I have this fascination for understanding human behaviour.
While reading several books about psychology, sociology and even the neuroscience behind our behaviour, I realized that more than learning about myself, I was going through and an empathy exercise. By reading through these concepts, often illustrated by quasi-real life episodes, I was putting myself on another person's shoes. This is a truly humbling, enriching exercise!
I realized that, by going through these empathy exercises, I was paying more attention to everyone around me, and was actively receptive to understand their reasoning, the why behind their actions.
If going through this literature did anything at all, was to make me more open to listen to my family, peers, and teammates, with whom I spend a big portion of my time.
I want to share some of the books that I've found more eye-opening.
Would love to know your thoughts on this subject!
This book finds a great balance between introducing you to a concept and showing said concept in action.
David Rock guides you through the most common life and work situations, from the perspective of two characters, Emily and Paul. You follow them through the realities of their personal and work life and, how their brains react during every decision they make or when they're confronted with an unexpected situation.
This book brings Neuroscience to the forefront of our daily challenges and interactions. Since we’re following Emily and Paul, we have the much needed detachment to analyze their reactions, and draw the parallel to our personal experiences.
This is the kind of book that helps bridge the gap between the (re)actions we see in others and ourselves, and why we/they have these exact (re)actions in the first place. Like when someone loses their temper because they’re hungry or sleep deprived. Why it’s hard to focus for long stretches of time, because focusing solely on one activity is really expensive for our brain, which in turn makes us rapidly consume the sugars in our body, and leave us exhausted.
We’ve all had a first or second degree encounter with a know-it-all, we’ll-do-it-my-way kind of boss or teammate.
In this book, Liz Wiseman leveraged on her learnings from years of coaching and leadership research to present us two leadership archetypes: Multipliers and Diminishers.
What struck me the most about this book is not only the extensive body of research that supports it but, how universal these concepts are.
We may encounter both Multipliers and Diminishers in multiple facets of our lives: work, family, friendships, love life, etc … So being aware of these two broader archetypes can be extremely helpful.
Being aware of these two archetypes can nudge us to preemptively analyse and calibrate our own attitudes. Most importantly, this book can help us better understand the people around us, and have a bit more clarity on the reasoning behind their actions.
Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well — Douglas Stone & Sheila Heen
For some, feedback is almost like taboo. The one (activity) that must not be named. And it's dreaded by most.
This book opened me to the perspective that feedback is, in fact, a two-way street. Regardless if we're on the giving or receiving side, we selfishly only think about ourselves.
From the giver side, it makes sense that they're providing true, constructive feedback, in order for the other person to learn and improve. However, the receivers are also in control. They control what message they want to hear, what to retain, and if they want to act on it.
What was also interesting to explore in this book was the distinction between feedback from evaluation which, sometimes, are used interchangeably. In reality, they should convey different messages, with feedback more centered around providing coaching, appreciation and, a path towards improvement.
This book blew my mind, by how it deconstructs group culture.
It approaches culture with simplicity, although not in a reductionist sense. It explores the seven skills Daniel Coyle deems as characteristic of the most successful groups:
Reading the introduction and seeing these skills presented, it all made sense. And as simple or common sense as these may seem, throughout the book, multiple real-life examples depict that we tend to complicate things.
The very first sentence of the book is the definition of culture — "from the Latin cultus, which means care".
I think that, across the different facets of our lives, we tend to disregard what's simple, essential, and sometimes obvious or common sense. So this book was a great lesson on humility, and another reminder to truly care about everyone around us.
This is another great book that touches on the fact that people are the centre of any type of success. Tn this case, is success in business.
Kofman details the archetype of a conscious employee, who has 7 major skills: character skills
- Unconditional responsibility
- Essential integrity
- Ontological humility
And interpersonal skills
- Authentic communication
- Constructive negotiation
- Impeccable coordination
This book also exposes two other archetypes, that everyone ends up encountering in their lives, regardless of being in a work setting.
There are the Players, who see themselves as the leading characters contributing to the situation they're currently in. As opposed to the Victims, who are the ones that always suffer the consequences, since everything is outside of their control.
I really enjoyed this book, because it dives deeply into the 7 skills and shows how the different archetypes respond in different work life situations, presented throughout the book.
It's full of mock-but-very-possibly-real work life scenarios and, more than just exposing the conflict or misalignment scenarios, it provides a second act. During the second act, characters of the previously presented scenario get to re-write history, and act based on the skills they've learned, embodying the characteristics of conscious employees.
Thanks for reading 📚📚📚