The 800-CEO-READ Business Book Awards: Personal Development & Human Behavior
November 28, 2016
This week, we are giving away five sets of the best books on personal development and human behavior published in 2016.
We are dedicating the book giveaways for the rest of 2016 to giving away all 40 books, one category at a time, on the 800-CEO-READ Business Book Awards Longlist. This week, the Personal Development & Human Behavior category.
(Editor's Note: the copy below is promotional copy from the books' publishers. If you would like to hear from the judges at 800-CEO-READ as to why these books in particular were chosen, check back in to the News & Opinion channel later this week to go "inside the longlist," or subscribe to the Keen Thinker to get our weekly roundup of content.)
Each of this week's winners will receive all five finalists for the Personal Development & Human Behavior category, and we have five sets available. The books you'll receive are:
Becoming Wise: An Inquiry Into the Mystery and Art of Living by Krista Tippett, Penguin Press
From the bestselling author and host of NPR’s On Being comes a master class in living drawn from the inspiring stories of extraordinary individuals who possess what she calls “spiritual genius”
Over the fifteen years that Krista Tippett has hosted her award-winning and nationally beloved radio program on NPR, first under the title Speaking of Faith and then as On Being, the heart of her work has been to shine a light on the most extraordinary people at work on the big issues and questions of the day, people whose missions kindle in us a sense of wonder. Scientists in a variety of fields; theologians from a number of faiths; poets, activists, and many others have all opened themselves up to Tippett’s compassionate but searching conversation.
In Becoming Wise, Tippett distills the insights she has gleaned from these luminous characters about the meaning of life in its many dimensions into a coherent narrative journey, over time and from mind to mind, that explores what it means to be human. The book is a master class in living, curated by Tippett but presided over by a delightfully ecumenical dream team of a teaching faculty. The art of living can mean many things to many different people. The questions most of us are asking ourselves today are intimate and civilizational all at once—definitions of when life begins and when death happens; the meaning of marriage and family; the human relationship to the natural world; our relationships to technology and through technology: how then shall we live? Tippett’s great gift, in her work and in Becoming Wise, is to avoid reductive simplifications but still find the golden threads that weave people and ideas together into a shimmering braid.
One powerful common denominator of the lessons imparted to Tippett is the gift of presence, of the exhilaration of engagement with life for its own sake, not as a means to an end. Called enlightenment, called transcendence, often called nothing because it is beyond language, it is a state whose gifts can be described in many ways—nourishing, edifying, redemptive—as can its celebrants: courageous, tender, adventurous, curious. But presence does not mean passivity or acceptance of the status quo. Indeed Tippett’s teachers are people whose work meets, and often drives, some of the most powerful forces of change alive in the world today. In the end, perhaps the greatest blessing conveyed by the lessons of spiritual genius Tippett harvests in Becoming Wise is the strength to meet the world where it really is, and then to make it even better.
The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It… Every Time by Maria Konnikova, Viking
From the New York Times bestselling author of Mastermind, a compelling investigation into the minds, motives, and methods of con artists—and the people who fall for their cons over and over again
While cheats and swindlers may be a dime a dozen, true conmen—the Bernie Madoffs, the Jim Bakkers, the Lance Armstrongs—are elegant, outsized personalities, artists of persuasion and exploiters of trust. How do they do it? Why are they successful? And what keeps us falling for it, over and over again? These are the questions that journalist and psychologist Maria Konnikova tackles in her mesmerizing new book.
From multimillion-dollar Ponzi schemes to smalltime frauds, Konnikova pulls together a selection of fascinating stories to demonstrate what all cons share in common, drawing on scientific, dramatic, and psychological perspectives. Insightful and gripping, the book brings readers into the world of the con, examining the relationship between artist and victim. The Confidence Game asks not only why we believe con artists, but also examines the very act of believing, and how our sense of truth can be manipulated by those around us.
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport, Grand Central Publishing
One of the most valuable skills in our economy is becoming increasingly rare. If you master this skill, you'll achieve extraordinary results.
Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It's a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship. In short, deep work is like a super power in our increasingly competitive twenty-first century economy. And yet, most people have lost the ability to go deep-spending their days instead in a frantic blur of e-mail and social media, not even realizing there's a better way.
In Deep Work, author and professor Cal Newport flips the narrative on impact in a connected age. Instead of arguing distraction is bad, he instead celebrates the power of its opposite. Dividing this book into two parts, he first makes the case that in almost any profession, cultivating a deep work ethic will produce massive benefits. He then presents a rigorous training regimen, presented as a series of four "rules," for transforming your mind and habits to support this skill.
A mix of cultural criticism and actionable advice, Deep Work takes the reader on a journey through memorable stories-from Carl Jung building a stone tower in the woods to focus his mind, to a social media pioneer buying a round-trip business class ticket to Tokyo to write a book free from distraction in the air-and no-nonsense advice, such as the claim that most serious professionals should quit social media and that you should practice being bored. Deep Work is an indispensable guide to anyone seeking focused success in a distracted world.
How to Have a Good Day: Harness the Power of Behavioral Science to Transform Your Working Lifeby Caroline Webb, Crown Business
In How to Have a Good Day, Caroline Webb—economist and former partner at consulting powerhouse McKinsey—shows us how to use recent findings from behavioral economics, psychology, and neuroscience to transform our approach to everyday working life.
Her science-based techniques have boosted workplace performance and enjoyment for people in hundreds of organizations. Here, Webb shows us how to build these powerful tools into our own daily routines, to give us more control over the quality of our days.
The book is arranged around seven practices that are central to having a good day: setting the right priorities, making productive use of our time, having effective conversations, doing our very best work, achieving great personal impact, being resilient to setbacks, and sustaining our energy. Throughout, Webb teaches us how to be at our best even under pressure, and equips us to handle common challenges such as co-worker conflicts and difficult deadlines.
Filled with real stories of people who have used the Webb’s insights to improve their working lives, and drawing on cutting-edge ideas from the latest research in behavioral science, How to Have a Good Day is the book people wanted to read when they finished Blink and Thinking Fast and Slow, and were looking for practical ways to apply what they had learned to their own lives and careers.
Joy on Demand: The Art of Discovering the Happiness Within by Chade Meng Tan, HarperOne
A long-awaited follow-up to the New York Times bestselling Search Inside Yourself shows us how to cultivate joy within the context of our fast-paced lives and explains why it is critical to creativity, innovation, confidence, and ultimately success in every arena.
In Joy on Demand, Meng shows that you don’t need to meditate for hours, days, months or years to achieve lasting joy—you can actually get consistent access to it in as little as 15 seconds. Explaining joy and meditation as complementary things that naturally reinforce each other, Meng explains how these two skills form a virtuous cycle, and once put into motion, become a solid practice that can be sustained in daily life.
For many years, meditation has been taught and practiced in cultures where almost all meditators practice full-time for years, resulting in training programs optimized for practitioners with lots of free time and not much else to do but develop profound mastery over the mind. Seeing a disconnect between the traditional practice and the modern world, bestselling author and Google’s “Jolly Good Fellow” Chade-Meng Tan has developed a program, through “wise laziness,” to help readers meditate more efficiently and effectively. Meng shares the three pillars of joy (inner peace, insight, and happiness), why joy is the secret is to success, and demonstrates the practical tools anyone can use to cultivate it on demand.