Monday, March 23, 2020

Books: On How To Improve Personally & Professionally

It's always a good time to read books on how to improve yourself, and that is especially true now in these tough times. Three books to help make the most of your time at home during the Coronavirus pandemic are: Resilient, by Rick Hanson, Ph.D.; All You Have To Do Is Ask, by Dr. Wayne Baker; and Let It Go, by Peter Walsh.

Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness
By Rick Hanson, Ph.D.; with Forrest Hanson
Harmony Books; paperback, $16.00

Rick Hanson, Ph.D. is a senior fellow of UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center who has spent his life studying how to build a sound foundation of well-being. In Resilient, he presents a scientifically grounded program for developing the twelve inner strengths that foster lasting happiness in a changing world. He also shows how you can grow and use mental resources such as grit, gratitude, compassion, and motivation to manage hardship and push through challenges in the pursuit of opportunities.

Whether rattled by relationship issues, financial worries, or personal insecurities, you will learn how to overcome the brain's built-in negativity bias and tap the hidden power of everyday experiences to weave calm, contentment, and confidence into the fabric of their nervous system. 

Hanson makes clear the power of growing resources in the mind, as we usually have more influence over the mind than over the body or world, kaing it the key resource for navigating a life full of twists and turns. In uncertain times like now, he proves the good news that we can always rely on the durable inner strengths hardwired into the nervous system. He dives deep into each inner strength and how to use positive neuroplasticity, which is turning passing experiences into lasting inner resources, to grow resilient well-being. 

Each chapter is devoted to one of the strengths, with Hanson offering many ways to grow it and use it, friendly support, personal stories, and practical wisdom, including: Compassion, the neural foundation of warmheartedness; Mindfulness, how to steady your mind in ADD world and meet your needs from the "green zone" of calm strength and happiness; Learning, how to use your mind to change your brain to change your mind for the better; Grit, growing determination, patience, vitality, and self-acceptance; Gratitude, using positive emotions to lower stress, protect health, and bounce back from adversity; Confidence, evolution of the social brain, replacing feelings of inadequacy with authentic self-worth; Calm, how to control the stress machinery of the brain, emotional balance for turbulent times, soothing anxiety and cooling anger, meeting challenges with poise and inner peace; Motivation, how to train your brain to pursue what's good for you and disengage from what's not; Intimacy, staying "me" in the middle of "we, neural circuits of empathy, unilateral virtue; Aspiration, aiming high without getting frustrated about the results; and Generosity, altruism, opening the heart without being overwhelmed, forgiving others and yourself.

Resilient is not just for surviving harsh conditions, but for thriving in daily life, and it will help you develop the durable psychological resources to feel less stressed, pursue opportunities with confidence, and stay centered and strong no matter what 

All You Have To Do Is Ask: How to Master the Most Important Skill for Success
By Dr. Wayne Baker
Currency/Random House; hardcover, $27.00

Dr. Wayne Baker is the Faculty Director of the Center for Positive Organizations at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business deconstructs the art of making strategic asks in order to achieve your career objectives, grow high-performance teams, and create psychological safety at work, while helping others along the way. 

When we overcome our reluctance to ask, amazing things, even miracles, can happen. Dr. Baker reveals how to make strategic asks that cultivate breakthroughs, solve problems, share knowledge, and bridge organizational silos, helping anyone to do the following: Leverage "SMART" criteria (Specific, Meaningful, Action-Oriented, Realistic, Time-Bound) to frame how you make an ask and get the response and resources you're seeking; use the "Reciprocity ring," which is a group activity that allows participants to tap the collective knowledge, wisdom, and resources of their network to obtain things they might need; make asks for help a personal and organizational habit with tools and strategies successfully implemented at Google, GM, IDEO, and many other companies; embed teams and organizations with collaborative cultures of reciprocity and generosity to unlock the power of giving-receiving cyles; teach managers how to create psychologically safe workplaces to build high-performance teams; and learn how asking is the key to giving.

Dr. Baker defies the age-old adage that "It is better to give than to receive," as he believes that giving and receiving are equally critical keys to success. In fact, he contends the primary skill standing between us and success is the ability to ask for the things we need to succeed. 

Individuals, teams, and organizations can be more successful by giving and receiving, applying proven practices to help anyone ask for, give, and receive help.

Resilient provides the tools for mastering these skills, with dozens of breakthrough activities and templates, including a quick scientific self-assessment tool to help you find out where you stand in terms of asking and giving, and how you compare to others on these scales. It can be taken at

Let It Go: Downsizing Your Way to a Richer, Happier Life
By Peter Walsh
Rodale Books; Paper-over-Board; $16.00

Peter Walsh, a decluttering guru who appears regularly on The Rachael Ray Show and is a columnist for O, the Oprah Magazine, is the author of seven previous books, including the New York Times bestsellers It's All Too Much, Enough Already!, and most recently, Lose The Clutter, Lose The Weight.

In this reissue of his landmark book, Let It Go, Walsh shows how readers can reframe downsizing from an overwhelming chore to a rejuvenating life change.

Every year, millions of Americans experience the often stressful process of going through a lifetime's worth of accumulated possessions. Whether it's empty nesters selling their family home, newlyweds blending their households, or adult children cleaning out their parents' property, downsizing frequently happens around a momentous life change.

Walsh knows the difficulties involved, as he went through the process of downsizing his family home and dividing his late parents' possessions with his six siblings. He relied on his organizational expertise and his knack for dealing with the underlying fears that surround our attachment to stuff. 

Let It Go features several tips and many practical takeaways, including how to agree on strategies for dividing heirlooms between siblings without drama; understand the emotional challenges that accompany downsizing; and calculate the amount of stuff you can bring into your new life. 

No comments:

Post a Comment