How many times have you intended to unwind with a book, only to end up on the phone, scrolling social or asleep by 8pm?
Us too – But Not Warren Buffet.
No judgment – us too. But when Warren Buffet estimates that he spends 80 percent of his day in a book, maybe we should try harder. In addition to that fun fact, Psychology Today explains that reading is like “gymnastics for the brain,” supports cognitive health as we age, and nurtures the empathy we have for others. Indeed, reading is usually an independent activity that we associate with “down time” and solitude but, as the article points out, reading has positive influence our social lives.
If you keep up with ImageSoft culture, you know we operate on people-first values. Our staff are fun-loving, and many of our partners, customers and colleagues have become genuine friends. Through our CARES and Wellness committees, we foster fun, health and build relationships with one another and our surrounding communities. Our webpages are informative and slightly punchy. Our people? They’re real characters – not robots. So it only made sense that, to better support all these relationship dynamics, we also needed to read.
And, of course, it gave us another reason to talk. If you haven’t noticed, we love to talk.
“Never Judge a Book by Its Movie”
What kind of books occupy our shelves?
So far, nothing born from a Blockbuster. All our participants actively recommend reads that contribute to personal and professional development, and the group votes on what to read during which months. To date, selections have included:
- “Daring Greatly,” by Dr. Brene Brown
- “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action,” by Simon Sinek
- “Joy, Inc.: How We Built a Workplace We Love,” by Richard Sheridan
- “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business,” by Charles Duhigg
- “Get Out of Your Own Way,” by Dave Hollis.
After a one-month reading period, the group reconvenes for a two-hour meeting. Whether you’ve read cover-to-cover or just one chapter, everyone is welcome to grab their favorite dinner and share their thoughts on the read, including relatable personal stories or thoughts on something that struck a chord.
Book Club Unscripted
About five months in now, we were able to catch up with Leanne and Crystal from the ImageSoft Book Club and gather some unscripted reviews. Here are their testimonies:
“I love ImageSoft’s Book Club! So far, the biggest impact for me was the first book, “Daring Greatly” by Dr. Brene Brown. While I thought I didn’t have a problem with being vulnerable, it really just wasn’t to the extent that I needed to transform my life. I enjoyed reading about Dr. Brown’s personal testament on her struggles with vulnerability and that it is a journey she is still on because it never ends. There’s no magic switch. To put this to the test, I recently joined a group at my church that encourages me to put myself “out there” and be vulnerable in situations that, normally, I would not be comfortable in. It has been a rewarding experience and enriched my entire life.”
“I’ve learned so much from each read, so it was difficult trying to combine everything into one statement. Below are a few of my personally highlighted concepts from the books to date – I hope they’re helpful!”
- Daring Greatly by Brene Brown: It’s been very helpful to practice recognizing the differences between shame and guilt. Guilt is “I did something bad,” whereas shame is, “I am bad.” Guilt is disassociated with the self, whereas shame is deeply entwined with how we see ourselves. As leaders, it’s critical to be mindful of this difference and work to avoid shaming others and ourselves. Shame is not a motivator – it’s dangerous. When you think you “are” inherently something, you don’t feel like you have the power to change it or make a different decision. Instead, try separating who you are at the core (shame) from the individual choice you made in a moment (guilt), and you will have a much better chance of making a better choice in the future.
- Start with Why by Simon Sinek: Organizations that have a solid sense of why they are doing something tend to be more flexible and able to adjust to constantly changing conditions. They aren’t bound by an idea of what they are when they know deeply who and why they are. Even if what they do changes, they won’t change the core tenants of their belief systems. Apple was a great example of this because they did not define themselves as a computer company. If they did, they may never have invented the iPod or iPhone. They saw themselves as a challenger of the status quo, and that helped make them wildly successful.
- Joy, Inc., by Richard Sheridan: This was a small piece of the book, but I loved the concept of avoiding “hallway project management.” The author, Richard Sheridan, describes this as all the decisions that get made outside of meetings where individuals dictate their preferences and pet projects without priority setting. He describes this as culture killing because the people working never really know what they should be focused on, and their managers don’t have a clear picture of how much work they have on their plate at any given time – unknowingly, managers could easily overwhelm staff. Sheridan calls for clarity of work and priorities across all levels with clear, visual indicators of what is being worked on. In doing so, everyone across the organization can quickly understand everything at play and projects or tasks can be added or removed as necessary. After all, there is only so much work in one sprint that can be accomplished. This clarity across the whole team helped Sheridan’s employees to stay engaged without being overwhelmed and, ultimately, set his organization up for success by helping everyone maintain focus on leading priorities.
- The Power of Habit by Charles Duhig: Let me first start with this disclaimer – I’m attempting to explain scientific concepts without quoting science, so please standby.
In his book, Duhig talks about how rats learn to navigate a maze in order to seek a reward. When the rats are first placed in the maze, their brains are “firing on all cylinders.” Their brain scans are lighting up. Over time, the rats learn the maze and, at this point, a habit has formed. They recreate the same motions without barely a blip on their brain scan. This is fairly amazing to me because, the more habits you can build into your day, the more “room” you have in your brain to process the day-to-day hard things at work and home without decision fatigue. Simple, positive adjustments in your life that build into habits actually decreases the strain on your brain and leaves plenty of room to make the really important decisions for which you truly need full-force brain power.”
Calling All Book Worms!
Have your own thoughts on any of the reads listed above? Inspired by a read that transformed your personal and/or professional life? Share it all in the “comments” section below or on our LinkedIn page.
Happy reading, friends!