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Reading List September 23

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What I've read recently

Talent Makers: How the Best Organizations Win through Structured and Inclusive Hiring by Daniel Chait and Jon Stross

How happy are you with your hiring? If you wanted to improve your organization’s hiring, where would you start? This book’s approach to structured hiring provides strategies and tactics for a more systematic and strategic approach to hiring. Hiring well is really hard, and it’s intensely competitive. It’s impossible to know with absolute certainty whether someone will prove to be a great hire or not. What you’re hoping for is a consistent process that gives you a high probability of success and useful data that you can use to improve and adapt.


So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love by Cal Newport

This one was recommended by a coaching friend who asked me if I had read it with coaching in mind. This book challenges the now popular wisdom that the key to a successful and happy career is to follow your passion. Instead, Newport argues for a craftsman mindset. He argues for first mastering rare and valuable skills which will help you build up career capital. This career capital, if invested wisely, can then give you more control over what you do and how you do it, and allow you to act on a life-changing mission. By doing it in this order, you’re likely to have more success, and find work that you’re passionate about.


Imaginable: How to See the Future Coming and Feel Ready for Anything―Even Things That Seem Impossible Today by Jane McGonigal

Did you see the pandemic coming? Can you imagine a world where everyone has a personal AI assistant or clear skies are hard to find due to millions of drones? This is a fascinating book about the benefits of thinking like a futurist. Futurists know that the future is unpredictable, yet by imagining what might be, they’re often much more prepared for unexpected futures that come to life. What’s more, they can get involved in shaping the future or proactively making the best of an unexpected change. This book invites you to participate in varies thought exercises to stretch your imagination and start proactively looking for clues in the present of what futures may lie ahead. It’s a great book for exercising your creativity and imagination muscles, and some of the exercises/practices translate well to any organization that wants to be innovative.


The Advice Trap: Be Humble, Stay Curious & Change the Way You Lead Forever by Michael Bungay Stanier

This is a follow-up book to Stanier’s The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever. Building a coaching habit is about staying curious longer and rushing to advice-giving a little more slowly. Giving advice seems effective, and it feels natural, even expected, for folks in leadership positions. Yet it doesn’t work well for multiple reasons. In this book, Stanier focuses on how to be more coach like so that you can tame your advice monster, stay curious longer, and master your coaching habit.


The Next Level: What Insiders Know About Executive Success by Scott Eblin

When it comes to moving into a senior leadership position, what got you here won’t get you there. It’s a different role and some of the behaviors and mindsets that worked before no longer work. This book takes a deep dive into what behaviors and mindsets to drop and which to adopt. The theme is establishing an effective and sustainable executive presence which includes personal presence, team presence, and organizational presence. If you’re looking for specific and actionable ways to improve at the next level, this is a good read.  


Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

What do habits have to do with management? Potentially a lot! As managers, we want to we want to perform, and we want our teams to perform. When it comes to performance we often think of talent, experience, and motivation. Another powerful lever we can pull is improving systems and habits. This book offers a practical framework and “laws” for successfully building habits and systems. This can be of enormous value at work and outside of it.

Related Reading: Reading List April 2023

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