The HopeFull Institute Book Summaries

The Distracted Mind - Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World
By Adam Gazzaley and Larry D. Rosen

Ever wondered why it is so hard to stay away from your devices? The human brain has evolved to seek information whenever possible. While this evolutionary trend helped us to avoid predators in the distant past, in the modern age it leads to distraction and interruption. Now that we have all the information in the world in the palms of our hands, it’s no wonder we are device addicts. And although you may think you can multitask by checking Facebook while watching TV or texting and driving, in fact what you are doing is ‘task shifting’. The Distracted Mind explains why we are so drawn to multitasking and why it is no good for us. Starting with a thorough breakdown of how the human brain works and why it struggles to handle the overwhelming waves of information in the modern world, The Distracted Mind wraps up with essential advice on how to handle it all. The ultimate guide to getting along in the modern world, The Distracted Mind is as much a guide book as it is educational. It’s a must read for anyone who feels like they are lost in the digital age.

The Empathy Effect: Seven Neuroscience-Based Keys for Transforming the Way We Live, Love, Work, and Connect Across Differences
By Helen Riess

As the world’s understanding of the importance of empathy grows and deepens, it becomes more apparent just how important this attribute is. Leading empathy researcher Dr Helen Riess breaks down what empathy is, why it is vital, and how it can be taught in her fascinating book The Empathy EffectNot only a deep dive into empathy, this is also a book about empathy in the digital age. Human connection has undergone a substantial shift in the past few decades and Dr Reiss does not neglect to recognise its shifting nature and the effect of the internet and social media on the way we relate to others. Engaging and insightful, The Empathy Effect is the ultimate guide to compassion in the modern age. With her E.M.P.A.T.H.Y.® method Dr Reiss also breaks down the key aspects of empathy and how you can apply them in all facets of life. The Empathy Effect is essential reading for any parent, employer, or team member looking for a way to relate better to others.

The Path to Purpose: How Young People Find Their Calling in Life
By: William Damon

With The Path to Purpose, Parent’s Choice Award winner William Damon lays out why having purpose is so vital to the growth of our young people. Drawing heavily on the results of a groundbreaking study into the subject, Damon breaks down the issues that today’s youth struggle with the most. Many of today’s youth lack motivation and forward momentum. Even many of those who appear to be succeeding don’t really understand where they are heading. Direction is nothing without purpose but today’s youth are struggling to understand why they should succeed past the most superficial of reasons. Damon brilliantly and engagingly breaks down what these issues mean to today’s young people and how we might go about remedying them. With evident care for young people and their futures, Damon’s The Path to Purpose is an essential roadmap to guiding the young people in your life to a more fulfilling future.

Think Again: The Power of Knowing what you don’t know
By: Adam Grant

Considering the casual ease with which we change things like our homes, wardrobes and phones, why is it so hard to update our views and opinions? It is too easy to let your ways of thinking stagnate and to let comfort overcome logic. With Think Again, Adam Grant teaches us that rethinking is as important as thinking. Rethinking is a skill that can take you a step beyond the competition. And not only that, it is a skill that can be taught.Through insightful anecdotes and thorough research, much of it his own, academic and best-selling writer Grant lays out how you can learn to rethink just as well as you think. He shows that what you don’t know is just as important as what you do know. Think Again is an essential read for anyone who is looking to expand their way of thinking and to get a step up in our ever-changing world.

The Power of Showing Up: How parental presence shapes who our kids become and how their brains get wired
By: Tina Payne Bryson, Daniel J. Siegel

If you’re a parent or involved with children on a daily basis, you’ll know that raising children is one of the greatest challenges anyone can face. However, with their book, The Power of Showing Up, Tina Payne Bryson and Daniel J. Siegel remind you that the most important thing you can do is very simple; just show up. With charm and care, Bryson and Siegel explain how to show up physically and emotionally for children and the difference it can make in their lives. Using impeccable research and clear anecdotes, the book’s authors explain that children need the ‘four S’s’ to grow into happy and functioning adults. The Power of Showing Up teaches not only why these S’s are so important but how you can implement them on a day to day basis. Never patronising nor judgmental, The Power of Showing Up is a must for all parents, teachers and childcare workers.

Tiny Habits: The Small Changes that Change Everything
by B.J. Fogg

Forget about the big sweeping gestures when it comes to creating the life you really want. Social Scientist BJ Fogg teaches that it all starts small; tiny even. This is great news for students or anyone who already has a busy schedule and can’t face the overwhelming idea of making massive changes, even though they are unhappy with their current habits. The culmination of decades of research and the coaching of thousands of people, Tiny Habits is the key to improving your life for the long term. Fogg writes that by making tiny changes on the road to making big ones, you can utilise behaviour science to reset your brain. Throughout the chapters, he explains how starting tiny helps to form habits through feeling good rather than feeling bad. Start with what’s easy, then move on to incrementally bigger challenges and you will be far more likely to succeed. Along with starting small, BJ Fogg also teaches how to utilise the three key factors in human behaviour; prompts, ability and motivation. Told with good humour and charm, Tiny Habits is the ultimate guide to creating good habits and designing your life.

Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Happier Life
by Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington, co-founder of the Huffington Post, built an empire but doesn’t hesitate to confess that she lost a little of herself along the way. With her book Thrive, Huffington outlines how she got her life back on track. By focusing on what she refers to as the ‘Third Metric’, she teaches how we can all live more fulfilling lives. In striving for success, people all too often work on the first two metrics of money and power. The problem is that living only for these two traditional metrics is like sitting on a two-legged stool. Without the essential third metric, ‘thriving’, you will always be unsteady and close to collapse. Thrive is your essential guide to achieving this third metric by nurturing its four pillars, well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving. Meticulously researched and filled with personal anecdotes and fascinating stories, Arianna Huffington’s book is your ultimate guide to beating the rat race and truly thriving as a human being.

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World
by Adam Grant

Why are some people so full of ideas and capable of presenting concepts that change the world? This question is explored in Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, the #1 New York Times bestseller by Adam Grant. While it is mostly focused on entrepreneurs, this book includes learnings that are applicable to teachers and parents. It talks about rules vs values, the importance of being open to ideas from anywhere and why feedback should be encouraged from even the most junior people at a workplace or school campus. This publication highlights the powerful changes that take place when people challenge the status quo and look for new ways of doing things. It explains why some people are more original thinkers, and delves into how someone with a new idea can champion it and get help to bring their vision to life. You’ll find this book intriguing if you’re interested in the incredible potential of a new idea and you want to nurture originality in the people who look up to you.

Brain Rules
By John Medina

The brain is one of the most complex organs in the human body. In his book Brain Rules, Molecular Biologist Dr John Medina shares some of the most fascinating facts that rule our behaviour and the way we learn. While every person’s brain is wired differently and we all process information in individual ways, there are a number of factors which have an impact on our mental capability and performance. Things like sleep, stress and even music have a powerful effect on our brain’s ability to understand and store information. In Brain Rules, Dr Medina breaks down 12 important elements that influence the way we work, communicate and learn. The insights in this book are especially enlightening for teachers and students. As a teacher himself, Dr Medina shares how his research has shown him ways to make lessons more engaging and memorable. He has also included some of the secrets to retain more information when you’re studying.

The Art of Thinking Clearly
By Rolf Dobelli

With The Art of Thinking Clearly, novelist and entrepreneur Rolf Dobelli gives you the rundown on how to always make the right decisions. We all make little mistakes in the way we think every day. With Dobelli’s advice, you can learn how to spot what he describes as “cognitive errors” and start thinking more clearly. The Art of Thinking Clearly is an eye-opening look at human psychology and reasoning. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to avoid those cognitive errors and make better choices in all aspects of their lives. Whether it’s investing too much time in a pointless endeavour, continuing with an action you knew was bad for you or paying too much for something, you are making simple errors in your day-to-day thinking. In easy to digest, bite-sized chunks, Dobelli outlines 99 different types of errors and how to combat them. With advice that relates back to everyday life, Dobelli’s 99 short chapters are readable and engaging. The Art of Thinking Clearly includes thorough research and is incredibly helpful if you want to improve your way of thinking or simply learn more about the incredible human mind.

Emotional Agility
Get Unstuck, Embrace Change and Thrive in Work and Life
By Susan David

With Emotional Agility, business consultant and psychologist Dr Susan David has created a game-changing guide for anyone who wants to live their best life. If you’re ‘emotionally rigid’, you’re blind to new experiences and possibilities. You’ll find yourself stuck on the same path, even though it has made you unhappy for years. In her book, Dr David explains how to embrace emotional agility and make your feelings work for you instead of against you. This book is full of thoroughly researched detail as well as amusing anecdotes as it explains how you can live your best life. Emotional Agility is a journey through yourself and an invaluable lesson on how to make that self better.

The Infinite Game:
How Great Businesses Achieve Long Lasting Success
By Simon Sinek

Which game are you playing? New York Times best-selling author Simon Sinek makes sense of life and business by breaking it down to the games we are all playing. Finite games like soccer or chess have set rules and players and a definite end. But infinite games like business, politics, or indeed life itself, have no fixed rule and no end. You can win a finite game but the infinite game is the one you play for life. With this as his framework, Sinek, author of Start With Why, Leaders Eat Last and Together is Better, teaches how to grow an organisation and a life with staying power. By embracing ethical values and understanding long-term thinking, your organisation will not only grow but thrive. Believe it or not, a world where workers love their jobs and companies thrive despite hardships is achievable. Simon Sinek’s passionate and instructive book can teach you and your team how to embrace every challenge by playing the Infinite Game. Directed at business owners, it is also helpful for leaders and professionals who want to take the best approach to supporting the organisation they work for.

The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday

The Obstacle is the Way is the ultimate guide to success in life and whatever you set out to do. More than a self-help book full of buzz words and empty platitudes, The Obstacle is the Way draws lessons from the ancient philosophy of stoicism. As the famous stoic Marcus Aurelius wrote, “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” The Obstacle is the Way teaches perseverance and resilience as the way to endure pain and adversity. Its message has never been more relevant.Taking inspiration from history, this book will help you escape the rut or frustration of our modern times. As entertaining as it is inspirational, The Obstacle is the Way will help you turn your problems into advantages.

Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking by Susan Cain

In every class, in every team and in every office, there is a ‘quiet one’. Usually regarded as shy and unsociable, this person is reluctant to speak out in group discussions and dreads giving presentations. After work or school, they are home alone with a book instead of seeking the company of others. If they do attend a social function, you are more likely to see them in a deep discussion with just one person instead of in the midst of a lively group. The book ‘Quiet, The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking’, lifts the lid on the hidden superpowers of the people we now recognise as introverts. While society has shifted over the last 100 years to celebrate confident, outspoken extroverts, it is often inward-gazing types who we can look to for big ideas and innovative solutions to our collective problems.

Legacy: What the All Blacks can teach us about the business of life by James Kerr

One of the world’s most successful teams comes from one of the world’s smallest and most remote countries. The All Blacks, New Zealand’s national rugby union team, has a 77 per cent winning record in test match rugby, and is the only international men’s side to have secured more wins than losses against every opponent. Since their international debut in 1903, they have played test matches against 19 nations, of which 12 have never won a game against them. What makes this team so great? It has nothing to do with luck. Their reputation as champions hasn’t come about through physical strength or agility alone. In the book Legacy, James Kerr uncovers the strategies and lessons behind the success of the legendary All Blacks. Every lesson can be applied to every team, be it on the field, in the office or in the classroom. This book shares the importance of humility, working as a team, staying authentic and making sacrifices to achieve your goals. It describes how players on the world-stage stay in the ‘blue zone’ when the pressure is on and reiterates that true champions are forged in the practice ring, not on the field. Throughout the chapters, this inspiring book shares the steps to make a mark in any industry and leave a Legacy of your own. Take a look at the following summary for the key lessons contained in the publication.

DARE TO LEAD by Brené Brown

Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.
To produce this game-changing publication, Researcher, Author and Speaker Brené Brown conducted in-depth interviews with leaders and change-makers. She asked them all what it really takes to be a great leader. As the book explains, leading is not about being the boss, pointing out people’s failures or being an untouchable figure within your school or organisation. A ‘Daring Leader’ has an in-depth understanding of people’s fears and instincts when it comes to a team environment. They choose courage over comfort, are actively curious and embrace vulnerability to set an example and bring out the best in others. Dare to Lead explains how to break down your own leadership style and understand why you and the people around you behave in certain ways. It also shares strategies for managing difficult conversations and situations. This book is ideal for anyone who wants to improve the way they communicate, build a braver, more daring culture within their organisation and feel more confident in their approach to leadership.

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