Here we share a very short description of what we liked about each title and why you might choose to invest a few precious minutes to review it for yourself, if you haven't done so already.
We'll leave the book reviews to others better qualified than us.
These are simply recommendations we feel may interest visitors to this site.
We hope you discover something you value.
Just to be clear, Planned Ascent has no commercial relationship with any of the titles mentioned, nor their authors or publishers.
Mapping Innovation: A Playbook for Navigating a Disruptive Age by Greg Satell
A nice simple matrix based on just two questions to explain the different types of innovation, differentiate between them and as a tool to develop an appropriate innovation strategy for all sizes of company. Some good stories of successful innovations also help us understand how these came about through the lens of the matrix and how others (mostly corporates) have approached this challenging area. Watch the video introduction here.
WTF by Robert Peston
A clear-sighted and informed, albeit very personal lens on the many events and trends that are seemingly shaking the foundations of our society and creating, according to your point of view, huge opportunity, uncertainty or both, for businesses in all sectors. An easy read backed up with plenty of data to help us all make sense of the seismic changes taking place around us.
The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle
Some fascinating stories in this concise book illustrate how different leaders and organisations from all sorts of different contexts - sport, the military, film studios, have created cultures that foster highly successful groups. Some great nuggets also about the power of stories to determine outcomes and the true role of leaders.
The Power of TED* by David Emerald
Very simply, this book sets out the antedote to the Karpman Drama Triangle which describes unhelpful roles and associated behaviours that we can (and do) all fall into and witness every day - Victim, Persecutor and Rescuer. Written as a fable which may not be to everyone's liking, nonetheless a quick and easy read which gives some very practical content on how to help ourselves and others consciously adopt more respectful and productive mindsets and behaviours.
Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long by David Rock.
To borrow a phrase directly from the book; we like the simple notion that you can develop brain-smart approaches to scenarios at work. In other words, with a little knowledge of how the brain works, we can all save ourselves a few unnecessary headaches! The book uses everyday scenarios to illustrate each point in a straightforward way.
Neuropsychology for Coaches: Understanding the Basics by Paul Brown and Virginia Brown
Not nearly as heavy as it sounds! One highlight is a really clear and concise explanation of the eight basic emotions and how our brains attach these to events and encode this into language to create meaning; including the distinction between emotions and feelings and the impact of trauma. Also an approachable explanation of brainchemistry and how this impacts our performance, which provides some useful pointers for helping each other to be more creative and resourceful in the workplace and indeed, anywhere else.
Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
One to read just for the pure enjoyment of it. Fascinating insights into the circumstances that played a part in helping some of the world's most apparetly successful people reach their lofty positions in life. Be warned if you haven't read it already, or perhaps more importantly if you're friends haven't, that you will recount some of the stories endlessly for several months afterwards!
Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia
Read past the idealism of the first few pages and this book develops a powerful and optimistic vision of how free enterprise capitalism ought to and can operate to achieve an optimal balance of interests between all of the stakeholders in a company; rather than focusing on returns for some at the expense of others. This premise becomes all the more interesting given that one of the authors, John Mackey, was cofounder of Whole Foods Market which was acquired by Amazon in 2017. It explains the unique potential of purpose-led companies to achieve this balanced outcome, and if you take a moment to fold over the page wherever you come across an interesting idea, we suspect you will end up with a pretty dog-eared book! We found a great deal of value in the chapters on conscious culture and management, and equally suspect that if we read it again, we would find as much if not more value elsewhere. For all of us who have lived with the consequences of the 2007/8 financial crash, and witnessed so many companies and industries seemingly lose sight of their higher purpose and sense of ethics, this is a powerful reminder that there always was and still is a better balance to strive for. There are plenty of insights relevant to smaller businesses here, and if you are anything like us, the ideals and ideas in this book will stay with you long after you finish reading it.