Ruth Penfold, yoga guru and director of talent acquisition at Shazam, shares with us some of her most inspiring recent reads.
For me, reading really is everything. Generally I have 3-4 books on the go at any one time. I've chosen these as they are the ones I have recommended to people the most, so it's fair to say they probably are the ones that have inspired me the most! They are definitely the ones that have got me thinking a little differently.
1. The Road Less Travelled by Scott Peck
This book is a big deal for a lot of people. A truly inspiring account of therapy sessions and Peck’s own world surrounding it. Telling us not to ignore or bury our problems or our hurts, but rather face them head on, and be brave in doing so.
Key Takeaway… There is SO much to take from this book I’ve read it twice and plan to do so again. It looks at love, life, everything. Things like, love is not a feeling by which we are overwhelmed but rather a committed, thoughtful decision. Also that truth is the most important thing of all and should be spoken over whatever is vital for our self interest or indeed our comfort.
Read This If… You want to learn more about yourself, your behaviours, therapy in general and how that might work.
2. Drive by Daniel Pink
This book really struck me as it looks at the reasons why we do things. What makes someone put the extra effort in, or work in their zone of genius, and what doesn’t, with plenty of factual evidence to back it up.
Key Takeaway… The biggest thing I took away from this book was dispelling the idea that money is the thing that drives us. Once our base needs are covered on that front, it’s our purpose and our values that will keeping us pushing forward, and whether the thing that we are working on or involved in really resonates with who we are as people.
Read This If… You want to learn more about how people work and what their motivations are. It will help you if you are leading a team or running your own business tremendously.
3. The Dance of the Lion and the Unicorn by Mark Waller
I know, I judged the title too. I even wrote a blog about it. But trust me when I say,that this book was pivotal in helping me to understand the dynamics of relationships, and where some of my own relationships - professional and personal - were sorely lacking.
Key Takeaway… Learning that some people really are just built differently. Through awareness and love, we can choose to understand, show empathy and work through those differences. The book talks of viewing someone as if they were your beloved 3 year old whom you adore, and through that lens, perhaps you are able to find a little more forgiveness for the context of that interaction.
Read This If… You want to work on your relationships with the world around you, and also take on a little more understanding about who you are and your own reactions to things.
4. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
This brilliant book focuses in on the V word. That’s right; vulnerability. It looks at applying it to all areas of our lives, letting go of the need to be perfect and giving each other and ourselves, a lot more realness.
Key Takeaway… I had to develop a certain amount of armour to help me get through some of the tougher challenges I have faced (I know a lot of us do), but that left me harder and definitely made it harder to form relationships. This book was the beginning in trying to break free from that protective coating and allowing myself to begin to present myself to the world as the vulnerable, loving, honest creature that I truly am.
Read This If… You feel like you are striving for impossible perfection and if you’d like to embrace being a little more imperfectly perfect.
5. The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander
Brilliant book about leadership and people, and just how much closer we can get to people operating in their zone of genius if we just believe in them.
Key Takeaway… ‘Giving people an A’; namely, starting all interactions from a place of assuming that the person is outstanding on all levels, then figuring them out from there. It also taught me a new way to view forgiveness, namely taking into account the events that may have led to a situation for all parties and choosing to ‘give people an A’ for their part in it. Working harder to assume best intentions. It works!
Read This If… You want to be a better leader, a better human and learn how to give people the chance to truly thrive.