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Justin's Top 5 Professional Development Reads of 2022

I’ll be honest, my reading ambitions are much greater than my reading actuals at times. A large part of that is getting stuck on books that I’m just not into, and then needing to find another one that will suck me in. But, as Harry S. Truman said, “…leaders are readers.” I keep pushing myself to expand my horizons. To keep myself accountable, this year I’m going to start my top 5 books of 2022, with the intention of keeping that up into the future.

I love Adam Grant’s style of writing, pulling in rich anecdotes and merging them with science. In Think Again, he challenges us to move beyond what we know (or think we know) and find new information and perspectives. I really appreciate this work, because it’s something the world needs much more of.

Whenever I talk about bias, I shun the notion that bias is bad; we have bias because we’re human. Only when we become aware of and own our biases can we override our prehistoric decision-making and make decisions better suited to our modern world. This book does a great job of helping us understand that to be human is to have bias, how well-intentioned people can be blind-sighted by them, and what we can do to mitigate them.

As a facilitator of learning, focusing on the impact of various interventions, DEI deconstructed hits at many levels for me. One of my favorite parts is the exercise and reflection prompts at the end of each section. Lily challenges the DEI practitioner community to think about the impact they’re making. I have been a part of failed interventions, many of which are reflected in some of the stories Lily shares. Anyone looking to make a positive impact in the DEI of their organization should pick this up, read it cover to cover, and then reread it while applying the learning.

Over the past two years, there’s been a dramatic shift to remote working that doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. Many organizations continue to struggle to make this shift effective. I continue to talk about the role of intentionality in creating thriving remote environments, and Gustavo seems to agree. He outlines five steps to create more intention and care to develop an engaging culture no matter the location of the employees. If your organization or team is struggling to engage its employees in a remote environment, Remote Not Distant is a must read!

It doesn’t all have to be all business. While my reading skews business and social science, I enjoy a good memoir once in a while. As a young adult, one of my favorite movies was Cruel Intentions; and while Selma Blair wasn’t on my list of top actresses, I just love how she’s been showing up recently. She’s a case study in vulnerability and class. That’s what makes her memoir so fun. I can’t believe people called her a mean baby!


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