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9 Books That Malcolm Gladwell Wants You To Read

9 Books That Malcolm Gladwell Wants You To Read

Have you ever thought about the books that influence thought leaders like Malcolm Gladwell? With over 4.5 million book sales and counting under his belt, Malcolm Gladwell is one of the most popular and successful authors alive today. His quirky narratives about the hidden nature of achieving success have propelled him to a media-darling status that only a handful of writers can relate to.

Gladwell possesses the rare skill set of being able to dig deep into subjects that deal with human behavior — such as Social Science and Psychology — and to pull away tiny little details that others would’ve probably overlooked, and then tie them into big ideas that affect our lives quite significantly…

It’s his attention to detail that resulted in his string of best-selling books and his stellar writing career as one of the world’s leading non-fiction writer. Several thought-provoking books influenced Gladwell’s way of thinking, which of course had a direct impact on his writing.

Here are nine that Malcolm Gladwell recommends you read.

#1. ‘Freakonomics’ by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

freakonomics-by-steven-d-levitt-and-stephen-j-dubner

    Gladwell told The Week that Freakonomics was the book that turned a boring subject like economics into an entertaining topic, and it’s an enjoyable read to boot.

    #2. ‘Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession’ by Janet Malcolm

    psychoanalysis-the-impossible-profession-by-janet-malcolm

      Gladwell considers the author of Psychoanalysis, Janet Malcom, his “nonfiction role model.” Gladwell was quoted in The New York Times as having said the following about the book and its author:

      “I reread Malcolm’s Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession just to remind myself how nonfiction is supposed to be done.”

      #3. ‘Fooled by Randomness‘ by Nassim Taleb

      fooled-by-randomness

        This is the book that most likely inspired some of Gladwell’s assertions in his best-selling book, Outliers: The Story of Success, where he notes the lack of consideration we place on “opportunities” (luck, chance, or circumstance) when we survey the contributing factors to success for individuals like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.

        Gladwell told the New Yorker that Nassim Taleb, author of Fooled By Randomness, “is to conventional Wall Street wisdom approximately what Martin Luther’s ninety-five theses were to the Catholic Church.”

        #4. ‘The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game’ by Michael Lewis

        The_Blind_Side_Evolution_of_a_Game

          Gladwell considers Lewis to be an inspiring role model. Reportedly, Gladwell even told The New York Times that he reads Michael Lewis’ books for the same reasons he watches Tiger Woods play golf:  “I’ll never play like that. But it’s good to be reminded every now and again what genius looks like.”

          If Gladwell’s endorsement weren’t enough to get you to pickup the book — you should also probably know that The Blind Side is an extraordinary story about love and redemption that gets you thinking about how we’ve all got vulnerabilities — and whether we’re ready for it or not — life can “blind side” us when we least expect it. And it’s our ability to get back up that makes us successful in the long run.

          #5. ‘The Opposable Mind’ by Roger Martin

          the-opposable-mind-by-roger-martin

            Bookstores — both online and off — are crowded with books about how great CEOs and leaders stand out from their peers. According to Gladwell, The Opposable Mind is the only one you need to read.

            “I realize that there are thousands of business books on the subject, but, trust me, this is the first to really answer the question” Gladwell says.

            #6. ‘Traffic: Why We Drive The Way We Do’ by Tom Vanderbilt

            traffic-why-we-drive-the-way-we-do-by-tom-vanderbilt

              Traffic is an investigation of how our behavior behind the wheel relates to human nature… this seems like a tall mountain to climb, until of course, you think about how otherwise normal and well-tempered people turn into total maniacs when they get behind the wheel.

              Gladwell says that the author of Traffic, Tom Vanderbilt, has a clever way of writing. Which is suitable, seeing as though you’d have to be pretty savvy to put together a best-selling book about why we drive the way we do (and what it says about us) — and then to have it make Malcom Gladwell’s list of recommended books.

              #7. ‘Nixon Agonistes: The Crisis of the Self-Made Man’ by Garry Wills

              nixon-agonistes (1)

                This book is an outlier when you compare it to the rest of this list, but it’s a classic nonetheless, at least according to Malcolm Gladwell it is.

                Here’s what he told The Week about the book: “A classic from the early ’70s by one of the great political writers of his time. Written just before Richard Nixon resigned, it’s as devastating a portrait of him as has ever been written.

                #8. ‘Should I Be Tested for Cancer?’ by H. Gilbert Welch

                should i be tested for cancer

                  This is a book that brings together a wide body of little-known medical research — and presents this data in a compelling argument against the constant testing for cancer in the world of medicine — which seems to result in unintended consequences by way of invasive treatments, misdiagnosis, and much, much more.

                  This book asks a simple question: are there situations when you shouldn’t be tested for cancer? The author’s answer brings data together in an engaging and stylish way that really gets you thinking. Which is precisely why it makes Malcom’s list of books for you to read.

                  #9. ‘The Person and the Situation’ by Richard Nisbett

                  The-person-and-the-situation-recommended-by-Malcom-Gladwell

                    Gladwell told the New York Times that the author of this book, psychologist Richard Nisbett “was the most influential thinker in my life.” Gladwell attributes his world general way of thinking about the world to Nisbett and his book, The Person and the Situation; saying that “if you read that book, you’ll see the template for the genre of books that The Tipping Point, and Blink and Outliers belongs to. That book changed my life.”

                    Okay, now that you’ve the nine best books straight out of Malcolm Gladwell’s library — which one will you read first?

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                    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

                    How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

                    How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

                    We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

                    So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

                    While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

                    Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

                    What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

                    How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

                    But what does being productive actually entail?

                    Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

                    Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

                    It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

                    Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

                    9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

                    1. Avoid Multitasking

                    Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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                    Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

                    If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

                    2. Turn off Notifications

                    According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

                    Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

                    The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

                    Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

                    3. Manage Interruptions

                    There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

                    Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

                    If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

                    By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

                    4. Eat the Frog

                    Mark Twain once famously said that:

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                    “if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

                    What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

                    We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

                    Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

                    5. Cut Down on Meetings

                    Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

                    You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

                    The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

                    But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

                    If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

                    6. Utilize Tools

                    Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

                    If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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                    And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

                    Some examples of tools that could be used:

                    Communication
                    • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
                    • Samepage for video conference software.
                    • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
                    Task Management
                    • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
                    • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
                    • Wekan for an open source option.
                    Database Management
                    Time Tracking
                    • Clockify for a free tracker.
                    • TMetric for workspace integrations.
                    • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

                    You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

                    7. Declutter and Organize

                    Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

                    Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

                    Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

                    Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

                    8. Take Breaks

                    Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

                    As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

                    Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

                    Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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                    9. Drink Water

                    Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

                    Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

                    Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

                    A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

                    If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

                    You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

                    The Bottom Line

                    The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

                    After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

                    In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

                    A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

                    Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

                    More About Boosting Productivity

                    Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

                    Reference

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