When is the last time you had fun? That’s the first line of this wonderful book.
The catalyst to writing this book was the time Price caught sight of the new baby she was feeding looking up at her as she was looking down at her phone. She was so horrified at the zombie she’d become she decided to take up a hobby, playing guitar. The huge difference she found that having true fun playing the guitar in a class made to her physiology and her mind inspired the book.
The book looks at what “True Fun” is and why fun is the key to a happy and healthy life.
In his book, Gawande begins by exploring the incidents of avoidable deaths in hospital admissions.
Despite our huge knowledge and expertise, dying on the operating table was still the biggest cause of death in America at the time due to avoidable errors.
Gawande writes about his interviews and studies of how Boeing respond to failures in aeroplanes by immediately developing checklists and standard operating procedures for every possible scenario.
The key message of the book, however, is not just the power of a simple checklist to avoid errors in any area of life and business but in embedding the use of the checklist in the culture of the team owning the checklist.
He explores examples of when this doesn’t work, for example a surgeon ignoring a junior nurse questioning whether he’s washed his hands correctly before surgery, or a co-pilot not feeling able to challenge the decision of a more senior pilot.
How To Be More Tree is a gorgeous book that uses the analogy of many different trees (beautifully illustrated by Annie Davidson) as guides on how we can grow and lead more empowered lives ourselves if we learn from the trees.
For example, in the tale of the Corsican Pine, we can learn from our past. Just like people, trees flourish when they can learn from their past experience.
One of the most challenging things for a tree is high winds which can blow even stronger if you grow on an exposed slope like the Corsican pine tends to. And if you’re the tree at the edge of the pine forest, you’re going to get hit by the wind even harder.
So trees that grow on forest fringes adapt to being buffeted by each winter’s winds by changing how they grow, developing a more tapered and stronger trunk.
It’s a beautiful book.
Written in 2021, during the Covid-19 pandemic, Portas observes the cut-throat pursuit of how we’ve been doing business and the impact that some of the early decisions business leaders made in the lock-downs had on individuals and other smaller businesses.
The pandemic brought a recognition of the important things in life and business: community, value, creativity and purpose. Portas urges business to rebuild in new ways, to work together to benefit the greater good. It’s about shifting the sole purpose of business from money, money, money at all costs to better protecting the earth’s resources and our own wellbeing.
We need to prioritise different things now – the world we live in and the people who inhabit it – not just the bottom line. This is a book that no-one can disagree with but only build on.
Those are my 5 recommended personal development books that I hope you enjoy and the reading of which will help you take more days with no phones.
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