Reading widely and with regular discipline is the one gift you can give yourself that will keep you growing professionally, aware relationally, and healthy mentally.
The recommendations below would all be considered non-fiction. And yet, if you want to go to school on the human species and relationships, read both classic and contemporary fiction. In the pages of a well-written novel, you will meet in the laboratory of literature most of the personalities you will encounter in your business. Go to school on those characters and learn from them.
Broughton, Philip Delves. The Art of the Sale. Penguin Books, 2008.
On a global quest to learn what sets the best salespeople apart from all the rest, Broughton is not only a keen researcher but a delightful storyteller. Book your ticket, fasten your seatbelt, and take the journey with him. Purchase the book here>>
Buford, Bob. Halftime: Changing Your Gameplan from Success to Significance. HarperCollins, 2011.
Taking on the now misnamed condition called “mid-life crisis,” Bob Buford contends that life is set up much like a football or basketball game. You have the first half, the years focused on success and achievement, a “halftime” season of reflection and renewal, and life’s second half that hungers for significance, purpose, values, and even calling. Purchase the book here>>
Doidge, Norman. The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the _ Frontiers of Brain Science. Penguin Books, 2007.
Neurologist Norman Doidge brings his research on stroke patients to readers who wrongly believe that one’s personality, mental capacity and acuity, and future is set in early adulthood or irreparably broken by neurological crises of all kinds. His findings reveal the opposite. The brain is far more malleable, “plastic,” and able to change than any of us can possibly imagine. Purchase the book here>>
Frankl, Victor. Man’s Search for Meaning. Boston: Beacon Press, 2006.
A survivor of Auschwitz and father of “logotherapy,” the late Austrian psychiatrist Viktor Frankl tells his story of tragedy and triumph, teaching us that one’s attitude and conviction about life can empower us to endure almost any “what” if we have learned our “why.” Purchase the book here>>
Grant, Adam. Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success. Penguin Books, 2013.
Every advisor would benefit from the gems in this small but powerful volume by Wharton School’s favorite professor Dr. Adam Grant. Contrary to what we may believe, the future belongs to the givers. Purchase the book here>>
Iyengar, Sheena. The Art of Choosing. Hachette Book Group, 2010.
Columbia professor Dr. Sheena Iyengar’s research on the gift and demand inherent in the act of choosing is a must-read for any professional, especially advisors. Tested in wide-ranging settings from grocery stores to critical care hospital units, making a choice is far from easy and often results in a future not always of our choosing. Purchase the book here>>
Jacobs, Alan. How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds. 2017
A professor in Baylor University’s Honors Program, Jacobs spends 156 brief but provocative pages deconstructing what it means to think with both head and heart. What are the obvious and hidden influences that shape how we think? What does it mean to be “open-minded” and is that always a compliment? Purchase the book here>>
Murchison, Rodger. Guide for Grief. David Crum Media, 2012.
Now retired, the Reverend Dr. Rodger Murchison merges his research at Princeton Seminary with thousands of hours counseling grieving women, men, children, and families to give readers a simple, easy-to-use volume on the one human experience we all share when loss visits us.
Schein, Edgar H. and Peter A. Humble Inquiry: The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling, 2d Edition. 2021.
Advisors in all the professions – medicine, finance, accounting, law, education, management—have a tendency to talk and tell more than listen and ask. A retired professor emeritus from MIT’s Sloan School and now with his son in this second edition, teach us the powerfully engaging, always well-received art of asking. Who controls a conversation? And why is being aware of the answer to that question vital in business and indeed every relationship? Purchase the book here>>
Westberg, Granger E. Good Grief. 50th Anniversary Edition. Fortress Press, 2010.
Now in its umpteenth re-print, the late Granger Westberg, whose work in chaplaincy taught him and then he others who to face the reality of grief to embrace its terror and even hope, and journey on not from life’s losses, but with them. Purchase the book here>>
A clarion call to lead with purpose, Cadence of Care offers a wise and practical guide to deepening and enriching client relationships.