Reading life

What I Read in October

How is it October all ready?!  I think my pace of reading has decreased a little now that I have yoga homework to do – oh and moving house, completing a major project at work etc.!  Good job that the stack of unread books by the bedside is now half-a-dozen strong!  I’m planning on taking some time off in November – nothing too dramatic, I did just buy a flat in London so money is a bit tight for a while – so hopefully I can spend a few days with all these wonderful books.  Anyhow, here’s October’s reading list…

Black Box Thinking – Matthew Syed

What The Cover Says: What links the Mercedes Formula One team with Google?  What links Team Sky and the aviation industry?  What connects James Dyson and David Beckham?  They are all Black Box Thinkers.  Black Box Thinking is a new approach to high performance, a means of finding an edge in a complex and fast-changing world. It is not just about sport, but has powerful implications for business and politics, as well as for parents and students. In other words, all of us.  Drawing on a dizzying array of case studies and real-world examples, together with cutting-edge research on marginal gains, creativity and grit, Matthew Syed tells the inside story of how success really happens – and how we cannot grow unless we are prepared to learn from our mistakes.

Why I Picked It Up: Black Box Thinking was this month’s Rebel Read for Sports Psychology month.  It’s a book I’ve heard referred to a lot so I was exciting to read it.

What I Thought:  I really liked this book from the start – I like books that use evidence, imperics and case studies to build an argument.  Syed describes how failure happens, why it’s so important we learn from it, and the barriers to successfully learning from mistakes.  The points he raises can be applied to everything from an individual level to organisations and to societies.  I was particularly struck by the latter part of the book around learning and growing personally from mistakes and failures; the section on Fixed and Growth mindset really got me thinking about my own attitudes to ‘failing’ and my resilience.

Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert

What The Covers Says: Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now, this beloved author shares her wisdom and unique understanding of creativity, shattering the perceptions of mystery and suffering that surround the process – and showing us all just how easy it can be.  By sharing stories from her own life, as well as those from her friends and the people that have inspired her, Elizabeth Gilbert challenges us to embrace our curiosity, tackle what we most love and face down what we most fear.  Whether you long to write a book, create art, cope with challenges at work, embark on a long-held dream, or simply to make your everyday life more vivid and rewarding, Big Magic will take you on a journey of exploration filled with wonder and unexpected joys.

Why I Picked It Up: This was recommended to me by my friend Siobhan (you should check out her blog ToGetHerFurther).  Siobhan and I have a lot in common and she spoke so highly of this, I couldn’t resist.

What I Thought: Wow.  Just wow.  This is one of those books that just turns everything on its head and gives you a new perspective on life.  I went on exactly the same roller-coaster as Siobhan: so inspired by creative possibilities, I was all ready to move to Bali and start writing, then back down to reality when Elizabeth says very firmly not to quit the day job!  I loved this so much!  I think the part I loved the most is where she describes ideas as living beings with their own will and desires, just looking for an open mind to bring them to life.  I had always thought of ideas as something you could only grow if your brain worked in certain way, which mine didn’t, so this made creativity feel so much accessible to me.  I can be open and willing for any ideas…in fact, if any are listening, I am very much open for business!!

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