Rob O'Donohue
December 23, 2019

Books that made me Better 2019 – Part 2 – Day 23

What a great response to part 1 of this last Friday. Books really do have such an impact on people. So, I’m delighted to share this part 2 in both blog & podcast form today.

This blog just touches briefly on 5 books I read this year that had (and continue to have) a positive impact on me. And I’ll briefly outline why. The podcast episode goes a little deeper as I read an extract from each of the books. I hope you’ll enjoy both/either. All of the books will be linked to here or on my site. So, taking up where we left off, here are the final 5 that make up the list. Let’s dive straight into them.
  1. Shoe Dog – Phil Knight (link to book on Amazon here)
This is actually the only biography in the top 10 this year. Well the next one is a practical biography I guess but this fact tells you something about my reading preferences perhaps. Phil Knight is the founder of Nike. And this book tracks his journey from the very start in 1962 right up to the early 1990s. In truth this book is more than a autobiography. It’s content can help you learn so much about running a business, the challenges faced every day, hiring the best people, trust, relationships, and so much more. He combined his passion for running with business and tells this story year by year in the book
  1. Bounce – Matthew Syed (link to book on Amazon here)
When it comes to talent and mastery, the then thousand-hour rule is something that has been talked about for a while and covered in a few many books and articles. In this book, released a few years ago, Syed provides a mountain a lot of evidence to back up the hypothesis. He himself made it to the Olympics representing Great Britain at Table Tennis and is living proof that hard work can get you to the top. It’s more than just hard work. There are a number of factors that need to be considered when putting in the 3 hours per day for 10 years, but it’s very possible. As I have very high hopes for my 1 year old son, this book has given me a lot to think about. Jake - no pressure at all!  I’m looking forward to reading more of Matthew’s work in 2020.
  1. The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg (link here)
I mentioned in part 1 that the top 10 list is not really ordered in best to least good! However, I did indicate the paradox of choice would in the top 3. Another one that makes the top 3 is this masterpiece on habits from Charles Duhigg. This book kept popping up over last couple of years and having a fascination around habits, I was keen to dive into it. It didn’t disappoint. The story telling combined with science and experimental truths make this one a compelling read and one I took a crazy amount of notes and learnings from that I have been using in my own coaching work and daily habit analysis and formation. It, like many of the ones on this list, help me understand the why and how of every day life that bit better.
  1. The little book of Ikigai – Ken Mogi (link here)
This is one of the most recent books I read so might be a benefactor of a recency bias.   Through my own coaching journey, finding my purpose, values and knowing myself better has made life and how I live it so much more fulfilling. In many ways the message of ikigai and the pillars covered in detail in the book through stories made me realise I was finding my own ikigai through a different approach but very similar outcomes. It’s a nice read and worth checking out. One that might hold some real value for you if you’re struggling with the existential question of ‘Who am I?’. A guest on the podcast recently, James Mofatt (link to episode here) found ikigai at a time when he needed it most. Worth a listen for sure.
  1. Smarter Faster Better – Charles Duhigg (link here)
The only author with 2 in the top 10 so you could say it’s been a big year for Duhigg’s work (I don’t know the guy btw but would very much like to have him on the podcast). To end with a book with the word ‘better’ in the title was not planned but now seems apt as the theme running through all of these is to improve. Smarter Faster Better, while maybe not as impactful as ‘habits’, is still full of insights around how to be more productive, smarter with your time, maintain motivation and be efficient and effective. Duhigg got the idea for this book as he was finishing up the power of habits. He was inspired by a colleague at The New York Times who was also a surgeon and seemed to have endless time to get stuff done. Duhigg was motivated to understand and share the secret sauce of being productive as a result. Some great ideas in this and puts labels on many things you might already do – one personal favourite is disfluency which I talk about in the podcast version. So that’s it. 10 great reads from reading in 2019. I hope this is useful. It’s meant to be. To provide you with some potential reading for 2020 if not already covered. Thanks for read & listening. Do get in touch if you have one book you feel I MUST read in 2020. I plan to buy a few over the holidays and dive in! Till tomorrow, Rob
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Rob is a qualified Executive Coach (ICF) and has been Mentoring and Coaching over the last decade in various roles held during his career. In 2017, Rob launched the Rob of the Green Platform which hosts the 1% Better Podcast. Rob currently is a director of Project Management and Leadership Coaching at Dell in Cork, Ireland. Rob also publishes articles on productivity, leadership, goal setting, meditation, and other topics, like this one! Connect in with Rob on the socials or via email on the links below: Email   Twitter  Facebook  Website Subscribe to the Rob of the Green Newsletter Here

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