I’ve got two this month:
What got you here will not get you there (Marshall Goldsmith)
I think it’s a foundational book for not just leaders and managers but for any competent professional who wants to grow and do meaningful work. The author makes a strong case that most professionals hold on to awful character traits, absurd beliefs, and super-unhelpful behaviors and think it will give them magical powers — authority, control, and influence.
Unbeknownst to them, their very beliefs and behaviours get in their way of achieving success in their careers. The book serves as a reality check for professionals and helps them see through the blind spots in their perceptions, one of the biggest is this — people often succeed despite their flaws – *but* believe that they did because of them.
A single serving of this book (a single read, and I strongly recommend many multiple reads) is good enough to blow out all that self-manifested BS you’ve got in your head. But it takes a lot of courage, wisdom, and self-discipline to work through it.
Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance by Robert Prisg
The book has nothing to do with motorcycles, maintenance, or even Zen! Those are simply mediums for a powerful and profound examination of how we live our lives. It’s a story of growth, discovery, and, most importantly, acceptance of one’s flaws and how they make our lives beautiful, despite our vehement resistance.
It’s a philosophical exploration of life’s most fundamental questions. The questions that we dodge or don’t understand or refuse to answer. It was a gratifying experience when I read the book for the first time but transcendental when I read it a few more times.
(Pro tip: Robert also wrote a sequel to this book titled Lila, which is just as fantastic but highly underrated. For most people, reading Zen is a transformational experience. It’s a heady book, so don’t just read, but debate, deliberate, and discuss it with someone else who’s reading it.)