Mary Ellen’s Book Picks
A voracious reader and student of all things inspirational and personal, professional, and leadership development-oriented, I have several favorite books I happily recommend and share.
Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton
Some of us spend a lifetime trying to improve our shortcomings. Apparently, there’s not only an easier solution, but a much more powerful one. “The real tragedy of life is not that each of us doesn’t have enough strengths, it’s that we fail to use the ones we have.” That’s what these authors decided based on the mountains of research they did with Gallup (yup, the poll people). Now, Discover Your Strengths is a terrific how-to book on identifying and developing our unique talents and strengths with a little code to access the online survey so you can discover your own strengths.
Stephen R. Covey
This is a classic. It is a “must” read for all leaders, entrepreneurs, and everyone else in between. Sure, Covey uses lots of big words when a couple short ones would do, and he certainly enjoys creating fancy names for his ideas, but this little piece of brilliance is truly “it” for those who want to master personal effectiveness.
Since gremlin-taming is such a crucial part of making change I typically recommend this book to all my individual coaching clients. And what are gremlins, you may ask? They’re those nasty voices we all have in our head…our inner critics. They seem to love having us struggle and suffer; they disempower us. They’re all about maintaining the status quo and survival. They’ll stop us from changing because they don’t like change. They always have good intent, just not so effective ways to give us the message. That’s why gremlin-taming is so important.
This is a favorite that I assign it to all the couples I coach, and I also use it with my team–coaching clients. The principles easily translate to all relationship types. Gottman is not only very smart, he’s also very funny, and it shines through in this book. He’s the guy who can tell within three minutes of observing a couple if they’ll still be married in three years. People read this book and then say, “Oh, so that’s why that happened.” It gives great insight into what makes for successful relationships and what you can do to make yours work. Loved this so much we chose it as the first book featured by the International ORSC Book Club.
Stephen M. R. Covey
Wow! This is still a favourite. It had a profound impact on my levels of self-trust and showed up time and again in my coaching conversations with executives and entrepreneurs. It dovetails nicely with dad Stephen R. Covey’s ideas and breaks down the idea of trust into bite-sized chunks and exercises.
What really convinced me was Covey’s discussion about the economics of trust. I’ve always been a “show me the money” kind of girl, and he has a snappy little equation that really shows the leverage of trust. Read it if you’re looking for ways to improve your results.
Stacey Hall and Jan Brogniez
Let’s face it. Who among us does not want to work with “perfect customers?” Not only are the authors offering the reader this possibility, they contend that it can be done without aggressive, labor-intensive strategies. I’m there. I’ve personally used the ideas in this book a ton, and so have my entrepreneurial clients. It’s a lovely book for making the whole “growing your business” thing feel natural and within reach.
I’ve read this book at least five times. Really. It’s that good.
We’ve all been there–spending insane amounts of energy and time working in our business instead of owning it and growing it sustainably. One of my clients was a smart woman, a certified accountant who’d created a very successful catering business. She had been running it for six years, and it was running her ragged. I asked her to read this book as part of our work together. She literally fell out of her chair in chapter one. It was like she was reading about herself. The author had held up a mirror, and it was at that moment my client realized all that was possible, all that her business could become if she just opened up to doing things in a different way! What happened? She significantly changed the way she ran her business and how it fit into the rest of her life. This client’s business went from great to incredible. Yours can too.