We decided to fashion our November’s Essential Reading List to focussing on what you might most need today, after a post-US election Trump result. This list was complied with a wry smile and an inner knowing that all the world is but a stage, and we are both the actors and the audience. How we each participate and contribute is entirely down to each and every one of us. Be the change you want to see in the world is such a cliche quote, but oh so very relevant to each of us, particularly at this moment in time.
1. The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance by Josh Waitzin
In his riveting new book, The Art of Learning, Waitzkin tells his remarkable story of personal achievement and shares the principles of learning and performance that have propelled him to the top—twice.
Josh Waitzkin knows what it means to be at the top of his game. A public figure since winning his first National Chess Championship at the age of nine, Waitzkin was catapulted into a media whirlwind as a teenager when his father’s book Searching for Bobby Fischer was made into a major motion picture. After dominating the scholastic chess world for ten years, Waitzkin expanded his horizons, taking on the martial art Tai Chi Chuan and ultimately earning the title of World Champion. How was he able to reach the pinnacle of two disciplines that on the surface seem so different? “I’ve come to realize that what I am best at is not Tai Chi, and it is not chess,” he says. “What I am best at is the art of learning.”
With a narrative that combines heart-stopping martial arts wars and tense chess face-offs with life lessons that speak to all of us, The Art of Learning takes readers through Waitzkin’s unique journey to excellence. He explains in clear detail how a well-thought-out, principled approach to learning is what separates success from failure. Waitzkin believes that achievement, even at the championship level, is a function of a lifestyle that fuels a creative, resilient growth process. Rather than focusing on climactic wins, Waitzkin reveals the inner workings of his everyday method, from systematically triggering intuitive breakthroughs, to honing techniques into states of remarkable potency, to mastering the art of performance psychology.
Through his own example, Waitzkin explains how to embrace defeat and make mistakes work for you. Does your opponent make you angry? Waitzkin describes how to channel emotions into creative fuel. As he explains it, obstacles are not obstacles but challenges to overcome, to spur the growth process by turning weaknesses into strengths. He illustrates the exact routines that he has used in all of his competitions, whether mental or physical, so that you too can achieve your peak performance zone in any competitive or professional circumstance.
In stories ranging from his early years taking on chess hustlers as a seven year old in New York City’s Washington Square Park, to dealing with the pressures of having a film made about his life, to International Chess Championships in India, Hungary, and Brazil, to gripping battles against powerhouse fighters in Taiwan in the Push Hands World Championships, The Art of Learning encapsulates an extraordinary competitor’s life lessons in a page-turning narrative.
2. Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Clarissa Pinkola Estes tells us about the ‘wild woman’, the wise and ageless presence in the female psyche that gives women their creativity, energy and power. For centuries, the ‘wild woman’ has been repressed by a male-orientated value system which trivialises women’s emotions. Using a combination of time-honoured stories and contemporary casework, Estes reveals that the ‘wild woman’ in us is innately healthy, passionate and wise.
Thoughtfully written and compelling in its arguments, Women Who Run With The Wolves gives readers a new sense of direction, a self confidence and purpose in their lives.
3. The Way of the Superior Man by David Deida
In The Way of the Superior Man, author David Deida takes the reader on a powerful journey into the heart of the contemporary masculine experience. With uncommon honesty and unparalleled insight into the deepest desires of the masculine heart, Deida explores the most challenging and important issues in men’s lives. Covering everything from work and career, to dealing with sex, women, and love, to finding purpose in an increasingly superficial and mechanical world, The Way of the Superior Man reveals how a man can live a life of fulfillment without compromise by relaxing into the truth of his very being, discovering his deepest vision, and giving his gifts without holding anything back. What emerges is a wholly revolutionary look at what it means to be a man in today’s world, as well as an astonishingly practical spiritual guide to living a masculine life of integrity, authenticity, and freedom. Book jacket.
4. Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization by Dave Logan, John King and Halee Fishcer-Wright
Within each corporation are anywhere from a few to hundreds of separate tribes. In Tribal Leadership, Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright demonstrate how these tribes develop—and show you how to assess them and lead them to maximize productivity and growth. A business management book like no other, Tribal Leadership is an essential tool to help managers and business leaders take better control of their organizations by utilizing the unique characteristics of the tribes that exist within.
5. Not Knowing by Steven D’Souza & Dianna Renner
We’ve revered this book already, but it seems extra topical this week, so it’s back in our top reads list for November.
In order to thrive in these worrying times, this fascinating book proposes we head, uncomfortably, towards the unknown, rather than away from it. By developing a unique relationship with Not Knowing we discover a new way of living, working and succeeding in our modern world. This book re-frames the concept of Not Knowing, from being in a fearful place of weakness and ignorance, moving to something we must engage with personally. It introduces us to a new paradigm, where Not Knowing becomes an exciting opportunity, where we are no longer limited by what we already know and our habitual reactions to things that life throws at us, so that deeper knowing can emerge, full of rich possibilities and wisdom. Learn: Why your hard-won knowledge may be holding you back. How to recognise when you are entering your real learning zone. Lessons from people who thrive in the unknown. Powerful ideas that will help you experience joy and possibility, rather than uncertainty and worry.
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