You know the story in which J.K.Rowling was a poor single mom on welfare, who pitched the Harry Potter manuscript to tens of publishers, until one finally accepted it, and the rest is history? The books I write about below are not of this type. But like a Hogwarts magic, everyone will be talking about them in 2021 as well. Stories from those books will be told and retold to hundreds of (online) conferences. Business leaders will make compelling motivational speeches to their employees using ideas and examples from those books. And those are the books on my Reading list for H1 2021.
When Adam Grant publishes a book, it is an instant bestseller. That's why when I saw "Think again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know" comes out in early February, I immediately jumped on the waiting list. As soon as I was allowed to download it in Audible, I devoured it in several big gulps. The American professor of organisational psychology of Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania will keep your mind occupied for about 9 hours of interesting storytelling about how Steve Jobs changed his mind for the iPhone (he did not want it!), or why running from the wild fire could be more dangerous than to start your own fire in the face of this disaster. In a rapidly changing world a book full of stories of people who change their minds and rethink the old ways of doing things, gives you an inspiration to look with new perspectives to your own field. From a scientist such as Adam Grant I would have expected to read more research, than stories, but nevertheless, his stories make great points.
I got to know Professor Mauro F. Guillen, a Spanish/American sociologist in Wharton from his online course Global Trends in Business and Society. The course is very engaging and full of curious data. For instance, did you know that since 2010 there are more obese people in the world than malnourished? Since the course is published a couple of years ago, its data is valid, but already needs updates. And here I am, doing the course of Prof. Guillen, thinking where could I find an update on the great data in the lectures? With that though in my mind the almighty AI algorithm of God Internet must have picked on the brain activity and very soon after offered me the book "2030: HOW TODAY'S BIGGEST TRENDS WILL COLLIDE and RESHAPE THE FUTURE OF EVERYTHINIG" in my social media feed. I stopped trying to understand how He, the Almighty God Internet, does that. But the fact is, the book was the answer to my prayers (pun intended!). It is fresh from the audiobook recording studio and I can't wait to listen to it.
If you don't know statistics, I strongly recommend that you start learning it. We will all need the skill of reading data in the future, (almost) not matter the occupation. If you hate statistics, you may develop a taste for it when you watch the famous TED talk of Hans Rosling "The Best Stats You've Ever Seen".
My favourite book of all times about data is still the 1954 classic "How to Lie with Statistics" by Darrell Huff. But this one, "The Data Detective" of Tim Harford, that came out Feb 2, has the potential to top it. And no, I don't recommend you to read those books in order to know how to lie with data, but exactly the opposite - to know what to look for so you are not lied to.
Combining purpose and profit is not a new idea, but it is an idea which is becoming part of everyday business. Will all commercial enterprises become like Patagonia - the outdoor clothing company who also saves the world and encouraged you to vote in the 2020 American presidential elections? According to a review of the new book "Making money moral", published on Feb 9, it will discuss how new collaborations are changing capitalism. "Authors Judith Rodin and Saadia Madsbjerg explore a rapidly growing movement of bold innovators unlocking private-sector investments in new ways to solve global problems. They are attempting to tackle environmental challenges, social issues, poverty, and inequality, among others, reimagining capitalism in the process."
In one of my favourite episodes from the Freakonomics podcast the legendary CEO of Pepsico Indra Nooyi explains how she avoids to feel guilty for not attending the every- Wednesday-tea-party-at-9-am at her daughter's school. "When my daughter started to complain, I called the other moms and I found out it's not just me. Next time when my daughter asked me why I cannot come, I just told her other moms don't come too" It may sound bad, you have to find some coping mechanism, she said.
I am sure the new "Power Moms" book, which came out on Feb 16, will not give us the answer to "having it all". But it will equip us, working women, with good arguments why we should not beat ourselves about it. According to Wall Street Journal we can expect to read in the book about "mothers who reached the top of the corporate ladder explain why feeling guilty over work and family is both futile and a waste of energy." The guilt trip is all too familiar, and you don't feel it only on the top of the corporate ladder. I think even men are not immune to it. So @dear men, I dare you to read this book too. Fun fact: one of the predictions of the above-mentioned prof. Mauro F. Guillen book is that no so far in the future there will be more billionaire women than men...
Victory Corners 2021, by Viktoriya V. Blazheva