Book of the Month – May 2022 : The Answer to How is Yes

There is something in the persistent question How? that expresses each person’s struggle between having confidence in their capacity to live a life of purpose and yielding to the daily demands of being practical. It is entirely possible to spend our days engaged in activities that work well for us and achieve our objectives, and still wonder whether we are really making a difference in the world. My premise is that this culture, and we as members of it, have yielded too easily to what is doable and practical and popular. In the process we have sacrificed the pursuit of what is in our hearts. We find ourselves giving in to our doubts, and settling for what we know how to do, or can soon learn how to do, instead of pursuing what most matters to us and living with the adventure and anxiety that this requires.

The idea that asking how to do something may be an obstacle rather than an enabler ended my 1993 book, Stewardship. In the final chapter, there is the suggestion that How? is a symbol of our caution and reinforces the belief that, no matter what the question, there is an answer out there that I need and will make the difference. I pick How? as a symbol simply because it is far and away the most common question I hear. It has always struck me that I can write or speak the most radical thoughts imaginable. I can advocate revolution, the end of leadership, the abolition of appraising each other, the empowerment of the least among us, the end of life on the planet as we know it, and no one ever argues with me. The only questions I hear are “How do you get there from here? Where has this worked? What would it cost and what is the return on investment?“ This has led me to the belief that the questions about How? are more interesting than any answer to them might be. They stand for some deeper concerns. So in this book, the starting point is to question the questions.

Book of the Month – February 2022 – The Psychology of Money

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Timeless lessons on wealth, greed, and happiness doing well with money isn’t necessarily about what you know. It’s about how you behave. And behavior is hard to teach, even to really smart people. How to manage money, invest it, and make business decisions are typically considered to involve a lot of mathematical calculations, where data and formulae tell us exactly what to do. But in the real world, people don’t make financial decisions on a spreadsheet. They make them at the dinner table, or in a meeting room, where personal history, your unique view of the world, ego, pride, marketing, and odd incentives are scrambled together. In the psychology of money, the author shares 19 short stories exploring the strange ways people think about money and teaches you how to make better sense of one of life’s most important matters

Book of the Month – December 2021

Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s famous investigations of “optimal experience” have revealed that what makes an experience genuinely satisfying is a state of consciousness called flow. During flow, people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity, and a total involvement with life. In this new edition of his groundbreaking classic work, Csikszentmihalyi demonstrates the ways this positive state can be controlled, not just left to chance. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience teaches how, by ordering the information that enters our consciousness, we can discover true happiness and greatly improve the quality of our lives.
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Book of the Month – September 2021 : Essays on the Gita by Sri Aurobindo

“The peculiarity of the Gita among the great religious books of the world is that it does not stand apart as a work by itself, the fruit of the spiritual life of a creative personality like Christ, Mohammed or Buddha or of an epoch of pure spiritual searching like the Veda and Upanishads, but is given as an episode in an epic history of nations and their wars and men and their deeds and arises out of a critical moment in the soul of one of its leading personages face to face with the crowning action of his life, a work terrible, violent and sanguinary, at the point when he must either recoil from it altogether or carry it through to its inexorable completion…. The teaching of the Gita must therefore be regarded not merely in the light of a general spiritual philosophy or ethical doctrine, but as bearing upon a practical crisis in the application of ethics and spirituality to human life.” – Sri Aurobindo (Essays on the Gita pp.9)

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Book of the Month – July 2021: ATOMIC HABITS BY JAMES CLEAR

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by [James Clear]
No matter your goals, Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for improving–every day. James Clear, one of the world’s leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.

If you’re having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn’t you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don’t want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. Here, you’ll get a proven system that can take you to new heights.

Clear is known for his ability to distill complex topics into simple behaviors that can be easily applied to daily life and work. Here, he draws on the most proven ideas from biology, psychology, and neuroscience to create an easy-to-understand guide for making good habits inevitable and bad habits impossible. Along the way, readers will be inspired and entertained with true stories from Olympic gold medalists, award-winning artists, business leaders, life-saving physicians, and star comedians who have used the science of small habits to master their craft and vault to the top of their field.

Learn how to:
*  make time for new habits (even when life gets crazy);
*  overcome a lack of motivation and willpower;
*  design your environment to make success easier;
*  get back on track when you fall off course;
…and much more.

Atomic Habits will reshape the way you think about progress and success, and give you the tools and strategies you need to transform your habits–whether you are a team looking to win a championship, an organization hoping to redefine an industry, or simply an individual who wishes to quit smoking, lose weight, reduce stress, or achieve any other goal.

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Book of the Month – June 2021

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams
This is a book you will cherish for a lifetime, for within is pages are the secrets of making all your dreams come true. Based on natural laws that govern all of creation, this book shatters the myth that success is the result of hard work, exacting plans, or driving ambition.

Instead, Deepak Chopra offers a life-altering perspective on the attainment of success: When we understand our true nature and learn to live in harmony with natural law, a sense of well-being, good health, fulfilling relationships, and material abundance spring forth easily and effortlessly. 

Deepak Chopra is the bestselling author of numerous books and audio programs that cover every aspect of mind, body, and spirit. His groundbreaking books blend physics and philosophy, the practical and the spiritual, with dynamic results.

The Seven Laws of Success distills the essence of Chopra’s teachings into seven simple, yet powerful, principles that can easily be applied to create success in all areas of your life. Filled with timeless wisdom and practical steps you can apply right away, this is a book you will want to read and refer to again and again.

Book of the Month – May 2021- Value(s) by Mark Carney

Value(s): Building a Better World for All
A bold, urgent argument on the misplacement of value in financial markets and how we can and need to maximize value for the many, not few.

As an economist and former banker, Mark Carney has spent his life in various financial roles, in both the public and private sector. VALUE(S) is a meditation on his experiences that examines the short-comings and challenges of the market in the past decade which he argues has led to rampant, public distrust and the need for radical change.
Focusing on four major crises-the Global Financial Crisis, the Global Health Crisis, Climate Change and the 4th Industrial Revolution– Carney proposes responses to each. His solutions are tangible action plans for leaders, companies and countries to transform the value of the market back into the value of humanity.

(Recommended by Barry T)

Book of the Month – April 2021- Think Again by Adam Grant

Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know

Progress is impossible without change; and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.

-George Bernard Shaw

The bestselling author of Give and Take and Originals examines the critical art of rethinking: learning to question your opinions and open other people’s minds, which can position you for excellence at work and wisdom in life

Intelligence is usually seen as the ability to think and learn, but in a rapidly changing world, there’s another set of cognitive skills that might matter more: the ability to rethink and unlearn. In our daily lives, too many of us favor the comfort of conviction over the discomfort of doubt. We listen to opinions that make us feel good, instead of ideas that make us think hard. We see disagreement as a threat to our egos, rather than an opportunity to learn. We surround ourselves with people who agree with our conclusions, when we should be gravitating toward those who challenge our thought process. The result is that our beliefs get brittle long before our bones. We think too much like preachers defending our sacred beliefs, prosecutors proving the other side wrong, and politicians campaigning for approval–and too little like scientists searching for truth. Intelligence is no cure, and it can even be a curse: being good at thinking can make us worse at rethinking. The brighter we are, the blinder to our own limitations we can become.

Organizational psychologist Adam Grant is an expert on opening other people’s minds–and our own. As Wharton’s top-rated professor and the bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take, he makes it one of his guiding principles to argue like he’s right but listen like he’s wrong. With bold ideas and rigorous evidence, he investigates how we can embrace the joy of being wrong, bring nuance to charged conversations, and build schools, workplaces, and communities of lifelong learners. You’ll learn how an international debate champion wins arguments, a Black musician persuades white supremacists to abandon hate, a vaccine whisperer convinces concerned parents to immunize their children, and Adam has coaxed Yankees fans to root for the Red Sox. Think Again reveals that we don’t have to believe everything we think or internalize everything we feel. It’s an invitation to let go of views that are no longer serving us well and prize mental flexibility over foolish consistency. If knowledge is power, knowing what we don’t know is wisdom.

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