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🦉 10x curiosity - My favourite books in 2020


🦉 10x curiosity

December 26 · Issue #188 · View online

🦉 A weekly sample of links that made me think 🤔

In a year with lots of distractions I didn’t read as many books as previous years but still found many great titles that made me think and see the world in different ways. Here is a selection of some of my favourites from the year. Notable is how few of them were released in 2020 (only 1) and three of them are fiction, which I found myself enjoying reading to break up the year. 
(Note — Book blurbs are taken from the referenced sites)

December 1941–12 Days that began a war — Evan Mawdsley
An account of twelve pivotal days in 1941, when a chain of interlinked events changed world history. In far-flung locations around the globe, an unparalleled sequence of international events took place between December 1 and December 12, 1941. In this riveting book, historian Evan Mawdsley explores how the story unfolded. He demonstrates how these dramatic events marked a turning point not only in the course of World War II but also in the direction of the entire century. [BookTopia]
Agility — Leo Timan
As the Fourth Industrial Revolution barrels forward and the pace of disruption accelerates, all organizations must operate with agility. But this urgent priority, now widely-accepted by senior leaders, presents a major challenge: In business, government, and warfare, agility is a buzzword. There is no common understanding of what it means, or of what it takes to be consistently agile.
… Leo Tilman and Charles Jacoby offer the first comprehensive assessment of the fundamental nature of organizational agility and then describe the essential leadership practices for achieving it. They show that agility is far superior to mere speed or adaptability.[Booktopia]
Upstream — Dan Heath
Why ‘solve’ crimes when we could stop them being committed?
Why treat chronic diseases when they could be prevented from developing?
Why provide shelter for the homeless rather than working to keep people housed in the first place?
Why do our efforts skew so heavily towards reaction rather than prevention? We all have a tendency to work around problems. We are resourceful. We improvise. We’re so accustomed to managing emergencies as they strike that we often don’t stop to think about how we could prevent crises before they happen. [Booktopia]
The Effective Executive — Peter Drucker
The measure of the executive, Peter F. Drucker reminds us, is the ability to get the right things done. This usually involves doing what other people have overlooked as well as avoiding what is unproductive. Intelligence, imagination, and knowledge may all be wasted in an executive job without the acquired habits of mind that mold them into results.
Drucker identifies five practices essential to business effectiveness that can, and must, be learned: Managing time; Choosing what to contribute to the organization; Knowing where and how to mobilize strength for best effect; Setting the right priorities; Knitting all of them together with effective decision-making [Booktopia]
The Queens Gambit — Walter Tevis
You’ve seen it on Netflix — now read the book! The Queen’s Gambit is a 1983 American novel by Walter Tevis, exploring the life of a female chess prodigy. A bildungsroman, or coming-of-age story, it covers themes of adoption, feminism, chess, drug addiction, and alcoholism. [Booktopia]
Midnight in Chernobyl- The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster — Adam Higginbotham 
A powerful investigation into Chernobyl and how propaganda, secrecy, and myth have obscured the true story of one of the history’s worst nuclear disasters.
Early in the morning of April 26, 1986, Reactor Number Four of the Chernobyl Atomic Energy Station exploded, triggering one of the twentieth century’s greatest disasters. In the thirty years since then, Chernobyl has become lodged in the collective nightmares of the world: shorthand for the spectral horrors of radiation poisoning, for a dangerous technology slipping its leash, for ecological fragility, and for what can happen when a dishonest and careless state endangers its citizens and the entire world. But the real story of the accident, clouded from the beginning by secrecy, propaganda, and misinformation, has long remained in dispute. [ Booktopia
 Theory U — Otto Scharmer
We live in a time of massive institutional failure that manifests in the form of three major divides: the ecological, the social, and the spiritual. Addressing these challenges requires a new consciousness and collective leadership capacity. In this groundbreaking book, Otto Scharmer invites us to see the world in new ways and in so doing discover a revolutionary approach to learning and leadership.
In most large systems today, we collectively create results that no one wants. What keeps us stuck in such patterns of the past? It’s our blind spot, that is, our lack of awareness of the inner place from which our attention and intention originate. By moving through Scharmer’s U process, we consciously access the blind spot and learn to connect to our authentic Self; the deepest source of knowledge and inspiration. Theory U offers a rich diversity of compelling stories, examples, exercises, and practices that allow leaders, organizations, and larger systems to cosense and coshape the future that is wanting to emerge. [Booktopia]
Practical Kanban: From Team Focus to Creating Value — Klaus Leopold
The Kanban board is constructed, the swim lanes are drawn and the blockade stickers are positioned. Now what? Kanban is not able to reach its full potential in many companies. Often, the meaning behind the individual practices, such as WIP limits, is not correctly understood. All hope is placed in a method instead of actions. Kanban helps uncover the weak points in a work system, and as a result, reveals how to better generate value for the customer. This book can help in tweaking an existing Kanban system, as well as expand your own repertoire of solutions. Klaus Leopold describes in detail the principles and functionality of Kanban, which are not always intuitive. [Booktopia]
 Its not Luck — Goldratt
Introducing Goldratt’s logical thinking process — Alex Rogo, the new executive vice president of UniCo, must turn around three newly acquired companies, knowing that if he succeeds, they will be sold off and the new owners will replace him, and if he fails, the companies will be closed — in either case, he will likely be fired. [Booktopia]
The Inevitable — Kevin Kelly
Much of what will happen in the next thirty years is inevitable, driven by technological trends that are already in motion. In this fascinating, provocative new book, Kevin Kelly provides an optimistic road map for the future, showing how the coming changes in our lives from virtual reality in the home to an on-demand economy to artificial intelligence embedded in everything we manufacture can be understood as the result of a few long-term, accelerating forces. Kelly both describes these deep trends interacting, cognifying, flowing, screening, accessing, sharing, filtering, remixing, tracking, and questioning and demonstrates how they overlap and are codependent on one another. These larger forces will completely revolutionize the way we buy, work, learn, and communicate with each other.[BookTopia]
Loon shots — How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries — Safi Bahcall
What do James Bond and Lipitor have in common? Why do traffic jams appear out of nowhere on highways? What can we learn about innovation from a glass of water? In Loonshots, physicist and entrepreneur Safi Bahcall reveals a surprising new way of thinking about the mysteries of group behavior and the challenges of nurturing radical breakthroughs.
Drawing on the science of phase transitions, Bahcall shows why teams, companies, or any group with a mission will suddenly change from embracing wild new ideas to rigidly rejecting them, just as flowing water will suddenly change into brittle ice. Oceans of print have been written about culture. Loonshots identifies the small shifts in structure that control this transition, the same way that temperature controls the change from water to ice. [Booktopia ]
 More than Just work — Dave Hodes
More Than Just Work brings together the science of work and the art of leadership in a practical and engaging book that aims to inspire self-reflection, better management and new ways of working.
Packed with real-world anecdotes, the book presents a clear way to transform outmoded work practices, enabling ambitious business leaders to deliver on their potential. [David Hodes]
Leadership is Language — David L Marquet
It’s time to ditch the industrial age playbook of leadership. In Leadership is Language, you’ll learn how choosing your words can dramatically improve decision-making and execution on your team. Marquet outlines six plays for all leaders, anchored in how you use language:
  • Control the clock, don’t obey the clock: Pre-plan decision points and give your people the tools they need to hit pause on a plan of action if they notice something wrong.
  • Collaborate, don’t coerce: As the leader, you should be the last one to offer your opinion. Rather than locking your team into binary responses (“Is this a good plan?”), allow them to answer on a scale (“How confident are you about this plan?”)
  • Commit, don’t comply: Rather than expect your team to comply with specific directions, explain your overall goals, and get their commitment to achieving it one piece at a time.
  • Complete, not continue: If every day feels like a repetition of the last, you’re doing something wrong. Articulate concrete plans with a start and end date to align your team.
  • Improve, don’t prove: Ask your people to improve on plans and processes, rather than prove that they can meet fixed goals or deadlines. You’ll face fewer cut corners and better long-term results.
  • Connect, don’t conform: Flatten hierarchies in your organization and connect with your people to encourage them to contribute to decision-making. [ Booktopia]
The Case of the Gypsy Goodbye — Enola Holmes — Nancy Springer
The movie was terrific. This is another book in the series. 
As Enola searches for the missing Lady Blanchefleur del Campo, she discovers that her brother Sherlock is just as diligently searching for Enola herself! Sherlock and Enola must solve a triple mystery: What has happened to their mother? And to Lady Blanchefleur? And what does either have to do with their brother, Mycroft?[Booktopia]
The Red Queen — Isobelle Carmody
The final book of the Obernewtyn series is a cracker. Before Elspeth Gordie can continue her journey to find Sentinel and prevent it unleashing the horrors of the Great White, she must fight free of a strange prison, where people are laid to sleep forever or cling to a suffocating existence, believing the world beyond their walls is already utterly annihilated.But at the end of her journey, nothing is as she imagined. She is drawn into the struggle for a kingdom, only to find the Destroyer is at the heart of the turmoil, waiting for her. Somehow she must do what she has sworn to do, for the sake of the world and all of its creatures. She must complete her quest, no matter what it costs .[BookTopia]
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More like this from 10x Curiosity
Links that made me think...
How to renovate a caravan - Part 1 | Bunnings Workshop community
Bluewaters coal-fired power station written off as worthless as renewables rise - ABC News
Ikigai – a formula for successful agile team leadership | Jeff Gothelf
Fixed vs. Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets That Shape Our Lives – Brain Pickings
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