A huge part of a creative leader's learning journey is reading – from the stimulating ideas of Malcolm Gladwell to the philosophical, emotional narratives of Haruki Murakami.
With a new year upon us, we asked members of the THNK Community to recommend must-read books to be a better leader in 2019.
1. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari
In the successor to his groundbreaking book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Israeli author Yuval Noah Harari’s Homo Deus looks to the future, exploring how global power might shift as natural selection is replaced by intelligent design.
While Sapiens offers a recount of history using events and human experience, Homo Deus examines the evolution of humans as the dominant species in the world:
“People are usually afraid of change because they fear the unknown. But the single greatest constant of history is that everything changes.”
THNK Vancouver Class 2 participant Gwendal Castellan highly recommends Homo Deus, praising Harari’s “wonderful ability to peer into the deep future to describe scenarios that are the logical conclusion of different technological endeavors led by the human race. It is a great follow-up to Sapiens.”
2. Doughnut Economics by Kate Raworth
Renowned British economist Kate Raworth has built a new, cutting-edge economic model fit for the 21st-century.
In her book Doughnut Economics, Raworth argues that traditional economic models have failed to meet humanity’s needs, and instead, makes the case for her “doughnut” model – two concentric rings representing the planetary ceiling and the minimum standard for all human beings. To solve the world’s most pressing challenges without destroying the planet, she argues that humans need to inhabit the “safe and just space” between the two rings.
We had the pleasure of welcoming Kate Raworth as a forum guest at THNK FSTVL 2018. In the session, FSTVL attendees discussed with Kate the important role that organizations play in ensuring a sustainable and prosperous future.
3. Finding Serenity in the Age of Anxiety by Robert Gerzon
Is anxiety bad? Is it possible to escape the anxiety that pervades the modern age?
According to psychotherapist and life coach Robert Gerzon: no and no.
In Finding Serenity in the Age of Anxiety, Gerzon approaches anxiety, stress, and fear from a new perspective, proclaiming that anxiety is a natural, and even sacred, part of life. “Anxiety is built into our nervous system,” Gerzon says. “It’s part of who we are. It’s an early warning signal that alerts us to both threats and opportunities.”
Finding Serenity in the Age of Anxiety was recommended by THNK Class 11 participant Kirsti Jansson, who described the significant role the book played in her class’ self-organized module. She says, “It talks about fear and it breaks down different kinds of fear. You can identify your individual reaction to fear and once you isolate how you react, it gives you ways of responding to fear. If you know how to respond to fear, you can catapult your life. Understanding our fear and how to face it is an important part of seeing our challenges and endeavors through.”
4. Back, After the Break by Osher Gunsberg
Ever since he was a child, Osher Gunsberg – one of Australia’s most loved celebrities and THNK Class 5 participant – has struggled with anxiety, panic attacks, and weight issues.
In his memoir, Back, After the Break, Osher opens up about life, love, and living with mental illness. He delves into his memories of growing up in suburban Australia, dealing with bullying, and establishing himself as one of Australia’s most recognizable media personalities while coping with mental illness and alcohol addiction.
Read the book to find out how Osher pulled himself out of the darkness to come to terms with living with a mental illness.
5. The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
In The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell discusses his theory of the “monomyth,” the common structure of the journey of the typical hero found in world myths:
“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”
Since its release in 1949, The Hero with a Thousand Faces has influenced millions of readers. Artists and filmmakers such as George Lucas, Stanley Kubrick, and Bob Dylan, have been particularly inspired by Campbell’s work, using his monomyth in their own stories and narratives. Lucas himself discussed how Campbell’s ideas helped shape the Star Wars franchise.