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23 Books Recommended by 2017 GSIH Fellows

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The accounting bookkeeping is right around the corner; for this year, 24 fellows with diverse backgrounds, careers and ventures are coming from eleven countries including Peru, Burma and Kenya! Our exceptional fellows recommended thirteen books to the community. Along with various environments they are coming from, their book-tastes also varied with a huge spectrum of topics, ranging from organization management skills to historic fiction. If you are interested in our suggestions check here for a code to access the invaluable list of books.

 

 


 

 

five dysfunctionThe Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fale by Patrick Lencioni

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is a business book by consultant and speaker Patrick Lencioni first published in 2002. It explores the fundamental causes of organizational politics and team failure. By outlining the root causes of politics and dysfunction on the teams where you work, and the keys to overcoming them, Lencioni weaves his lessons around the fictional story of a troubled Silicon Valley firm and its unexpected choice for a new CEO. Showing exactly how existing personnel failed to function as a unit, and precisely how the new boss worked to reestablish that essential conduct, the book’s first part illustrates the ways that teamwork can elude even the most dedicated individuals–and be restored by an insightful leader. A second part offers details on Lencioni’s “five dysfunctions” (absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results), along with a questionnaire for readers to use in evaluating their own teams and specifics to help them understand and overcome these common shortcomings. This book has been selected as American best-seller from New York Times, Business Week, Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Click Here for the Amazon Link

 

 

essentialismEssentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

The Way of the Essentialist involves doing less, but better, so you can make the highest possible contribution.

In Essentialism, Greg McKeown draws on experience and insight from working with the leaders of the most innovative companies in the world to show how to achieve the disciplined pursuit of less. By applying a more selective criteria for what is essential, the pursuit of less allows us to regain control of our own choices so we can channel our time, energy and effort into making the highest possible contribution toward the goals and activities that matter.

The author Greg Mckeown introduces the concept as: “Essentialism isn’t one more thing; it is a different way of doing everything. It is a discipline you apply constantly, effortlessly. Essentialism is a mindset; a way of life. It is an idea whose time has come.” Arianna Huffington, Co-founder and president of Huffington Post Media Group commented on this book that “Greg’s excellent new book is a much-needed antidote to the stress, burnout and compulsion to “do everything,” that infects us all.” Click Here for the Amazon Link

 

 

fountain headThe Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

The Fountainhead is a 1943 novel by Ayn Rand and was her first major literary success. The novel’s protagonist, Howard Roark, is an individualistic young architect who refuses to compromise his artistic and personal vision for worldly recognition and success. The story follows his battle to practice modern architecture while opposed by an establishment centered on tradition. Roark embodies what Rand believed to be the ideal man, and his struggle reflects Rand’s belief that individualism is superior to collectivism. Roark is opposed by what Rand described as “second-handers”, who value conformity more than independence and integrity.

The reviewer for The New York Times praised Rand as writing “brilliantly, beautifully and bitterly”, stating that she had “written a hymn in praise of the individual” that would force readers to rethink basic ideas. Benjamin DeCasseres, a columnist for the New York Journal-American, described Roark as “one of the most inspiring characters in modern American literature.” Click Here for the Amazon Link

 

 

one strawThe One-Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming by Masanobu Fukuoka

The author, Masanobu Fukuoka (1913-2008), was a farmer and philosopher who studied plant pathology and spent several years working as a customs inspector in Yokohama. At the age of 25, he left the research field and decided to apply his ideas into practices. He worked to develop a system of natural farming that demonstrated the insight he was given as a young man, believing that it could be of great benefit to the world.  He did not plow his fields, used no agricultural chemicals or prepared fertilizers, did not flood his rice fields as farmers have done in Asia for centuries, and yet his yields equaled or surpassed the most productive farms in Japan.

The One-Straw Revolution is a best-selling book about his life’s journey, philosophy and farming techniques. This book has helped make Mr. Fukuoka a leader in the worldwide sustainable agriculture movement.  He continued farming until shortly before his death in 2008, at the age of 95. Click Here for the Amazon Link

 

 

sapiensSapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari 

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind is a book by Professor Yuval Noah Harari. Harari cites Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel (1997) as one of the greatest inspirations for the book by showing that it was possible to “ask very big questions and answer them scientifically.”

Harari surveys the history of humankind from the evolution of archaic human species in the Stone Age up to the twenty-first century, focusing on our own species of human, Homo sapiens. He divides the history of Sapiens into the Cognitive Revolution, Agricultural Revolution, Unification of Humankind and Scientific Revolution.

The main argument is that Sapiens came to dominate the world because it is the only animal that can cooperate flexibly in large numbers. He argues that the ability of Sapiens to cooperate in large numbers arises from its unique ability to believe in things existing purely in the imagination. Harari claims that all large-scale human cooperation systems – including religions, political structures, trade networks and legal institutions – owe their emergence to Sapiens’ distinctive cognitive capacity for fiction. Accordingly, Harari reads money as a system of mutual trust and sees political and economic systems as more or less identical with religions. This book was recommended by two people! Click Here for the Amazon Link

 

 

the winter trilogyThe Century Trilogy by Ken Follett (especially Winter of the World)

Winter of the World is written by the Welsh-born author Ken Follett, a historical novel published in 2012 is the second book in the Century Trilogy. Revolving about a family saga that covers the interrelated experiences of American, Russian, German and British families during the 20th century. The novel follows the second generation of those families, born to the main characters of the first novel, Fall of Giants, and is followed by a generation of those families in the third and final book in the series, Edge of Eternity. The story starts in 1933, with the Nazi seizure of power, includes World War II, and concludes in 1949.

The author, Ken Follett, the author, incorporated his career as thriller writer and profound historical knowledge in the Century Trilogy series; all of them ranked #1 on the New York Times’ hardcover and e-book fiction best-seller lists. Click Here for the Amazon Link

 

 

forces for goodForces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits by Leslie R. Crutchfield, Heather McLeod Grant and J. Gregory Dees

In the original book, authors Crutchfield and McLeod Grant employed a rigorous research methodology to determine “what makes great nonprofits great?” They studied twelve nonprofits that have achieved extraordinary levels of impact—from Habitat for Humanity to the Heritage Foundation—and distilled six counterintuitive practices that these organizations use to change the world. This revised and updated edition of that bestselling book explores how the recent economic and social upheavals have impacted these noteworthy organizations. In addition, Forces for Good shows how the six practices have been applied successfully to small, local nonprofits.

Despite the enormous changes in the economic landscape, the authors’ recent research reaffirms the viability of the original six practices for scaling social impact. This updated book examines a proven framework that helps nonprofits shift from an organizational mindset to a relational mind-set, from a more industrial era model of production, where the nonprofit produces goods and services for customers, to a networked model, where the nonprofit’s mission is to catalyze social change by inspiring others to action. Click Here for the Amazon Link

 

 

pink blue brainPink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow Into Troublesome Gaps — And What We Can Do About It by Lise Eliot

Professor of neuroscience at Rosalind Franklin University, Eliot offers a refreshingly reasonable and reassuring look at recent alarming studies about sex differences in determining the behavior of children. Her levelheaded approach recognizes assertions by the nature versus nurture advocates, boys lag behind girls in early development, are more risk taking and spatially adept, while girls are hardwired for verbal communication and feeling empathy—yet underscores how small the differences really are and what parents can do to resist the harmful stereotyping that grows more entrenched over time. Eliot revisits much of the data showing subtle differences in boy-girl sensory processing, memory and language circuits, brain functioning, and neural speed and efficiency, using clever charts and graphs of her own. However, she emphasizes most convincingly that the brain is marvelously plastic and can remodel itself continually to new experiences, meaning that the child comes into the world with its genetic makeup, but actually growing a boy from those XY cells or a girl from XX cells requires constant interaction with the environment. At the end of each chapter, she lists ways to nip early troubles in the bud. Dense, scholarly but accessible, Eliot’s work demonstrates a remarkable clarity of purpose. Click Here for the Amazon Link

 

 

let my people surfLet My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman by Yvon Chouinard

In this book, Yvon Chouinard–legendary climber, businessman, environmentalist, and founder of Patagonia, Inc.–shares the persistence and courage that have gone into being head of one of the most respected and environmentally responsible companies on earth.

From his youth as the son of a French Canadian handyman to the thrilling, ambitious climbing expeditions that inspired his innovative designs for the sport’s equipment, Let My People Go Surfing is the story of a man who brought doing good and having grand adventures into the heart of his business life-a book that will deeply affect entrepreneurs and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Click Here for the Amazon Link

 

 

the dipThe Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) by Seth Godin

Yet another easily digestible social marketplace commentary from the blogger/author who penned Purple Cow and Small is the New Big, Godin prescribes a cleverly counter-intuitive way to approach one’s potential for success. Smart, honest, and refreshingly free of self-help posturing, this primer on winning-through-quitting is at once motivational and comically indifferent, making the lofty goal of “becoming the best in the world” an achievable proposition-all you need is to “start doing some quitting.” The secret to “strategic quitting” is seeking, understanding and embracing “the Dip,” “the long slog between starting and mastery” in which those without the determination or will find themselves burning out. As such, Godin demonstrates how to identify and quit your “Cul-de-Sac” and “Cliff” situations, in which no amount of work will lead to success. Godin provides tips for finding your Dip, taking advantage of it and becoming one of the few (inevitably valuable) players to emerge on the other side; he also provides guidelines for quitting with confidence. Quick, hilarious and happily irreverent, Godin’s truth-that “we fail when we get distracted by tasks we don’t have the guts to quit”-makes excellent sense of an often-difficult career move. Click Here for the Amazon Link

 

 

man meaningMan’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of others he treated later in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Frankl’s theory-known as logotherapy, from the Greek word logos (“meaning”)-holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful.

At the time of Frankl’s death in 1997, Man’s Search for Meaning had sold more than 10 million copies in twenty-four languages. A 1991 reader survey for the Library of Congress that asked readers to name a “book that made a difference in your life” found Man’s Search for Meaning among the ten most influential books in America. Click Here for the Amazon Link

 

 

leading fromLeading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies by Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kaufer

We have entered an age of disruption. Financial collapse, climate change, resource depletion, and a growing gap between rich and poor are but a few of the signs. Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kaufer ask, why do we collectively create results nobody wants? Meeting the challenges of this century requires updating our economic logic and operating system from an obsolete “ego-system” focused entirely on the well-being of oneself to an eco-system awareness that emphasizes the well-being of the whole. Filled with real-world examples, this thought-provoking guide presents proven practices for building a new economy that is more resilient, intentional, inclusive, and aware. Click Here for the Amazon Link

 

 

memo to presidentMemo to the President by Madeleine Albright

Madeleine Albright, the first woman to serve as a U.S. Secretary of State, talks about the significance of the 2008 presidential election. She served as Secretary of State under Bill Clinton, and was a U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Memo to the President explores how to “restore America’s reputation and leadership.”

Madeleine Albright offers provocative ideas about how to confront the myriad challenges awaiting our newly elected commander-in-chief. Secretary Albright’s advice is candid and seasoned with humor and stories from her years in office, blending lessons from the past with forward-looking suggestions about how to make full use of presidential power without repeating the excesses of the Bush administration and how to revive America’s commitment to its founding ideals. Click Here for the Amazon Link

 

 

trying not tryingTrying Not to Try: The Art and Science of Spontaneity by Edward Slingerland

In Trying Not To Try, Edward Slingerland explains why we find spontaneity so elusive, and shows how early Chinese thought points the way to happier, more authentic lives. We’ve long been told that the way to achieve our goals is through careful reasoning and conscious effort. But recent research suggests that many aspects of a satisfying life, like happiness and spontaneity, are best pursued indirectly. The early Chinese philosophers knew this, and they wrote extensively about an effortless way of being in the world, which they called wu-wei (ooo-way). They believed it was the source of all success in life, and they developed various strategies for getting it and hanging on to it.

With clarity and wit, Slingerland introduces us to these thinkers and the marvelous characters in their texts, from the butcher whose blade glides effortlessly through an ox to the wood carver who sees his sculpture simply emerge from a solid block. Slingerland uncovers a direct line from wu-wei to the Force in Star Wars, explains why wu-wei is more powerful than flow, and tells us what it all means for getting a date. He also shows how new research reveals what’s happening in the brain when we’re in a state of wu-wei—why it makes us happy and effective and trustworthy, and how it might have even made civilization possible.

Through stories of mythical creatures and drunken cart riders, jazz musicians and Japanese motorcycle gangs, Slingerland effortlessly blends Eastern thought and cutting-edge science to show us how we can live more fulfilling lives. Trying Not To Try is mind-expanding and deeply pleasurable, the perfect antidote to our striving modern culture. Click Here for the Amazon Link

 

 

the great gameThe Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia by Peter Hopkirk

Peter Hopkirk’s spellbinding account of the great imperial struggle for supremacy in Central Asoa has been hailed as essential reading with that era’s legacy playing itself out today.

The Great Game between Victorian Britain and Tsarist Russia was fought across desolate terrain from the Caucasus to China, over the lonely passes of the Parmirs and Karakorams, in the blazing Kerman and Helmund deserts, and through the caravan towns of the old Silk Road-both powers scrambling to control access to the riches of India and the East. When play first began, the frontiers of Russia and British India lay 2000 miles apart; by the end, this distance had shrunk to twenty miles at some points. Now, in the vacuum left by the disintegration of the Soviet Union, there is once again talk of Russian soldiers “dipping their toes in the Indian Ocean.”

The Washington Post has said that “every story Peter Hopkirk touches is totally engrossing.” In this gripping narrative he recounts a breathtaking tale of espionage and treachery through the actual experiences of its colorful characters. Based on meticulous scholarship and on-the-spot research, this is the history at the core of today’s geopolitics. Click Here for the Amazon Link

 

 

the amazing adventureThe Amazing Adventure of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon

The beloved, award-winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, a Michael Chabon masterwork, is the American epic of two boy geniuses named Joe Kavalier and Sammy Clay. Now with special bonus material by Michael Chabon.

A “towering, swash-buckling thrill of a book” (Newsweek), hailed as Chabon’s “magnum opus” (The New York Review of Books), The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is a triumph of originality, imagination, and storytelling, an exuberant, irresistible novel that begins in New York City in 1939. A young escape artist and budding magician named Joe Kavalier arrives on the doorstep of his cousin, Sammy Clay. While the long shadow of Hitler falls across Europe, America is happily in thrall to the Golden Age of comic books, and in a distant corner of Brooklyn, Sammy is looking for a way to cash in on the craze. He finds the ideal partner in the aloof, artistically gifted Joe, and together they embark on an adventure that takes them deep into the heart of Manhattan, and the heart of old-fashioned American ambition. From the shared fears, dreams, and desires of two teenage boys, they spin comic book tales of the heroic, fascist-fighting Escapist and the beautiful, mysterious Luna Moth, otherworldly mistress of the night. Climbing from the streets of Brooklyn to the top of the Empire State Building, Joe and Sammy carve out lives, and careers, as vivid as cyan and magenta ink. Spanning continents and eras, this superb book by one of America’s finest writers remains one of the defining novels of our modern American age. Click Here for the Amazon Link

 

 

one hundred years of solitudeOne Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendia family. Inventive, amusing, magnetic, sad, and alive with unforgettable men and women—brimming with truth, compassion, and a lyrical magic that strikes the soul—this novel is a masterpiece in the art of fiction.

The story follows 100 years in the life of Macondo, a village founded by José Arcadio Buendía and occupied by descendants all sporting variations on their progenitor’s name: his sons, José Arcadio and Aureliano, and grandsons. Then there are the women -the two Úrsulas, a handful of Remedios, Fernanda, and Pilar- who struggle to remain grounded even as their menfolk build castles in the air. If it is possible for a novel to be highly comic and deeply tragic at the same time, then One Hundred Years of Solitude does the trick. Civil war rages throughout, hearts break, dreams shatter, and lives are lost, yet the effect is literary pentimento.

With One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel García Márquez introduced Latin American literature to a world-wide readership. Translated into more than two dozen languages, his brilliant novel of love and loss in Macondo stands at the apex of 20th-century literature. Click Here for the Amazon Link

 

 

love doesLove Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World by Bob Goff

As a college student he spent 16 days in the Pacific Ocean with five guys and a crate of canned meat. As a father he took his kids on a world tour to eat ice cream with heads of state. He made friends in Uganda, and they liked him so much he became the Ugandan consul. He pursued his wife for three years before she agreed to date him. His grades weren’t good enough to get into law school, so he sat on a bench outside the Dean’s office for seven days until they finally let him enroll.

Bob Goff has become something of a legend, and his friends consider him the world’s best-kept secret. Those same friends have long insisted he write a book. What follows are paradigm shifts, musings, and stories from one of the world’s most delightfully engaging and winsome people. What fuels his impact? Love. But it’s not the kind of love that stops at thoughts and feelings. Bob’s love takes action. Bob believes Love Does.

When Love Does, life gets interesting. Each day turns into a hilarious, whimsical, meaningful chance that makes faith simple and real. Each chapter is a story that forms a book, a life. And this is one life you don’t want to miss. Click Here for the Amazon Link

Direct quote from the fellow’s recommendation:
“… Its core principles around the power of saying yes and constantly seeking out ways to love others can be applied across generations. religion, cultures, etc. I highly recommend it to anyone.”

 

 

building social businessBuilding Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism that Serves Humanity’s Most Pressing Needs by Muhammad Yunus

Muhammad Yunus, the practical visionary who pioneered microcredit and, with his Grameen Bank, won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, has developed a new dimension for capitalism which he calls “social business.” The social business model has been adopted by corporations, entrepreneurs, and social activists across the globe. Its goal is to create self-supporting, viable commercial enterprises that generate economic growth as they produce goods and services to fulfill human needs. In Building Social Business, Yunus shows how social business can be put into practice and explains why it holds the potential to redeem the failed promise of free-market enterprise.

Daily Times commented on the book that: “Yunus may be an astute (social) businessman, but he also has a savvy side. He is quick to point out that working for any social business does not mean lowering one’s standards, for they offer employees competitive salaries and benefits; it simply means not profiting from the poor…Yunus has a Nobel Peace Prize 2006 (shared with Grameen Bank) to show for his efforts, and is already playing around with the building blocks of a new poverty-free world order.” Click Here for the Amazon Link

 

 

The seven habitsThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change was a groundbreaker when it was first published in 1990, and it continues to be a business bestseller with more than 10 million copies sold. Stephen Covey, an internationally respected leadership authority, realizes that true success encompasses a balance of personal and professional effectiveness, so this book is a manual for performing better in both arenas. His anecdotes are as frequently from family situations as from business challenges. Before you can adopt the seven habits, you’ll need to accomplish what Covey calls a “paradigm shift”–a change in perception and interpretation of how the world works. Covey takes you through this change, which affects how you perceive and act regarding productivity, time management, positive thinking, developing your “proactive muscles” (acting with initiative rather than reacting), and much more. This isn’t a quick-tips-start-tomorrow kind of book. The concepts are sometimes intricate, and you’ll want to study this book, not skim it. When you finish, you’ll probably have Post-it notes or hand-written annotations in every chapter, and you’ll feel like you’ve taken a powerful seminar by Covey. Click Here for the Amazon Link

Direct quote from the fellow’s recommendation:
I had read this book for the first time in 2001 and since then I have read it thrice. I refer a lot to this book for clarifying myself on various concepts... Unlike any other self-help books produced in the west, The 7 habits of highly effective people, doesn’t provide quick solutions rather emphasizes on the core. I always recommend this book to anyone who is keen towards personal development. The best way of utilizing this book is to take it as a guide. Don’t rush to read through. Read, reflect and try to apply in your life and you will feel the difference

 

 

in cold bloodIn Cold Blood by Truman Capote

On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.

As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.

If all Truman Capote did was invent a new genre–journalism written with the language and structure of literature–this “nonfiction novel” about the brutal slaying of the Clutter family by two would-be robbers would be remembered as a trail-blazing experiment that has influenced countless writers. But Capote achieved more than that. He wrote a true masterpiece of creative nonfiction. The images of this tale continue to resonate in our minds: 16-year-old Nancy Clutter teaching a friend how to bake a cherry pie, Dick Hickock’s black ’49 Chevrolet sedan, Perry Smith’s Gibson guitar and his dreams of gold in a tropical paradise–the blood on the walls and the final “thud-snap” of the rope-broken necks. Click Here for the Amazon Link

 

 

the new better offThe New Better Off: Reinventing the American Dream by Courtney E. Martin

Are we living the good life—and what defines ‘good,’ anyway? Americans today are constructing a completely different framework for success than their parents’ generation, using new metrics that TED speaker and On Being columnist Courtney Martin has termed collectively the “New Better Off.” The New Better Off puts a name to the American phenomenon of rejecting the traditional dream of a 9-to-5 job, home ownership, and a nuclear family structure—illuminating the alternate ways Americans are seeking happiness and success.

Including commentary on recent changes in how we view work, customs and community, marriage, rituals, money, living arrangements, and spirituality, The New Better Off uses personal stories and social analysis to explore the trends shaping our country today. Martin covers growing topics such as freelancing, collaborative consumption, communal living, and the breaking down of gender roles.

The New Better Off is about the creative choices individuals are making in their vocational and personal lives, but it’s also about the movements, formal and informal, that are coalescing around the New Better Off idea—people who are reinventing the social safety net and figuring out how to truly better their own communities. Click Here for the Amazon Link

 

 

power of habitThe Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

In The Power of Habit, Pulitzer Prize–winning business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. Distilling vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives that take us from the boardrooms of Procter & Gamble to sidelines of the NFL to the front lines of the civil rights movement, Duhigg presents a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential. At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. As Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives. Click Here for the Amazon Link