summer reading

06/20/2012

by pamela welling

It’s around this time of year that my thoughts turn to all things vacation and by default, summer reading. I’m lucky to be very engaged in what I do, and invariably my beach reading is less chick lit (although there is absolutely nothing wrong with that) and more along the lines of Umair Haque’s Betterness: Economics for Humans. Right now I am reading a fascinating book that details how a performance enhancement coach was able to save the multi-platinum selling band Metallica from breaking up in the early 2000’s. I’ve even learned a few techniques from this book that I think could implement in my coaching, and I can’t think of a better way to spend my time on the beach. So if you are thinking about what to read during your vacation time this summer and feel like challenging yourself to dive into material that might get you thinking, here are my recommendations:

Umair Haque, Betterness- Economics for Humans: I am a huge fan of Haque’s thought provoking HBR blog and if you don’t feel like tackling one of his books just yet, his blog is a very good place to start. If you do, you might consider starting with Betterness, where Haque suggests we should do for Economics what Positive Psychology did for mental health; viz. recast our approach to be more holistic, rewarding and inclusive. As Haque points out; ‘In short, we need to get out of business and into betterness’.

Shawn Achor, The Happiness Advantage: Seen Achor’s highly amusing and insightful TED talk? Well now you can read the book (T-shirts to follow shortly?!). Achor draws on his time studying the behavior of undergraduates at Harvard University and the fundamentals of positive psychology to argue that happiness fuels success, not the other way around. In addition Achor lays out practical, implementable steps on how you can train your brain to better recognize success and opportunity.

Gretchen Ruben, The Happiness Project: The closest of the recommendations to a true summer beach read; Ruben chronicles her year-long experiment road testing recommendations from various ‘happiness experts’ including academics like Martin Seligman through to pop culture figures including Oprah. She shares insights and suggestions based on her and her family’s experience, and even provides a reader guide to creating your own Happiness Project.

Joe Berlinger and Greg Milner, This Monster Lives: And my final recommendation is the book I referenced at the top of this post; Part film school text book, anthropological study and cultural touch point, This Monster Lives weaves Berlinger’s experience as a documentary film-maker with the lives of his subjects- the members of multi-platinum selling band, Metallica.

Here’s to happy summer reading, and drop us a note if you have the chance to dip into any of my recommendations!

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