Deb's Top 10 Must Reads 2020

I developed my passion to read at the earliest of ages. Since my mother wouldn't allow me to watch television past 10pm or to have a TV in my room, like most of my friends, I resorted to books. I would get lost in pages full of robots, spaceships and terrifying creatures, to mention a few. Whenever she'd check up on me, I would quickly turn off the light and pretended I was sleep, only to turning it back on as soon as she left. One of my favorite memories from Buenos is spending weekends in our house by the river, lying on a hammock under a tree, devouring book after book.

Fast forward a few years, as an adult who has to make a living (like most human beings), I don't have the luxury of time. However, thanks to apps like Audible, I can "read" 24/7, whether while on a bike ride or while commuting. There is no time to waste and too much to learn.

Below is a list of my top 10 books I've read/listened to this year. They have helped me grow both on a professional and personal level, as I strive to become a better human being and help make this world a better place for all. I hope they help you on your journey as well.

If you would like to recommend your favorite book, or have read them below and would like to share your experience, email me at debra@bridgesunite,com. I'd love to hear from you!

1. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

On my first day at my day-job, a speaker introduced my team to a model called “The Golden Circle”. It explains how legendary leaders like Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Wright brothers were able to inspire, rather than manipulate, in order to motivate people. It is the framework for the WHY, which inspired me to build Bridges Unite.

Sinek starts with a fundamental question: Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike? Even among the successful, why are so few able to repeat their success over and over? “Start with Why” shows that the leaders who've had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way -- and it's the opposite of what everyone else does. If you need to be reminded of your purpose, or are looking for it, this book will help you put things into perspective.

2. The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg

I cannot begin to tell you how much I love to sleep. Getting out of bed in the morning has always been a struggle, and this goes back to my parents getting me out of bed for kindergarten. That being said, getting to bed is also hard. As a night owl, ideas flow freely when the stars come out and the crickets begin to chirp. But, as a manager at a Fortune 500, and the founder of Bridges, it was crucial to make time to work out in the morning, allowing me to work on my passion after my day-job. That’s when this book comes in.

In “The Power of Habit”, Charles Duhigg explains why habits exist and how they can be changed. From the boardrooms of Procter & Gamble to the sidelines of the NFL to the front lines of the civil rights movement, he presents a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential. The biggest take away is that there is a cue, a habit and a reward. We cannot change the cue or the reward, but we can change the habit by understanding how they work, and replacing them with other habits. By understanding how habits work, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.

So, before bed I prepare my work out gear, and when the alarm goes off at 5am (cue), and my first instinct is to stay glued to the bed (habit), I magically get out, put on my work out clothes and hit the gym (new habit), and feel amazing, powerful and ready to take on the day (reward). The same concept I have applied to many areas in my life, and it surely will help you achieve those rewards feeling great about yourself.

3. Insight: Why We're Not as Self-Aware as We Think, and How Seeing Ourselves Clearly Helps Us Succeed at Work and in Life, by Tasha Eurich

This book is a jewel, and one that I wish I had come across earlier in my career. Research shows that self-awareness—knowing who we are and how others see us—is the foundation for high performance, smart choices, and lasting relationships. There’s just one problem: most people don’t see themselves quite as clearly as they could. To make matters worse, people around us don’t necessarily see us the way we see ourselves.

There may come a time when we may be blindsided by our bosses, direct reports or peers, through feedback that is completely unexpected, or even worse, a resignation letter or getting fired. Fortunately, that self-awareness is a surprisingly developable skill, and the meta-skill of the 21st century.