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The 3rd Annual Executive Lift Book Awards

Updated: Jan 15, 2023

My 2021 bookshelf shows my increasing fascination with the brain / body connection. The Top 3 best reads are full of tools and techniques to develop more effective and satisfying relationships that apply equally well to business and life.

Here are my Top 3 picks from 2021:

#3 - The Leader's Brain: Enhance your leadership, build stronger teams, make better decisions, and inspire greater innovation with neuroscience, by Michael L. Platt

HBR positive negative feedback ratio

As a perpetual optimist and strengths-based coach I focus on what people do well to inspire performance. According to Platt, the Director for Wharton's

Neuroscience Initiative, here's why this works.

"You can harness this (reinforcement learning) engine by frequently giving praise to your employees for small accomplishments at work... Employees who had been praised for work in the past week showed 10% - 20% greater productivity (Gallup poll 2006)."

The graph at the right provides the data for the positive to negative ratio for feedback to drive team

performance. Even better... the positive feedback can come from teammates and coworkers too!

#2 - Stretch: Unlock the Power of Less - and Achieve More Than You Ever Imagined, by Scott Sonenshein

Are you a Chaser or a Stretcher?

"How we think about and use resources has a tremendous influence on professional success, personal satisfaction, and organizational performance."

As a social scientist and Rice University professor, Sonenshein has spent more than a decade studying what makes organizations more prosperous and the people who work inside them better off.

When we have scarce resources - or simply less than others - we are more likely to get creative with solutions. And when we succeed we get more fulfillment and personal satisfaction. Stretch is full of stories from a wide variety of industries and people with disparate backgrounds, making the concepts easy to understand and apply right away.

#1 - Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended On It, by Chris Voss

Hands-down the most useful book I read last year!!!

Chris Voss served as the FBI's lead international kidnapping negotiator, and he shares the techniques he developed for the rest of us to use in all areas of life.

Here's a short list of the situations in which I employed Voss's techniques:

  • Getting a hotel bill adjusted from 2 nights to one when I thought I had updated my reservation, but in fact made a duplicate one.

  • Gaining agreement from a client on changing a schedule to deliver better results.

  • Negotiating with a 7-year old who was devastated that the horse we went to visit was not home when she refused to leave (by far the hardest of these 3!)

The techniques are wildly effective; the book is worth reading for the stories alone!

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