Great books for your summer holiday

I just loved the Backpack by Tim A Gardner, which is an entertaining story of an executive under pressure.  The story is a metaphor and the moral of the story is how greater self-awareness can lead to happiness – at work and at home.

I particularly loved the story, because it endorses my belief that the first step of Leadership is raised self-awareness and the second step is understanding the impact of yourself on others – taking care not to whack others with your Backpack!

Whilst we are on the subject of great books (to read or listen to on Audible), I have more to recommend.  Each is easy to read making sometimes complex material readily accessible….

Brene Brown has been a favourite of mine for the past 3 years.  Her work on empathy, shame and vulnerability is all laid bare in a variety of books from ‘Daring Greatly’ to ‘Dare to Lead’.  If you’d like a taste of her work, you can see her 2010 TEDx talk on the Power of Vulnerability or her 3 minute cartoon on empathy (again on You Tube). Brene is an inspiration and I love watching her vlogs.

Warning – you too might find yourself hooked!………  When I read ‘From Contempt to Curiosity’ by Caitlin Walker, I was curious to find out more and signed up to an ongoing training and practice programme.  Caitlin’s work is truly exceptional and you will read about her amazing results with disaffected teenagers – possibly the hardest group to connect with and influence.

‘Mindset’ by Dr Carol Dweck took the world by storm a few years ago, but was first printed in 2006. It is a great read for parents and leaders alike and demonstrates the power of language in conditioning our mindsets and beliefs.

Nancy Kline is something of an unsung hero in my opinion.  Her first book, ‘Time to Think’ is now 20 years old but remains a timeless classic. She did follow it up 10 years later with ‘More Time to Think’ which encompasses more research and provides more context for her work.  I have had the honour of meeting Nancy (who is truly awe inspiring) and training in ‘Time to Think’ which is a simple but powerful tool.

I have recently been introduced (not personally you understand!) to Mark Goulston – author of ‘Just Listen’ and ‘Real Influence’.  I found his theory of ‘Your here’ and ‘Their There’ revelatory!

‘The Chimp Paradox’ by Dr Steve Peters brings neuroscience into everyday language.  It is a great tool for understanding the difference between emotional reactions in the heat of the moment and rational thinking.  It helps to explain how your mind works and tools for managing it.

I could not put together a list of books without mentioning the all-time best-seller ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People’ by Stephen Covey.  It was the first self-development book I read back in 1992 and I still refer to it to this day.

Below is a summary of the books I have mentioned.  All (except the First Time to Think) are available on Audible…….

Brene Brown

Daring Greatly

Gifts of Imperfection

Dare to Lead

Caitlin Walker

From Contempt to Curiosity

Dr Carol Dweck


Mark Goulston

Just Listen

Real Influence

Nancy Kline

Time to Think

More Time to Think

Dr Steve Peters

Chimp Paradox

Stephen Covey

7 Habits of Highly Successful People

Tim A Gardner

The Backpack

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