Ah, so tomorrow is my eighth wedding anniversary. Before I married my husband, my longest relationship was three and a half years long, and it rather astounds me that we have had nine years together now as a couple and I’m still okay with that. No overflowing resentments or desperate scramblings to separate myself from this person, no discontent that I can’t put my finger on until it all crashes. I mean, no one can guarantee that any relationship will last forever, I didn’t see the crash coming that I just mentioned, but I’m hoping that since I’m significantly older now that I possibly have learned something from that. Maybe. I could really be jinxing myself here. Anyway. Happy 8 years to us.
So this is the last post before Scary Reads starts so I’ll really be drying it out here with talking about business books. I understand why nonfiction tends to be more popular than fiction, where people may see fiction as more of a waste of time than books that help us more overtly think about how to be better at what we do and how we do it. And I guess weight loss books are pretty popular too but I can honestly say I’ve never picked one up. When I’m feeling a little too meaty I make more dates with the treadmill and cut down on alcohol. Usually works.
These could be a challenge because while they were both good, I didn’t want to think about work during the down time I was reading them. And they were good for me, and it was good for me to think about how I want to form my reluctant leadership of my clinic.
A Business Book
Creativity, Inc: Overcoming the Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, Ed Catmull
Pixar movies’ founder and leader, Ed, writes about how Pixar got started and navigating the business and creative challenges in the team to come out with the awesome movies that are Pixar films. He talks about merging with Disney and the attitudes needed by leaders and staff to have the best possible creative outcome.
Both of the books I read for this post emphasize wanting to be actionable. I have read plenty of books about business or how to do things that are mostly fluff, repetitive chapters, and inspirational talk instead of actionable ways to think about how to be a leader. This book and the one I review after this try to make their advice more actionable and grounded and they succeed at it.
Ed talks about how attitudes, especially fear of failure and mistakes, have crippled his company in the past from being able to reach levels of genius and creativity. He encourages people to make mistakes and learn instead of trying make ourselves mistakes proof. I agree with this. You learn a lot of the rules when learning to help others but sometimes you don’t really embrace those rules until you mess up with them, don’t do them right. Then you learn sometimes from what happens after that more than you do about being aware of rules and being able to spew them out.
The other major take away for me from the book is people having psychological safety at work to be creative and not worry about people thinking they are silly or stupid and not taking feedback on the idea personally. Feeling free to sit down with people and get down to brass tacks without worrying about being personally judged or what people will think of your ideas opens doorways to new levels of creativity and being. As a leader I am working on psychological safety in a big way with my team so people don’t feel like islands in a hallway full of therapists and healers. It’s helpful to me to think about how this can be created. And this was a read down. I had had it in my audiobook list FOREVER and I could finally knock this one out.
Dare to Lead, Brene Brown
Dr. Brown talks about her research on vulnerability and communication in the workplace to unlock one’s greatest potential as a leader. She encourages leaders to stay curious, ask the right questions, and focus on getting it right rather than being right. It’s about having empathy and nurturing the person rather than focusing on outcomes at the expense of the person. She gives examples about how her ideas can be put into place and stories about how things go when vulnerability and communication aren’t done the right way. If you’ve listened to her TED talks, this book felt similar.
I mean, everyone loves Brene, and I don’t think I could truly read business books without finally cracking into her work. She’s down to earth and human, tries to make things actionable, relatable, entertaining and engaging. It made me think about, along with Creativity Inc, how to make a psychologically safe space for my staff to really be able to function at their best and have models of how to be a leader but how also to be human and allow others to be human. It also overlapped in that it talked about nurturing the whole person as a leader and work/life balance, rather than being outcomes driven. These books went hand in hand in many ways, one being focused on the trial and error at Pixar and Disney to see what made the best outcomes, more like an n of 1 study, and the other focused on research actually done with leaders. And I chose one because I had it on my list forever and the second because I knew I needed to sample Brene Brown’s work, see what the cutting edge research is in being a leader, seeing as I am one at this point. Whether it was what I set out to do or not. And I was pleased that the things I value as a leader are supported by research as the right things to value.
So it will be time to post on the fall reads. I have ONE category left, and that is the poetry books. I wonder how long it will take me to do those, as I am sneaking in some 2018 books I really shouldn’t have missed out on too and I like them better. But the most dreaded good for me slogs have been slogged and it’s still not October.
Next year’s reading plans are also taking shape!