I’ve got three book recommendations, with overlapping reviews.
…his original and pragmatic ideas… continue to help readers to recognise and avoid the elements of bad strategy and adopt good, action-oriented strategies that honestly acknowledge the challenges being faced and offer straightforward approaches to overcoming them.
I was dubious when this book was recommended to me, but thankfully I listened and gave it a go. It’s the most salient advice I’ve ever read on forming plans to tackle challenges.
As I read through though, the business advice kept striking at more personal chords. So much so that I think this business strategy book is the best self-help book I’ve ever read. To be fair, I’ve not read many explicitly self-help titles, but those I have, tend to be too twee and fluffy. Not practical or honest enough.
Take this part from the synopsis above, about how the book helps you to “adopt good, action-oriented strategies that honestly acknowledge the challenges being faced and offer straightforward approaches to overcoming them”, and apply that thinking to your own life issues.
Be honest about your challenges and take action with straightforward approaches to overcoming them.
While massively oversimplified for the purpose of this post, that’s some good self-help fodder right there.
David Rock knows how the brain works-and more specifically, how it works in a work setting… [He shows how] not only to survive in today’s overwhelming work environment but succeed in it-and still feel energised and accomplished at the end of the day.
I read this around 2015 I think, at a time when work was proving tricky alongside the challenge of 3 year old twins. I can’t remember where it came from, but pretty sure it was recommended via a trusted source as it was unusual for my reading at the time. It seemed straightforward and based loosely in cognitive science though, so I thought it was worth a try. And it was. Doubly so!
Firstly, it offered some nice insights on ‘the brain at work’. It did this by suggesting a compassionate view toward yourself, as an animal, full of emotions and stress hormones, trying to get through the working day alive and unharmed.
Secondly, it all totally applied to toddlers! They’re also animals, full of emotions and stress hormones, trying to get through the day alive and unharmed, but for them it’s all new and unfamiliar. Imagine how much more stressful their job is, managing the entire world and every new emotion. It doesn’t even end at 6pm.
It’s a basic idea, both for adults and kids, but at the time there was something powerful about that compassionate animalistic view. We’re all just struggling to manage our brains. Yes, then book helped at work. But it really helped at home.
In Calm Parents, Happy Kids, Dr Laura Markham introduces an approach to parenting that eliminates threats, power struggles and manipulation, in favour of setting limits with empathy and communication.
Also around 2015, while tackling the struggle of threenager twins directly, I read Calm Parents, Happy Kids. It’s the best parenting book I’ve encountered yet, and – while I know this comes across as flippant – it’s also one of the most insightful things I’ve read relating to client/people management.
As with Your Brain at Work, Calm Parents takes a logical and compassionate view of the behaviour of children, and once again, we can draw directly from the synopsis above for a hint of how the content relates just as well to agency/client relations. The book encourages “an approach… that eliminates threats, power struggles and manipulation, in favour of setting limits with empathy and communication.“
Far from flippant. That’s the most concise and productive goal for working relationships that I think I’ve ever seen.
Metaphors all the way down
I’m a very liberal user of metaphor. A long time fan you could say. And perhaps this is more to do with connections than metaphor, but I feel like there’s something fundamental in the similarities in these books. Parts where all three overlap, and even more parts that overlap further afield.
Books about people, managing their actions, controlling themselves, and guiding others.