Here are my top five books from Q4 2021. I will be reprising most of these books again in 2022 to make sure I fully grasp the principles they outline.
1. Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise - Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool
I loved this book, with its research and findings. Essentially, it says that natural-born talent is far rarer than people make it out to be. And that you can make incredible progression in everything from sport to music to academics by deliberate and focused practice. The key is a deliberately challenging practice, not just doing the same activity repeatedly. It gave me hope in some of my major development areas, knowing that I can get there if I practice intelligently and hard enough.
2. Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen - Dan Heath
I got a lot out of this book, which challenges us, not just to solve the problems we encounter but to go to the source of those problems and try and resolve them from there. Instead of fishing pollution out of the river downstream, go upstream, way upstream, and find the source of pollution and eliminate it there. It is usually easier to solve the problems downstream, and often we like being acclaimed the fix-it guy or girl. However, the better way is to head upstream and solve it there, once and for all.
3. Great at Work: How Top Performers Work Less and Achieve More - Morten Hansen
Morten Hansen's latest book has become required reading for leaders in my company, Conuma Resources. Having just finished the book, I can see why because it offers simple but powerful insights on performing better at work. I especially liked the first theme of "Prioritize, then obsess in chosen areas." This advice is powerful because we often get spread so thinly at work that we lack penetration in our most critical areas. We create a sharp edge that can make breakthroughs by simply narrowing the focus area.
4. Courage is Calling: Fortune Favors the Brave - Ryan Holiday
Sometimes you enjoy a book, sometimes you learn from a book, and sometimes a book hits you right in the gut. Courage is Calling is the latter, and it genuinely moved me and challenged me to my core. For that reason, I've listened to it twice in succession. In the book, Ryan Holiday breaks down the elements of fear, courage, and bravery. He provides several inspiring stories of leaders like Charles De Gaulle, Florence Nightingale, Dr Martin Luther King Jr., and the Spartan King.
5. Born to Run - Christopher McDougall
If you are a runner, this is a must-read or must-listen book. It's the incredible account of several American ultra-runners (like four marathons a day, people 😊) meeting the legendary Tarahumara Indians in Mexico for an ultra-marathon race on their turf. The Tarahumara's are known as the world's best ultra runners, and they live in almost unreachable mountain terrain deep in the Mexican outback. What you come away with from this book is a new love for running and, ahem, maybe dropping those expensive running shoes 😉.