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Inspiring and thought-provoking reads for 2020

Updated: Jun 17, 2020

I find great pleasure in learning new things everyday. For me, a key source of learning and inspiration is books, as reading is clearly my “medium”. My goal for 2019 was to read at least 30 books. I ended up reading 37!

Below you’ll find a short list of my favorite reads in 2019, books that helped me in my personal and professional growth. Hopefully you’ll find some inspiration for your 2020 reading list!

Also, this past year at Sekkan we’ve put a lot of effort into sharing book recommendations around leadership and teambuilding and creating a bookshelf with these recommendations that we share on Goodreads. Check it out if you haven’t already!

What great books did you read in 2019? I’d appreciate some good book suggestions! Share in the comments or on social media!

Happy reading!



Range. Why generalists triumph in a specialized world. By David Epstein.

As someone who has gone from working in a super specialized area of viro-immunology to covering a variety of subjects in public health, epidemiology and leadership, this book resonated strongly with me.

Epstein breaks the common notion that in order to succeed - in sports, in music, in your career - you need to start early and stay the course. Using engaging stories and research he shows how this is only true in certain, predictable fields. In more complex, unpredictable ones, generalists are primed to succeed. He shows how generalists “often find their path late, and juggle many interests rather than focusing on one”. So if you’re switching careers or feel deeply pulled between different interests, this book is for you!

The art of possibility. Why certain experiences have extraordinary impact. By Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander.

The authors - a family systems therapy and an orchestra conductor - propose, through powerful examples and beautiful stories, twelve “practices” to develop a life grounded in possibility. One practice I loved was “Giving an A” - starting any relationship or interaction (with a student, a waiter, a lover) by assigning the other person an “A” grade as “a possibility to live into”. Another one is something I argue for in my book Build Your Dream Team: “Lead from any chair”

These practices are intended to become habits that help us get back to seeing a world of possibles, instead of closed doors.

Own it. The power of women at work. By Sallie Krawcheck.

This woman is a powerhouse. I was surprised I hadn’t heard about her before. Through personal examples from her Wall Street career, and tons of data, she argues that it’s time to change the rules of the game for women in business and traditional male fields, by playing to our own strengths. She proposes practical strategies for this. My favorite strategy has superficially nothing to do with the workplace: financial independence. Krawcheck has continued doing work in this area by founding Ellevest - a company focused on closing the gender investment gap.

Find me unafraid. Love, loss and hope in an African slum. By Kennedy Odede and Jessica Posner.

This book reads like a novel, and yet it’s a powerful true story of resilience and leadership. If you’re lacking inspiration to continue to follow your dreams, you’ll find it in this book. Kennedy grew up in dire poverty in Kibera, a huge slum in Kenya’s capital. Despite impossible odds, he started an organization to help improve the lives of youth in the slum. He was then joined by Jessica, a student from an american university doing a semester abroad. The book tells their love story, which is deeply intertwined with their quest to build a School for Girls in Kibera.

What great books did you read in 2019? I’d appreciate some good book suggestions! Share in the comments or on social media!



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