What's on your Summer reading list this year? - Michelle Gibbings

With summer officially just around the corner it’s a great time to consider what books you want to read over your summer holiday.

I am one of those readers who tends to have a couple of books on the go at the same time; one which is purely for pleasure and one that’s good for my mind.

If you are regular reader of this blog, you’ll remember I provided a suggestion list last year too.  Here’s my suggestion list for the 2017 – 18 holiday period:

Non-Obvious: How to Think Different, Curate Ideas and Predict the Future, Rohit Bhargava

I was given a free copy of this book when I attended a course in the US this year.  I read it on the plane home in a few hours.  Every year, Rohit provides his predictions of key trends that often come from unlikely sources.  In doing this, he challenges us to think differently about the world around us.

For example, what unexpected insights can a holographic Holocaust survivor and a Japanese film about soy sauce offer us about career development? How do self-repairing airplane wings, touch-enabled “skinterface” tattoos and smart locks predict the next trillion-dollar industry? His point is that the answers to these questions may not be obvious.

 This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking, John Brockman and co

I first heard about this book, while I was reading Rohit’s book.  It provides snapshot scientific concepts that are designed to improve our cognitive toolkit. It does this by getting some of the world’s most influential thinkers to share thoughts across the frontiers of psychology, philosophy, economics, physics, and sociology.  For example, it features Daniel Kahneman on the focusing illusion and Richard Dawkins on experimentation.

Hillbilly Elergy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, J.D. Vance

Like most lovers of books I am in a book club, and this is the book that was chosen by someone in the group. I knew nothing about it and started the book assuming it was a work of fiction.  It’s not.

This auto-biography tells the tale of a former Marine and Yale Law School Graduate, who grew up in a poor Appalachian town.  The book is more than that as it offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class, becoming part memoir, part historical and social analysis, digging into the issues of class, culture, and the American dream.

Never Split the Difference – Negotiating if Your Life Depended on it, Chris Voss

This is a great book, which I stumbled across while looking for books on negotiating.  It is written by a former international hostage negotiator for the FBI, where he was the FBI’s lead international kidnapping negotiator.  This book offers fascinating insights into how negotiators think, sharing the skills that helped Chris succeed. He translates that world into the working world, sharing ideas on how you can use the skills he learned to better negotiate at work.

Everyone’s an Artist (Or at least they should be), Ron Tite and co

I heard Ron Tite speak when I was in the US this year.  He’s a comedian – and a very good one too!  The premise of the book is that creativity and creative thinking aren’t just important for business, they’re at the heart of scientific and medical advances, social and political improvement, and personal achievement.  He argues that connection, communication, imagination and originality are just as important as our ability to calculate and code (and I’d agree with that).  He suggests that being an artist doesn’t mean we all have to turn a slab of marble into the next Venus de Milo (phew!). What we can do is nurture sparks of creativity by doing what artists do. In this book, he (and his colleagues) share how artists’ habits, attitudes and behaviours can help you foster your own creativity, innovation, communication and problem solving.

Hannibal and Me: What History’s Greatest Military Strategist can Teach us About Success and failure, Andreas Kluth

I stumbled across this book in one of those book stores selling discounted books.  It was a random selection, and so worth it.  If you don’t know anything about the life of Hannibal, well he’s considered a bit of a legend as he was the Carthaginian general who crossed the Alps with his army in 218 B.C.E.   This book highlights the epic choices he and his opponents made-on the battlefield and in life, and considers what that means for success and failure in our lives.  The author also examines the decisions made by others, including Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Steve Jobs, Ernest Shackleton, and Paul Cézanne – all people who learned from their mistakes.

Ghost Empire, Richard Fidler

This book was given to my brother, Chris, for Christmas last year by my sister, and somehow it landed with me to read on the flight back to Melbourne from Brisbane.  Although, like all good books it was returned to the owner safely after being finished.  I loved this book.

Richard Fidler is an ABC journalist and in this book he recounts the story of his and his son’s visit to Istanbul.   As he shares that story, he delves into the history of the Byzantine Empire – centred around the legendary Constantinople.  Having known little about that region, I was fascinated to read about the clash of civilizations, the fall of empires, the rise of Christianity, and a whole lot more.  I even found out who introduced the fork to the western world!

Love to hear your suggestions as to what you would add to this list.

Here’s to summer days, with your feet up and reading a good book.

Happy reading!

Change happens. Make it work for you.

Michelle Gibbings is a change leadership and career expert and founder of Change Meridian.  Michelle works with global leaders and teams to help them get fit for the future of work. She is the Author of ‘Step Up: How to Build Your Influence at Work’.  For more information: www.michellegibbings.com or contact michelle@michellegibbings.com.

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