Reading List: May 2020

A glorious month of sunshine! This month I went down a rabbit hole of motivation and culture, as the basis for the work I am focusing on with a company that look at creating great experiences at work. In this area, I have always found Daniel H.Pink to be quite brilliant, and I really recommend his work. To interlude this, I read the fantastic Rise of the Reluctant Innovator by a great man I have recently come to know, Ken Banks. Whether you work in the humanitarian development sector or not, it's a fantastic read, with ten 'social entrepreneurs' deconstructing their lessons from doing quite remarkable things. Ken will also be a future guest on the podcast which I cannot wait for. Alongside this I delved into a biography of Thomas Merton in a remarkable book about authenticity, and a heart shattering book on foodbanks in Britain.

If you're looking for some inspiration for what to read, or would like a personal reading list based on a particular challenge, just get in touch. In the meantime, happy reading!

The Rise of the Reluctant Innovator, Ken Banks

I wished I had read this book when I set out to build a charity a decade ago! It is a book full of valuable insights, from people that have had genuine skin in the game in various forms of social entrepreneurship. I have had the honour of now connecting with Ken, the architect of the book. He is as genuine, interesting, and as insightful as the book itself. As the book teaches, there is no one route to contributing something that makes a sad song better. However, there are principles and virtues that we would do well to stick to, and this book has them in abundance. The advice from Ken in the early part of the book is worth the fee itself, and whatever your social cause and/or intent, I'm confident you'll find something that helps you on your path.

To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Persuading and Convincing, Daniel H.Pink

I have yet to find a book I fully adore or even come close to agreeing with when it comes to sales. But this book really is magic! It’s not an archetypical sales book (which is probably the point). Instead it looks at sales from all sorts of angles, including some great psychological studies. It is no surprise to me that a contrarian book about sales is the best book I have read on sales. I highly recommend for any person that has to sell something (which according to the author is 8 in 9 of us!)

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel H.Pink

This was a re-read, five or so years on from reading it for the first time. And it’s still as good as the first read, if not better as I now have five years of tacit learning of seeing it in action! It covers how motivation has and will continue to move towards by the joy of doing the task itself, as opposed to doing something in exchange for a reward (which was the Management Science version of things developed in the early 1900s). If you need to motivate a team, I recommend reading this book!

The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups, Daniel Coyle

I love Daniel’s writing, which is breezy, without being anything other than highly intellectual, and succinct, without ever losing substance which can be sadly rare with books written by people in the field of psychology and behavioural science. This is probably the best book I have ever read on culture. Taking examples from a myriad of teams from totally different worlds, Daniel deconstructs what makes great teams in a way that is understandable, tangible, and actionable. An really great book.

Becoming Who You Are: Insights on the true Self from Thomas Merton, James Martin

A short and beautifully potent book, and one of the best I have ever read on authenticity. It is part biographical of the irreverent monk Thomas Merton, with the stories about Merton used as the basis to explore how we best take off the many masks most of us wear. A truly stunning little book.

Hunger Pains: Life Inside Foodbank Britain. Kayleigh Garthwrite

As with any book on poverty, this is a harrowing read. It’s also very balanced (which not all books on poverty are), and deeply sincere. A very open, honest, and sincere account from volunteering in a UK foodbank. Words really do fail me with food banks. Having volunteered in a food bank in Clacton On-Sea, and been on the outskirts of another in Bow, it really is a necessary evil, that carries immense shame for most of the ‘beneficiaries.’ If you’re lucky enough to afford food, this book will move your heart to perhaps consider helping others that don’t have such grace - and not through guilt, but compassion :)

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