Top Picks: What We’re Reading
June 27, 2019
There are two major reasons I dove into this book. One, because my cooler-than-though Facebook-employed childhood friends told me it was all the rage in Silicon Valley, and two, for the perfectly inspiring reason Kim Scott penned it.
“I wrote this book because it’s always been really important to me to love my work,” she said, “And to love the people I work with.”
Kim describes how, along her jungle-gym entrepreneurial and corporate career path, she lands a job at Google, where things were categorically different.
“It was there that I learned how to build a great team that enjoyed working together, how to give feedback in a way that helped people grow, and how to achieve results we were all proud of, without telling people what to do. Which, as we all know, doesn’t work.”
Kim’s two big concepts, which she honed at Google and perfected at Apple, are that great leaders care personally about those who work for them, and are also enormously open when it comes to feedback.
“Challenge people directly,” as Kim puts it, or they won’t grow or improve. She stresses the importance of offering feedback from a place of guidance, which in turn creates trust.
Not only is Radical Candor (highly tempting to toss in a Canadian ‘u’ with candour, but I will refrain) packed with road-tested insights and real life examples, but it serves up countless tactics for implementation. It is a fantastic summation of how to be a great leader in your work for the sake of productivity and profit, but more importantly, how to foster happiness and success from top to bottom in a team.
A super summer read no matter your role.
I was a bit skeptical reading this book, and was about to dismiss it as another wealthy white woman proving she was a good person. But I was pleasantly surprised how humble, smart, thoughtful, and compassionate she was. In her book, she shares stories from women she encountered all over the world, and instead of just throwing Microsoft money at the problem, she lived with them and experienced their hardships firsthand. She gets personal- sharing stories about her life growing up, being one of the first women in tech, being a wife, mother, and daughter. The book is filled with gut-wrenching stories, and also profoundly insightful data. She recognized that she had the ability to make a significant difference in the lives of so many women, and therefore their families and generations to come, and she has. I have been inspired by her action and her humility, and appreciated being more educated on global poverty and social development issues.
Do what you can with what you have. When we lift women and girls everywhere, everyone wins.
Jaimie’s Pick: Everybody Writes, by Ann Handley
Content marketing guru, Ann Handley, opens her book with the concept that “we are all writers” and in today’s digital age, she couldn’t be more right. Written as a six-part guide to creating ridiculously good content, Everybody Writes can be picked up and read start to finish, or read chapter by chapter as you need it. Chock full with helpful tips and tools to take your writing to the next level, I highly recommend this book for anyone who finds themselves thinking “what am I going to say?” Handley infuses humour into her writing, keeping you hanging on her every word. Everybody Writes is a comprehensive, well laid out roadmap to becoming the best damn writer you can be.
Good writing takes practice. Just like learning a new sport, you won’t get better if you don’t do it often enough. Becoming a better writer doesn’t mean you have to write a lot, it just means you have to write often. Set aside time each day (certainly each week) when you are the freshest and start writing. Flex that muscle on a consistent basis and watch your writing soar.
Danielle’s Pick: If You Have to Cry, Go Outside, by Kelly Cutrone
In her unique brand of abrasively honest and no-BS, Kelly Cutrone unleashes a truth-bomb on readers in her book “If You Have to Cry, Go Outside”. The Public Relations guru describes personal and professional trials, tribulations, and triumphs in an entertaining and educational way. Cutrone discusses success, empowerment, and self sabotage that isn’t delivered in a ‘motivational speaker’ kind of way. Rather, through her own stories, she guides readers in a journey to discover their own passion, motivation, and action.
There will always be someone who doesn’t agree with your decision, your outfit, or your colourful vocabulary. You can’t please everyone all the time.