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Keeping inspired is inspiring.

A selection of books we find inspiring

Scroll through this collection of our favorite books and read our reviews. We think you will find this to be an invaluable resource of wisdom and perspective.

Man’s Search for Meaning

by Viktor E. Frankl

Jane Purchall

Jane's review

Written in 1945, in just nine days following the end of WWII, Viktor Frankl, an eminent psychiatrist of his time, wrote “Man’s Search for Meaning”. It has sold tens of millions of copies, has been published in dozens of languages and for many it’s been a life-changer.

This book is divided into two halves. The first is a chilling and inspirational account of Frankl’s experience as a long-term prisoner and survivor of 4 Nazi concentration camps, including the renowned Auschwitz. The second half of the book focuses on Frankl’s work on Logotherapy.

What Frankl began to see during the 3 years he was immersed in unimaginable suffering and loss, was there were some prisoners who were able not only to survive the horrifying conditions, but to grow in the process. They weren’t the fittest, strongest or youngest either, it was simply that they appeared to have a different attitude to their experience, as evidenced from the following 2 observations:

“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

“It is this pivotal freedom which cannot be taken away that makes life meaningful and purposeful.”

From the perspective of his experiences inside the camps Frankl posits that we have incredible power to shape both our attitude and response to the many challenges life presents us. We are responsible for the content – if not the context – of our lives. And regardless of our circumstances, what we do, how we think about it and how we choose to respond actually does make a difference between whether an up-set in our life defeats us or ends up becoming a set-up for growth.

Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else

by Geoffrey Colvin

Shobha Nayar

Shobha's review

I spent a whole year of elementary school staring at Thomas Alva Edison’s quote that “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”. My teacher had posted it in giant letters on top of the blackboard. I still didn’t believe it. I grew up subscribing to the widely held belief that geniuses were the winners of the genetic lottery, they were born with a spark that the rest of humanity could never match no matter how much we tried. Of course, hard work put us in a better place than we would have been without it but no matter how hard we tried we could never hope to achieve the paradigm changing excellence of a Mozart or an Edison.

Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin, senior editor at large of Fortune magazine, completely takes apart the “born with it” myth using scientific research and by analyzing the stories of many all time masters in fields as wide apart as business, sports and music. Colvin goes a step further and puts forth the idea that it is a highly specific kind of effort that he calls “deliberate practice” that makes the difference between outstanding and average performance. Colvin’s ideas on how to conduct this deliberate practice are well fleshed out, thought provoking and immensely useful for anyone trying to master new learning for themselves or facilitating the process for someone else.

The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life

by Benjamin Zander & Rosamund Stone Zander

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

by Susan Jeffers

Gaurav Bhatnagar

Gaurav's review

I have always been curious about how different people respond to fear and how some people use their fear as a force to motivate while others get completely paralyzed by it. When I first saw “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” by Dr. Susan Jeffers on the book shelf I rolled my eyes and thought, here is another one of those cheesy self help books. But then a voice within told me what’s the harm in reading it and so I picked it up on a whim. I was surprised at how I resonated with the book and how it helped me further my thinking on crafting creative responses to fear that would otherwise cripple us. Based on a course taught at the New School for Social Research, this book offers readers a clear-cut way of analyzing and understanding our fear patterns and a plan for action that helps us move from a dysfunctional, victim response to a creative, masterful response.

Dr. Jeffers avoids psychological lingo and uses her personal experience with the crippling effects of fear in her personal life and her journey to mastery along with several case studies in work and personal contexts to illustrate her points. She also uses several situational exercises that guide the reader through applying these insights in their own contexts. Do read the book intuitively and do not over intellectualize…

Liberating the Corporate SoulBuilding a Visionary Organization

by Richard Barrett

Executive EQ: Emotional Intelligence in Business

by Robert Cooper and Ayman Sawaf

Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life

by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

The Inner Game of Work: Focus, Learning, Pleasure, and Mobility in the Workplace

by W. Timothy Gallwey

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

by Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers: The Story of Success

by Malcolm Gladwell

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful

by Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter

Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ

by Daniel Goleman

Working with Emotional Intelligence

by Daniel Goleman

Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships

by Daniel Goleman

The Power of Servant Leadership

by Robert K. Greenleaf

Secrets of Personal Mastery

by L. Michael Hall

The Tao of Leadership: Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching Adapted for a New Age

by John Heider

Leadership Without Easy Answers

by Ronald A. Heifetz

The Solutions Focus: The Simple Way to Positive Change

by Paul Z. Jackson and Mark McKergow

Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership

by Joseph Jaworski

Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization

by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey

How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work: Seven Languages for Transformation

by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey

In Over Our Heads: The Mental Demands of Modern Life

by Robert Kegan

The Heart of Change: Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations

by John P. Kotter

The Tao of Coaching: Boost Your Effectiveness by Inspiring Those Around You

by Max Landsberg

The Emotional Brain: The Mysterious Underpinnings of Emotional Life

by Joseph LeDoux

Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives

by Dan Millman

Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life

by Martin E. P. Seligman

Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment

by Martin E. P. Seligman

The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization

by Peter M. Senge

Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future

by Peter M. Senge, C. Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski and Betty Sue Flowers

Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most

by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen

My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey

by Jill Bolte Taylor

Results-Based Leadership

by Dave Ulrich, Jack Zenger and Norman Smallwood

Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World

by Margaret J. Wheatley

The High-Performance Mind

by Anna Wise

The Complete Guide to Coaching at Work

by Perry Zeus and Suzanne Skiffington