Reading List

leadership books for first time managers and young early career professionals
Leadership books – early career professionals

Leadership sounds really glamorous and exciting, but truth is most newly minted managers feel a little overwhelmed. Unfortunately, most companies give little or no training to first-time managers, leaving them to figure out everything on their own, from resolving employee conflicts to getting projects completed, budget handling, etc.

So how do you balance it all without coming off as an arrogant jerk or a complete ignoramus? Try these 2 books… They are not targeted specifically for young managers, but the pearls of wisdom provided are extremely valuable for such situations.

#1. Truth About Managing People

I was assigned this book by Stephen Robbins for my MBA class, and it is brilliant. Not sure why it is not more popular among corporate executives. However, if you are a time-crunched new leader, you will appreciate the bite-sized chapters on a variety of topics – hiring, employee feedback, negotiation, getting results, growing your team, etc.

I have a detailed review here, if you want to investigate further.

#2. Leadership Secrets from the Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.

Honestly, you could pick any Robin Sharma and it would be fantastic. However, this one is really useful if you want to establish yourself as a respected leader while getting positive results (read profits) and meeting corporate KPIs. Without selling your soul, I might add.

This book is something to savor, so get a copy that you can refer periodically. The anecdotes and quotes are amazing. I’ve read this book dozens of times and it never fails to impress.

If you don’t have so much time or need a quick summary, just read the last chapter and the overview after each chapter.

Hope you found this useful. If you are interested in honing your leadership skills further, you may also want to peruse this other list of leadership books.

Until next time, Adieu!

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Books on Creativity & Innovation

Feeling stuck or devoid of inspiration? A problem irritating you to no end? Stuck with writer’s block?

Creative inspiration is an ideal answer to all these problems. In today’s knowledge economy, innovative ideas and creativity are the new currency for career acceleration. Also, as more jobs get automated, soft skills combined with innovative thinking is the only way to remain relevant and valuable in the marketplace.

Creativity & Innovation Thinking – the only way to save your job from being made obsolete by Automation!

So here is a list of 7 superb books that will turbocharge your thinking and sharpen your creativity muscles:

1. Alchemy. Author = Rory Sutherland.
2. Creativity Inc. Author = Ed Catmull.
3. Design Thinking. Author = Tim Brown.
4. 131 Boredom Busters & Creativity Builders for Kids. Author = Jed Jurchenko.
5. The Accidental Creative. Author = Todd Henry.
6. Creative Careers. Author = Jeffrey Madoff.
7. Tools of the Titans. Author = Tim Ferris. Review here

Some of these books also feature on my list of Top 25 books to read this year. A modified version of this article was also posted on Medium.com under the title “Best Books on Creativity & Innovation

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Amazing book – I could not put it down, but then reminded myself that I did not want to end up needing a tech detox (like the hero) and finished it on day 2 ! 🙂 Hilarious, satirical and absolutely adorable! The author has taken a contemporary topic like tech addiction and brought a very fresh look at surviving in the 21st century without the help of modern tech. The romantic angle is delightful without seeming forced!

Highly recommend!

  • Title – Logging Off
  • Author – Nick Spalding

REVIEW SCORE = 5/5 *****

This is another ARC thanks to #NetGalley. I requested the book without even realizing that the author was a bestseller. Happy to report that I went in with minimal expectations, but the book proves why Nick Spalding is so popular!

I will certainly be buying his other books to read in the future! 🙂

As a digital native myself, I totally relate to the panicky feeling at the thought of being completely cut off and having to rely on my “rusty brain” and personal judgement to navigate the world. We’ve almost forgotten the simple joys of life – like taking a joyride to nowhere, sitting in silence without a meditation app or taking a walk in the park to delight in the sounds of nature. This book reminded me to try those more often.

The book is set in the UK, but readers from any country will find it appealing. Giving too much importance to online “influencers” without vetting them, over-reliance on online reviews, GPS map, preferring meetups to talking to plain old friends, etc. The author weaves all these topics into a coherent and entertaining chronicle. Yet, there are scenes to show that technology and hyper-connectivity can have positive outcomes. I appreciate that the author does not take sides in demonizing technology or glorifying it!

Similar Works:

  • Books – “Notes from a Big Country” by Bill Bryson. Other books by Nick Spalding – start with “Checking Out” or “Dumped Actually”.
  • Movies – Late Nights.
  • TV Series – Stand up series by Jim Gaffigan or Amit Tandon.
  • Genres – Humor and Satire, Romantic Comedy, British Humor.

Until the next book, Happy Reading!

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Who is not impressed by a rocket scientist?
I certainly am, and I’ve also had the privilege to meet a couple retired ones in real life!

But I did not think there was any process to emulate their ability to think about solving problems with no known solutions. So the description of this book captivated me completely.

  • Title – Think Like a Rocket Scientist
  • Subtitle – Simple Strategies You Can Use to Make Giant Leaps in Work and Life
  • Author – Ozan Varol

Review Score = 5/5 *****

Compared to bestselling author, Nassem Taleb’s book “Black Swan” is the unlikely event that disrupts industries and bankrupts businesses, like a pandemic or housing bust. This book is the answer to avoid getting hurt badly when such situations, and they will happen at some point or the other, no doubt about it.

Whether you are a student, entrepreneur or mid level executive, this book will help you improve your critical thinking skills. You will emerge with new ways to innovate, see patterns and a fresh burst of creativity. The best way to describe it is as a crash course equivalent to an MBA business strategy class.

Nine brilliant thinking processes that you can use to boost your career.

Side note, the cover and title were so compelling, I only read the recommendations AFTER I put in my #NetGalley advance review request.

Did you know? This book comes recommended by:

a] bestselling authors like Adam Grant (Wharton professor and author of “Originals”) and Daniel Pink (“Drive”) ,
b] Tech titans I follow, like Satya Nadella and Bill Gates.

Honestly, did not think the request would be accepted, but being a Top Reviewer (see badge on right) seemed to help my case. So I figured I would get to the book ASAP, and also add a review.

In all fairness, my 5* review is 100% honest, and not at all swayed by the amazing other people who have praised this book. My review after all, is for regular readers like you and me, who read for entertainment or learning. Plus, I have read so many non-fiction books in the past that I can decipher (or so I like to believe!) when books are simply rehashing generic concepts or regurgitating content from a hundred other books.

In this book, I was looking for practical strategies to hone my critical thinking skills, and possibly ideas to accelerate my career. The book delivered everything that I expected and a little more! I got some wacky ideas for my website promotion, and early testing seems to show more positive response than I expected.

Brilliant book. 100% recommend to readers in all industries and stages of their career.

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Fun read just perfect for a rainy day, a beach vacation or a lazy weekend (me!) I’ve been to Key West islands, where this story is set. Hence, I totally agree that this gorgeous location is the perfect backdrop for a sudden romance! The story was amazing too, presenting a family drama without making it too sordid or glum. The primary characters were believable, and even the secondary plots between the heroine and her siblings were interesting enough (something I don’t often see in romance novels), that I read the book from cover to cover.

  • Title – Island Affair
  • Author – Priscilla Olivers

REVIEW SCORE = 5/5 *****

This is another ARC thanks to #NetGalley. I requested the book because the cover just called to me, and who doesn’t love an exotic island? Here are some pix from my trip to KeyWest. With such gorgeous vistas, romance is simply humming in the air! ?

Raw, natural pix – the stunning views in KeyWest.

Beaches, greenery and poetic sunrises! Glad the author mentions all these in her book! 🙂

Again, the story was marvelous, and I like that the author put in topics like food disorders, parental pressure and sibling rivalry in the mix. Some books feel like there are too many subplots, but this book had just the right balance and happy endings for all the loose ends.

Lastly, with all the fears and uncertainty from the corona virus pandemic, honestly, we need more books like this which allow readers to escape from our real-life chaos.

Similar Works:

  • Books – “Head over High Heels” by Lila monroe. “The Stylist takes Manhattan” by Rosie Nixon, “Blitzed” by Alexa Martin. Any Betty Neels book.
  • Movies – Legally blonde, Beautician and the Beast, Nights at Rodanthe, When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle.
  • Genres – Contemporary Romance, Multicultural Romance, Beach Reads, Holiday Romance.

Until next time, Happy Reading! 🙂

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