The following is a short (thus certainly not exhaustive) list of books that have the potential to transform our lives. They deal with a wide variety of subjects, and I haven’t arranged them in any particular order, but they have this in common: they will stretch our perspectives on ourselves and our world.
If you are in the Chiang Mai, Thailand area, I am currently organizing a “Chiang Mai Book Club” via a Facebook page (called Chiang Mai Book Club) and Meetup Group (Chiang Mai Book Club Meetup). Please join us in choosing a book and meeting for discussion.
All books are available digitally through Amazon.com, from where the descriptions are mostly taken. The page counts are estimates, as they will vary depending on format (digital, hardcover, paperback, etc.)
- Heath, Chip and Dan. Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work
- Kleon, Austin, Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
- Carse, James P., Finite and Infinite Games: A Vision of Life as Play and Possibility
- Morgan and Barden, A Beautiful Constraint: How To Transform Your Limitations Into Advantages, and Why It’s Everyone’s Business
- Zander and Zander, The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life
- Hyde, Lewis, The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World
- Pressfield, Steven. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
- Pink, Daniel H. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
- Duhigg, Charles. Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity
- Duhigg The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
- Covey, Stephen R. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
- Covey, Stephen M.R. The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything
- Achor, The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that Fuel Success and Performance at Work
- Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life
- Duckworth, Angela. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
- Heath, Chip and Dan Heath. Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard
- Little, Brian R. Me, Myself, and Us: The Science of Personality and the Art of Well-Being
- Dweck, Carol S. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
- Tavris, Carol and Elliot Aronson. Mistakes Were Made (but not by me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts
- Grant, Adam. Originals: How non-Conformists Move the World
- Hoffer, Eric. The True Believer
- Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People
Chip and Dan Heath, Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work
Chip and Dan Heath, the bestselling authors of Switch and Made to Stick, tackle one of the most critical topics in our work and personal lives: how to make better decisions.
Research in psychology has revealed that our decisions are disrupted by an array of biases and irrationalities: We’re overconfident. We seek out information that supports us and downplay information that doesn’t. We get distracted by short-term emotions. When it comes to making choices, it seems, our brains are flawed instruments. Unfortunately, merely being aware of these shortcomings doesn’t fix the problem, any more than knowing that we are nearsighted helps us to see. The real question is: How can we do better?
In Decisive, the Heaths, based on an exhaustive study of the decision-making literature, introduce a four-step process designed to counteract these biases. Written in an engaging and compulsively readable style, Decisive takes readers on an unforgettable journey, from a rock star’s ingenious decision-making trick to a CEO’s disastrous acquisition, to a single question that can often resolve thorny personal decisions.
Along the way, we learn the answers to critical questions like these: How can we stop the cycle of agonizing over our decisions? How can we make group decisions without destructive politics? And how can we ensure that we don’t overlook precious opportunities to change our course?
Decisive is the Heath brothers’ most powerful—and important—book yet, offering fresh strategies and practical tools enabling us to make better choices. Because the right decision, at the right moment, can make all the difference.
(336 pages hardcover)
Kleon, Austin, Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
You don’t need to be a genius, you just need to be yourself. That’s the message from Austin Kleon, a young writer and artist who knows that creativity is everywhere, creativity is for everyone. A manifesto for the digital age, Steal Like an Artist is a guide whose positive message, graphic look and illustrations, exercises, and examples will put readers directly in touch with their artistic side.
When Mr. Kleon was asked to address college students in upstate New York, he shaped his speech around the ten things he wished someone had told him when he was starting out. The talk went viral, and its author dug deeper into his own ideas to create Steal Like an Artist, the book. The result is inspiring, hip, original, practical, and entertaining. And filled with new truths about creativity: Nothing is original, so embrace influence, collect ideas, and remix and re-imagine to discover your own path. Follow your interests wherever they take you. Stay smart, stay out of debt, and risk being boring—the creative you will need to make room to be wild and daring in your imagination.
(160 pages paperback)
Carse, James P., Finite and Infinite Games: A Vision of Life as Play and Possibility
“There are at least two kinds of games,” states James Carse as he begins this extraordinary book. “One could be called finite; the other infinite.”
Finite games are the familiar contests of everyday life; they are played in order to be won, which is when they end. But infinite games are more mysterious. Their object is not winning, but ensuring the continuation of play. The rules may change, the boundaries may change, even the participants may change—as long as the game is never allowed to come to an end.
What are infinite games? How do they affect the ways we play our finite games? What are we doing when we play—finitely or infinitely? And how can infinite games affect the ways in which we live our lives?
Carse explores these questions with stunning elegance, teasing out of his distinctions a universe of observation and insight, noting where and why and how we play, finitely and infinitely. He surveys our world—from the finite games of the playing field and playing board to the infinite games found in culture and religion—leaving all we think we know illuminated and transformed. Along the way, Carse finds new ways of understanding everything from how an actress portrays a role, to how we engage in sex, from the nature of evil, to the nature of science. Finite games, he shows, may offer wealth and status, power and glory. But infinite games offer something far more subtle and far grander.
Carse has written a book rich in insight and aphorism. Already an international literary event, Finite and Infinite Games is certain to be argued about and celebrated for years to come. Reading it is the first step in learning to play the infinite game.
(192 pages paperback)
Morgan and Barden, A Beautiful Constraint: How To Transform Your Limitations Into Advantages, and Why It’s Everyone’s Business
An inspiring yet practical guide for transforming limitations into opportunities
A Beautiful Constraint: How to Transform Your Limitations Into Advantages And Why It’s Everyone’s Business Now is a book about everyday, practical inventiveness, designed for the constrained times in which we live. It describes how to take the kinds of issues that all of us face today—lack of time, money, resources, attention, know-how—and see in them the opportunity for transformation of oneself and one’s organization’s fortunes. The ideas in the book are based on the authors’ extensive work as business consultants, and are brought to life in 35 personal interviews from such varied sources as Nike, IKEA, Unilever, the U.S. Navy, Formula One racecar engineers, public school teachers in California, and barley farmers in South Africa. Underpinned by scientific research into the psychology of breakthrough, the book is a practical handbook full of tools and tips for how to make more from less. Beautifully designed and accessible, A Beautiful Constraint will appeal beyond its core business audience to anyone who needs to find the opportunity in constraint.
The book takes the reader on a journey through the mindset, method and motivation required to move from the initial “victim” stage into the transformation stage. It challenges us to:
- Examine how we’ve become path dependent—stuck with routines that blind us from seeing opportunity along new paths
- Ask Propelling Questions to help us break free of those paths and put the most pressing and valuable constraints at the heart of our process
- Adopt a Can If mentality to answer these questions—focused on “how,” not “if”
- Access the abundance to be found all around us to help transform constraints
- Activate the high-octane mix of emotions necessary to fuel the tenacity required for success
We live in a world of seemingly ever-increasing constraints, driven as much by an overabundance of choices and connections as by a scarcity of time and resources. How we respond to these constraints is one of the most important issues of our time and will be a large determinant of our progress as people, businesses and planet, in the future. A Beautiful Constraint calls for a more widespread capability for constraint-driven problem solving and provides the framework to achieve that.
Zander and Zander, The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life
The Art of Possibility offers a set of breakthrough practices for creativity in all human enterprises. This inspirational book is a synthesis of Rosamund Stone Zander’s knowledge of cutting-edge psychology and Benjamin Zander’s experiences as the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra. Infused with the energy of their dynamic partnership, the book joins together Ben’s extraordinary talent as a mover and shaker, teacher, and communicator with Rosamund’s genius for creating innovative paradigms for personal and professional fulfillment. In lively counterpoint, the authors provide us with a deep sense of the powerful role that the notion of possibility can play in every aspect of our lives.
The Zanders’ deceptively simple practices are based on two premises: that life is composed as a story (“it’s all invented”) and that, with new definitions, much more is possible than people ordinarily think. The book shifts our perspective with uplifting stories, parables, and anecdotes. From “Giving an A” to the mysterious “Rule Number 6” to “Leading from Any Chair”–the account of Ben’s stunning realization that the conductor/leader’s power is directly linked to how much greatness he is willing to grant to others–each practice offers an opportunity for personal and organizational transformation.
Hyde, Lewis, The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World
By now a modern classic, The Gift is a brilliantly orchestrated defense of the value of creativity and of its importance in a culture increasingly governed by money and overrun with commodities. Widely available again after twenty-five years, this book is even more necessary today than when it first appeared. An illuminating and transformative book, and completely original in its view of the world, The Gift is cherished by artists, writers, musicians, and thinkers. It is in itself a gift to all who discover the classic wisdom found in its pages.
(327 pages paperback)
Pressfield, Steven. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
Think of The War of Art as tough love… for yourself.
Since 2002, The War of Art has inspired people around the world to defeat “Resistance”; to recognize and knock down dream-blocking barriers and to silence the naysayers within us.Resistance kicks everyone’s butt, and the desire to defeat it is equally as universal. The War of Art identifies the enemy that every one of us must face, outlines a battle plan to conquer this internal foe, then pinpoints just how to achieve the greatest success.Though it was written for writers, it has been embraced by business entrepreneurs, actors, dancers, painters, photographers, filmmakers, military service members and thousands of others around the world.
“As I closed The War of Art, I felt a surge of positive calm. I now know I can win this war. And if I can win, so can you.” – From the foreword by Robert McKee, screenwriting guru”
[The War of Art] aims to help readers channel creative energy, unlock potential and overcome the fears that stop us from reaching our fullest potential. With courage, following the right formula and working hard, the book proposes that passion can be turned into purpose.” – Ellen Degeneres book pick
“Resistance is the voice in the back of our head telling us to back off, be careful, go slow, compromise. . . . [Steve Pressfield is] the godfather of the resistance, the five-star general in the war against fear.” – Seth Godin
“A vital gem . . . a kick in the ass.” – Esquire
“I’ve never read a self help book that wasn’t fatuous, obvious and unhelpful. Until The War of Art. It’s amazingly cogent and smart on the psychology of creation. If I ever teach a writing course this would be one of the first books I’d assign, along with the letters of Flannery O’Connor.” – Jay McInerney, author of Bright Lights, Big City and Brightness Falls
“Yes, The War of Art is hell. But Steven Pressfield is our Clausewitz who shows how you too can battle against The Four Horsemen of The Apologetic: sloth, inertia, rationalization and procrastination. Shakespeare, Rembrandt and Beethoven all are proof of what you can do with talent and General Pressfield.” – Frank Deford, author and NPR commentator
“A marvelous help for anybody who has ever encountered the resistance of a blank page, an empty canvas or an unyielding musical scale.”
– Stan Berenstein, co-creator of The Berenstein Bears
Pink, Daniel H. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
From Daniel H. Pink, the author of the bestselling A Whole New Mind, comes a paradigm-shattering look at what truly motivates us and how we can use that knowledge to work smarter and live better.
Most of us believe that the best way to motivate ourselves and others is with external rewards like money—the carrot-and-stick approach. That’s a mistake, Daniel H. Pink says in, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, his provocative and persuasive new book. The secret to high performance and satisfaction—at work, at school, and at home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.
Drawing on four decades of scientific research on human motivation, Pink exposes the mismatch between what science knows and what business does—and how that affects every aspect of life. He demonstrates that while carrots and sticks worked successfully in the twentieth century, that’s precisely the wrong way to motivate people for today’s challenges. In Drive, he examines the three elements of true motivation—autonomy, mastery, and purpose—and offers smart and surprising techniques for putting these into action. Along the way, he takes us to companies that are enlisting new approaches to motivation and introduces us to the scientists and entrepreneurs who are pointing a bold way forward.
Drive is bursting with big ideas—the rare book that will change how you think and transform how you live.
Duhigg, Charles. Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the author of The Power of Habit comes a fascinating book that explores the science of productivity, and why managing how you think is more important than what you think—with an appendix of real-world lessons to apply to your life.
At the core of Smarter Faster Better are eight key productivity concepts—from motivation and goal setting to focus and decision making—that explain why some people and companies get so much done. Drawing on the latest findings in neuroscience, psychology, and behavioral economics—as well as the experiences of CEOs, educational reformers, four-star generals, FBI agents, airplane pilots, and Broadway songwriters—this painstakingly researched book explains that the most productive people, companies, and organizations don’t merely act differently.
They view the world, and their choices, in profoundly different ways.
A young woman drops out of a PhD program and starts playing poker. By training herself to envision contradictory futures, she learns to anticipate her opponents’ missteps—and becomes one of the most successful players in the world.
A group of data scientists at Google embark on a four-year study of how the best teams function, and find that how a group interacts is more important than who is in the group—a principle, it turns out, that also helps explain why Saturday Night Live became a hit.
A Marine Corps general, faced with low morale among recruits, reimagines boot camp—and discovers that instilling a “bias toward action” can turn even the most directionless teenagers into self-motivating achievers.
The filmmakers behind Disney’s Frozen are nearly out of time and on the brink of catastrophe—until they shake up their team in just the right way, spurring a creative breakthrough that leads to one of the highest-grossing movies of all time.
What do these people have in common?
They know that productivity relies on making certain choices. The way we frame our daily decisions; the big ambitions we embrace and the easy goals we ignore; the cultures we establish as leaders to drive innovation; the way we interact with data: These are the things that separate the merely busy from the genuinely productive.
In The Power of Habit, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Charles Duhigg explained why we do what we do. In Smarter Faster Better, he applies the same relentless curiosity, deep reporting, and rich storytelling to explain how we can improve at the things we do. It’s a groundbreaking exploration of the science of productivity, one that can help anyone learn to succeed with less stress and struggle, and to get more done without sacrificing what we care about most—to become smarter, faster, and better at everything we do.
Praise for Smarter Faster Better
“A pleasure to read . . . Duhigg’s skill as a storyteller makes his book so engaging to read.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Not only will Smarter Faster Better make you more efficient if you heed its tips, it will also save you the effort of reading many productivity books dedicated to the ideas inside.”—Bloomberg Businessweek
“Duhigg pairs relatable anecdotes with the research behind why some people and businesses are not as efficient as others.”—Chicago Tribune
“The book covers a lot of ground through meticulous reporting and deft analysis, presenting a wide range of case studies . . . with insights that apply to the rest of us.”—The Wall Street Journal
Duhigg Charles. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
In The Power of Habit, Pulitzer Prize–winning business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. Distilling vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives that take us from the boardrooms of Procter & Gamble to sidelines of the NFL to the front lines of the civil rights movement, Duhigg presents a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential. At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. As Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.
“Sharp, provocative, and useful.”—Jim Collins
“Few [books] become essential manuals for business and living. The Power of Habit is an exception. Charles Duhigg not only explains how habits are formed but how to kick bad ones and hang on to the good.”—Financial Times
“A flat-out great read.”—David Allen, bestselling author of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
“You’ll never look at yourself, your organization, or your world quite the same way.”—Daniel H. Pink, bestselling author of Drive and A Whole New Mind
“Entertaining . . . enjoyable . . . fascinating . . . a serious look at the science of habit formation and change.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Cue: see cover. Routine: read book. Reward: fully comprehend the art of manipulation.”—Bloomberg Businessweek
“A fresh examination of how routine behaviors take hold and whether they are susceptible to change . . . The stories that Duhigg has knitted together are all fascinating in their own right, but take on an added dimension when wedded to his examination of habits.”— Associated Press
“There’s been a lot of research over the past several years about how our habits shape us, and this work is beautifully described in the new book The Power of Habit.”—David Brooks, The New York Times
“A first-rate book—based on an impressive mass of research, written in a lively style and providing just the right balance of intellectual seriousness with practical advice on how to break our bad habits.”—The Economist
“I have been spinning like a top since reading The Power of Habit, New York Times journalist Charles Duhigg’s fascinating best-seller about how people, businesses and organizations develop the positive routines that make them productive—and happy.”—The Washington Post
Covey, Stephen R. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has captivated readers for 25 years. It has transformed the lives of Presidents and CEOs, educators, parents, and students — in short, millions of people of all ages and occupations have benefited from Dr. Covey’s 7 Habits book. And, it can transform you.
This twenty-fifth anniversary edition of Stephen Covey’s cherished classic commemorates the timeless wisdom and power of the 7 Habits book, and does it in a highly readable and understandable, interactive format. This updated interactive edition of Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s most famous work includes:
• easy to understand infographics
• and more
What are the habits of successful people? This interactive 7 Habits book guides you through each habit step-by-step:
• Habit 1: Be Proactive
• Habit 2: Begin With The End In Mind
• Habit 3: Put First Things First
• Habit 4: Think Win-Win
• Habit 5: Seek First To Understand Then Be Understood
• Habit 6: Synergize
• Habit 7: Sharpen The Saw
Covey, Stephen M.R. The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything
From Stephen R. Covey’s eldest son comes a revolutionary new path towards productivity and satisfaction. Trust, says Stephen M.R. Covey, is the very basis of the new global economy, and he shows how trust—and the speed at which it is established with clients, employees and constituents—is the essential ingredient for any high–performance, successful organization.
For business leaders and public figures in any arena, The Speed of Trust offers an unprecedented and eminently practical look at exactly how trust functions in our every transaction and relationship—from the most personal to the broadest, most indirect interaction—and how to establish trust immediately so that you and your organization can forego the time–killing, bureaucratic check–and–balance processes so often deployed in lieu of actual trust.
Achor, Shawn. The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that Fuel Success and Performance at Work
Our most commonly held formula for success is broken.
Conventional wisdom holds that if we work hard we will be more successful, and if we are more successful, then we’ll be happy. If we can just find that great job, win that next promotion, lose those five pounds, happiness will follow. But recent discoveries in the field of positive psychology have shown that this formula is actually backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around.
When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive at work. This isn’t just an empty mantra. This discovery has been repeatedly borne out by rigorous research in psychology and neuroscience, management studies, and the bottom lines of organizations around the globe.
In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor, who spent over a decade living, researching, and lecturing at Harvard University, draws on his own research—including one of the largest studies of happiness and potential at Harvard and others at companies like UBS and KPMG—to fix this broken formula. Using stories and case studies from his work with thousands of Fortune 500 executives in 42 countries, Achor explains how we can reprogram our brains to become more positive in order to gain a competitive edge at work.
Isolating seven practical, actionable principles that have been tried and tested everywhere from classrooms to boardrooms, stretching from Argentina to Zimbabwe, he shows us how we can capitalize on the Happiness Advantage to improve our performance and maximize our potential. Among the principles he outlines:
• The Tetris Effect: how to retrain our brains to spot patterns of possibility, so we can see—and seize—opportunities wherever we look.
• The Zorro Circle: how to channel our efforts on small, manageable goals, to gain the leverage to gradually conquer bigger and bigger ones.
• Social Investment: how to reap the dividends of investing in one of the greatest predictors of success and happiness—our social support network
A must-read for everyone trying to excel in a world of increasing workloads, stress, and negativity, The Happiness Advantage isn’t only about how to become happier at work. It’s about how to reap the benefits of a happier and more positive mind-set to achieve the extraordinary in our work and in our lives.
Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life
Part psychological study, part self-help book, Finding Flow is a prescriptive guide that helps us reclaim ownership of our lives. Based on a far-reaching study of thousands of individuals, Finding Flow contends that we often walk through our days unaware and out of touch with our emotional lives. Our inattention makes us constantly bounce between two extremes: during much of the day we live filled with the anxiety and pressures of our work and obligations, while during our leisure moments, we tend to live in passive boredom. The key, according to Csikszentmihalyi, is to challenge ourselves with tasks requiring a high degree of skill and commitment. Instead of watching television, play the piano. Transform a routine task by taking a different approach. In short, learn the joy of complete engagement. Thought they appear simple, the lessons in Finding Flow are life-altering.
Duckworth, Angela. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
In this instant New York Times bestseller, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed—be it parents, students, educators, athletes, or business people—that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.”
Drawing on her own powerful story as the daughter of a scientist who frequently noted her lack of “genius,” Duckworth, now a celebrated researcher and professor, describes her early eye-opening stints in teaching, business consulting, and neuroscience, which led to the hypothesis that what really drives success is not “genius” but a unique combination of passion and long-term perseverance.
In Grit, she takes readers into the field to visit cadets struggling through their first days at West Point, teachers working in some of the toughest schools, and young finalists in the National Spelling Bee. She also mines fascinating insights from history and shows what can be gleaned from modern experiments in peak performance. Finally, she shares what she’s learned from interviewing dozens of high achievers—from JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon to New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff to Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll.
Among Grit’s most valuable insights:
*Why any effort you make ultimately counts twice toward your goal
*How grit can be learned, regardless of I.Q. or circumstances
*How lifelong interest is triggered
*How much of optimal practice is suffering and how much ecstasy
*Which is better for your child—a warm embrace or high standards
*The magic of the Hard Thing Rule
Winningly personal, insightful, and even life-changing, Grit is a book about what goes through your head when you fall down, and how that—not talent or luck—makes all the difference.
Heath, Chip and Dan Heath. Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard
Why is it so hard to make lasting changes in our companies, in our communities, and in our own lives?
The primary obstacle is a conflict that’s built into our brains, say Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the critically acclaimed bestseller Made to Stick. Psychologists have discovered that our minds are ruled by two different systems—the rational mind and the emotional mind—that compete for control. The rational mind wants a great beach body; the emotional mind wants that Oreo cookie. The rational mind wants to change something at work; the emotional mind loves the comfort of the existing routine. This tension can doom a change effort—but if it is overcome, change can come quickly.
In Switch, the Heaths show how everyday people—employees and managers, parents and nurses—have united both minds and, as a result, achieved dramatic results:
● The lowly medical interns who managed to defeat an entrenched, decades-old medical practice that was endangering patients.
● The home-organizing guru who developed a simple technique for overcoming the dread of housekeeping.
● The manager who transformed a lackadaisical customer-support team into service zealots by removing a standard tool of customer service
In a compelling, story-driven narrative, the Heaths bring together decades of counterintuitive research in psychology, sociology, and other fields to shed new light on how we can effect transformative change. Switch shows that successful changes follow a pattern, a pattern you can use to make the changes that matter to you, whether your interest is in changing the world or changing your waistline.
Little, Brian R. Me, Myself, and Us: The Science of Personality and the Art of Well-Being
In the past few decades, personality psychology has made considerable progress in raising new questions about human nature—and providing some provocative answers. New scientific research has transformed old ideas about personality based on the theories of Freud, Jung, and the humanistic psychologies of the nineteen sixties, which gave rise to the simplistic categorizations of the Meyer-Briggs Inventory and the ‘enneagream’. But the general public still knows little about the new science and what it reveals about who we are.
In this book, Brian Little, one of the psychologists who helped re-shape the field, provides the first in-depth exploration of the new personality science and its provocative findings for general readers. The book explores questions that are rooted in the origins of human consciousness but are as commonplace as yesterday’s breakfast conversation. Are our first impressions of other people’s personalities usually fallacious? Are creative individuals essentially maladjusted? Are our personality traits, as William James put it “set like plaster” by the age of thirty? Is a belief that we are in control of our lives an unmitigated good? Do our singular personalities comprise one unified self or a confederacy of selves, and if the latter, which of our mini-me-s do we offer up in marriage or mergers? Are some individuals genetically hard-wired for happiness? Which is the more viable path toward human flourishing, the pursuit of happiness or the happiness of pursuit?
Little provides a resource for answering such questions, and a framework through which readers can explore the personal implications of the new science of personality. Questionnaires and interactive assessments throughout the book facilitate self-exploration, and clarify some of the stranger aspects of our own conduct and that of others. Brian Little helps us see ourselves, and other selves, as somewhat less perplexing and definitely more intriguing.
This is not a self-help book, but students at Harvard who took the lecture course on which it is based claim that it changed their lives.
Dweck, Carol S. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In this brilliant book, she shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities. People with a fixed mindset—those who believe that abilities are fixed—are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset—those who believe that abilities can be developed. Mindset reveals how great parents, teachers, managers, and athletes can put this idea to use to foster outstanding accomplishment.
In this edition, Dweck offers new insights into her now famous and broadly embraced concept. She introduces a phenomenon she calls false growth mindset and guides people toward adopting a deeper, truer growth mindset. She also expands the mindset concept beyond the individual, applying it to the cultures of groups and organizations. With the right mindset, you can motivate those you lead, teach, and love—to transform their lives and your own.
Praise for Mindset
“A good book is one whose advice you believe. A great book is one whose advice you follow. This is a book that can change your life, as its ideas have changed mine.”—Robert J. Sternberg, co-author of Teaching for Wisdom, Intelligence, Creativity, and Success
“An essential read for parents, teachers [and] coaches . . . as well as for those who would like to increase their own feelings of success and fulfillment.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“Everyone should read this book.”—Chip Heath and Dan Heath, authors of Made to Stick
“One of the most influential books ever about motivation.”—Po Bronson, author of NurtureShock
“If you manage people or are a parent (which is a form of managing people), drop everything and read Mindset.”—Guy Kawasaki, author of The Art of the Start 2.0
Tavris, Carol and Elliot Aronson. Mistakes Were Made (but not by me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts
Why is it so hard to say “I made a mistake”—and really believe it?
When we make mistakes, cling to outdated attitudes, or mistreat other people, we must calm the cognitive dissonance that jars our feelings of self-worth. And so, unconsciously, we create fictions that absolve us of responsibility, restoring our belief that we are smart, moral, and right—a belief that often keeps us on a course that is dumb, immoral, and wrong. Backed by years of research, Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) offers a fascinating explanation of self-justification—how it works, the damage it can cause, and how we can overcome it. This updated edition features new examples and concludes with an extended discussion of how we can live with dissonance, learn from it, and perhaps, eventually, forgive ourselves.
Grant, Adam. Originals: How non-Conformists Move the World
With Give and Take, Adam Grant not only introduced a landmark new paradigm for success but also established himself as one of his generation’s most compelling and provocative thought leaders. In Originals he again addresses the challenge of improving the world, but now from the perspective of becoming original: choosing to champion novel ideas and values that go against the grain, battle conformity, and buck outdated traditions. How can we originate new ideas, policies, and practices without risking it all?
Using surprising studies and stories spanning business, politics, sports, and entertainment, Grant explores how to recognize a good idea, speak up without getting silenced, build a coalition of allies, choose the right time to act, and manage fear and doubt; how parents and teachers can nurture originality in children; and how leaders can build cultures that welcome dissent. Learn from an entrepreneur who pitches his start-ups by highlighting the reasons not to invest, a woman at Apple who challenged Steve Jobs from three levels below, an analyst who overturned the rule of secrecy at the CIA, a billionaire financial wizard who fires employees for failing to criticize him, and a TV executive who didn’t even work in comedy but saved Seinfeld from the cutting-room floor. The payoff is a set of groundbreaking insights about rejecting conformity and improving the status quo.
Hoffer, Eric. The True Believer
A stevedore on the San Francisco docks in the 1940s, Eric Hoffer wrote philosophical treatises in his spare time while living in the railroad yards. The True Believer — the first and most famous of his books — was made into a bestseller when President Eisenhower cited it during one of the earliest television press conferences.Completely relevant and essential for understanding the world today, The True Believer is a visionary, highly provocative look into the mind of the fanatic and a penetrating study of how an individual becomes one.
Carnegie, Dale. How to Win Friends and Influence People
You can go after the job you want…and get it! You can take the job you have…and improve it! You can take any situation you’re in…and make it work for you!
Since its release in 1936, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” has sold more than 15 million copies. Dale Carnegie’s first book is a timeless bestseller, packed with rock-solid advice that has carried thousands of now famous people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives.
As relevant as ever before, Dale Carnegie’s principles endure, and will help you achieve your maximum potential in the complex and competitive modern age.
Learn the six ways to make people like you, the twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking, and the nine ways to change people without arousing resentment.