2020 is a year of growth for me. Here’s what I’ve learned reading 40 books last year.
My five favorites last year:
- Most Helpful in Daily Life: Crucial Conversations, by Kerry Patterson
Mastering crucial conversations is important in our daily life, especially when stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong. I apply this book’s teachings regularly to establish a safe environment, reduce emotional stake, listen actively, and avoid misunderstandings or miscommunications at work, at home, and among friends.
- Most Thought-Provoking: The Selfish Gene, by Richard Dawkins
We are born selfish. Establishing and maintaining an altruistic culture is important to short-circuit the pull of nature, genetics, or our system 1 way of thinking, which was defined as instantaneous, driven by instinct and prior learning by Thinking Fast and Slow.
- Most Women-Empowering: My Own Words, by Ruth Bader Ginsburg
RBG is the epitome of grit. Her lifetime of dedication to justice is a constant reminder to work for what I believe in and to think about what I want to do. If I want it, then find a way to make it happen. Being with a husband who is funny and treasures her like a crown jewel helps a lot too 🙂
- Most Related to My Work: The Long Fix: Solving America’s HealthCare Crisis with Strategies that Work for Everyone, by Vivian Lee MD
Dr. Lee’s knowledge in healthcare from every angle – research, patient care, and education – was invaluable. The actions she suggests for different persons (patients, insurers, employers, government, and health care providers) at the end of the chapters can be used as a useful manual for healthcare’s affordability, accessibility, and consistency.
- Most Clever: Hyperbole and A Half, by Allie Brosh
Allie’s descriptive language and crude drawings depict some of the most sensitive topics: depression, self-worth, overachieving, etc. Its laugh-out-loud sadness and self-deprecating humor draw out the darkest secrets, ironic obsession, and meaning of life.
Others that I highly recommend are:
My learnings and favorite quotes from the 40 books I’ve read in 2020.
- Expression | One reason you’re so bad at judging people is that everybody expresses their emotions and thoughts differently. – Talking to Strangers, by Malcolm Gladwell
- Altruism | Sometimes seemingly selfless acts are only selfishness in disguise. Individual altruism can be based in selfish motives. The Selfish Gene, by Richard Dawkins
- Happiness | Create a Positive Tetris Effect. – The Happiness Advantage, by Shawn Achor
- Values | What is a good life? … it’s an everyday negotiation with the world as it is, a negotiation that must include a continual returning to our values, and a reexamination of whether we are holding to them as strongly as we are able. Abundance of Less, by Andy Couturier
- Communication | Crucial Conversation, by Kerry Patterson
A crucial conversation is a discussion between two or more people where 1) stakes are high, 2) opinions vary, and 3) emotions run strong. A few things that I will continue to keep in mind:
- You don’t have to choose between being honest and being effective.
- Always ask: What do I really want for myself? What do I really want for others? What do I really want for the relationship?
- The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. Don’t make up “stories” based on “facts” presented.
- Remember, to know and not to do is really not to know.
- People who are skilled at dialogue do their best to make it safe for everyone to add their meaning to the shared pool– even ideas that at first glance appear controversial, wrong, or at odds with their own beliefs.
- Believe | Work for What You Believe In. RBG saw injustice in the world and she used her abilities to help change it. Although the forces of “apathy, selfishness, or anxiety that one is already overextended” are “not easy to surmount,” as she puts it, RBG urges us “to repair tears in [our] communities, nation, and world, and in the lives of the poor, the forgotten, the people held back because they are members of disadvantaged or distrusted minorities.” – Notorious RBG, by Irin Carmon
- Change | “We do not make changes for the sake of making them, but we never fail to make a change when once it is demonstrated that the new way is better than the old way.” – Henry Ford American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company, by Bryce G. Hoffman
- Ideas | Make ideas stick: ✔️Simple ✔️Unexpected ✔️Concrete. ✔️Credible. ✔️Emotional. ✔️Stories. Made to Stick, by Chip Heath
- Behavior | B=MAT. A given behavior will occur when motivation, ability, and a trigger are present at the same time and in sufficient degrees. Hooked, by Nir Eyal
- Ability | Value ability more than experience, and put people in roles that require more of them than they know they have in them. The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company, by Robert Iger
- Execution | In the end, a strategy is nothing but good intentions unless it’s effectively implemented. – How will you Measure Your Life, by Clayton M. Christensen
- Doing | What you do is more important than how you do everything else, and doing something well doesn’t make it important. – Tools of Titans, by Tim Ferriss
Here’s a list of all 40 books I’ve read in 2020, in case you find them useful.
- Tools of Titans, by Tim Ferriss
- My Own Words, by Ruth Bader Ginsburg
- Notorious RBG, by Irin Carmon
- American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company, by Bryce G. Hoffman
- The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company, by Robert Iger
- The Truths We Hold, by Kamala Harris
- Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice, by Nikki Grimes
- Charlie Brown and Charlie Schulz, by Lee Mendelson
- Bad Girls Throughout History, by Ann Shen
- Girl Decoded, A Scientist’s Quest to Reclaim Our Humanity by Bringing Emotional Intelligence to Technology, by Rana el Kaliouby
- Hyperbole and A Half, by Allie Brosh
- The Selfish Gene, by Richard Dawkins
- Conscious, by Annaka Harris
- Talking to Strangers, by Malcolm Gladwell
- The Great Influenza, by John M. Barry
- Free to Choose, by Milton Friedman
- An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones
- The Bookseller of Kabul, by Asne Seierstad
- Suffrage, by Ellen Carol DuBois
- Biowarfare and Terrorism, by Francis Boyle
- Abundance of Less, by Andy Couturier
- How to Make Coffee, The Science Behind the Bean, By Lani Kingston
- Oxymoronica, by Dr. Mardy Grothe
- Crucial Conversation, by Kerry Patterson
- The Happiness Advantage, by Shawn Achor
- Why We Sleep, by Matthew Walker
- Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization, by Scott Barry Kaufman
- The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself, by Michael A. Singer
- To Be Alive, by Anjali Toulumne Ambati
- Feck Perfuction, by James Victore
- Every Word You Cannot Say, by Iain S. Thomas
- Hooked, by Nir Eyal
- Made to Stick, by Chip Heath
- How will you Measure Your Life, by Clayton M. Christensen
- The Long Fix: Solving America’s HealthCare Crisis with Strategies that Work for Everyone, by Vivian Lee MD
- Secrets of Sand Hill Road, by Scott Kupor
- Limitless, by Jim Kwik
- Decode and Conquer, by Lewis C. Lin
- Cracking the PM Interview, by Gayle McDowell
- Stories that Stick, by Kindra Hall
See you at our next meeting on Jan 6th, 7-8:15pm PST.
Written By Renee Yao, Women L.E.A.D. Toastmasters President