10 Reads for Business and Life

By: Jayna Wekenman, Administrative Assistant, Mecosta County Area Chamber of Commerce

Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All

By Tom Kelley and David Kelley, 2013

You are creative, I am creative, we are all creative.  This book facilitates readers in discovery of creative potentials and embracing personal creativity.  Whether utilizing creativity for customer retention, design solutions, workplace dynamics, or personal projects – grab a notebook.  You’ll be glad you did.

The Answer to How Is Yes

By Peter Block, 2003

In many situations, questions like: How are you planning to do that? or How will this benefit us?  suggest doubt.  The person asking might doubt the outcome, doubt the process, doubt the idea person, or simply doubt their understanding of all the aspects of the idea.  How questions can simply get in the way if the parties asking the questions need to be convinced of the idea or competencies of the idea person.  Based on my personal experience, answering how questions quickly eats up ambition especially if how questions are followed by more how questions.  If how questions are intentionally used to dismiss ideas (i.e. it sounds great, but how…? or How are we going to find the time to …? ) a simple no with feedback is quicker and more confidence building.

Formulating an idea usually means the idea person already knows How.  Trust them, move forward with Yes answers, and re-frame the questions to get the answers you actually need.  i.e. What are the next steps?  What needs completed by the end of the week?  Who is responsible for… ?  Help me understand…  What do you need me to do?  etc.

How might we …? is an exception that moves ideas through phases of exploration.

Notes to Inspire

By Simon Sinek

 Daily inspirations through emailSign up at: https://startwithwhy.com/.  Videos of Sinek’s talks can be found on YouTube or TED.com.

 Primal Leadership: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence

By Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, & Annie McKee, 2013

Backed with research and theory, readers are facilitated through reflections and insights on why they do what they do and ways in which they might change leadership strategies and outcomes.

Finding Flow

By Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, 1997

Have you ever been totally engaged in a project, looked at the clock, and realized an hour flew by?  If so, you may have experienced the state of “flow.”  This read conceptualizes Flow Theory by the relationship of challenge and skill, and suggests ways in which the state of flow can serve people in both their professional and personal lives.

The model described can also help with understanding engagement of employees based on that relationship of skill and challenge.  For instance, if employees are highly skilled yet experience boredom, perhaps increase the challenges they engage in.  Or, if an employee experiences high anxiety to tackle a project, employers might consider offering skill development that aligns with project challenges.

  1. Anything Brene’ Browne. 

Period.  Like Sinek, Browne has videos and Ted Talks online also.

Environmental Enrichment for Captive Animals

By Robert J Young, 2003

 This may seem far from relevant.  However, the research and techniques of Enrichment transfers to the human species as well.  Shop Class as Soulcraft (Matthew Crawford, 2009), Flow Theory by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (mentioned), and articles on employee engagement are the human-focused application of Enrichment theories addressing motivation, choice, stimuli, species-specific behaviors, etc.  Anyone responsible for creating space, engaging, or managing people (or animals) should invest in these reads.

Any bilingual children’s book you find

 Each page has the story in both English and another language so you main build familiarity or brush up on language skills while following the story line.

 A Clockwork Orange

By Anthony Burgess, 1962

This is my wild card.  However, it makes my list for the skills developed through reading.  Burgess used Nadsat, a slang invented for this book.  Words like droog (friend), rooker (hand), and malchick (boy) pepper every page, forcing the reader to use context clues to decipher the storyline.  I don’t know about you, but I use these skills of decoding, deciphering, and drawing together conclusions when tackling projects, understanding messages, and more.

And for all you out there moving things forward and submerged in tasks, I’ll leave you with this:

To Be of Use by Marge Percy

The people I love the best

jump into work head first

without dallying in the shallows

and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.

They seem to become natives of that element,

the black sleek heads of seals

bouncing like half-submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,

who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,

who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,

who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge

in the task, who go into the fields to harvest

and work in a row and pass the bags along,

who are not parlor generals and field deserters

but move in a common rhythm

when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.

Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.

But the thing worth doing well done

has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.

Greek amphoras for wine or oil,

Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums

but you know they were made to be used.

The pitcher cries for water to carry

and a person for work that is real.

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