Most Christmas Reading Lists tell you about the books their authors recommend: “The best books I read this year” and all that.
This one is going to be different
It’s going to be different for one simple reason – I’ve read lamentably few books this year – I’ve just been too busy (new baby 13 months back, slipped disc 12 months back, new book out 5 months back, wedding 3 months back … you get the picture).
Interestingly, two of the books I did read this year were particularly good:
- Yes! 50 Secrets from the Science of Persuasion
- Boards That Make a Difference: A New Design for Leadership in Nonprofit and Public Organizations
So I am going to tell you about my pile
I have a pile of ten books I’d love to read over the holidays. I doubt I’ll read even a small number of them, so if you do, do use the comments to let me know what you think. Likewise, as I do read them, I’ll pop my assessments into comments, below this post.
- Back to the Drawing Board: Designing Corporate Boards for a Complex World
I am fascinated by governance – project, corporate and voluntary sector. I liked Boards that Make a Difference (see above) so much that, when I saw this in my local charity shop, I leapt on it.
- Getting Past No: Negotiating with Difficult People
I read “Getting to Yes” years ago and have been massively influenced by it in dealing with resistance to change. It’s time for a top up.
- The Power of Intuition: How to Use Your Gut Feelings to Make Better Decisions at Work
How people make decisions is a bit of a hobby with me and also vital to understanding how to influence them. Gary Klein is a leading thinker in this arena.
By now, my regular readers will know how interested I am in Positive Psychology. Csikszentmihaly’s earlier book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience is a classic. I was recently nudged into pulling this one off the shelf.
- Free Prize Inside: The Next Big Marketing Idea
I am a big fan of Seth Godin’s and have been, ever since I read his inspiring little book “The Dip: The Extraordinary Benefits of Knowing When to Quit (and When to Stick)“. Seth’s blog is a treasure trove of great ideas, and who can resist a title like this?
- 59 Seconds: Think a little, change a lot
Richard Wiseman’s blog and YouTube channel are excellent entertainment and very informative by turns. His earlier books, especially “Quirkology: The Curious Science Of Everyday Lives “, are great.
- Derren Brown’s Tricks of the Mind
I am researching a book on influencing (fingers crossed), so an excellent opportunity to find out how a master illusionist does some of his tricks. Kind of “NLP for the stage”.
- Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness
More on decision making and influence, and yes, this book was the next big thing in 2008. But I seemed to miss it then and, whilst I doubt there is as much new in here as the publicists say, it is on my must read list.
- Driving Change: The UPS Approach to Business
Another book I picked up second hand, and this is the one book on change I have in my pile. I am increasingly interested in learning from new sources and, to me, UPS is little more than a walk on part in a US drama!
- Ping: How to Tap into the Power of Traditional and Social Media to Massively Improve Your Profile and Profits
Finally, for professional development, is this little book, sent to me for review by the publisher. I promised I would, so I will. It promises to tell me how to integrate my PR blogs, twitter and LinkedIn, so if you notice changes in the New Year, you’ll know why.
All work and no play …
If you are interested in what I’d like to read for pleasure (and there’s no reason you should be except for curiosity, I guess), here’s the rest of my pile:
- Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic
I’ve become a bit of history junkie in my middle age – fiction and non-fiction. I loved Persian Fire: The First World Empire, Battle for the West, and I can’t wait to get myself Millennium: The End of the World and the Forging of Christendom.
- The Last Witchfinder
My wife saw it first in the bookshop but will that stop me? My book lover’s day-to-day calendar recommended it but I was grabbed by “her aunt’s style of scientific enquiry soon attracts the attention of the witchfinders” on the back. It’s set in 1688: what has changed?
- The Book Thief
This one means the most to me. A gift from a close friend to my wife, shortly before he died. “When Death tells a story, you really have to listen” it says on the cover of my wife’s edition. How could you not want to read it?
The “so what?”
Reading new stuff is one of life’s biggest pleasures. Read what you want, read what you can, read anything. It can all give you new ideas.