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Recommended Reads – Week 46

The Year without pants by Scott Berkman

A behind-the-scenes look at the firm behind WordPress.com and the unique work culture that contributes to its phenomenal success

50 million websites, or twenty percent of the entire web, use WordPress software. The force behind WordPress.com is a convention-defying company called Automattic, Inc., whose 120 employees work from anywhere in the world they wish, barely use email, and launch improvements to their products dozens of times a day. With a fraction of the resources of Google, Amazon, or Facebook, they have a similar impact on the future of the Internet. How is this possible? What’s different about how they work, and what can other companies learn from their methods?
To find out, former Microsoft veteran Scott Berkun worked as a manager at WordPress.com, leading a team of young programmers developing new ideas. The Year Without Pants shares the secrets of WordPress.com’s phenomenal success from the inside. Berkun’s story reveals insights on creativity, productivity, and leadership from the kind of workplace that might be in everyone’s future.

  • Offers a fast-paced and entertaining insider’s account of how an amazing, powerful organization achieves impressive results
  • Includes vital lessons about work culture and managing creativity
  • Written by author and popular blogger Scott Berkun (scottberkun.com)

The Year Without Pants shares what every organization can learn from the world-changing ideas for the future of work at the heart of Automattic’s success.


POWERFUL

Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility by Patty McCord

When it comes to recruiting, motivating, and creating great teams, Patty McCord says most companies have it all wrong. McCord helped create the unique and high-performing culture at Netflix, where she was chief talent officer. In her new book, Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility, she shares what she learned there and elsewhere in Silicon Valley.

McCord advocates practicing radical honesty in the workplace, saying good-bye to employees who don’t fit the company’s emerging needs, and motivating with challenging work, not promises, perks, and bonus plans. McCord argues that the old standbys of corporate HR-annual performance reviews, retention plans, employee empowerment and engagement programs-often end up being a colossal waste of time and resources. Her road-tested advice, offered with humor and irreverence, provides readers a different path for creating a culture of high performance and profitability.
Powerful will change how you think about work and the way a business should be run.[


The Book of Beautiful Questions : The Powerful Questions That Will Help You Decide, Create, Connect, and Lead by Warren Berger

From the bestselling author of A More Beautiful Question, hundreds of big and small questions that harness the magic of inquiry to tackle challenges we all face–at work, in our relationships, and beyond.

When confronted with almost any demanding situation, the act of questioning can help guide us to smart decisions. By asking questions, we can analyze, learn, and move forward in the face of uncertainty. But “questionologist” Warren Berger says that the questions must be the right ones; the ones that cut to the heart of complexity or enable us to see an old problem in a fresh way.
In The Book of Beautiful Questions, Berger shares illuminating stories and compelling research on the power of inquiry. Drawn from the insights and expertise of psychologists, innovators, effective leaders, and some of the world’s foremost creative thinkers, he presents the essential questions readers need to make the best choices when it truly counts, with a particular focus in four key areas: decision-making, creativity, leadership, and relationships.

The powerful questions in this book can help you:
– Identify opportunities in your career or industry
– Generate fresh ideas in business or in your own creative pursuits
– Check your biases so you can make better judgments and decisions
– Do a better job of communicating and connecting with the people around you

Thoughtful, provocative, and actionable, these beautiful questions can be applied immediately to bring about change in your work or your everyday life.


Reinforcements:  How to Get People to Help you by Heidi Grant

Imagine walking up to a stranger on the subway and asking them for their seat. What about asking a random person on the street if you could borrow their phone? If the idea makes you squeamish, you’re not alone–social psychologists have found that doing these very things makes most of us almost unbearably uncomfortable.

But here’s the funny thing: even though we hate to ask for help, most people are wired to be helpful. And that’s a good thing, because every day in the modern, uber-collaborative workplace, we all need to know when and how to call in the cavalry.

However, asking people for help isn’t intuitive; in fact, a lot of our instincts are wrong. As a result, we do a poor job of calling in the reinforcements we need, leaving confused or even offended colleagues in our wake.

This pragmatic book explains how to get it right. With humor, insight, and engaging storytelling, Heidi Grant, PhD, describes how to elicit helpful behavior from your friends, family, and colleagues–in a way that leaves them feeling genuinely happy to lend a hand.

Whether you’re a first-time manager or a seasoned leader, getting people to pitch in is what leadership is. Fortunately, people have a natural instinct to help other human beings; you just need to know how to channel this urge into what it is you specifically need them to do. It’s not manipulation. It’s just management.


The Dalai Lama Book of Wisdom

A little book for those in search of words to calm and inspire. In this gift book His Holiness the Dalai Lama imparts his message: the importance of love, compassion and forgiveness.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama describes how to bring wisdom and compassion into our busy, stressful everyday lives.

A beautiful selection of words from His Holiness that will help you to face difficult emotions such as anger in yourself and in others with genuine acceptance and understanding.
A perfect little gift book based on the words of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

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