Top 3 books for 2018

harveyreads leadership Apr 24, 2018
I guess it is time to admit I might have a problem. I may be taking bibliophile (person who reads a lot) to biblio’hollic (someone who reads a lot, a lot). Since the year has started I have found the time to read or listen to 19 books and one of those I have gone through twice already. In fact I have taken up so much time reading books that I have had no time to write their reviews. So, here is a quick review of the three books I keep recommending to people in the last three months. Each one of them is a life changer and will be included in my Vade Mecum (books I refer to often) 

Crucial Conversations by Patterson • Grenny • McMillan • Switzler - 

Everyone finds themselves in crucial conversations at some time in their life. Most of us are in them weekly. Critical Conversations happen when emotions are strong, the stakes are high or views are opposing and the tension rises. If handled improperly these discussions become potential powder-kegs of offence and misunderstanding but with the right tools closer relationships, better understanding and successful solutions are awaiting you. Crucial Conversations breaks down the steps required to make sure everyone is heard, feels respected and can head towards a mutual goal. It gives guidance to see the danger signs and to know how to respond in those moments. It also reveals your personal stress profile and how you may operate under stress because knowing is half the battle.
As someone who has taught communication for over 10 years I found this book to be a great follow up from our two staples Telling Each Other the Truth, William Backus and Getting the Best of Your Anger, Les Carter. 
So if you are married or looking to be married one day, work with people or for people then this book is for you. 

The Motivation Myth by Jeff Haden

This book starts with the premise you do not need more motivation, will power or passion to reach the goals you want to reach. Instead the secret to obtaining those goals is to create a process, quietly celebrate milestones and complete forget those goals. 
So what is the actual myth around motivation? One normally thinks “I need to get more motivated before I start this task” but the truth is the motivation only comes after you start. This is why even the things you like to do you will sometimes avoid. It is hard to start something and it is only after you get going on the task and push through the first wave of pain and discomfort that the job becomes more tolerable and your brain starts to enjoy it. 
Will power is another misunderstood ability. We have a limited amount of will power each day and the more you withdraw from the account the less you have for emergencies. So make decisions ahead of time that help remove will power from the equation. Pack a lunch the night before to prevent having to choose whether or not to eat out the next day. Sometimes one decision can remove a thousand temptations. For example, I am going through my challenge to read fifty two books this year. So at night when the question is do I want to watch a show it just doesn’t fit with my current goal so the question doesn’t even factor in. 
Another factor is the language used around keeping focused towards goals.  How you talk to yourself about a specific choice changes your ability to followthrough on that commitment. If you say “I can’t skip workouts” you are making a statement about a condition imposed on you - there is little to no ownership of the statement. Whereas if you say “I don’t skip workouts” you are making a statement about your internal character rather than making it an outside condition. In the book Jeff Haden explains that when a test was done using those two statements and a control group that wasn’t given a phrase to say, the “I don’t skip workouts” completed on average 8 of 10 workouts in the test period. The control group only completed on average 3 of 10 workouts while the “I can’t skip workouts” completed a dismal average 1 of 10 workouts. "I can’t” doesn’t help because deep down we know we actually “can” and therefore we do. 
The Motivation Myth also helped with the idea of having more than one pursuit and gave Keri and I great questions and discussion times about the different things we are involved with and how to be the best at them that we can be. Jeff commented that there are some people who only do one thing and therefore can focus all their attention on one things but really life is lived doing multiple things and therefore we need to train like triathletes (or in Keri’s case a decathlete). If you are going to run an Iron Man you cannot just be focus on being the best swimmer because after you are done the swim you still need to cycle 180kms and run a marathon. Being focused on only one discipline is normally not an option so the goal is to find balance. 

Finally, 5 Types of People Who Can Ruin Your Life: Identifying and Dealing with Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Other High-Conflict Personalities by Bill Eddy

I won’t go into too much detail with this book as the title is its synopsis. In Crucial Conversations there is a question to ask of a situation: "Why would a reasonable, rational, and decent person do this?" In 5 Types the question becomes: "Would 90% of the people you know act in the same way in this situation? If not, you are probably dealing with a High Conflict Personality(HCP)”
Hopefully this is not the case for you, but 1 in 10 people in America are diagnosed as one of the five types of HCP and once you learn to potentially identify them it helps to find a way through conflict. HCPs do not respond like 90% of the society around them and therefore thought patterns of “this ought to fix the problem” or “if I am just forthright everything will be fine” or “I am sure they will understand” do not apply here. In fact those methods normally create more problems and prolong the issue. So spotting the differences in these personality types can save a world of grief going forward. 

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