Here you will find some Book Resources and Reviews that I would like to share with you. These are resources that I draw from, and integrate into my Holistic Creative Intervention Programs. So if any of these reviews spark an interest in you, let’s have chat about how we can create a tailored facilitated program, for you and your team!
How To Think Like Leonardo da Vinci by Michael Gelb
I have a lot of fun with this little gem of a book. The 7 Leonardian steps to genius are readily adaptable for a Holistic Creative Intervention Program that is seeking to stimulate the team members ability to be creative in the workplace whilst having fun.
Fun by the way, is a prerequisite to energise the imagination… which is a prerequisite to innovative thinking!
The steps are inspired by Leonardo’s Creative Process:
1. Curiosità – An insatiably curious approach to life and an unrelenting quest for continuous learning.
2. Dimonstratzione – A commitment to test knowledge through experience, persistence, and a
willingness to learn from mistakes.
3. Sensazione – The continual refinement of the senses, especially sight, as the means to
4. Sfumato (literally ‘Going up in Smoke’) – A willingness to embrace ambiguity, paradox,
5. Arte/Scienza – The development of the balance between science and art, logic and
imagination, ‘Whole-brain thinking’.
6. Corporalita – The cultivation of grace, ambidexterity, fitness, and poise.
7. Connessione – A recognition and appreciation for the connectedness of all things and
phenomena, Systems thinking.
The Fifth Agreement by Ruiz & Ruiz
This is one of my many favourite books that I use in practice – which means on a very regular basis. Following on from Ruiz’ The Four Agreements, father and son have now come together to write The Fifth Agreement (published in 2010). This little gem of book includes the original Four Agreements and is still a small book to read, with simple and practical guidance for personal awareness. I use this book often in my classes, workshops and in my coaching and psychotherapeutic practice. It has become a launching pad for discussion on topics which are not apparent in the book; such as shadow work, acceptance, and surrender, to name a few.
In summary, The Five Agreements are:
1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
3. Don’t Make Assumptions
4. Always Do Your Best
5. Be Skeptical, But Learn To Listen
And if you have a spare 4.5 hours, you can listen to the book here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOf3pvGbkgw
Search Inside Yourself by Chade-Meng Tan
“What if people can use contemplative practices to help them succeed in life and at work? In other words, what if contemplative practices can be made beneficial both to people’s careers and to business bottom lines?” – Chade-Meng Tan
The Corporate Buddha is about bringing Emotional Intelligence, Creativity, Mindfulness and thinking tools from Positive Psychology and weaving these philosophical tenets into practical applications in the workplace.
If this sounds too “out there” for you, then I would encourage you to read the book Search Inside yourself. You can read a quick summary of this book here.
The book covers elements of what I do. Just add ‘imagination’ into the mix and you are getting even closer to what the Corporate Buddha is about!
Tao of Coaching by Max Landsberg
The Tao (pronounced Dao) is the philosophy of nature’s way. It literally means ‘the path’ or ‘the way’. Natures way. That everything has a place and that we will experience ‘flow’ once we learn to accept this (enter Csikszentmihalyi – the architect of the philosophy of flow). I love this book The Tao of Coaching and I continue to share it with many who are in a leadership role. Pause a moment please… everyone is in a leadership role! This book is built on Emotional Intelligence and simple techniques that create BIG returns – you just gotta get your ego out of the way first. And it’s a small book so there’s no excuses – it’s only 122 pages, and yes – there are pictures!
And a more appropriate quote could not have been typed in the intro pages of the book: “The meeting of two individuals is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is a reaction, both are transformed” – C.G.Jung
Jung is a personal favourite teacher of mine, but apart from that, when you are in the privileged position of mentoring, coaching, guiding, facilitating another, well then, there is an alchemical process underway and fireworks will happen if your intention is to ignite the passion/motivation/inspiration that already exists (though unawakened) in another. Not convinced? Want to hear something more concrete?
This little book of potent thinking writes out the basic skills of coaching as:
- The asking versus telling
- Eliciting and giving feedback
- Diagnosing individuals’ different styles
- Taking account of others’ skill and will
- Overcoming the reluctance to being coached
- Recognizing cultural differences
- Giving feedback upwards
So let’s quickly look at the first point – asking versus telling. Questions, dear hearts, are way powerful and they empower another to discover something for themselves, rather than being told what to do, which by the way is not facilitating the dormant talent of another. And for those of you out there who are philosophically inclined – asking not telling is none other than a modern day version of the Socratic method. And if you really want to see the power of questions – please visit QUEST – this is my performative artwork that I bring to your workplace. It is deeply insightful, elegantly simple and fun!
The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem by Nathaniel Branden
1. The Practice of Living Consciously
A powerful tool for living more consciously is the practice of sentence completion. It allows us to raise self-understanding through accessing knowledge and possibilities that are within us, that might not otherwise be recognised. Complete this sentence with 5-10 endings: “To me, living consciously means…”
2. The Practice of Self-Acceptance
To improve self-esteem, it is essential to become aware and accept ‘disowned’ parts of the self. “The first steps of healing and growth are awareness and acceptance – consciousness and integration.” (N. Branden)
3. The Practice of Self-Responsibility
To be able to live responsibility, we need to identify methods of action to reach our goals, and learn to be accountable for all our choices, priorities and actions. “Live consciously—take responsibility for your choices and actions—respect the rights of others— and follow your own bliss.” (N. Branden)
4. The Practice of Self-Assertiveness
“To practice self-assertiveness is to live authentically, to speak and act from my innermost convictions and feelings—as a way of life, as a rule.” (N. Branden)
5. The Practice of Living Purposefully
To live purposely, you need to seek out what inspires you. Ask yourself, what are your aspirations? What excites and motivates you? Identify these strengths and set goals that put you on the path of that target.
6. The Practice of Personal Integrity
“Integrity is the integration of ideals, convictions, standards, beliefs—and behavior. When our behavior is congruent with our professed values, when ideals and practice match up, we have integrity.” (N. Branden)
The Everyday Work of Art by Eric Booth
“Contrary to conventional wisdom, art has not always been a noun… At the birth of the word ‘art,’ it was a verb that meant, ‘to put things together.’ It was not a product but a process.” (E. Booth)
“Art is not apart. It is a continuum within which all participate; we all function in art, use the skills of art, engage in the action of artists, every day. Underneath the surface distinctions that make individual lives seem very different, art is a common ground we share; the work of art is a way we all do things when we are working well.” (E. Booth)
The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron
Julia Cameron has written a number of books however I still come back to the two significant tools that she introduced in this book.
One of these tools I use is called Morning Pages. It is a stream of consciousness writing done in the morning (only in the morning otherwise the exercise becomes like a dear-diary entry). You write for 3 pages – the length of an exercise book that you can buy for the supermarket. I prefer to use the unlined books. You write whatever is on your mind, just dump it. Ensure that when you do this, you keep the book private otherwise you will hesitate to write some ‘things’ down. And like Shrek’s philosophy, “It’s better out than in!”
The second tool I use from Julia’s book is called Artist’s Date. This is simply a time-out session with yourself, doing something for your creative spirit. For example, an obvious thing you could do is go to the art gallery; where as a less obvious activity you could do is reading an article on an artist or watching a video on the life of an artist. The point of the exercise is that you spend time with yourself and your creative spirit – not to be shared with another.
The War Of Art by Steven Pressfield
Steven Pressfield is the author of this book and a few others notably The Legend of Bagger Vance (inspired by the Hindu poem The Bhagavad-Gita ). So this was made into a movie directed by Robert Redford. The story is about a golfer (bonus if you love golf) who has a spiritual and philosophical journey. But. Back to The War of Art. This is a book about breaking through your blocks and winning your inner creative battles and its appropriate to this months nolawrites topic.
This book is a must read for all of us creative beings. The book is written in 3 parts: 1. Resistance, 2. Combating Resistance, and 3. Beyond Resistance
Steven talks about fear and ego and about the power of just doing it and how resistance is our enemy, the magic of making a start as well as ignoring critics and for us to stop criticising too. This little gem of a book is filled with solid universal insights that will help you remember what you are here to do and to just do it.
Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson
“Essentially, modern life takes the jumpy, distractible “monkey mind” we all started with and feeds it steroids.” (R. Hanson, Ph.D.)
If you want to discover who you truly are, beyond your cleverly justified reactions to things, then read this book. Or purchase it from Audible and listen to it.
You are not at your creative best when you react. In fact, you are not you at all when you react. Yes it might be a part of you that is sponsoring the reaction, but what part of you has done that? The hurt & indignant part maybe?
Read this book and get to know the beautiful gifted person that is so wanting to show up every day. And they can. Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson is a great way to be introduced to the ideas of neuroscience.
“If I know one thing for sure, it’s that you can do small things inside your mind that will lead to big changes in your brain and your experience of living… You really can nudge your whole being in a better direction every day. When you change your brain, you change your life.” (R. Hanson, Ph.D.)
Why Meditate? by Matthieu Ricard
Don’t meditate because its the “in” thing or because it sounds like you should be. Don’t even meditate because you want to relax – mojito instead! Meditate because you know the benefits and you want to transform into the best of you.
“Twenty years ago, it was almost universally accepted by neuroscientists that the brain contained all its neurons at birth and that their number did not change in adult life. We now know that new neurons are produced up until the moment of death. Moreover, scientists speak of “neuroplasticity,” the brain’s ability to continually change its structure and function in response to new experiences, so that a particular training, such as learning a musical instrument or a sport, can bring significant and lasting functional and structural changes in the brain. Mindfulness, altruism, and other basic human qualities can be cultivated in the same way. In general, if we engage repeatedly in a new activity or train a new skill, modifications in the neuronal system of the brain can be observed within a month. It is essential, therefore, to meditate regularly.” (M. Ricard)
The Power Of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz
“Every one of our thoughts, emotions and behaviours has an energy consequence, for better or for worse. The ultimate measure of our lives is not how much time we spend on the planet, but rather how much energy we invest in the time that we have. The premise of this book—and of the training we do each year with thousands of clients—is simple enough: Performance, health and happiness are grounded in the skillful management of energy.” (J. Loehr & T. Schwartz)