When I polled my pals around the office about what they’re reading right now, many were in a literary lull. Interestingly, almost everyone who did send a glowing reply about their latest book choice would consider themselves introverted.
This is no less than what I expect after reading Susan Cain’s fascinating book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Just Can’t Stop Talking. Not to say that extroverted folks don’t read, but they might not take the time to compose and share a thoughtful book review. According to Cain, at least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading [ahem] to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Cain questions the prevailing American business culture in which forced collaboration can actually block innovation and new thinking, and where wise and capable introverts are often passed over for leadership roles. Cain covers recent research in psychology and neuroscience to examine interesting differences between extroverts and introverts. This examination of the consistently creative contributions of introverts may have you viewing yourself, certain family members or your colleagues in a different light. Highly recommended for understanding and celebrating the introverts of the world!
Kaci often reads during her lunch hour. Hovering over her sandwich this month is Girl Hunter: Revolutionizing the Way We Eat, One Hunt at a Time by Georgia Pellegrini. According to Kaci, “The author is a chef who wanted to become closer to her food source, so she started hunting. She's clearly very passionate about food and food sourcing. At times her writing becomes wildly poetic. Pellegrini spotlights the people with whom she hunts. Each chapter ends with recipes using the game she was hunting throughout the chapter. I think I love her writing because she describes everything completely but without the descriptions feeling long-winded. It’s just generally very well done!”
Nathan recently finished Todd Henry's The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment's Notice. Like many creative people, Nathan, an editor on our video team, looks for tips to create a rhythm for his work that allows him to grow in skill while engaging in creative collaboration. That moment of brilliance the author claims in his title is actually built upon a set of habits refined in a thoughtful, mindful manner over time. We’re counting on Nathan to win a major creative prize some time soon. Not that he’d mention it.
Jim, who lets no opportunity to promote a sustainable lifestyle go unremarked, just read Confessions of an Eco-Sinner. As Jim relates, “Theauthor, Fred Pearce, surveys his home and then sets out to track down the people behind the production and distribution of everything in his daily life, from his socks to his computer to the food in his fridge. It’s a fascinating portrait, by turns sobering and hopeful, of the effects the world’s more than six billion inhabitants have on our planet — and of the working and living conditions of the people who produce most of these goods.” I consider Jim one of my touchstones for an examined life, so this book is now on my bedside stack.
Walter, our company’s co-CEO may not really be an introvert. He does most of his reading on airplanes, and since he’s constantly on the go, he has three or four books going at once. Right now, he’s most enthusiastic about Jeanne Meister and Karie Willyerd’s The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop, and Keep Tomorrow's Employees Today. As a long time member of our leadership team, Walter has been grappling with the topic for the last decade — how to evolve our company’s culture to adapt to the needs and contributions of the younger generations we’re hiring to augment and, eventually, replace the Baby Boomers who founded Whole Foods Market. If you work in a company with a mix of age groups, this compilation of research and suggestions may help spark ideas for how to foster understanding between generations and with customers who are shaping the marketplace. What about you? What are you reading and do any of these look interesting? And feel free to tell us what’s on your reading list.