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Five books to help you develop your leadership skills over the summer

July 5, 2023 - Be in the Know

There’s nothing like summer to take a step back and let yourself go, a glass of sangria in hand, to read books that are as inspiring as they are fascinating. Here are five books that will thrill and inspire the leader in you, ready to roar.

  1. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

In this New York Times bestseller, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth shows everyone striving to succeed that the secret to (exceptional) success lies not in talent, but in a unique combination of passion and long-term perseverance that she calls grit.  

The daughter of a scientist, Angela Duckworth remembers how her father often remarked on her lack of “genius” when she was young. As time went by, she wanted to understand what the key to success was, if not this much-vaunted “genius”. In the course of her neuroscience research and many experiments, she has become interested in how the brain works in relation to perseverance and passion. Her work has shown that these traits are not simply innate, but can be developed and cultivated over time, giving rise to the idea of grit, a term that encompasses perseverance and passion. She popularised grit and fervently maintains that it is a more reliable predictor of success than innate talent or intelligence quotient (IQ).

In this book, she shares what she’s learned from interviewing dozens of high achievers–from JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon to New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff to Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll.

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance |Angela Duckworth on Audible ; at Renaud-Bray: $22.99


  1. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

Why do some people always make the right choices while others invariably make the wrong ones? Why do some people follow their instincts to succeed, while others make one mistake after another? Why are the most crucial decisions often so difficult to explain?  

In Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Malcolm Gladwell challenges our understanding of decision-making by exploring the instantaneous choices we make and highlighting the importance of the art of “thin-slicing”, i.e. filtering out the very few factors that matter from an overwhelming number of variables. The author argues that great decision-makers are not those who process the most information or spend the most time deliberating, but those who are able to quickly filter out the key factors from a multitude of variables.  

In this book, we meet the psychologist who has learned to predict whether a marriage will last, based on a few minutes of observing a couple; the tennis coach who knows when a player will double-fault before the racket even makes contact with the ball; the antiquities experts who recognize a fake at a glance. Here, too, are great failures of “blink”: the election of Warren Harding; “New Coke”; and the shooting of Amadou Diallo by police. Because, yes, rapid decision-making can also lead to disastrous results. 

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking | Malcom Gladwell – on ; at Renaud-Bray : $23.99


  1. Ce que vous avez à dire n’intéresse personne

       (loose translation: No one is interested in what you have to say)

How do we tell a good story? How do we structure our arguments and present our ideas? How do we identify the expectations of the people in front of us? How do we prepare properly? 

These are questions we’ve all asked ourselves on many occasions, because we’ve all had to convince someone at home or at work, whether it be our colleagues, partners, customers or even our children. But above all, don’t take it for granted that you’ll immediately captivate your audience, because you won’t! You’ll have to work hard to convince them, or even seduce them.  

A recognised expert, Gaëtan Namouric helps the largest organisations in Quebec, as well as SMEs, to be more creative and courageous. Here he reveals the secrets behind a good pitch. With its mix of practical advice and theory, tools and stories, this book will prove extremely useful to anyone who wants to get their ideas across. 

Ce que vous avez à dire n’intéresse personne | Gaëtan Namouric – Les libraires: $24.95


  1. Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life

The team’s favourite book! At La tête chercheuse, we were lucky enough to welcome at our office Mrs. Amy E. Herman, the author of a book that will transform the way you see the world! 

How could looking at Monet’s water lily paintings help save a company millions? How can noticing people’s footwear foil a terrorist attack? How can your choice of adjective win an argument, calm your children, or catch a thief? 

Art historian Amy E. Herman has trained experts from many fields to perceive and communicate better. By showing people how to look closely at images, she helps them hone their “visual intelligence,” a set of skills we all possess but few of us know how to use them effectively. She has spent more than a decade teaching doctors to observe patients instead of their charts, helping police officers separate facts from opinions when investigating a crime, and training professionals from the FBI, the State Department, Fortune 500 companies, and the military to recognize the most pertinent and useful information. All this allows us to recognise the talents, opportunities, and dangers that surround us every day.

Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life | Amy E. Herman – at Renaud-Bray: $33.19


  1. Anna

With her meticulous bob haircut and iconic black glasses, Anna Wintour, the goddess of fashion, continues to be the talk of the town.  

This biography of Anna Wintour tells the story of the meteoric rise of an ambitious young woman to become one of the most powerful people in the world of fashion and the media. 

As a child, Anna Wintour was a tomboy with no apparent interest in clothing but, seduced by the miniskirts and bob haircuts of swinging 1960s London, she grew into a fashion-obsessed teenager.

Her father, an influential newspaper editor, loomed large in her life, and once he decided she should become editor-in-chief of Vogue, she never looked back. She left high school and got a job at a trendy boutique in London—an experience that would be the first of many defeats. Undeterred, she found work in the competitive world of magazines, eventually embarking on a journey to New York and a battle to ascend, no matter who or what stood in her way. Once she was crowned editor-in-chief of Vogue—in one of the stormiest transitions in fashion magazine history—she continued the fight to retain her enviable position, ultimately rising to dominate all of Condé Nast.

Anna | Amy Odell – on Audible: $29.60 ; at Renaud-Bray: $46.95

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