Books that Inspire with Imagery as well as Words
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse, Charles Mackesy. There are some books I pick up again and again. This is one of them. The imagery and words both speak to me. I rarely read it cover to cover in sequence, but I find so much inspiration in individual pages, especially on hard days.
The Crossroads of Should and Must, Elle Luna. I can see why this message resonated across wide distance. It is a personal aha that reflects the universal desire to find meaning and value in work. And it is another where the imagery and words work together and independently to engage heart and mind.
Morning Altars. Day Schildkret. The photographs in this book are stunning. Day’s earth art is magnificent. He provides a way to re-ground with the earth, listening and creating together, naturally letting go as the winds, animals, and movement of earth requires it. But don’t miss the words themselves. They, too, are beautiful and poignant.
Paris in Color. Nichole Robertson. The colors!!! This could be the fanciest journal you ever have, if you chose to write over the colors. Or, it could be a personal invitation to notice the colors around you. Be inspired to take a genuine color walk in your own neighborhood.
Books that Invite You to Extend or Expand Your Thinking
Play, Stuart Brown, MD. The definitive guide. I particularly appreciate the description of eight “play personalities.” Those definitions contribute to how I consider each season of the Lead with a dash of Play podcast. Combined with the approach of Dear Data, it also shaped my activity of creating your own play portrait.
Dear Data, Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec (Also their how-to guide, Observe, Collect, Draw!) Rather than starting with somebody else’s generalizations or characterizations of behaviors and habits, this offers a way to track your own. Self-Awareness in a creative way!
Think Again, Adam Grant. How often do you re-think your beliefs and assumptions?
The Extended Mind, Annie Murphy Paul. Thinking does not just happen in your head.
Primed to Perform, Neel Doshi. Did you know that the number one motivating factor for high performance at work is play? Can you structure your work (and that of your team) so that it feels like play? Also check out my interview with Neel on the Lead with a dash of Play podcast.
Navigating Ambiguity, Andrea Small and Kelly Schmutte (a Stanford d.school guide). I am enjoying these short books from the d.school, and this one both normalizes the state of ambiguity and shows ways to analyze what you particularly need to move forward.
Chatter, Ethan Kross. There are many books about the destructive self-talk that can derail us. I like this book for its clear analysis and recommendations.
Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle, Emily Nagoski, PhD and Amelia Nagoski, DMA. These two sisters have powerful stories and a clear way of differentiating between the stressors in our life and the stress cycle. That enables a more effective approach to taking next steps.
Joyful, Ingrid Fetell Lee. Finding joy does not always have to be an internal struggle. Ingrid’s approach to examining the places around us and identifying how we can create environments and practices that bring joy is beautiful.
Books that Remind Us How to Better Connect With Each Other
The Art of Gathering, Priya Parker. Our common background in conflict resolution is undoubtedly part of why Priya’s approach resonates so deeply with me. For those who want to bring intention to every part of your gathering, I highly recommend this book.
Design for Belonging, Susie Wise (a Stanford d.school guide). This fits beautifully with The Art of Gathering and takes it deeper with a design thinking approach to who we are centering, including, and perhaps unintentionally othering when we design events.
High Conflict, Amanda Ripley. Sometimes the conflict itself takes on its own identity. We see that with polarization in many instances, but Amanda shares ways to break out of high conflict.
The Culture Code, Daniel Coyle. Specifically exploring the dynamics of teams and how to build organizational culture.