Summer Reads That Can Better Your Career
July 06, 2016 by Ed Weirauch
Relax, step back and learn a thing or two this summer
The Fourth of July was just here and with it, a seemingly inevitable lull in our business action. Everybody deserves some down time so why not now when so many people seem to be on vacation, literally and figuratively.
If you’re not quite ready to shut off your mind completely, summer is a good time to invest in yourself by learning what’s going on beyond your own computer screen. Careerminds doesn’t want to tax you at this time so we have come with some suggestions that you could read at the beach or poolside and not look or feel like a complete geek.
First, you must check out Amy Cuddy whose message could have long-term impact on your success. She’s a Harvard Business School professor who’s done extensive research into body language, how it influences other people’s views of us and how our posture at opportune moments can strongly influence our own success. And she has a compelling personal story as well.
Cuddy’s Ted Talk has been viewed over 35 million times and gives you a 20 minute version of her ideas. Don’t be surprised if that motivates you to read her best selling book Presence (Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges), a somewhat quick read with the substance you would expect from a Harvard professor.
For a somewhat heravier read, consider Grit (the Power of Passion and Perserverance) by Angela Duckworth, a psychologist widely respected for her insight into education. Her thoughts can be easily translated to individual success in business. Duckworth says that the personal characteristics of grit are a combination of perserverance and stick-to-it-iveness.
Based on her studies, Duckworth writes that personal grit is a reliable predictor of success and that anyone can learn it. When a person has grit, he/she “has the guts to identify and fix his/her mistakes over and over again.” To achieve it, Duckworth writes that a person must identify a burning interest, practice that interest a lot, develop a sense of higher purpose and then cultivate a growth mindset. (Sounds like to advice from a good career coach.)
Biographies are often an easy read as we can learn from other people’s successes and failures. Pat Summit, the University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach who reached historic accomplishments, died last month but what a wonderfully inspirational story she has. Celebrate her life by checking out books inspired by her leadership and containing insight and ideas easily translatable from the court to the office. Sum It Up (1,098 Victories, A Couple of Irreverant Losses and A Life in Perspective) is a great beach read for those who haven’t turned their brain off completely.
If you’re thinking ‘women’s basketball, not really my thing,” consider that Summit is the winningest coach in the NCAA, man or woman, any sport. And she did some pretty outrageous things too like refuse to allow a plane on which she was flying to land until it reached her home state… even as she was on the brink of giving birth!
Nike founder Phil Knight has published his autobiography, Shoe Dog. Did you know that Nike was started with a $50 loan from Knight’s father, that in his first year Knight sold his sneakers from the trunk of his old car, and that he made $8,000? Last year Nike grossed $30 billion. Put this book in your beach bag.
One of our Careerminds colleagues suggested How To Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie as an easy summer read. Can’t argue with that, afterall, Win Friends is one of the best selling books of all time. But you may have already read that one so this summer, reach a little further and consider Carnegie’s other self-help book, How To Stop Worrying and Start Living.
Some say jobs, careers and personal lives have never been as stressful as in this 21st century economy. This can be your handbook for managing that stress with its very relatable situations and practical techniques that you can try today. And if you’re a leader, imagine the impact you can have sharing these techniques with your team back at work.
Down time is essential to rejuvenation and we’d never deny that. But this summer, consider pursuing some leisure reading that can subtly have a potentally a profound impact on your career and business.
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