Our favorite books to learn and grow with in 2020

posted by Jackie Rolow, SPHR on Thursday, January 30, 2020 in SHAZAM Blog

We’ve kicked off a new year, and what better time to think about personal and professional development? We’re sharing some of our favorite development books. We hope you enjoy — and grow from — our list. 

Younger Next Year
by Chris Crowley and Henry Lodge, M.D.

Why we’re sharing it with you

Kirk Ferentz, University of Iowa head football coach and the longest tenured Division 1 head football coach in the country, cited this book as his secret to staying fit and healthy. At 65 years old, Ferentz is in incredibly good health and we wanted to know his secret. The book provides a common sense, easy to adopt philosophy on how to live your life in a way that slows the normal problems of aging (weakness, sore joints, bad balance, etc.) and eliminates conditions that often lead to serious illness and injury. There is a healthy dose of humor woven in as well. If it’s good enough for Kirk Ferentz, it’s good enough for us. 

Where Good Ideas Come From
by Steven Johnson

Here's why we picked it

The concept of this book is not unique — it tells the story of the world's greatest ideas. However, it sets itself apart through its focus on the conditions that fostered their invention and evolution. Johnson introduces and operates on a handful of key concepts in this book, but our favorite is the 'liquid network,' the idea that innovation is unlocked through random intersections of ideas or 'slow hunches.' To create an environment that fosters innovation, it must be one in which ideas, resources and hunches flow freely.

Crucial Conversations
by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler

Why we’re sharing this book

It’s a game-changer. The 'Path to Action' will resonate. It opened our eyes to the stories we tell ourselves based on what we see or hear. Often, those stories aren’t accurate. So, instead of creating a story, we need to stay with the facts and ask clarifying questions to better understand the situation.

This is a must-read book for anyone. 

Five Dysfunctions of a Team
by Patrick Lencioni

If you’re on a team or if you lead a team, this book will really hit home

The book really drills down into some of the troubles or pitfalls that teams — even good teams — need to overcome to be truly successful. It opens your eyes to things you may be doing that aren't helping your team be as successful as it could. 

Total Workday Control (Using Microsoft Outlook) 
by Michael Linenberger 

Why we recommend this book

Even if you think you’re efficient and organized, read this book and set up your Outlook tasks using this system. You’ll be using a proven system to manage the overwhelming number of incoming emails you probably receive daily, and a system to manage and work through tasks more productively. Who couldn’t use a more manageable workday? 

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