While many turn to fiction in the summer especially on vacation, I have found that my own mentors, who I deeply admire, tend to read books outside the charity sector to expand work skills and engage in strategic thinking to start in September with a new perspective. Seeds planted need fertile soil in which to grow and while we all need to take time to rest and relax our body, the right strategic story can be a massage for your mind and will rejuvenate and refresh you mentally. Check out these five great reads:
Perfect your persuasive skill. Canada’s adman-in-chief Terry O’Reilly is no stranger to communicating for a cause. The host of CBC’s Under the Influence, Terry has an impressive career in advertising and is a master of insight on influence. He has engaged in campaigns for many charities and continues to sit on several boards. He has keynoted for AFP Congress, CAGP, and many other sector conferences. Therefore, his new book This I Know is a must-read this summer. For all ages and stages, Terry puts forward stories of wins and losses that are both valuable in their insight and interesting in the telling. He has seen it all, so leaders will find value in this book because of the experience he brings to the table. Being a fan of his show and reading all his previous work, I have to say that what I enjoyed most is his frank candor and personal advice to young professionals at the end of the book. Makes a perfect graduate gift for this reason. Learn from the best, Terry will not steer you wrong!
Build a better team. “Fit,” is the most overused word in the hiring rodeo war for talent. Why can’t we articulate this better? The work of Patrick Lencioni is known the world over as his bestselling books like The Five Dysfunctions of a Team and Death by Meeting are some of the most well-read business books globally. Much of this is due to his fable format storytelling, which makes the lessons stick and, frankly, makes for a perfect summer read. His latest book, The Ideal Team Player, is perfect light reading that will make you think deeply about how you hire, manage, and most importantly, what your leadership is all about. His superpower is articulating the elusive in business. This is one of those books that will get you thinking over the summer and refresh how you think about hiring and your vision for your team. If you manage people and are responsible for hiring, this is a must-read.
Winter is coming. To paraphrase a popular Game of Thrones phrase, we know as professionals that challenges at work and home are storms that fall upon us at the most unexpected time. Why not use this summer to build personal resilience? Good habits can’t be formed unless they can be clearly stated and practised. Although the best seller this summer on this topic will no doubt be Sheryl Sandberg’s Option B, I personally recommend the book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by Amy Morin. Originally coming from a Forbes article that garnered a million reads overnight, the book is a very prescriptive teacher of the skills it takes to be ready for any challenges the future may bring, giving you the tools to build simple daily habits that may save your career and life one day. Personal resilience may be the most important career skill you build in 2017 if you want to not just survive but thrive. Forget Chicken-Soup, this book is kung-fu for the hard working soul.
Nimble networking. One of today’s great thinkers, Wharton business professor, Harvard Business Review writer, and bestselling author, Adam Grant, wrote this book on reciprocal living and giving aptly called Give and Take; Why Helping Others Drives our Success. As someone who is obsessed with building networking skills like most yoga enthusiasts focus on better breathing I believe this book is a networking masterpiece, the best on the subject I’ve read in a decade. With ideas like the “5 minute favour”, Grant puts forward this fascinating read on reciprocity, generosity, and how you can navigate a world filled with givers, takers, and everyone in between. This short read is a book for leaders and learners alike about one of the world’s most important skills.
The Cottage companion. Are you going on a great vacation but don’t want to turn your brain totally off? Want to hit the beach but still sharpen your business mind? Tim Ferriss’ work isn’t just best-selling, the author of the 4 Hour Workweek has had his podcast downloaded over 100 million times. He’s jammed that into this almost 300-page book called Tools of Titans. But the point isn’t to read this book cover to cover. For biography fans out there you’ll get hundreds of the world’s most brilliant minds on health, wealth and business – one page at a time - right at your fingertips in a truly readable and enjoyable format. It will give you what you need when you need it and is the perfect book to take with you on the road this summer. For those in the C-Suite and Executive Directors, and those who want to be them, this is the MUST have book of the year.
Turn the beach into a B-school and keep that noggin’ joggin’. Hope you enjoy these recommendations, would love to hear if you have some of your own in the comments.
See you, in September!
Paul Nazareth is VP Community Engagement with the charity CanadaHelps.org, Canada’s leading website that brings together charities, donors and advisors online. He has worked with organizations big and small, as a philanthropic advisor with a bank and now works with thousands of charities across Canada. Paul is Chair of the Humber College Postgraduate Fundraising Program Advisory Committee, teaches fundraising with Georgian College, is a national instructor with the Canadian Association of Gift Planners and a sought after speaker coast to coast. Find him on Linkedin or @UinvitedU on Twitter.
Links to find these resources
Under the Influence with Terry O’Reilly
This I Know Terry O’Reilly
The Ideal Team Player Patrick Lencioni
Option B Sheryl Sandberg
Tools of Titans Tim Ferriss