I originally wrote about the importance of reading widely in this post. (Also see my notes at the bottom of that post for alternatives to traditional ‘reading’). Each month I post a brief run down of what books I read during the month, and give my opinions on each one
In March I read 2 books and they were both amazing.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change by Charles Duhigg
(I read this on both Audible and Kindle trying out the WhisperSync tool so I could easily switch between the formats. Spoiler: It worked really well 🙂 )
I really enjoyed this book. In fact, I think this ought to be on my recommended reading list for anyone who is working with humans. Seriously, its that good.
The Power of Habit is a detailed look at how and why habits form, and how we can change them.
The book is broken in to sections,
- The Habits of Individuals
- The Habits of Successful Organisations
- The Habits of Societies
The author starts each section with the start of an anecdote. These are drawn from business, sport, modern history, and some from more obscure legal cases. Having told you half the story, he then interleaves this with some key points he is illustrating. He describes how & why the habits in the anecdotes formed from biological, psychological & sociological points of view. Finally, he returns to the story, demonstrating again with examples, what he has just described. The anecdotes are often referred back to in later sections, with more details being overlaid each time.
At the end of each section Duhigg gives you a recap on what he has discussed (its easy to forget as you get caught up in the stories!). The book is jam-packed full of great information, and overlaps many areas. If you’re interested in motivation, systems thinking, or organisational culture then this will be great complimentary reading for you too.
This book is especially useful if you are looking to cultivate some better habits of your own (and let’s face it, who isn’t). I particularly liked one of the appendices called “A Users Guide to Using These Ideas”. Here Mr Duhigg wraps everything up together with some solid pointers for actioning change that to my mind look a lot like the Toyota Improvement Kata’s PDCA approach to experimenting.
I loved this book – it has stories, science, history and evidence, what’s not to love!
One recommendation I would make is that if you’re only buying it in one format, I’d go for kindle or a physical book.
The audio version is great, (all 11 hours of it) but if you are going to want highlights or bookmark (as I do) then audio is not naturally suited.
Level Up Your Life by Steve Kamb
In a nutshell, this book is about changing your thinking in order to be more successful about changing your behaviour. The book never loses sight of the fact this is the principle goal.
What is so cool about Level Up Your Life is that it drives real action. By about a third of the way through I was so intrigued with the idea of effectively turning my life into a MMORG, that I put the book down (yes, really) and (purely in the interests of research you understand), I went and had a look round the website. It made me want to join in.
To be honest, if you have ever enjoyed any level of gaming, this just might be the genius idea you are looking for. I have had loads of fun with the whole premise of the book, and the fact you do feel compelled to just start doing something is testament to that. I’m not at all an online gamer crowd (now or in the past) , but I do enjoy single player games. This means I can’t judge how well having the community of ‘The Rebellion’ at your back will actually assist you in sticking to your goals. Steve Kamb makes it look very appealing though, and Psychologically speaking, the idea is sound. We are more likely to do things if we are held accountable somehow.
This book is a really fun way of applying some of our deepest human tendencies and harnessing them for our own good. I had great fun reading about them….and I might just stick with the website for a while – I quite fancy levelling up my life a little 😉 . Say hi if you see me on there!