Here are some great books that will get you thinking and give you some new, great tools. Each one is highly recommended!
Dr. Haidt is a social psychologist and professor of ethical leadership at NYU's Stern School of Business. In this book, he explores a long term personal project of his: what are the big ideas about human nature that transcend culture and time? And, how do those ideas stack up against what we know about the human brain today? He explores 10 thesis of how to have a happy life that come to us through all of recorded history and delves into the science and philosophy that bears out or disproves each thesis. Sounds pretty intense? It is but in a wonderful, readable way. This is one of the best things I've ever read. Check it out!
For those of us who are busy, the audiobook is very good too. It makes for excellent car listening.
The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan Haidt
Change Management: The People Side of Change by Jeffrey M. Hiatt & Timothy J. Creasey
ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government and Our Communities by Jeffrey M. Hiatt
There are many models and philosophies around change management. But, Jeffrey Hiatt's work is based on concrete research over many years in many organizations. If you don't have time to read an entire trilogy, check out his organization's (ProSci) Model for Individual Change, which is based on Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement (ie ADKAR.)
I have used Mr. Hiatt's process many time and know that it works both on the individual level and on the organizational level. Change is possible and it can even be planned out and executed well.
Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion by George Thompson & Jerry B. Jenkins
This book was recommended to me by a friend who served in the police corps. It is part of standard police training and it is exceptionally clear, to the point and helpful. If you find yourself being the victim of circumstances, particularly in conversations, read this book and take your power back. Again, it's a no-nonsense read and provides useful, actionable advice and guidance.
I took the Humphries Group 2 day seminar at Sauder last year and went through this book in a classroom setting. It was amazingly helpful. Every conversation you have is an opportunity to inspire others. And, every communication, even email, can be optimized to help your audience best understand a) what you're on about, b) that you have a valid point and c) what they need to do next in order to move your idea along. While all of that is pretty much common sense, this book takes you through what you should specifically be doing to vastly improve your impact on those with whom you communicate. What an empowering book!
If you are in a leadership position or a position involving a lot of communication, read this book and start taking the time to prepare yourself for successful communication.
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
This book is exceptional. Again, it delves into the scientific findings of the last few decades that help us to understand why we are the way we are. But, it doesn't stop there. It takes those findings about why we have habits, where they happen in our brains and how they develop and gives actionable advice about how to build better habits. Basically, how to game your brain. And, there's something for the corporately-minded as well. Dr. Duhigg also explores organizational habits and ways to improve your company by improving its habits.
We are what we do repeatedly, as Aristotle observed. So, here's a book that helps us to be what we want to be instead of what we end up compelled to be.
Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Shiela Heen
There are a bunch of ways to deal with difficult, emotion-laden and potentially disastrous conversations: avoid them, ignore them, bluster into them and talk really, really quickly or stay very still and quiet while they are happening at you. Of course, none of these techniques are terribly successful. They are just very common. In Difficult Conversations, three doctors of the Harvard Negotiation Project share successful ways to deal with those conversations that never seem to go well. If you need a push to get in front of something in your life or deal with someone you know you must but aren't, read this book. It will empower you with its no-nonsense, common sense advice.