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Recommended Reads – Week 2 2019

More time to think, the Power of Independent Thinking by Nancy Kline

O2E CEO Warren Buffett spends 80% of his time thinking. Tim Armstrong, CEO of AOL, makes his executives devote 10% of their day, or 4 hours per week, to thinking. Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are both well known for taking week-long ‘thinking’ retreats.

In More Time to Think, Nancy Kline demonstrates that the quality of everything we do depends on the quality of the thinking we do first. The leaders, entrepreneurs and business people who understand this are at the top of their fields and inspire some of the most successful and innovative practices and businesses in the world.

Nancy Kline shares 10 effective ways to help people think innovatively, and with rigour. From learning that the mind works best in the presence of a question, and that a key factor in the quality of a person’s thinking is how they are treated by the people around them, to the importance of appreciation, Nancy Kline shows how to create a successful ‘Thinking Environment’, whether for two people, a start-up, or a larger organisation.


Awakening Your Ikigai:  How the Japanese Wake Up to Joy and Purpose Every Day by Ken Mogi

Ikigai is a Japanese phenomenon commonly understood as “your reason to get up in the morning.” Ikigai can be small moments: the morning air, a cup of coffee, a compliment. It can also be deep convictions: a fulfilling job, lasting friendships, balanced health. Whether big or small, your ikigai is the path to success and happiness in your own life.

Author Ken Mogi introduces five pillars of ikigai to help you make the most of each day and become your most authentic self:
1. starting small → focus on the details
2. releasing yourself → accept who you are
3. harmony and sustainability → rely on others
4. the joy of little things → appreciate sensory pleasure
5. being in the here and now → find your flow.

Weaving together insights from Japanese history, philosophy, and modern culture, plus stories from renowned sushi chef Jiro Ono, anime filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, and others, Mogi skillfully shows the way to awaken your ikigai.


Wisdom at Work by Chip Conley

Experience is making a comeback. Learn how to repurpose your wisdom.

At age 52, after selling the company he founded and ran as CEO for 24 years, rebel boutique hotelier Chip Conley was looking at an open horizon in midlife. Then he received a call from the young founders of Airbnb, asking him to help grow their disruptive start-up into a global hospitality giant. He had the industry experience, but Conley was lacking in the digital fluency of his 20-something colleagues. He didn’t write code, or have an Uber or Lyft app on his phone, was twice the age of the average Airbnb employee, and would be reporting to a CEO young enough to be his son. Conley quickly discovered that while he’d been hired as a teacher and mentor, he was also in many ways a student and intern. What emerged is the secret to thriving as a mid-life worker: learning to marry wisdom and experience with curiosity, a beginner’s mind, and a willingness to evolve, all hallmarks of the “Modern Elder.”

In a world that venerates the new, bright, and shiny, many of us are left feeling invisible, undervalued, and threatened by the “digital natives” nipping at our heels. But Conley argues that experience is on the brink of a comeback. Because at a time when power is shifting younger, companies are finally waking up to the value of the humility, emotional intelligence, and wisdom that come with age. And while digital skills might have only the shelf life of the latest fad or gadget, the human skills that mid-career workers possess–like good judgment, specialized knowledge, and the ability to collaborate and coach – never expire.

Part manifesto and part playbook, Wisdom@Work ignites an urgent conversation about ageism in the workplace, calling on us to treat age as we would other type of diversity. In the process, Conley liberates the term “elder” from the stigma of “elderly,” and inspires us to embrace wisdom as a path to growing whole, not old. Whether you’ve been forced to make a mid-career change, are choosing to work past retirement age, or are struggling to keep up with the millennials rising up the ranks, Wisdom@Work will help you write your next chapter.


“Flow’’ the Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

The key to unlocking meaning, creativity, peak performance and true happiness

Legendary psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s famous investigations of “optimal experience” have revealed that what makes an experience genuinely satisfying is a state of consciousness called flow. During flow, people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity, and a total involvement with life. In this new edition of his groundbreaking classic work, Csikszentmihalyi (“the leading researcher into ‘flow states’” —Newsweek) demonstrates the ways this positive state can be controlled, not just left to chance. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience teaches how, by ordering the information that enters our consciousness, we can discover true happiness, unlock our potential, and greatly improve the quality of our lives.


The Element by Ken Robinson

New York Times-bestselling breakthrough book about talent, passion, and achievement from the one of the world’s leading thinkers on creativity and self-fulfillment.

The Element is the point at which natural talent meets personal passion. When people arrive at the Element, they feel most themselves and most inspired and achieve at their highest levels. With a wry sense of humor, Ken Robinson looks at the conditions that enable us to find ourselves in the Element and those that stifle that possibility. Drawing on the stories of a wide range of people, including Paul McCartney, Matt Groening, Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, and Bart Conner, he shows that age and occupation are no barrier and that this is the essential strategy for transform­ing education, business, and communities in the twenty-first century.
Also available from Ken Robinson is Finding Your Element, the practical guide to achieving your highest potential.

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