Some of what we’ve been reading this year.Read More
Having the inclination to read books is a gift that keeps giving! Sadly, there are many who don't. For them, we've been trying to find interesting ways like infographics, and help them 'experience' great books and 'download' their wisdom.
Here are 6 of them.
In this edition of 'CTQ Highlights', we'll tell you if you should read 'Switch', a great book about 'making change happen when change is tough'. Join us for this online session on 20th August. Read more for details.Read More
At Choose To Thinq, we are nutty about reading. So we often get asked: “How do I building a reading habit in my child?”
Based on our experiences as readers, parents, and uplevelers who study habits, change, and innovation, here are five specific ways in which you could influence the creation of such a habit in a child.Read More
The worst fate for people charged with spreading ideas, the likes of which include budding innovators, entrepreneurs, and marketers, is being forgotten. Compare that to a fake news item, an urban legend, a proverb, an election motto, or a major shoe brand's tagline: once they enter your head, they stay there for ever.
Can we ever be as 'sticky' as them?
'Made To Stick', one of our favourite books ever, has teased out the secrets of success behind some of these memorable ideas. The answer, it says, is SUCCES.
Keen on knowing what this is? Join us and the Bhau Institute of Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Leadership on Saturday, 13 May 2017, from 5 pm - 7 pm. While we talk about making ideas memorable, Jeet Vijay from Bhau Institute will specifically address how to put these ideas to work in the context of pitching to investors.
Don't miss this chance to uplevel the way you spread a message you care deeply about.
To Join Us
Entry is free. Please RSVP here: http://meetu.ps/e/CN5jP/qsG1H/f
After my last post on Tennis, I was recommended by at least two people to read The Inner Game of Tennis. When I did a quick Google search, what really intrigued me about it was the fact that this book was used by coaches in different sports like Tennis and hand-egg. Usually, when a book has applicability and relevance in different domains or areas, it means that the book is talking about something more fundamental and higher-level. This book is considered the Bible of tennis coaching and the author, Timothy Gallwey has apparently written more books and is now an acclaimed business coach as well.I bought the book on Kindle immediately and started reading it. The book talked about what I go through on a daily basis – the trouble with concentration, the one great winner that I manage to hit once in a blue moon and call it ‘patchy’ form. The big equation to come out of the book is
Performance = Potential – Interference
Where Interference is the instructions you try to give yourself to hit a shot in a particular way or what the coach is asking you to focus on or what you think the situation demands. If you can minimize the Interference, then the performance can actually be as good as your potential. And it all boils down to focus. So what I've been doing all this while is sledging myself!! The idea is to figure out what works best for you – and this starts with understanding yourself and becoming more self-aware. You try out different approaches without being judgmental about the results and then once you do what's working enough number of times, you get into the groove i.e. you can do it exactly in the same way every time. Thinking complicated skills like walking, writing, driving! There is always the risk of regressing to old habits because your ego needs the satisfaction of being in control and wants to ‘drive’ you towards great results. And that’s when you need to have practiced ‘how to get your focus back’.
This is a great equation because it’s a very fundamental equation. It’s applicable in every sphere of work and life. All the great saints, teachers, leaders have said something on similar lines – keep things simple; maintain razor-sharp focus and try to achieve the Zen state in whatever you are doing. Whether it is spiritual readings or self-help books or books on leadership/ behavior science or a bootcamp on hypnosis (and I’m speaking from personal experience), the ultimate message that you bring it down to is the same – keep it simple, focus, you have to figure out what works for you on your own and once you find that, rinse and repeat. And it’s always a system! Targets can be deceptively detrimental.
Uplevelling @ Choose To Thinq
This framework is something we follow at work. At Choose To Thinq, we uplevel growth-minded leaders to beat the status quo for themselves and their teams. The nature of problems can be quite varied. We have worked on challenges like –
- My customers are smart. I can’t be doing the same standard thing to engage with them. What can I do differently?
- The people coming to this Sales conference have probably got bored of seeing the same kind of demos and presentations. How do I convey my message more convincingly?
- I want to engage better with this group of employees and develop these channels of communication. Skip-level meetings can’t be the solution!
- I want to develop a culture of intrapreneurship in my company. How do I do this?
These business problems are from domains as varied as marketing, sales, traditional HR and organization development. The framework that we typically apply is –
- Work with the leader to help them discover a destination to aim for.
- Help the leader to creatively engage, persuade and recruit allies and equip them with new knowledge, skills and tools required.
- Help shape the environment and build habits and culture for the quest to succeed.
- Help sustain the change.
Some typical attributes of our approach are
- Keep it simple and maintain focus.
- Try out different approaches first to figure out what is working in your situation. (There’s no guarantee that what worked in another company similar to yours will work for you)
- Something not working the way you wanted it to is part of the process.
- Observe what’s working and amplify it.
We came up with this approach based on multiple philosophies and frameworks like design thinking, lean startup, systems thinking, B J Fogg's behavior design and books like Influence, Switch, Decisive, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Flow, The Power of Habit etc. Above all, we use a lot of common sense instead of being dogmatic about any one framework/philosophy. It’s our own version of Din-i-Ilahi, the religion that Akbar founded based on the best things from different religions.
It all boils down to the same universal truth –
- Keep it simple.
- Figure out what works for yourself – it could be very different from the ‘recommended best practices’.
- Rinse, repeat to make a system out of it.
A simple trick Timothy Gallwey talks about for maintaining focus is to try and watch the seams of the ball and nothing else. Then the ball seems bigger and it even slows down for you to play your shots at ease. How different is it from Arjuna hitting the eye of the fish in the swayamwar to win Draupadi's hand in marriage?
Harish is co-founder, Choose To Thinq and Thinq2Win
Contagious is a book that studies the phenomenon of word of mouth, virality, and what is it that makes people talk about a book, an idea, an event, or a person. Very useful for marketers, start-ups, intrapreneurs, and anyone who is trying to introduce something new. Here's our quick infographic summary of the 6 key conclusions of the book. This is also the visual for March on our CTQ 2017 Books Calendar.
(BTW, we are now offering a Financial Year version of the 2017 Books Calendar - it spans April 2017-March 2018 and is a great learning gift for your clients and employees for the next financial year.)
Your desk could teach you a thing or two.
If it's got our Calendar on it, any desk or wall automatically becomes the smartest thing in your room. Besides you, of course!
At Choose To Thinq, one of the things we do well is to help people and organisations apply insights from great books. One way we make these learnings accessible and convenient is via our annual calendar.
Each page is an actionable summary of a terrific book. In addition, we add 'prompts' to each Sunday to help you apply insights from them into your daily life, aiding habit formation and increased productivity. (Think of it as a life coach,only it doesn’t need your credit card details and is much less annoying!)
Like our 2016 edition, the 2017 edition has insights across topics such as innovation, creativity, and personal growth.
The 11 books featured in the 2017 edition (the 12th page has a little surprise for you!) are:
- The Ten Faces of Innovation
- Start With Why
- Reinventing Organisations
- Brain Rules
- Creativity Inc.
The Retro Version
Calendars may come and go, but great books are timeless. If you'd like to also get hold of our book summaries from last year (but with this year's dates!), get the 2017 Retro edition which covers:
- Thinking, Fast and Slow
- Made to Stick
- The Power of Habit
- The Innovator's DNA
- The Checklist Manifesto
- The Virgin Way
- The One Thing
- Lean In
Have a wonderful and smart 2017!
The book 'Made to Stick' by Chip and Dan Heath says the most sticky messages are Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, and use Stories. What do you know about their SUCCES method? Take this quiz to find out.
Here at Choose To Thinq, books are what energy cells are to clocks: they make us tick. We love books and love helping people grow by getting them to consume and applying the wisdom from books. We are constantly stocking and restocking our library of books - this time, we are looking specifically at books that can help you work better. Can you help us? Then read on!
Some of the themes we are interested in getting books for, are:
- Practising Innovation and Building Innovation Culture
- Persuasive Communication
- Making Change Happen
- Being More Productive
- Making Better Decisions
You can also go beyond these topics and tell us some must-have books for our library. We will put up a list of books based on what you tell us, so go ahead!
We run the Firodia School Quiz League in Pune, India, which consists of 5 quizzes on different themes. Each quiz had a chief guest relevant to the theme of the quiz. For the customary thank-you-gift, instead of giving them bouquets, we gave them books as tokens of our gratitude! Each was linked to the quiz's theme - perhaps you'd like to read these books too? Consider these our recommendations!
- History and Heritage: Prajakta Panshikar, Dy. Director (Heritage), Janwani, Pune, was presented with "Amul's India", a quirky way to relive India's history through the iconic Amul ads.
- Sports: Rohan Pate, Founder of "Blades of Glory" cricket museum, was presented "Cricket's Strangest Matches"
- Science & Tech: Mohit Bhishikar, CIO, Persistent Systems was presented "The Upside of Irrationality" by Dan Ariely
- Travel & Geography: Umesh Zirpe, ace mountaineer, was presented with "A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush"
- Entertainment & Culture: Sonali Kulkarni, the National Award winning actress, was presented with a National Award winning book, "R. D. Burman - the Man, the Music"
Let's start with the biggest problem with "The Power Of Habit" - its name. It sounds suspiciously like one of those self-help type books that give you wishy-washy solutions to difficult problems. Habits are deeply human and as anyone who has tried to change a habit will tell you, it's incredibly hard to pull yourself out of a habit. So when a book comes along talking about habits, with a title that sounds a little bit like some of the books you would not be seen dead with, you are allowed to be a tad suspicious.
Except that The Power of Habit is actually a reasonably down-to-earth and useful book. Here's why:
1. It's based on scientific research: the book is in that modern breed that aims to bring the current state of scientific thinking on a topic to lay readers like us. This book looks at what habits are (in individuals and in groups of people such as societies and organisations), describes a simple model to study them, and summarises ways to go about creating and changing habits.
2. Stories: like books in the Malcolm Gladwell space, this drives its messages through lots of interesting stories and anecdotes. For instance, the author describes the US Army as perhaps the biggest habit-formation exercise in history, given how much time and money is spent on training troops to automatically and consistently respond uniformly to a variety of situations.
3. Useful strategies: No, there's no silver bullet or Aladdin's lamp to change a habit. It takes hard work, mental willpower, and the ability to recover from slipping back. However, the book does provide a easy-to-use scaffolding with which to build habits.
All in all, we would recommend the Power of Habit, even if you are the perfect human being with nothing to change, even if just out of sheer curiosity. As with other books, always keep your shaker of salt at hand and question every easy conclusion and seek nuance (which books like these often can trade off when they are trying to simplify the complexity of messy, real-world scientific findings).
For more, visit the official website for the book.