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Reading List April 2024

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reader under cherry blossom

What I've read recently

Being gritty is considered a virtue and for good reason. It is hard to do anything meaningful in life without the ability to persevere and overcome adversity. Quitting on the other hand is considered a vice, something to be avoided at all cost. Yet everything that you stick to is something else you’re not doing. Quit and grit are actually opposite sides of the same coin. Success is not just about being gritty in pursuit of what is worthwhile, it’s also about quitting pursuits that are no longer worthwhile. Additionally, what is worthwhile changes as we get new information and as we change. Yet we often stick to things too long for many reasons. Our time and attention are limited resources and the ability to strategically quit allows us to focus on what truly matters. While it may sound crazy, it’s time to give quitting the respect and admiration it deserves. This applies to goals, projects, jobs, relationships and so much more in life.  


Humans evolved to seek comfort. In a world of discomfort, having the drive to seek comfort helped us survive. There are plenty of folks that still live in a world of discomfort. But for many of us, we are surrounded by almost constant comfort. Deliberately seeking discomfort (safely) provides a lot of health and well-being benefits. It can literally work as an antidote to first world stress. After reading this book, I’ve gone out of my way to reconnect with feelings that we normally think of as negative: hunger, cold, and boredom. In the moment, it’s not fun, but it allows me to be less affected by discomfort and stress in general. Counter-intuitively, that allows me to enjoy life more. There are lots of simple ways to try this out for yourself. One you can play around with is to practice doing nothing the next time you’re in line or waiting for something. Deliberately leave your phone alone (or better yet, don’t even bring it with you) and experience boredom for a bit. Try this the next time you’re waiting at the doctor’s office. One of the first things you might notice is that you’re the only person there not on their phone.  


Team coaching is onetoone coaching on steroids. It’s exponentially more complex and challenging. It requires the same skills and knowledge as one-to-one coaching and then some. This is why it’s best practice to have two coaches present when coaching the entire team at once. This book reads more like a textbook, and I must admit I had to force myself at times to finish it. Now that I have a sense of the content, it will be a useful reference whenever dealing with team dynamics and/or performance. To provide a guide to team coaching, this book must go deep into the research on teams and performance. There’s value in this book for anyone working with a team in any capacity. Just don’t expect simple answers. One of the first things to understand is that teams are complex dynamic systems and there are few simple answers if any. If I had to share one take-away for coaches, team leaders, and team members, it’s that there’s value in teams having the capacity and capability to do their own reflection.  


As a software engineer, I never really thought of networking as a skill, let alone a useful skill. Yet it doesn’t take long in your career to realize that having strong relationships can be a real asset when you’re trying to accomplish anything that involves others. That could be getting buy in for a project, hiring, finding a new job, or finding a new client. I chose this book because I was looking for a networking book and it seemed to show up on most “best networking book” lists. While I don’t think I’ll adopt all the strategies and tactics in the book, one message that stood out to me is that building relationships doesn’t just happen. It takes effort, planning, skill, and time. It should go on your calendar just like any other project would. And even if you do have a deliberate plan, you can still make every encounter about making a genuine human connection

Related Reading: Reading List January 2024


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