08 Aug Summer Business Book Suggestions
My Latest Pick of Business Books to Get You Thinking
I’m writing this in the wilds of Transylvania in Romania, although by the time it gets posted I will have returned to the hustle and bustle of London. Even those of you that know me personally may be unaware that I grew up with a strong love of Gothic and 19th century literature. For my first marriage we “eloped” to Gretna Green in Scotland, just like a wayward younger sister in a Jane Austen novel! Likewise, visiting the home of the character of Dracula has always been on my to-to list which is why I’m here today.
The castle to the left, by the way, is reportedly the castle that Bram Stoker used as inspiration for the home of Dracula.
I’m a big reader. I always have three or four books on the go, as well as something bubbling on Audible, and today I have decided to share my holiday reading with you: three inspiring psychology or business books that also fit into the categories of be bold, stand out and stay authentic!
I’ll come to those in just a moment, but for those of you living in or near London, we have a new Hot House evening this September, 11th. Come and network and listen to three business women (including me) tell their stories of rebranding, refreshing and reinventing their business. We currently have an early bird offer for buy one and bring a friend for free so do join us here.
Reach: How to Build Confidence and Step Outside Your Comfort Zone by Dr Andy Molinsky
I found this in an English language bookshop in Bucharest and given my decision to really push myself out of my comfort zone this year, this was a must. Dr Molinksy is a professor of organisational behaviour so a lot of his references are work orientated, but his specialist area is confidence and comfort zones. The first part of the book is an enlightening look at why it is so hard to get past that comfort zone barrier.
He makes the point that it’s so easy to imagine that we are going to take a big leap out of our comfort zone, or encourage others to do so, but in reality that rarely happens. The reasons why? Well, for a start we feel inauthentic and that’s uncomfortable for us. We may also have to risk being disliked or deal with other people’s discomfort as well as our own (“What… you’re starting your own business, isn’t that a bit risky?”). Plus, of course, we may not (or may feel as though we don’t) have the skills and knowledge …yet.
As you’d expect, he offers tips and advice based on his research. This research involved following participants as they set themselves tasks outside their own comfort zones. Tactics which worked for them included finding a deep sense of purpose which would propel them through the discomfort and tweaking the activities necessary so that they fitted better with heir own skills and personality. He also touches on the importance of a support system: something that has been really beneficial to me in this past year.
His book is peppered with personal stories which I always love, although it often focuses on individual actions that are outside one’s comfort zone (like dealing with a bad mannered colleague) rather than a deliberate campaign to actively increase your comfort zone. However the final section is a really useful template to help you work out how to apply his advice in your own life.
Overall, I loved this and I am sure I will re-read it over the next year.
Start With Why by Simon Sinek
I didn’t find this a particularly easy read, not because it’s difficult to understand but because he often goes over the same material. The basic premise of the book – and it is a good one – is that we need to find the Why behind your brand and then be able to both communicate that and pass it on to others in your business, even after we have left. This is obviously especially important if you have a team…so great advice here for both marketing and business building.
I did find his almost constant use of Apple a bit wearing (I think he must have shares) and there was a lack of personal stories there which could have made it much more engaging. In fact, the most interesting part, for me, was one small section where he talks about his own brush with depression and losing his own Why. I do feel that I’ve got the message and won’t need to re-read the book in a hurry, but I’m glad I have.
Succulent Wild Woman by Sark
The fun one! The very name of this drew me in and when I opened the covers and saw it was handwritten with lots of colour and illustrations, I knew I wanted it on my shelves.
I haven’t finished it yet, I must admit, but so far I am having a whale of a time. It varies from light, fun suggestions to quite pertinent ruminations around money and power. Sark encourages you to push your comfort zone, make more mistakes. be more creative, more outrageous and seek out other succulent wild women. One of the reasons I do like it is because she isn’t setting herself up as some guru who knows it all – she tells the story of starting a money group with other women who felt so powerful around the subject they got nervous and quit!
The book itself is so physically juicy and succulent – you couldn’t get the same on Kindle. My verdict, buy one and get another as a gift for a friend.
My Verona retreat is now full. Five lovely ladies will be working on their visibility this October with me in Italy. I’m incredibly excited and know it’s going to be a transformative time for everyone involved.
If you’ve missed out on the retreat but have a hankering to do something exotic with me I am booking in dates for my one to one, one day Escape to Paris. We can work on your business strategy, your visibility – or both – meandering our way through delicious chocolateries, atmospheric venues and the quintessential Parisian backdrop of bohemian Montmartre.