"My top 5 books of 2019"

December 31, 2019 ☼ ReadingBooks

On Writing Well by William Zinsser

As you might have noticed reading this article, I started writing this year. Mostly working on my book but also publishing a couple of articles here and there. Writing was never my strong suit, but I really liked the idea of it. I wanted to get better at it. Reading books has always been a huge learning resource for me. That’s how I found William Zinsser’s book On Writing Well.

It is a book for everybody who wants to learn how to write better, as we all do need writing in the age of the Internet. Whether you want to write about people or places, science and technology, business, sports, the arts or about yourself, On Writing Well offers you fundamental principles as well as the insights of a distinguished writer and teacher. With more than a million copies sold, this volume has stood the test of time and remains a valuable resource for writers and would-be writers.

📝 Learned to write better.

Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

I am a huge fan of Brené Browns work, and Dare to Lead is definitely by far my favourite book of hers. My approach to life is always to be true and honest to oneself and show vulnerability. This books helped me understand a lot about those topics, through it I started to think more about my own values and in general looked more inwards. I highly recommend this book to anyone!

It is a book for everyone who is ready to choose courage over comfort, make a difference and lead. And don’t avoid difficult conversations and situations; but rather lean into the vulnerability that’s necessary to do good work.

🤗 Made me a better person this year.

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker

Matthew Walker’s book has had some controversial recently. And I struggled with myself whether I should put it on the list. Well here were are 😉 I am not a scientist who can judge how correct or true the book and the studies are, therefore I am linking one of the articles explaining more of what is being discussed about this book: https://guzey.com/books/why-we-sleep/

Why did I decide to put it on here? Because whether or not it is 100% correct or not, it helped me to understand how important sleep is for myself. For a long time in 2019 I’ve only slept 6 hours and I noticed that I wasn’t at my fullest. After changing and experimenting with my sleep habits, I noticed that I need around 8 hours to function well. Attention I am not saying everyone needs to do the same, this is a personal preference.

After changing my sleep habit, I felt more energised, was able to remember more short term learnings and be less nervous and anxious. I leave it to you the reader to decide whether you want to read this book and choose another one, but be sure to recognise how important sleep is to us humans.

💪 Changed my mental health.

The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle

This book came as a little surprise to me. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started to read it. Once I started though I went through it in two days. The Culture Code talks about how we as humans can work more successfully together with great culture and in a psychological safe way.

The author talks about where great culture comes from, how to build and sustain it in your group, or strengthen a culture that needs fixing. He focuses on some of the world’s most successful groups like the US Navy SEALS, IDEO, Zappos, or San Antonio Spurs. One of the learnings I took away from it was that culture is not something you are — it’s something you do.

The 3 step process, Daniel Coyle writes about is something I am using now whenever I will work with other people, manage my own team or push for more culture and safety in a company. First you build safety as a foundation, then you continue to be vulnerable with your group and finally establish a purpose.

I highly recommend it to leaders and managers, especially also for distributed teams, as all of this is even more important in remote work.

🤝 Helped me to understand culture and groups much better.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

Lori Gottlieb’s book blew me away this year! As some of you might have noticed I am very interested in psychology, especially in our work environments. Going into the book I didn’t expect much, but the story and patients she talks about really touched me. I read it twice this year, that’s how good it is.

The book is full of wisdom and humor, as Lori Gottlieb invites us into her world as both clinician and patient, examining the truths and fictions we tell ourselves and others as we balance on the tightrope between love and desire, meaning and mortality, guilt and redemption, terror and courage, hope and change.

💖 A love story to psychology and therapists.

Over to you. What are your top 5 books of 2019 or maybe even the last decade? Let me know and write me an email or connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.