I’ve added a book list because my passion for reading rivals my passion for beauty. The purpose of this list is to share books that I consider to be great reads, that have inspired me, taught me something new, and encouraged me to push my boundaries. I would like to encourage all of you to read more. As George R. R. Martin said, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies… The man who never reads lives only one.” Let’s choose to live a thousand lives.
Softening The Edge
by Mimi Nicklin
I am a huge fan of Mimi Nicklin and her “Empathy for Breakfast” show, and when I learned she was publishing a book, I was beyond excited.
Empathy is a subject close to my heart and I left my last job because it was nowhere to be found. I had been under such intense stress; I was unhappy and totally exhausted. The moment I felt I was drowning under corporate pressure, that the disconnection from the people I was reporting to was unbridgeable, and when I discovered I had no energy left to empathize with my team, I knew it was time to go. Unfortunately, the realization came too late; by that time, I had been diagnosed with burnout.
I have always been a big believer of empathy in leadership and being quite empathetic as a person, it has played an important part in my leadership style during my career.
It is so crucial to listen to your team and to understand each individual. I’ve always said that “When you are good to your people, they will be good to you. And that will reflect in their performance and in your bottom line.” Understand what your team needs, show kindness and compassion, make this a part of your business culture, and you will see how it will make the team thrive and your business grow. Remember, happy people perform better!
The better you are with people; the better people will be with you. The more you share and connect with them, the more they will share and connect with you. As Mimi says, “Put people above all else and everything will follow.”
Do you want to become a leader that brings meaning instead of only focusing on profit? Are you already that leader but don’t know how to balance the needs of the team with the needs of the business? Then this book is for you! If you want to do one positive thing for yourself today, buy this book right now.
I truly hope this book will inspire you to make empathy a part of your company culture. And with this, one person at a time, we will be able to close the big empathy gap and each of us will contribute to making the world a better place.
As Mimi would say, “After all, what’s stopping you?”
by Howard Schultz
This is a book I enjoyed from start to finish. Probably because I am so intrigued by Howard holding on to his values and never deviating from them, even when going through rough times. Cost cutting is crucial at times like this, and they did, by focusing on the right, relevant things for their partners, for their customers, for their shareholders, and for their brand. What’s so beautiful is that he never cut costs by compromising the healthcare he provided to his partners and their families. He continuously ignored the advice to cut back on healthcare expenses and he never gave in because he knew how important it is to take care of your people. You grow businesses together with your people, or “partners” as he calls them. He understands that the care, talent, and commitment of his partners towards their work and customers is what is needed to create the daily Starbucks experience. But all the cost cuts meant nothing unless all partners understood their personal responsibility to connect with customers and unless store managers felt personally accountable for operating profitable stores. What they created in-store is what carries the brand!
Engaging customer relationships is at the core of the business; therefore, customers need to be put at the center of the business. Their needs need to be addressed, value needs to be provided in a way that upholds the brand, and programs need to be developed to recognize and reward the most loyal customers.
Howard has shown an interest in trying new ways of looking at/improving the business; he has shown the positive impact of innovation. It’s truly inspiring to read! It makes you realize that we always need to keep dreaming big and then dreaming even bigger.
Also inspiring is Starbucks’ aim to be a leader in ethical coffee sourcing and sustainability. Reading about the Starbucks’ leadership conference in 2008, held in New Orleans, there was no way back for me from seeing Howard as a top leader. The reason behind choosing New Orleans and all the activities that were planned to support this city and its people is truly heartwarming and very touching. What an incredible man!
I so stand behind his beliefs: ‘’Great companies will be the ones that find a way to have and hold on to their values while chasing their profits.’’
Onward describes the fragile act of balancing, with heads held high and feet firmly planted in reality. That’s how they believed they would win. And did they win!
by Daniel H. Pink
Intrinsic or extrinsic motivation? What is it that drives you? Do you strive at work because of the bonuses that are linked to your achievements or is it the joy of what you’re doing that keeps you going every day?
Pink explains the short-term boost rewards can deliver, but how the effect wears off and how it reduces longer-term motivation to continue a project. People have other, higher drives. And these drives could benefit business if business leaders respected them. Enjoyment-based intrinsic motivation, namely how creative a person feels when working on a project, is the strongest and most extensive driver.
Of course, the starting point for any discussion of motivation in the workplace is that people have to earn a living. Those are baseline rewards that need to be adequate and fair. If not, the focus will be on the unfairness of the situation and the anxiety of the circumstances. In that case, you’ll have very little motivation at all. But once we’ve passed that threshold, extrinsic rewards can achieve exactly the opposite of their intended aims. They can transform an interesting task into a drudge. They can turn play into work. Tangible awards tend to have a substantially negative effect on intrinsic motivation. When institutions focus on the short term and opt for controlling people’s behavior, they do considerable long-term damage. Neglecting the ingredients of genuine motivation—autonomy, mastery, and purpose—limits what each of us can achieve. Extrinsic rewards can promote bad behavior, create addiction, and encourage short-term thinking at the expense of the long view.
Are you in a leadership position and do you believe that extrinsic rewards are motivating your team members and driving your results? Read this book and explore the positive impact intrinsic motivation will bring to your team and business. You can only come out winning!
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
by Eckhart Tolle
Are you at a point in your life where you aren’t happy, that you feel there must be more to it? Are you longing to live a fulfilling life? Eckart Tolle is the answer. With his spiritual approach, he teaches us to live in the moment and to live a more conscious life. To find your true self, it is important to distance yourself from your ego and to live in the NOW. I only recommend this book to those who are ready to take the next step in life and who are open to a more spiritual approach. If this isn’t you, then the book won’t make any difference to your life. If you want a change, go for it. Reading this book and listening to his podcasts with Oprah Winfrey on his other book, A New Earth, have changed my life completely. It didn’t happen overnight—it requires time, insight, and practice—but it was all so worth it. I hope you are ready for a life-changing moment and I, for sure, hope he can bring happiness into your life the way he brought it into mine.
Pause: Harnessing The Life Changing Power of Giving Yourself A Break
by Rachael O’Meara
As we live in a world where time is money, we tend to totally forget about ourselves. We forget how important it is to Pause from time to time. We get pushed by those around us, whether it’s our bosses, our colleagues, or our partners. We always need to deliver more; it never seems to be enough. We become tired, stressed, and even less productive, but still we keep going. We’re stuck between our professional and personal lives and don’t know how to find a balance. Are you living this live right now? If the answer is “yes,” I highly recommend reading this book. Rachael O’Meara shows you how important it is to slow down and how to do it. The book is backed up by medical evidence as well as by true stories about how people’s lives changed by ”just taking a Pause.” The only way to become happy and live a fulfilling life is by making it happen yourself. May this book help you find some time to breathe and enjoy the beauty of life.
Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
by Tony Hsieh
WOW! This is a real page turner. Don’t take success for granted. The tables can turn at any time. But let passion drive you and make sure you surround yourself with the right people: people with the same passion and people you can trust. Believe, “because anything is possible.” The most important lesson this book teaches is that company culture should be a priority. Get the company culture right and the rest will follow naturally. Happy employees make even happier customers. Let me do you a favor. Ask yourself this question: Do you work for a company that can publish a book about its culture with 100% honest feedback from their employees? If the answer is “no,” are you with that company because you lack substantial values yourself? I believe this is really something to think about.
by Charles Duhigg
We can all agree that it isn’t easy to form new habits, let alone change long-term “bad” ones. We try, we fail, we try again, we give up! The reason why might simply be that we don’t understand how and why we form those habits in the first place. Charles Duhigg has the answers. In The Power of Habit, he explains why habits exist and how they can be changed. He not only gives you the insight on how to lose weight and exercise more, but also shows us how businesses and people develop positive routines that make them productive and happy. I found it an unputdownable read and loved learning from all his extremely interesting anecdotes. Fascinating!
The New One Minute Manager
by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson
Your management style determines the success of your business. What kind of manager are you? Are you the tough boss with excellent business results but an unhappy team? Or are you the nice guy with a happy team but poor business performance? If you can position yourself in either of the categories above, then this book is a must-read for you. The authors describe perfectly how today’s effective leadership has become more of a side-by-side relationship. Lead with collaboration and let everyone contribute their talent. It’s the people in successful businesses that create the business’ success! Set clear goals; make clear what is most important to focus on. Praise people when they hit a target; building their confidence helps them succeed. Help people reach their full potential. Highlight their achievements! Re-direct; address their mistakes. People who are learning benefit from praise and encouragement from others. Care about people and care about results, because people and results are closely related.
by Lisa Nichols
Lisa Nichols has an incredible energy that can be felt throughout this book. It all begins with creating a clear vision, your vision for the future of your business. She inspires you to take action right away. She doesn’t leave much room for you to doubt. Action is what it’s all about if you want to live a life of abundance. She teaches you through visualization to live the life you’re dreaming of. She makes you understand that knowledge is the key to success, that it’s all about knowing more. She makes you realize that you need help, you need a team, because alone you won’t be able to achieve all this abundance. She makes it very clear that your quality of life is determined by the quality of your relationships. Surround yourself with those who inspire you to become the best possible version of yourself. Be grateful and be a person of high integrity. Are you at that point in your life where you want to start realizing your biggest dream? Do you want to create abundance right now? If yes, this book will give you the push you need to take action now, to have unwavering faith, and to create a purpose bigger than yourself. .
Live the Best Story of Your Life
by Bob Litwin
Live the Best Story of Your Life guides you on how to write the story of who you want to become in order to get what you want in life. This “New Story” has nothing to do with what you want; it’s really all about what you want to feel and be. We are all stuck in a routine or in beliefs we have been brought up with, which Litwin refers to as our “Old Story.” We have stories about everything. We might hold on to them because we’ve practiced them for years, we’ve become experts at them, and we believe we can’t change them. Be aware of what you want to change. Write it down and add the reasons why you believe things aren’t working at that level of your life. It’s often only in putting skepticism away and having blind faith that we experience shifts in our lives. Have faith in your own ability, your own dream, in the people around you. Visualize yourself behaving in the way you want to act and allow the incredible power of your imagination to do the work. Write gratitudes, it is invaluable to have a bag of appreciation for all that you have. When you write those gratitudes, you will begin to see things to be grateful for everywhere. Take one step at a time and focus. Focus on something, and you create happiness. During this whole process, don’t forget to be kind and supportive to yourself. Now it’s time, time to not only live your New Story, but to continue to live it day after day!
Jonathan Livingston Seagull
by Richard Bach
This is a small book, but its message is huge! It is a wonderful story about chasing dreams and, let’s be honest, what’s more beautiful than dreams turning into reality…
Each of us is, in truth, an unlimited idea of freedom. We have the freedom to be ourselves, our true selves. We’re free to go where we wish and to be who we are. So, put aside everything that limits you. Don’t let anything stand in your way.
To succeed you must begin by knowing that you have already arrived. Believe in yourself. Don’t be afraid of learning. Understand who you really are and begin to practice.
Never stop learning, practicing, and striving to understand more of that perfect invisible principle of all life: love. You have to practice and see the real person, the good in every single one, and help them see it in themselves.
Look with your understanding, find out what you already know. Don’t ever stop following your dreams just because others don’t believe in them. Dream as much as you want. Never give up dreaming and never stop working on making your dreams become reality!
The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph
by Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday describes a simple method of turning an obstacle into an opportunity. Many people panic or even stop when anything blocks their way. This is the easy way out, but it doesn’t get you anywhere. Why not see it as an opportunity to test yourself, to try something new, and, ultimately, to succeed? Sounds more exiting, right? Holiday explains the discipline of three crucial steps to overcome obstacles: “Perception, Action, and Will.” First, it’s about discipline in perception, controlling our reactions. Stop seeing the “problem” as a problem; learn to focus on what things really are and control your emotions. See the positive in every situation and focus on what you can change as that’s really where you can make a difference. Once you’ve come this far, it’s time to take action. Get up, get started, and keep moving because quitting isn’t an option. Persist in your efforts. Resist giving in to distraction, discouragement, or disorder. It’s unrealistic to imagine that you won’t face unpleasant situations, but that’s where your willpower comes in. Your will to continue. We can’t always choose what happens to us, but we can definitely choose how we react to it. And the best response? Amor fati, perseverance, determination, and self-control. Don’t let anything stand in your way – let the obstacle be your guide.
Surrounded by Idiots
by Thomas Erikson
This is a fabulous book about understanding how people function and why we often struggle to connect with each other. It is based on four personality types: Red, Yellow, Green, and Blue.
Your core values and your attitudes affect how you choose your behavior. Together they form your core behavior, the real person you want to be. Your core behavior is how you act in complete freedom, without the influence of any external factors at all. The people around you mostly see your moderated behavior, the behavior that others around you experience.
We continually affect one another in some way or other. The trick is to try to figure out what’s there, under the surface.
No matter what kind of behavior you have, most people you’re surrounded by will function differently from you. Erikson explains that you can’t base your method of communication on your own preferences. He shows that a good communicator is flexible and has the ability to interpret other people’s needs.
When we think someone is an idiot, is it really because of their faults or shortcomings or have we failed to understand them? Whatever judgment people make of you is the way they perceive you, regardless of what you meant or intended. It really is all about self-awareness.
This book is so entertaining. It made me laugh out loud many times through the real stories Erikson shares. You just can’t help that the names of people you know keep popping into your head. “She’s definitely a yellow and he’s definitely a green!” If you want to understand and influence the people around you, and if you want to ensure you aren’t the idiot, do read this book!
Talking to Strangers
by Malcolm Gladwell
This book had an enormous emotional impact on me and will resonate for a long time.
Somehow, we do know that we will never know anyone 100%, as everyone has their own secrets and their very own personality. Nevertheless, this book opened up a whole new reality for me.
It makes me look at the world differently, at people who I know so well and those who just pop up in my life. And I keep thinking ‘’Who are you? But who are you really?’’
The book also shows how extremely crucial communication is. It’s so easy to misread a situation or the true meaning behind someone’s words.
Talking to Strangers was a fascinating read, revealing the dark side of the world we live in and causing me to question so many things. ‘’Do I really know the people I’m surrounded with?’’
One of my favorite reads so far!
The Big Leap
by Gay Hendricks
A big part of my job is helping people find the “missing parts,” or gaps, to take their business to the next level. And, until now, in the majority of cases, it has been about placing the focus on the business owners or managers themselves, by finding their unique abilities. Performing the business audit involves many conversations, and it’s so exciting when I discover the client’s true potential or the leap they should take to grow their business to the next level! I then guide them to expand the areas in which they are exceptional. Their main focus should be on developing that part of themselves, to build it strongly and roll it out, because that’s what will help them and their business thrive as well as make them happy. That in return will bring abundance to all parts of their lives.
Allocating this individual potential, not only to take my clients’ businesses to the next level, but also to expand their own success and abundance, is so thrilling, each and every time.
Are you looking to discover what Hendrick calls your “Zone of Genius”? Read this book! It’s an inspiring read that will make you answer questions you probably never thought to ask yourself and explore parts of you that you never knew existed. It might be somewhat challenging to work your way through the book to find your “Zone of Genius,” but push yourself: the outcome will open up a whole new world for you. And, honestly, what could be better than a life filled with abundance, success, and love every single day?