Originals Summary

Originals SummaryHow Non-Conformists Move The World

It is hard to be original when there is so much skepticism surrounding you.

In our summary of “Originals,” we show you how you can “package” your originality so others will see it. We cast a light on how tactical and strategic you have to be to thrive in an organization.

Who Should Read “Originals”? and Why?

In “Originals”, bestselling author, consultant and Wharton School professor Adam Grant raises the question of originality in the workplace. He explores the subject through a presentation of business histories, anecdotes and studies, that show how an original can thrive in an organization.

The truth is, even the most future-oriented companies are prone to resisting originality. Such is the case because the idea is not the only thing that is important – a good presentation is essential as well.

Grant motivates readers by giving them numerous examples of originals who somehow managed to turn their ideas into reality.

We recommend this book to all creative thinkers who still haven’t found a way to express their originality.

About Adam Grant

Adam Grant

Adam Grant is the Wharton School’s highest-rated professor and the youngest tenured faculty member. He is a former advertising director and a junior Olympian.

“Originals Summary”

Grant starts “Originals” by referring to the remarkable accomplishments of online eyeglass creator Warby Parker.

He shows his respect of the inventiveness of the organization’s founders, which were all Wharton students. The founders offered Grant an opportunity to contribute, before their launch.

However, he turned them down because Luxottica controlled over 80% of the eyeglass market. Hence, he did not feel that a group of students just starting out could profit.

Warby Parker, however, took a unique path. He allowed customers to buy glasses on the web and, if they did not like them, send them back.

Its launch was a great success.

The founders primarily thought they would offer three sets per day, yet they sold a year’s worth in less than a month and needed to create a 20,000 person waiting list.

Grant is genuine about his failure to invest. He observes it as his “worst financial decision” ever.

This book sprang from his wish to fathom his failure to grasp inventiveness when it was right in front of his nose.

Grant presents the delicacy of coalitions and shows that allied enemies can persevere through longer than one of the friendly back-stabbers, or how he calls them “frenemies.”

He furthermore utilizes the historical backdrop of the suffragette development as a significant example of the way adversaries concede their ill will but are willing to participate in common purposes.

Lucy Stone (1818-1893) was the first American woman to hold her original last name after marriage, the first Massachusetts woman to get a professional education and the first American that became a full-time speaker on women’s rights.

She published Woman’s Journal, which survived for half a century. Starting in 1853, Stone worked for 15 years with well known early women’s activists, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

However, in 1869, Stone experienced a severe split from Anthony and Stanton.

They opened rival associations and published rival newspapers. After some time, Anthony and Stanton “wrote Stone out” of their coverage of the historical backdrop of women’s journey for the vote.

Grant reports that the issue that sundered Anthony and Stanton from Stone was African-American suffrage.

Anthony and Stanton figured it is out of line to give dark men a chance to vote when white women could not, so they did not accept suffrage for colored men. Furthermore, Anthony regarded Stone’s support for giving dark men the right to vote as a disloyalty to the women’s cause.

They never got together again and fought until the very end.

Grant utilizes their story to indicate why you should know your partners and maybe even believe them less than your adversaries, who, at least will show consistent behavior.

He cautions readers that in a partnership, particularly in a business one, shared objectives are not sufficient to keep the partners together.

Shared values are great to have, but you additionally should concur on procedures and strategies.

Key Lessons from “Originals”

1.      Get Prepared for Skepticism
2.      Two Roads to Success
3.      Embrace Your Flaws

Get Prepared for Skepticism

Being original in the business world is difficult.

Many original people present themselves and the ideas they come up with in a way that undermines their position in the eyes of others. They do not understand that most of the people they contact will be a skeptic.

Original thinkers must be prepared to encounter skepticism and be ready to defeat it.

Two Roads to Success

Simply put, you can take two routes to success: originality or conformity.

Conformity is being like everyone else.

Originality, on the other hand, is not merely having fresh ideas. That is only the beginning. To be original, you have to fight to bring those ideas into life.

Embrace Your Flaws

As we already discussed, people will regard you with skepticism and cynism. Most of the time the listeners to your pitchers will stand ready to attack. You will not get much encouragement from them. On the contrary, they will try to beat you down using every flaw they can find.

Originals are aware of it. So, to stay protected, embrace your flaws and explain to them to anyone else can. Mentioning only positive sides to people raises their skepticism.

Because, in the end, we all know that nothing is perfect, don’t we?

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“Originals” Quotes

In the deepest sense of the word, a friend is someone who sees more potential in you than you see in yourself, someone who helps you become the best version of yourself. Click To Tweet Argue like you’re right and listen like you’re wrong. Click To Tweet Practice makes perfect, but it doesn’t make new. Click To Tweet Being original doesn’t require being first. It just means being different and better. Click To Tweet To become original, you have to try something new, which means accepting some measure of risk. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Most of the business authors usually provide exercises and workbooks at the end of each chapter, or they offer summarized steps that readers can take to practice what they learned.

However, Grant takes a fresh, original approach to giving readers the needed tools, by giving direct and workable guidance at the end of his captivating book “Originals”.

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Option B Summary

Option B SummaryFacing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

There comes a time in life, when you or someone you know suffers from a devastating loss.

What do you say? How do you offer your support?

How do you move on with your life if that person is you?

In our summary of “Option B,” we answer all of these questions through the story of Sheryl Sandberg and her loss – recovery.

Who Should Read “Option B”? and Why?

Sheryl Sandberg, a successful and happy woman, watched her life crumble into pieces when her husband Dave Goldberg died while they were vacationing in Mexico.

Going through the loss and helping their children deal with the sadness were the toughest challenges that she ever encountered in her life.

After coming out of the crisis, she decided, along with her co-author Adam Grant, to document some of the most personal moments of her journey through grief, and in such a way share everything that she had learned about coping with loss.

We recommend “Option B” to everyone, since everyone needs to find the right way to receive and give support during a crisis.

About Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

Sheryl SandbergSheryl Sandberg worked in the US Treasury Department, and was a vice president of global online sales and operations at Google, before becoming the COO of Facebook. She is the author of “Lean In“.

Adam GrantAdam Grant is the Wharton School’s highest-rated professor and the youngest tenured faculty member. He is a former advertising director and a junior Olympian.

“Option B Summary”

We have all suffered or will at some point in time experience some devastating loss. However, feeling such loss must not stop our lives from functioning.

We cannot stop time; we cannot stop the world. Life goes on everywhere around you, no matter what happens to you, so you do not have the luxury just to stay away from everything. You have to learn how to cope, and let life flow the way it was moving before.

When Sheryl Sandberg suffered such a loss herself, she realized that she needed to find a way to cope with the seemingly unbearable sorrow, because she needed to care for her children.

Facing such challenge made her create a list of strategies that would help people weather the tragedy.

In “Option B” she shares the lessons she learned regarding giving and receiving comfort.

She categorized her insights in nine lessons for moving forward, which we cover in the key lessons below.

Key Lessons from “Option B”:

1.      Realize that “grief is a demanding companion.”
2.      Beware the “three P’s.”
3.      Name the elephant in the room.
4.      Try not to ask, “Is there anything I can do?” – Just do it.
5.      Have a go at journaling and acknowledge “little wins.”
6.      Parlay resilience into “post-traumatic growth.”
7.      “Take things back” from your loss.
8.      Respect children’s unique sensibilities
9.      Acknowledge that you can learn how to love again.

Realize that “grief is a demanding companion.”

Eleven years after they married, Sheryl Sandberg and Dave Goldberg left their two kids with their grandparents and went on a vacation in Mexico, to go to their friend’s 50th birthday celebration.

On Friday evening, Goldberg decided to go to the gym.

When he did not rejoin their gathering, Sandberg and Goldberg’s brother discovered him lying on the floor of the gym, with pools of blood under his head.

They did CPR and called an ambulance, but the situation was already past the point of no return.

Sandberg felt the deepest pain in her life.

Her friend, psychologist Adam Grant, consoled her telling her that she could find a way to recuperate more quickly, reinforce her strength and push anguish to run its course faster.

He guaranteed she would feel happiness again.

Weeks after Goldberg’s passing, she saw a father-kid activity coming up on the logbook. Since Goldberg was no longer there, she thought of an “Option B”: having somebody “fill in for Dave.”

At the point when Option A is not accessible, Option B is your only choice.

Beware the “three P’s.”

Therapist Martin Seligman reports that three propensities block people’s recuperation from hardships:

1) “Personalization” is the conviction that it is all your fault

2) “Pervasiveness” is the conviction that the event will negatively affect everything else in your life

3) “Permanence” is the conviction that things will never show signs of improvement.

Individuals who avoid the three P’s adapt better.

Name the elephant in the room.

After Goldberg’s death, Sandberg was often shocked when colleagues did not ask how she was doing. She acknowledges with empathy that although most grieving people want to voice their feelings, people tend to avoid the subject of death.

Psychologists call this avoidance the “mum effect.” Often, many who want to express sympathy do not know how.

Feeling lonely one night, Sandberg bravely posted on Facebook that instead of asking “How are you?” – a routine question often posed without thinking – people should ask, “How are you today,” to show that they understand the daily up-and-down struggle of coping with tragedy.

The reaction to the post was warm and positive. Strangers shared stories; friends began to talk openly and express empathy.

Try not to ask, “Is there anything I can do?” – just do it.

Instead of asking people if they need something, just do it. Holding out a helping hand encourages people regardless of whether they asked for help or not. The worst thing you can do is disappear.

Have a go at journaling and acknowledge “little wins.”

Recording small everyday triumphs supports your self-confidence, and helps you cope better. Focus on the positive, no matter how insignificant it may seem.

Parlay resilience into “post-traumatic growth.”

There are different types of people out there. Some people suffer from PTSD or depression after trauma, while others bounce back and become stronger after a loss.

“Take things back” from your loss.

Do not waste your life by shutting happiness out. Rediscover fun by taking things away from your grief: do the things that are interesting alone or with someone else, even though you may have done them with your late loved ones before.

Respect children’s unique sensibilities

Sandberg thought that her children would suffer significantly from losing their father.

However, children have a different coping mechanism as opposed to adults, and as a result, can recover more easily.

Take care of your children by listening to them, valuing their ideas, and letting them shape their lives.

Acknowledge that you can learn how to love again.

After losing a loved one, letting yourself look for affection someplace else can be a problem. Dating can make you feel guilty. People that once knew you paired with someone may also find it troublesome to picture you with someone else.

However, you have to allow yourself to feel love again. Moving on does not mean that you stop respecting and caring for your late partner. It means you allow yourself to live.

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“Option B” Quotes

Option A is not available. so let's just kick the shit out of Option B. Click To Tweet Let me fall if I must fall. The one I become will catch me. Click To Tweet Each one of us is more than the worst thing we've ever done. Click To Tweet Life is never perfect. We all live some form of Option B. Click To Tweet As we get older, we define happiness less in terms of excitement and more in terms of peacefulness. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

In “Option B” Sandberg and Grant study how other people deal with trauma and, how some of them even found a new purpose in life through post-traumatic growth.

They furthermore explore the qualities of recovery and resilience and give advice and recommendations that anyone could use when in need of support, consolation, and finding your way back to happiness.

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Give and Take Summary

Give and Take Summary

Why Helping Others Drives Our Success

In this world, there are a few types of people: givers, takers, and those in between.

In our summary of Adam Grant’s “Give and Take” we will cover the definitions of givers, takers, and matchers, and we will show you how you can recognize them.

We will also conclude which one is best suited for success.

So read on and find out your type.

Who Should Read “Give and Take”? and Why?

You may have the urge to underestimate “Give and Take,” but that would be a mistake.

If we decided to explain this book’s premise shortly, we would conclude that it is good to be nice to people, it is better to give than take, et cetera.

However, that is not all there is to Grant’s book.

He does not only present his theory – but he also backs it up with empirical data. If you look more deeply into the information he gives you, you will end up having a superior way to conduct business and climb the success ladder.

We recommend “Give and Take” to managers, leaders and all readers that want to make the world a better place.

About Adam Grant

Adam GrantAdam Grant is the Wharton School’s highest-rated professor and the youngest tenured faculty member. He is a former advertising director and a junior Olympian.

“Give and Take Summary”

Every time you step out of the door and interact with someone else, you decide the type of person you will be.

There are two options: you can be a giver, a taker, or a matcher.

What do these categories mean?

A giver is someone who always puts the interests of others first, and does what is best for them. Takers take care of their interests and let others take care of themselves. Matchers can be both, or, in other words, treat others as they treat them.

What do you think, who will most likely end up at the bottom of the ladder to success?

It is the givers.

However, the givers occupy the highest levels of the ladder as well. Hence, they fill the top and the bottom, with the middle full of matchers and takers.

Giving matches the core values of many cultures and religions. Furthermore, its importance grows as the economy transforms.

Just think back a few generations. Then, people worked mostly independently, no matter the industry they were in. Nowadays, on the other hand, people increasingly collaborate and work in teams.

When it comes to working in teams, giving works better. Giving is also more suited for service businesses, a sector which is currently in expansion.

The networks that givers, takers, and matchers develop are different in their core.

Takers network actively. They can be charming, but care to use their charm only on more important or influential people. As they climb the organizational hierarchy, they start to mistreat their subordinates. They present themselves as better than others, by sharing only the information that serves their good image. As you can notice, their networks are mostly artificial and are bound to decay over time. This is the case because people lose their patience with constant takers.

Matchers (as you can suppose by their name) try to match their behavior with that of people in their environment. In the beginning, they treat takers well, but after takers betray them, they get ready for punishment. Matchers create networks based on fairness and reciprocity.

We have nothing against reciprocity, but when you deploy it as a way of functioning in your network, it has drawbacks.

For instance, if you give to someone who functions mainly of reciprocity, that person will assume that the gifts come along with some request.

Matchers concentrate on the immediate benefits attached to all transactions.

Key Lessons from “Give and Take”

1.      Giving Through Teaching
2.      How Givers and Takers Communicate
3.      Give and Survive

Giving Through Teaching

Teaching shows the genuine power of giving.

Great performers or athletes are not born “great.” They do not demonstrate the best potential or the highest intelligence from the get-go in their lives.

Many develop after they get coaching from a giving educator who inspires and motivates them.

Furthermore, giving managers observe the potential outcomes in their employees. At the point when givers hire people, they can commit errors as promptly as takers. They can pick the wrong prospects and be tricked by appearances.

Takers tend to stick to their decisions because admitting a bad choice makes them look inadequate.

Givers, on the other hand, value the workers they picked, yet move them to different positions or let them go if that is what’s best for the organization.

How Givers and Takers Communicate

You can impact others using dominance or prestige. When you establish dominance, other individuals consider you to be powerful and authoritative. On the off chance that you earn prestige, you become influential since people admire you.

These two alternatives spring from your style of correspondence.

Takers pick strength and dominance. They stand up for themselves and underline pride and achievements.

However, when you gain dominance, other people lose it.

Give and Survive

Being a giver, and using the qualities of giving, does not guarantee you success.

In fact, you can wind up depleted with little or nothing to show for everything you have done.

So, be a giver, but do not let takers exploit you. It is understandable that you wish to see others make it. However, you should not put others’ interests in front of your own.

You have to keep a certain level of self-interest.

Successful givers show balanced behavior. At the same time they act based on their need to see others prosper, balanced with reaching their own goals.

Some givers make a mistake and become other-centered to an unhealthy degree. They give up without a limit and become involved in pathological altruism.

Givers are in danger of burnout.

Exhausted givers notice both physical and emotional problems. However, taking a break is not the “medicine” that will revitalize them. They need more giving, in the right context. In other words, the best medicine is the realization that their actions are significant.

“Give and Take” Quotes

As Samuel Johnson purportedly wrote, “The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good. Click To Tweet The more I help out, the more successful I become. But I measure success in what it has done for the people around me. That is the real accolade. Click To Tweet Success doesn’t measure a human being, effort does. Click To Tweet Being a giver is not good for a 100-yard dash, but it’s valuable in a marathon. Click To Tweet If we create networks with the sole intention of getting something, we won’t succeed. We can’t pursue the benefits of networks; the benefits ensue from investments in meaningful activities and relationships. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

The only thing we have to say regarding “Give and Take” is that it is not only interesting: it is also useful in all kinds of situations.

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Top Inspiring Books

Unfortunately, we’ve all been there. 

Suddenly, something happens, and out of nowhere, our perfect little lives start to crumble. Or – maybe, even worse – even though the thing that happens isn’t too earthshattering at first glance, it opens up our eyes to the unfulfilled life we’ve led up to that moment.

And at moments like that, we need some inspiration. To take back things from our loss or reimagine ourselves in more happier versions of us.

Here are 15 of the best inspirational books which can certainly work as your guides on your personal journey to fulfillment. Embark on it as soon as possible.

And stay inspired.

#1. “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist Summary“The Alchemist” was published in 1988. Three decades later, it’s still widely read and widely beloved.

An international bestseller, the book has been translated into almost half of the world languages, and it has made Brazilian author Paulo Coelho a global superstar.

A profound and poignant narrative, “The Alchemist” is an inspiring novella which tells the story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy. Santiago believes that he has dreamt a dream of significance; a dream which should help him find a big treasure somewhere around the Egyptian pyramids.

And, indeed, the dream turns out to be prophetic. But not in the way Santiago expects it to be. Nor in the way, you, the spellbound reader, would be able to anticipate at the beginning.

Let’s just say, for the time being, that the greatest treasures, though immaterial, are much weightier than all the gold and money in the world.

#2. “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch

The Last Lecture SummaryIn September 2007, Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was invited to take participation in “The Last Lecture” series of talks. Little did the organizers know that, in the case of Pausch, the series’ title was not merely a metaphor.

Namely, just one month before that, Pausch was given a terminal diagnosis. And he knew that he had no more than half a year left on this planet.

Now, you’d expect a beautiful and touching lecture from such a person. But, you wouldn’t expect an optimistic, upbeat one-hour talk labeled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” and viewed by 20 million people on YouTube.

“The Last Lecture” is the book version of this talk. It’s longer and even more fascinating. So much so, in fact, that it has become part of many school curricula.

And for many good reasons.

#3. “Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny!” by Tony Robbins

Tony RobbinsAwaken the Giant Within Summary is a name which has grown to be synonymous with “motivational speaker.” Watch any of his videos on YouTube, and you’ll see why! Sometimes, one wonders if he’s right in what he’s saying or is he merely so convincing that the things come true afterward.

Either way, he does his job well enough that many people see him as something of a personal guru and guide. And with religious devotion, might we add.

“Awaken the Giant Within” is an enormous book, both in terms of its influence and in terms of its sheer length. It’s almost 600 pages – so there’s a lot to take away from it!

If it was a novel, the subtitle would have been a spoiler. Because, “Awaken the Giant Within” is a step-by-step program of self-mastery, aiming to teach you the whys, and the hows of your life.

And, of course, the how-tos of making it better.

#4. “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” by Richard Bach

Jonathan Livingston Seagull Summary“Jonathan Livingston Seagull” was published in 1970 to rave reviews from the general public. Just like its main character, the book quickly soared to the top of “The New York Times Bestseller” list, and it remained there for the next 38 weeks.

And even half a century later, it is still lovingly cherished and highly ranked.

Originally a three-part novella (Richard Bach added a fourth part in the 2013 edition), “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” tells the story of the seagull from the title. A non-conformist, he ignores his daily duties and passionately tries to learn to fly. As a result, he is banished from his community, but he is unwavering in his determination to be the best flier there ever was.

Soon, the tables turn, and Jonathan Livingston Seagull learns that he was “a one-in-a-million bird” from the very beginning.

You may be too. And this book may show you why.

#5. “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne

The Secret SummaryWhen Rhonda Byrne’s father died in 2004, depression took over her life. She wasn’t able to do her job as an executive producer for Australian television the same way as before. She wasn’t even capable of functioning properly in her day to day activities. Her life, as she says, collapsed around her.

And that’s when she started reading. Soon enough, she discovered “The Secret.”

Even though the reception of the book may suggest some groundbreaking findings, Rhonda Byrne claims that she, in fact, isn’t saying anything new. She’s merely demonstrating how the secret is something every great person from history knew and employed in his or her life. Plato, Shakespeare, Newton, Beethoven, Edison, Einstein – practically anyone you can think of!

Of course, Rhonda Byrne doesn’t stop there. She makes the secret much simpler and explains how you can use it, whether you want to earn more money, be in a better relationship or live a healthier life.

You want to learn the secret? Read the book!

#6. “Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Great Lessons” by Mitch Albom

Tuesdays with Morrie SummaryIn 1995, Mitch Albom was a popular sports columnist for the “Detroit Free Press,” when a friend of his told him about Morrie Schwartz’s then-recent interview on ABC News’ “Nightline.” He watched the interview. And he was devastated.

You see, Morrie Schwartz, a sociology professor at Brandeis University, was Albom’s most beloved college teacher. Unfortunately, Albom stopped keeping in touch about a decade and a half before the TV interview. And what did he learn from it?

That Schwartz was suffering from ALS, a terminal disease, the one Stephen Hawking is suffering as well. So, he decided to reconnect with his old teacher. And, soon enough, he started visiting him every Tuesday, for discussions about life and death.

You know – for the last lectures.

Word of mouth made “Tuesdays with Morrie” – published after Schwartz’s death – a global phenomenon. It became one of the top selling memoirs ever and was translated into 45 languages.

And, finally, Oprah Winfrey produced a movie which won four Emmys in 1999!

#7. “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars SummaryThere’s something about near-death experiences that makes life worth living. And there’s something about other people’s stories concerning the lessons they took out from it that can inspire us to live better and more fulfilled lives.

And John Green, unfortunately, heard many of them. In fact, that’s what inspired him to become an author. He originally wanted to become a priest, but while working in a hospital with children suffering from life-threatening diseases, he decided that there’s another way he wanted to reach people.

And that’s what his beloved sixth novel, “The Fault in Our Stars,” did – both as a book and, later, as an award-winning film. The story is about two teenagers afflicted with terminal diseases, meeting and falling in love while attending a support group.

But, it’s also so much more! It’s a book about triumphing over the pain and the suffering, a tear-jerker about courage and the ultimate heartbreaks. Utterly beautiful.

#8. “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The Little Prince SummaryIf you thought it’s astonishing that the first book on our list has been so far translated into half of the world languages, you’ll probably never believe us if we told you that this little classic is translated in practically all of them!

Selling about 2 million copies each year, “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is probably the 4th best-selling book ever written. And it was voted the best 20th-century book in the French language!

A poetic novella, “The Little Prince,” is a children’s book about adults. It tells the story of a pilot stranded in the desert who meet the eponymous prince, a visitor from a tiny asteroid. And through him, he learns of the absurdities of our ways.

And how beautiful life can be even if its whole point is cultivating a rare rose.

#9. “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson

Who Moved My Cheese SummaryNowadays, it’s quite difficult to understand the impact “Who Moved My Cheese” – a 32-page scantily illustrated motivational fable – had on the business world when it first appeared two decades ago.

Spending almost a year on “Publishers Weekly’s” bestseller list, it managed to sell almost 30 million copies worldwide, and earn numerous accolades, before being turned into a cartoon and becoming the subject of many parodies.

It tells the story of four characters, two mice (Sniff and Scurry) and two little people (Hem and Haw). They all live in a maze and are in a constant pursuit for cheese. However, they have a different way of finding it, and, moreover, keeping it once they do locate it.

Halfway down the story, the reader realizes that the mice will be fine. And that it’s the people who have to be a bit more organized and less afraid.

And that’s where “the writings on the wall” come in handy.

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#10. “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran

The Prophet SummaryOne of the most beloved modern poets, Kahlil Gibran, was born in Bsharri, then the Ottoman Empire, modern-day Lebanon. His family emigrated to the United States when he was young. It was there that he started learning art and literature. And it was there that he became the originator of the inspirational fiction genre.

Written in English, “The Prophet,” a small volume consisting of 26 prose poems, was originally published in 1923 and has never been out of print. Its style and philosophical depth have made it a perennial favorite and a popular gift.

The frame narrative of “The Prophet” is fairly simple. Almustafa, the prophet from the title, is stopped by a group of people before boarding a ship which should carry him home. The people ask him questions, and Almustafa’s answers are the 26 prose poems we mentioned.

The topics covered are as many, and range from love and marriage to freedom and time, to religion and death. And you’ll know more about each of them.

#11. “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: A Fable About Fulfilling Your Dreams & Reaching Your Destiny” by Robin Sharma

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari SummaryJust like many of the motivational writers you’ve grown to love, Robin Sharma worked an ordinary job (a litigation lawyer), before deciding that he’s much more interested in techniques for self-perfection.

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” isn’t his first book (it’s his second), but it is the one which retells his personal story in a most inspiring manner. The book is a motivational business fable and is basically a conversation between two friends, Julian and John.

The former (a fictional version of Sharma himself) was a successful trial lawyer, before experiencing a heart attack while arguing his case in court. Fortunately, as he explains, this heart attack would turn out to be one of the best things that could have happened to him.

Because it would initiate a spiritual journey that would enable him to finally live a life of passion and purpose.

#12. “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom” by Don Miguel Ruiz

The Four Agreements SummaryIn Don Miguel Ruiz, we have once again a man utterly transformed by a near-death experience. And once again, a writer whose lessons will subsequently transform you because of it.

Already a successful surgeon, Ruiz decided to become a shaman’s apprentice after barely surviving a serious car accident. Afterward, he spent few years exploring the Toltec wisdom and mind-elevating techniques.

His debut book, “The Four Agreements” is the best introduction to what he ultimately learned.

Advocating absolute freedom and living-in-the-moment mentality, “The Four Agreements” explores a fourfold code: “be impeccable with your word,” “don’t take anything personally,” “don’t make assumptions,” and “always do your best.”

A decade later, Ruiz will team up with his son to add a 5th agreement: “be skeptical, but learn to listen.” And that’s another fairly inspirational book.

#13. “The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are” by Brené Brown

The Gifts of Imperfection SummaryA research professor at the University of Houston, Brené Brown made a name for herself when in June 2010 she gave a talk at TED Houston, titled “The Power of Vulnerability.” Still one of the most viewed TED talks in history, it would form the basis of her next book, “Daring Greatly,” already featured in our top 15 self-help book list.

And, really, both there and here, we could have included almost any of Brown’s eight books, and we wouldn’t have made a mistake. They are all inspirational, down-to-earth, caring, and hopeful.

“The Gifts of Imperfection” maybe most of all. Featuring ten guideposts to tackle the pressure each of one faces on a daily basis, the book aims to help everybody by teaching him or her that he/she doesn’t need to be anything else than he/she already is – just to please people.

Because with courage, compassion, and connection – he/she can be happy in the face of every obstacle.

#14. “Eat Pray Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat Pray Love SummaryWe’ve already written about Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Big Magic.” However, here we’ve opted for her debut memoir, “Eat Pray Love;” not because of its status, but much more because of the way it has affected many people we know.

And because, well, not many books have been featured on two episodes of “The Oprah Winfrey Show”!

An autobiographical account, “Eat Pray Love” follows the eye-opening spiritual odyssey of a 31-year-old Elizabeth Gilbert. Trapped in an unhappy marriage, she decides to embark on a year-long journey around the world to gain some perspective.

And she gets – in three chapters! First, she eats and enjoys life in Italy for a period of four months; then, she spends three months praying in India; finally, she falls in love with a Brazilian businessman in Bali.

The book has it all. And you can also watch its 2010 movie adaptation. It received lukewarm reviews, but, then again, Julia Roberts is in it!

#15. “Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy” by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

Option B SummaryTwo weeks after her beloved husband, David Goldberg, suddenly died, Sheryl Sandberg faced the unbearable task of having to prepare her child for a father/child activity. “I want Dave,” she cried. Her friend Adam Grant, a psychologist at Wharton, replied with some very wise words: “Option A is not available.”

The only thing Sheryl Sandberg – Facebook’s COO and the author of “Lean In,” a book we’ve featured in our top leadership books list – was left with was trying to make the best out of Option B: living without her husband.

And that certainly wasn’t an easy task. She was, as she writes herself, in a void, “a vast emptiness that fills your heart and lungs and restricts your ability to think or even breathe.”

And “Option B” is a book about everyone who feels that he’s not really living the life he’s supposed to be. Especially, if due to some life-shattering loss.

It’s a sort of “manual for resilience.” And it may just help you regain some joy and faith.

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Top Leadership Books

There are two kinds of people: those who are led and those who lead them. We’re guessing you’re here because you want to be one of the latter.

News flash:

It’s both a thorny path and a hell of a responsibility once you get to the end! So, just like Frodo, you better find a good fellowship before you embark on your journey.

And we’ve rounded up the usual suspects. The top leadership books are here! – just for you.

#1. “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu

The Art of War SummaryIf you haven’t heard about “The Art of War” before, we’re probably not living on the same planet!

Speaking of which: the author of this book, a Chinese military general named Sun Tzu, might have been from another planet as well! It’s kind of fascinating to think that he lived over two and a half millennia ago, and wrote something which is still widely read by CEOs worldwide.

In fact, it has influenced leaders as diverse as General MacArthur, Marc Benioff, and Bill Belichick!

In thirteen sections, each analyzing different aspects of warfare strategies, “The Art of War” serves as a perennial reminder that the business world is a modern battlefield. And that you need to be prepared for everything to gain the advantage and win.

#2. “Lincoln on Leadership: Executive Strategies for Tough Times” by Donald T. Phillips

Lincoln on Leadership SummaryAbraham Lincoln is nowadays almost routinely ranked by both scholars and the public as one of the greatest – if not the greatest – US presidents. And this even though he had the unfortunate trouble of leading the country through its bloodiest war, and its greatest political crisis. In four years’ time!

Donald T. Phillips’ book was the first to go through the skills and talents which made Lincoln such a capable leader. And it doesn’t only examine what Lincoln did to overcome the insurmountable obstacles he faced. It also explains how his actions are relevant today, as well.

Read it! Especially, if you are ever in need of a strategy for some tough times. Because, let’s face it, you’ll never have more problems than Lincoln did.

#3. “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl

Man's Search For Meaning SummaryThe inclusion of Viktor E. Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” in a list of top books about leadership may seem a bit odd. After all, the book chronicles the experiences of the famous Austrian psychiatrist in Nazi prison camps during the Second World War!

But, that’s once again the point! Just as Lincoln can teach you something about leadership because he had to lead the US through the Civil War, Frankl can teach you even more because he survived through Auschwitz.

His main observation: the people who survived the Holocaust were the ones who didn’t give up. And they never gave up, because they had some purpose in life. A goal, which gave them the right mindset to understand that even suffering may be a teacher.

Possibly, the best one.

#4. “On Becoming a Leader” by Warren Bennis

On Becoming Leader SummaryOne of the ultimate leadership classics; maybe even the book to read if you want to learn what is a good leader. In fact, that’s the exact question Warren Bennis – once described by “Forbes” magazine as the “the dean of leadership gurus” – posits to hundreds of different people, from a wide array of professions.

In “On Becoming a Leader” you’ll find the question answered by a host of executives and entrepreneurs, but also by numerous philosophers, psychologists, scientists, and entertainers. Well-researched, broad, and thorough, “On Becoming a Leader” should be your Leadership 101.

#5. “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… And Others Don’t” by Jim Collins

Good to Great SummaryIt’s hard turning a mediocre into good company after years of averageness; and it seems impossible to turn it into a great one.

Based on a 5-year study which included an in-depth analyses and contrast/compare study of the strategies and practice of 28 different companies, “Good to Great” is Jim Collins’ attempt to get to the bottom of the causes which separate the great companies from the good ones. And his findings are both surprising and enlightening!

Want to become a Level 5 leader, that is, the humble guru who always does what’s best for his company? Read this book and find out how.

(Spoiler alert: Level 5 leadership is merely one of the seven characteristics of great companies.)

#6. “Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman

Primal Leadership SummaryObviously, vulnerability is not something you’ll look for in a good leader instinctively.

Let us rock your world:

Primal Leadershipfurther reinforces “Good to Great’s” conclusion that the most successful companies are led by humble leaders! Moreover, Daniel Goleman, the author who popularized the concept “emotional intelligence,” claims that great leaders possess something even more special: a quality called “resonance.”

It basically means that they are in touch with their emotions; and that they are able to channel even their negative responses in a positive direction.

Both revolutionary and long-lasting, as far as leadership development books go, “Primal Leadership” is a no-brainer on any top list!

#7. “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” by Simon Sinek

Start With Why SummaryAs Sun Tzu enlighteningly taught us in “The Art of War,” all the preparation works only if it’s put into practice. Or, in other words, we have strategies so that we know how to act promptly when some situations inevitably occur.

In “Start with Why,” our favorite humanity-lover optimist Simon Sinek, shows how it’s not only about the actions of the great leaders themselves, but it’s also about the actions they inspire in the people around.

And where does inspiration come from?

Well, it’s not in the “how” – it’s in the “why.” Because only when you know why you want to be the CEO of a certain company, you’ll know how to run that company.

And what to tell those around you to inspire them to act the right way.

#8. “Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t” by Simon Sinek

Leaders Eat Last SummaryWhen we started making this list, we wanted each author represented with one book only. And just a few seconds later, we couldn’t decide which Simon Sinek book on leadership is the better one. So, we’ve decided on both.

After all, they are a perfect pair! Because, if “Start with Why” is about the “why,” then “Leaders Eat Last” is definitely about the “how.”

And, just like many of the books on this list, it’s once again about the “hows” of being a good leader; not a Machiavellian one. The latter one is obsolete nowadays, says Sinek here. The good one eats last, and, thus, creates a Circle of Safety, i.e. a group of loyal coworkers and employees who love him and follow him blindly – because they believe his vision.

You know: a fellowship.

#9. “Turn the Ship Around: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders” by L. David Marquet

L. David MarquetTurn the Ship Around Summary takes Simon Sinek’s advice and raises it by one!

Why not, he says, instead of creating a nice little camaraderie of colleagues/friends who follow you for the right reasons, try to turn your subordinates into leaders just like you!

Bearing in mind the fact that Marquet is a former U.S. Navy captain, this may not seem like such a wise idea. However, as he explicates in “Turn the Ship Around,” it more than works! In fact, it’s what transformed the crew of the USS Santa Fe submarine from “worst to best”.

Think operating your company is harder than captaining a submarine?

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#10. “How to Win Friends and Influence People: The Only Book You Need to Lead You to Success” by Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends and Influence People SummaryWhen it was first published in 1936, the subtitle of Dale Carnegie’s bestseller might have seemed a bit pretentious. Fast forward a century, and 30 million people would certainly beg to differ! No wonder the book made it in the Top 20 of “Time Magazine’s” list of most influential books. Ever.

But, what can today’s leaders learn from “How to Win Friends and Influence People”?

Well, mostly the same they would from reading Socrates – a little between the lines. And that is, that people are egotistical and think they know everything, when they actually know little.

Carnegie’s advice: use it your benefit. A combination of charm and the right number of compliments can turn self-dubbed lions into hand-eating sparrows.

And the best part: they’ll think they lead you whilst you’re pulling the strings!

#11. “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change” by Stephen R. Covey

7 Habits of Highly Effective People SummaryThe first non-fiction book to sell more than one million copies of its audio version, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” proved to have been both a paradigm shifter, and a timeless leadership manual.

Engagingly and with a lot of bravado, Stephen R. Covey claims that good leaders are good people as well, and that they all share seven characteristics.

The first three define their independence. Namely, they are proactive, with a mission statement, and a personal vision. The second three habits talk about their interdependence. In other words, they value people, respect and understand their opinions, and are capable of combining their strengths. Finally, they continually improve.

Covey would later go on and add one more habit – but, that’s a different book.

#12. “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You” by John C. Maxwell

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership SummaryEven across two books, Covey ends up with 8 habits which define leaders. In “21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” John C. Maxwell lists three times more. Obviously. Even more obviously – he thinks they are indisputable.

Now, a short summary may do enough for seven rules – but 21? No, we’re not even going to try to list them.

But, we’ll tell you that, for example, Maxwell’s law of influence explains why Abraham Lincoln was demoted from a captain to a private. Or, that if McNamara knew his law of solid ground the Vietnam War might have been a different affair. Or, that the law of buy-in is the inspiration behind the passive resistance movement.

Now – did we tickle your fancy?

#13. “Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World” by Adam Grant

Originals SummaryIf you want to be the leader of the pack, you have to be someone who doesn’t belong in the pack. And in “Originals,” Adam Grant teaches you how – and why – you must be different. For the sake of humanity.

Because, as he shows through a lot of interesting studies and real-life-examples, if it was left to the conformists, humanity may have never moved an inch!

For example, did you know that the pilot episode of “Seinfeld,” possibly the greatest sitcom ever, was deemed to be “weak” and “unwatchable”? And that it was saved by a TV executive who didn’t even work in comedy?

The conformists believe in the holiness of the status quo. The originals try to disrupt it. In which group do you think the good leaders belong?

#14. “Wooden on Leadership” by John Wooden

 Wooden on Leadership SummaryIf you’re not a sportsperson, you may have never heard of John Wooden. Which is a pity, because he was so successful and revered as a coach, that they nicknamed him “Wizard”!

In “Wooden on Leadership” – one of the seven books on leadership he authored – you can easily see why. Everything is so magical. Neatly structured and organized, and, yet – inspirational as hell! (After all, he was a basketball coach, so no lack of inspirational messages here, folks!)

So, what are you waiting for? Acquire this book and start leafing through the reasons behind Wooden’s achievements. You’ll be hooked by Chapter 1 already, dedicated to his triangular 25-behavior high “Pyramid of Success”!

Oh, you know that pyramid? Well, it’s his!

#15. “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” by Sheryl Sandberg

Lean In SummaryWe can tell you so much about the significance of this book by merely going through Sheryl Sandberg’s portfolio.

First, chief of staff for United States Department of the Treasury Lawrence Summer. Then, a vice president for online sales at Google. And then, the first woman to serve in Facebook’s board of directors. Finally, Facebook’s COO.

Also, a billionaire and a Time 100 laureate in 2012.

If she can’t tell you a thing or two about gender equality – who can? Here’s a quick preview for all the members of the gentler sex: seize the day! Lean into your careers. And take back what you’ve been unjustly deprived of for millennia!

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