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Give The Gift of Knowledge: Books to Elevate Your Strategic Thinking

We’re getting to that time of year where people are stocking up on a few good reads, or catch up on the ones they didn’t to through the year. As a newly published author, a question I am getting almost daily is” what book are you reading?”.

So I thought I would write a list of my favourite non-fiction books that I read, or re-read in some cases, in 2020.

If you’re looking to give someone the gift of knowledge this Holiday Season, these books make fabulous presents.

So, here are the books I loved reading in 2020:

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

I don’t know how many times I have ready this book, but I regularly re-read it because every time I do I learn something new. For me this book is like sitting down to coffee with an old friend… just know it’s going to be great. Aside from the joy of reading, this book is consistently relevant to understand how we think, make decisions and overcome a large number of biases that can inhibit our thinking.

Building A Story Brand by Donald Miller

Numbers are great, but stories are better. If you really want to get people on the journey and become champions of your programs of work, turn your numbers, data and process into compelling stories. This book is focused towards small business marketing but the message is relevant for business owners and executive leaders alike.

Permission to Screw Up: How I Learned to Lead by Doing (Almost) Everything Wrong by Kristen Hadeed

Definitely one of my favourite books of 2020. It was so refreshing and enjoyable to read, and not because you’re having a few laugh out loud moments at the mistakes Kristen made throughout the start-up and growth of her company Student Maid, but how she succeeded because she learned through her mistakes. This is really one of the best examples of continual FLearning and how we become better leaders through humility and transparency with our mistakes. Whilst I don’t want to give any spoilers, this really gets to the heart of the impact of making and not fixing mistakes on culture….how you can make this work for you, or erode your culture over time.

Super Human by Dave Aspery

Not only do I work to bullet proof my business but I’m extremely passionate my own health and fitness. And who doesn’t want to age backwards – I want the secret! For me it’s not just about having a healthy business, I also need a healthy mind and body to operate optimally. Whilst I don’t necessarily agree with everything Dave suggests in this book, the science, research and practical health hacks make this an easy to read books full of lots of ideas to try. I see my health and fitness as a personal experiment of n=1 so I am always looking to learn more and see what works for me.

The Art of Strategy by Avinash K Dixit and Barry J Nelebuff

If you love economics and game theory this is the book for you. Again, this is an oldie but a goodie and one that I love to re-read every other year or so. 2020 was just that year to re-read this to remind me of the process of making strategies more adaptable when moving through the paradox of the corporate environment.

Someone Has To Be The Most Expensive, why Not Make It You? By Andrew Griffiths

This is a fabulously easy to read book with a strong message that every business owner needs to understand. Spoiler alert this isn’t about jacking up your prices to be the most expensive this is about being the best so you can charge a premium price….and with premium prices comes premium clients. The easy to follow framework makes this a practical guide on how you need to think through every aspect of your business to ensure it’s the best it can be.

SYSTEMology by David Jenyns

As a lover of frameworks and helping organisations operationalise strategy for growth, I love this book. Whilst it’s targeted at the small business owner I think there’s a lot of gold in there for anyone who’s interested in building systems for growth in their business. This book focuses on making the complex simple and his step-by-step how to guide is great!

The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek

Anyone who knows me knows I am huge fan of Simon’s work and this book is, in my humble opinion, his best. He’s broadening the conversation to longer term thinking and how we embrace cultures that support this. It’s something that is talked about and not actioned very well in the corporate environment. We need more leaders willing to hold on to the long game, and I hope this creates a conversation, process and need to do more of this.

And on my holiday wish list that I’ll be sitting down to over the break is

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

I am really excited to read this one…..will let know what I think in the new year.

So if you are looking to give the gift of knowledge perhaps these books will be incredible for the business owner in your life.



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