I’m planning a digital detox over Christmas, as I suspect some of you are too. There is no better reason to put your phone away than losing yourself in a damn good book. Alex Nunn and Jen Lowthrop from my team and I have pulled out 6 books we’d recommend covering digital, leadership and wellbeing.
Jen is an avid book addict who read 52 books last year. She likes:
- Becoming by Michelle Obama
“This book felt like a truly honest portrayal of Michelle’s life from her humble upbringing to being First Lady for 8 years in the White House. It shows how she continued to be true to her values whatever life threw at her, and she shared her struggles of leaving her career to support Barack in his. We may not all have the opportunities that living in The White House brings, but it’s incredible to see what she has achieved and is an inspiring read for anyone in any sector.”
- The Multi Hyphen Method by Emma Gannon.
“Really interesting read and I found myself nodding in agreement to so much of it. Everyone should read this, whether you’re an entrepreneur, a full time employee with various side hobbies or someone who manages a team. Understanding the future of work, that work IS and CAN BE more mobile and that everyone has passions alongside their main job. This will only seek to benefit your charity, company or yourself. Emma is passionate about championing people with ‘many hats’ and I couldn’t agree more.”
If you’re taking time to think about your health and wellbeing over Christmas, Alex recommends one of her favourite Matt Haig books:
- “A great book for opening up the conversation around mental health, Matt Haig’s ‘Reasons to stay alive’ is an honest, and often frank, memoir of the author’s own personal struggle with depression. Taking us on his recovery journey, Haig has a charm about his writing that, despite the often hard-going subject matter, makes it an easy read and offers hope to one day truly breaking the stigma around mental health.”
Here are three books I’ll be dipping into over the Christmas break:
- Digital vs Human by Richard Watson is about how the relationship between people and technology will evolve over the next 50 years. Watson made me realise how much digital has already changed how we all behave, recalling when he took his young son to the theatre and he shouted, ‘Look dad it’s in 3D!’ Watson talks about the growth in automation and how digital is a growing part of everything from healthcare to education and relationships, without pretending to know all the answers. I found this a dark, funny and refreshingly honest look at the ethics of emerging tech. As Watson say, ‘it is humans who are causing the problems. It is not technology that we need to concern ourselves with, but ourselves. Especially given the way that we use digitalisation to distance ourselves from each other.’
- Quiet by Susan Cain was one of the best books I read this year. I am an introvert and have always felt a bit guilty about that as so much of my life involves public speaking. This book is about how introverts have a power all of their own, as they’re likely to be thoughtful, big on preparation and able to give a tough message that would be perceived as aggressive if it came from someone gregarious. Cain points out that many workplaces assume everyone is an extrovert, as seen in the growth of open plan offices and the emphasis on presentations and brainstorming. Since reading it I’ve changed how I run workshops and meetings to allow those, like me, who are naturally quieter, the space to think and speak.
- 21 Lessons for the 21st century by Yuval Noah Harari. I’m really excited to read this over Christmas as Homo Deus, his previous book, transformed how I thought about technology. (Apparently it was also mentioned on Love Island, which led to a spike in sales).In his new book Harari writes about a full-scale arms race of artificial intelligence between East and West, why liberalism is under threat from big data and what the rise of Trump really means. I can’t wait to read it.
We’d love to hear what books you’d recommend for the festive break.