Looking for a good book for your next reading adventure? Following are some reads that come highly recommended:
Matt DeMarco, director of leadership development with the American Farm Bureau, has found interesting research on the topic of communication – specifically how men and women communicate differently. For example, it’s common to see women apologizing for no specific reason, while men tend to like being the devil’s advocate. Understanding some of these differences can enhance communication efforts and improve working and personal relationships.
Much of the research is documented in the book You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation by Georgetown University professor Deborah Tannen.
Tannen's focus is not just on language, but on how communication styles either facilitate or hinder personal interactions. She’s found that while women generally seek to “connect” with other people in parallel relationships, men approach conversation as a “one-up or one-down situation.”
Also on the topic of communication and relationships, Beth Burritt with Utah State University’s Behave Outreach program, which focuses on animal behavior and management, recommends two great books related to behavior.
The first book is titled The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge. It overviews research on the plasticity of the human brain and, Burritt says, “despite its topic is surprisingly easy to read.”
The book outlines how our behavior actually shapes our brains and that the human brain can remain very flexible even when we are old. Burritt says it is, “Good news for old folks and those who plan to become old folks.”
The second book she suggests is titled What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love and Marriage by Amy Sutherland, which focuses on the behavioral techniques of exotic animal trainers and how the power of positive re-enforcement can be used to improve our relationships with other people – especially spouses and children.
The book offers specific examples of how to handle different behaviors to elicit a positive outcome – namely that one should reward behavior they like and ignore behavior they don’t.
Last, but not least, is the book Think and Grow Rich, a best-seller by Napoleon Hill and Arthur Pell. This book comes recommended from national motivational speaker Malcolm Chapman, who has read over 800 books in the past decade. Chapman, who serves on the Rapid City, SD, city council, ranks this as his favorite book second only to the Bible.
Called the “Granddaddy of All Motivational Literature,” when it was first published in 1937, this was the first book to boldly ask, “What makes a winner?”
To answer that question, Hill drew on stories of Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and other millionaires of his generation to illustrate his principles.
Today, a 21st century updated version of the book has been released with new anecdotes by Arthur Pell, a nationally known author, lecturer, and consultant in human resources management and an expert in applying Hill's thought. Contemporary millionaires and billionaires, such as Bill Gates, Mary Kay Ash, Dave Thomas, and Sir John Templeton, are profiled in how they achieved their wealth.
While the book focuses on success, Chapman concludes that is truly about the power of imagination and what one can achieve when they set their mind to something.