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Recommended Reads – 30 July 2018

How did I not see this coming?
By Kate Tynan

Julie’s having a very bad day. She’s a new manager, and her top performer has resigned to escape her, and her own manager is looking on with a skeptical eye. . . . This is the story of her turnaround.

Being a first-time manager is a tough job. If you were Julie, what would you do? Wouldn’t anyone, given the choice of taking on a leadership role (with a raise), or staying put, have done the same? But no one prepared her for developing co-workers, her former peers, while producing as before and leading the team. Now she’s in over her head.

Author Katy Tynan understands. In her new book, How Did I Not See This Coming? A Manager’s Guide to Avoiding Total Disaster, Tynan unlocks the truths about management, showing that first-time managers are basically on a journey without a map. It’s not that employers aren’t investing in their new managers, she says, or that the people in leadership don’t care, but they are no longer close to the raw experience of being a new manager. What’s more, most management books are written by experts who lack the memory of first-time failure.

In How Did I Not See This Coming?, Tynan tells the fictional story of Julie, a onetime star producer, to illustrate how a new manager can successfully make the shift from a role without leadership responsibilities to one with them. Along the way, Tynan offers the five basic truths about management—starting with recognizing team values and strengths—truths that can be learned by anyone. You, too, can be the manager everyone’s talking about—in a good way—because you’re the one who figured it out.


Business and Life Lessons from a Black Dragon
By Vusi Thembekwayo

‘I have learned the truth about the world: that it isn’t as round as a tennis ball, and it isn’t shaped like itself. It is shaped the way we shape it, according to the way we see it, the way we mould it to our ambitions and our destiny. I know the colour of who I am. I am a black man, running for my life, for my freedom, for opportunity born from struggle, possibility born from sacrifice. And I am running too, for my father, who never became what he hoped to be, and who never got to see what his children would one day become.’ Maverick. Leadership genius. Self-made millionaire. Dragon. The rock star of public speaking. Vusi Thembekwayo has been called many things. Join him in his inspiring journey from the township to the top echelons of South African business, to becoming one of youngest directors of a listed company and CEO of a boutique investment firm. As a ‘Dragons’ Den’ judge and a sought-after public speaker across the globe, Vusi doesn’t just talk business – he lives it. Now you can learn the secret of his success and how to shape your own destiny.


Half of a Yellow Sun
By Chimanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie weaves together the lives of three characters swept up in the turbulence of a seminal moment in modern African history: Biafra’s impassioned struggle to establish an independent republic in Nigeria in the 1960s, and the chilling violence that followed.
A masterly, haunting novel from a writer heralded by The Washington Post Book World as “the 21st-century daughter of Chinua Achebe,” Half of a Yellow Sun re-creates a seminal moment in modern African history: Biafra’s impassioned struggle to establish an independent republic in Nigeria in the 1960s, and the chilling violence that followed.

With astonishing empathy and the effortless grace of a natural storyteller, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie weaves together the lives of three characters swept up in the turbulence of the decade. Thirteen-year-old Ugwu is employed as a houseboy for a university professor full of revolutionary zeal. Olanna is the professor’s beautiful mistress, who has abandoned her life of privilege in Lagos for a dusty university town and the charisma of her new lover. And Richard is a shy young Englishman in thrall to Olanna’s twin sister, an enigmatic figure who refuses to belong to anyone. As Nigerian troops advance and the three must run for their lives, their ideals are severely tested, as are their loyalties to one another.

Epic, ambitious, and triumphantly realized, Half of a Yellow Sun is a remarkable novel about moral responsibility, about the end of colonialism, about ethnic allegiances, about class and race—and the ways in which love can complicate them all. Adichie brilliantly evokes the promise and the devastating disappointments that marked this time and place, bringing us one of the most powerful, dramatic, and intensely emotional pictures of modern Africa that we have ever had.


Leadership Wisdom from The Monk who Sold his Ferrari
by Robin Sharma

This very special book has already changed the lives of thousands of people around the world in every imaginable business and from every walk of life. Written by leadership guru and renowned professional speaker Robin Sharma, this deeply inspiring work reveals a remarkable step-by-step system that will restore trust, commitment, and spirit within your organisation while transforming the way you think, feel, and live in the process.


Superhuman:  Life at the extremes of our capacity
by Dr Rowan Hooper

From evolutionary biologist Rowan Hooper, an awe-inspiring look into the extremes of human ability—and what they tell us about our own potential.

In 1997, an endurance runner named Yiannis Kouros ran 188 miles in twenty-four hours. Akira Haraguchi, a sixty year-old man in Tokyo, can recite pi to the 100,000th decimal point. John Nunn was accepted to Oxford University at age 15, the youngest undergraduate in 500 years. After a horrific attack by her estranged husband, Carmen Tarleton was left with burns to over eighty percent of her body. One of her surgeons said her injuries “were beyond anything we have ever seen.” After a three-month coma, multiple skin grafts, and successful face transplant, Tarleton is now a motivational speaker.

What does it feel like to be exceptional? And what does it take to get there? Why can some people achieve greatness when others can’t, no matter how hard they try? Just how much potential does our species have? Evolutionary biologist Rowan Hooper has the answers. In Superhuman he takes us on a breathtaking tour of the peaks of human achievement that shows us what it feels like to be extraordinary—and what it takes to get there.

Drawing on interviews with these “superhumans” and those who have studied them, Hooper assesses the science and genetics of peak potential. His case studies are as inspirational as they are varied, highlighting feats of endurance, strength, intelligence, and memory. Superhuman is a fascinating, eye-opening, and inspiring celebration for anyone who ever felt that they might be able to do something extraordinary in life, for those who simply want to succeed, and for anyone interested in the sublime possibilities of humankind.

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