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Catch up with some holiday reading

Top Business (and Non-Business) Books of 2021

Have you read enough books this year? Any that made you think differently or taught you something new? 

I love learning new things every day. I read at least two books every week. That’s what helps me evolve to become a better coach and makes me understand the world. 

If you’re as curious as I am, and want to use the Christmas break as an opportunity to catch up on your reading, here are my favourite books of this year.


Onward Nation

A master-class in personal and professional development, ultra-athlete, wellness evangelist and bestselling author Rich Roll delves deep with the world’s brightest and most thought-provoking thought leaders to educate, inspire and empower you to unleash your best, most authentic self.

The purpose of “purpose”

If 2020 was all about crises—the pandemic and the outrage in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, to name two—and companies’ resilience and ability to navigate disruption, 2021 feels like it has been the year of “purpose.” Companies are issuing purpose statements with great fanfare, and the phrase purpose-driven company is so ubiquitous that it risks joining the ranks of strategic and going forward—words and phrases that are added almost reflexively to every sentence of corporate-speak.

52 things I learned in 2021

Managing Consultant at Fluxx + mN, Tom Whitwell shares his many learnings of this year. One of them: a study of 14,000 Australians over 14 years found that neither being promoted nor being fired has any impact on either emotional wellbeing or life satisfaction. [Nathan Kettlewell & co].

A Stoic Philosopher in a Hanoi Prison

“Success is never certain, but suffering is – it is best to prepare for it”. An excellent article on stoic philosophy and what made Admiral Jim Stockdale the man he was before he landed in a Vietnamese prisoner of war camp?

Work Less, Make More by James Schramko

In 2006, while working in a full-time job, James Schramko wrote this in a notebook: “My goals: Create automated income so that I am independently wealthy and enjoy my life passionately.” Within three years, he’d built his own business and achieved those goals. At this point he set about helping his coaching clients do the same. Leveraging his knowledge and experience, they were able to make more money while reducing their work hours significantly.

This freed them up to spend more time living. It’s easy to think working less and making more is something available only to a blessed few. James has proven over and over again this is not the case. All you require is:

  • An open mind
  • The ability to focus on what’s important
  • An understanding of business models
  • A willingness to challenge your assumptions

Work Less, Make More will break down all the barriers standing between you and the above. It will teach you how to effectively leverage yourself, your team, and your business.

Humble Leadership by Peter A. Schein & Edgar H. Schein

Leadership is a relationship – but that relationship must change, say legendary organizational scholar Edgar Schein and former Silicon Valley executive Peter Schein. The vertical hierarchy, with its emphasis on formal, transactional relationships, professional distance, and all guidance coming from the top, is hopelessly inflexible and outdated. In a complex world, leadership must rely on high levels of trust and openness throughout the organization, and that can be achieved only by what they call personization and Level 2 relationships, which build the agility to make course corrections quickly. This book tells how such humble leadership has built effective cultures in a whole range of sectors: health care, government, the military, tech and innovation, and more.


Split your revenue into two

Coming to the end of the year, I’d like you to split your revenue into two different things: new revenue from existing customers, and new revenue from new customers.

Work out where your revenue for 2021 came from. How much did you get? How many new customers did you win? What was the cost to acquire them? And do you need to invest more in winning new clients next year? From a sales and marketing point of view, you want the gross profit of the new customers that you win to be 150% of what you spent getting them.

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Quote of the week

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

Steve Jobs

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