we rush to fix before we understand.

Remote Work by Chris Dyer and Kim Shepherd – I am inspired to read this after recently talking at an Off The Page event run by Kogan Page with Chris about making flexible and hybrid work a reality.

The Great CEO Within by Matt Mochary – this book was recommended and has been on my list for a while as it looks at the challenges of the CEO role and offers solutions to common issues.

I’m sure there will be more as my audible library is constantly growing! What are you reading this summer?

If you’d like to chat about any of the topics covered in these books and how they affect your organisation, please get in touch.

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