because writing is clarifying

because writing is clarifying

Subbu Allamaraju’s Journal

2021 in Books

Here are the top books that influenced me the most this year.

Positive Intelligence by Shirzad Chamine

My coach recommended this book late last year, and I picked it up this year. In this book, Shirzad provides a framework to quiet out the worst (the saboteurs) by naming them and revealing them. His framework helped me discover my saboteurs and recognize them quickly when I see them again. I recommended this book to several people in my circle this year. In my coaching sessions, I ask people to read this book and come back to tell me what they discovered and the justification lies they tell themselves when demonstrating certain behaviors. This exercise usually leads to several insightful conversations and aha moments for self-improvement.

Though unrelated to this book by genre, I also recommend Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett to learn that “we all live in a world of social reality that exists only in our human brains” and that this social reality is neither innate in our minds nor fixed. We have the power to recondition it.

The Ends of the World by Peter Brannen

This book completely changed my understanding of the current global warming trend. Here is the uncomfortable truth you discover from this book — unlike the stuff we buy in stores or online, this planet has a “no return” policy on the carbon we extract, transform and consume at the most rapid rate this planet has ever seen. We have no easy and quick way to put back all the carbon we extracted in the last 100+ years in time to stop or reverse the current warming trend. The most effective and natural way to put back the carbon takes tens of thousands of years through a process known as “weathering.” Is the game over? I hope not, but we don’t have the time.

This book led me to Neil Shubin’s Some Assembly Required, which I also recommend reading.

Trillion Dollar Coach by Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, and Alan Eagle

Imagine learning about someone through a few accomplished people. This is a story of Bill Campbell. I finished reading this book just last week. As you read the book, you will recognize the power of listening, care, and candor to influence others. In his Hard Things About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz also talks about Bill Campell where he says that “truly great leaders create an environment where the employees feel that the CEO cares more about the employees than she cares about herself” and that “(Bill is) the man who is the best I’ve ever seen at this.”

However, if you’re interested in cultivating coaching habits, I recommend starting with Michael Bungay Stanier’s The Coaching Habit.

Below is the complete set that I managed to read this year. It was a productive year, and I managed to improve the diversity of books a bit this year.

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