Every January I post an article on the books that impacted me the most over the previous year. My list from 2011 is made up of books on personal growth, leadership, kids and culture, biographies and our spiritual journey. I hope they inspire you to read and grow more this year. Yesterday I posted the first half of the list – today, I’ll finish out the second half.
5. Signature Sins, by Michael Mangis
This is a faith-based book. We are all rebels in our own right. Our patterns of sin are unique to us. They take a consistent and predictable course. Like a signature, my sin pattern is so characteristic of me that it could be used to identify me. It’s my sin profile. Rather than eradicating our sins, we tend to manage them. Spiritual maturity involves changing my heart, not just my behavior. My signature sins are my personal doubts about God’s goodness; I don’t trust He has my best interests at heart. Ouch. This book made me evaluate the selfish patterns in my personal life and leadership.
4. Switch, by Chip and Dan Heath
I like anything Chip and Dean Heath write. They are brothers from Stanford and Duke universities and in this book, practically apply research on leading change in either your personal life or your organization. They provide nine strategies on helping people change, beginning with an analogy of a rider and an elephant. The rider is your rational side, the elephant is the more powerful emotional or irrational side. They explain why change is hard and how you can lead or manage it well.
3. Social Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman
If you enjoyed Dan Goleman’s book on Emotional Intelligence, this one works like a sequel. It covers the external portion of EQ, the social side, which involves reading non-verbal cues from others, being aware of the emotions of others, handling conflict, difficult relationships, etc. The book includes solid theory and case studies on why social intelligence must be a key issue not just for psychologists and social scientists but for employers, teachers, school administrators, coaches, pastors—you name it.
2. Willful Blindness, by Margaret Heffernan
The sub-title for this book is: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril. It’s a book you both love and hate to read. I need it, yet I don’t want it. Using fascinating stories of huge blunders in business and government, it explores the mechanisms that allow us to blind ourselves to threatening situations in order to feel safe, avoid conflict, reduce anxiety, and protect prestige. Margaret Heffernan is a former producer for BBC Radio and TV, and the CEO of several interactive multimedia companies.
1. Deep Change, by Robert Quinn
This book identifies the difference between incremental change (which is a continuation from the past, with sight differences) and deep change, which is totally different from the past. Quinn defines deep change as major in scope, discontinuous with the past, and generally irreversible. Because we live in a culture of deep change, we must constantly choose between making deep change in our organizations or slow death. Deep Change explores the development of internally driven leadership.
Which books influenced you in 2011?