5 Audiobooks to start listening to right now!

If I had to choose the habit that made the biggest impact in my life during 2018, it was for sure listening to Audiobooks. This allows me to enjoy my commute and training time more, adding up to more than 10 hours of “reading” a week! That is the main reason why I could beat my challenge reading 29 books on the last year! And I even have four books under my belt so far on 2019.

One of the reasons why I decided to listen to audiobooks is because I am obsessed with efficiency. It is actually a treat that I am working to improve, as it also affects my ability to find joy, but I think the impact this is having in my life is invaluable. It also made my commute more enjoyable, encouraging me to walk and be active more often! This is not even counting all the hours I have listened to amazing podcasts, such as the Backline (a didactical podcast about Improvisation) or Tim Ferris’ Podcast (inspirational interviews with different “Titans”).

Trust me on this one! Give this a try. Find a moment when you could focus on what you are listening to and pick an audiobook to start learning from! Nowadays it is extremely easy, especially using Audible. You can sign up freely (like using this referral link) and pick two books right now. Oh, you can’t think of any interesting book to listen to right now? I have you covered! Here there are some of my recommendations!

Five amazing audiobooks that you can start learning from right now!

Mating in Captivity – Esther Perel

I fell in love with Esther Perel after listening to her interview by Tim Ferris, and last year I decided to read two of her books. In this book, Esther explores the complexities of sustaining desire through many case studies. The stories hooked me while also making me rethink my previous relationships, as well as gave me the tools to build a stronger connection in my current one.

You can also listen for free to the first episode of Where Should We Begin?, a podcast where she shares some of her counseling sessions. It is such an intimate experience!

Essentialism – Greg McKeown

Greg McKeown explains his definition of essentialism: “less but better”. It shows a way of thinking about productivity and business, helping you find which is the biggest impact you can make and the importance of focusing on that (and reducing the noise). He shares numerous examples and techniques, like asking yourself “how much would I pay to get this if I didn’t own it already?” to discern what do you value the most.

I personally agree with the pursuit of “living by design, not by default”. This is a read that I highly recommend to anyone managing people, as it contains many lessons I wish my managers would share. And it’s less than 6 hours!

Mistborn – Brandon Sanderson

If you enjoy fantasy, give yourself the treat of enjoying this masterpiece. It might even be your gateway to the incredible work that Sanderson is doing. He has become my favorite epic-fantasy writer, and his world-building work is more impressive every step you take down the rabbit hole.

I personally get caught on making “the most out of my days”, and sometimes I forget the importance of play and joy. His work has been my drug of choice. I personally find it deliciously immersive, and I can easily enjoy it through my day (in opposition to watching Netflix when I get home!).

Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans – Sarah McBride

Sarah is a leading activist on the National Press Secretary at the Human Rights Campaign. Her book explains (with depth and brutal honesty) some of her struggles with gender identity and finding her way as a political person. It is a powerful tale of confusion, pain, empowerment and lost; all while keeping a stoically positive view and fighting for what it is right.

I didn’t know anything about Sara McBride prior to reading this book (even worse, I barely knew anything about Trans struggles in North America), and reading this book broadened my view. I am extremely inspired by her work, and I’m sure you’ll find it as enlightening as I did.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life – Anne Lammot

Writing is an integral part of our interactions in this digital era, and the understanding of how to deliver a story is one of the skills I am actively working on. Anne empowers a beginner writer with many insights, tips, and tools; while keeping it entertaining. She is actually hilarious!

I am spending more and more time writing on my social media, so learning some basics of writing is already having an immense impact on my interactions. Being a non-native English speaker feels already like a disadvantage to me, so the more (good) lessons I can enjoy, the merrier!

And you, what are you listening to?

I am constantly looking for new books to listen to, as I am listening to more than 10 hours a week! Is there any book that you have loved recently? Is there any podcast that has changed your life? Which are the habits which impact you the most? I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

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What makes a good leader, and how I will become one

Much of my job experiences have been heavily influenced by the leaders and managers I worked with. This seems to be a relevant topic, as you can also read many case studies of the heads from very successful companies scrolling through our social feeds. There are even science talks about the impact leaders have in organizations! So I decided that there are some thoughts I want to share on the subject.

I have met a wide array of leaders on my career, both being directly managed by them or feeling their effect in the company. But there are few who I consider had a lasting positive impact on my life! I remember having a manager who shielded us from external pressures so we could have the biggest impact, and how much that impacted our daily Job. Other times I felt heard and supported, allowing me to focus on my tasks. And I loved seeing how they embraced playfulness, fostering a funnier (and more engaging!) environment.

Most middle management is pushing for more productivity and longer work hours, without taking into consideration the impact that has. There are many traits from traditional management that really put me off, even when they sugar coat it with phrases like “we will share the success together!”. I understand there are deadlines. I know we are talking about work, and many times it will feel like a chore. But if we are trying to make something creative, that style of leadership will alienate me instead of bringing my best self.

Luckily, there are some leaders who are taking a completely different approach, and you can clearly see the effects. When I feel inspired by a mentor, I bring my A game every single time. It can be because I can focus on my small area of expertise while feeling supported on all those that make me struggle. Other times, I just have so much joy (and respect for their work) during my interactions with them, that I can help but look forward to meeting and working together!

What makes an inspiring leader

So, which traits define these magical leaders? They can be many and varied. Some have such a passionate vision that most of us can’t help but jump on their wagon regardless of what is required from us; like Elon Musk and his contagious passion. Others show how they prioritize their life and family, earning my respect and making me dream of becoming like them one day; like Jeff Bezos talking about quality over quantity of working hours. There are also the ones who include some level of playing or showing how to deal with a problem by setting themselves as examples; like Dick Costolo and how improvisation made him a better leader.

What do I value the most from a manager, then? Bringing a well-defined vision makes a huge impact on me. When they believe in the direction we are heading and feel passionate about our goal, I easily get on board. And that is no easy task! A big part of my job is offering counter-arguments and adding reality to our vision, and I feel that passion is the best way to win me. Another thing I strongly value is showing real competence, while still deciding to trust and delegate some of their tasks to the team. I feel empowered when I am trusted with a task by someone who is capable of doing it but recognizes their value of focusing on what they can impact the most.

What makes me run away from a manager? Feeling micromanaged easily makes me lose the motivation, even if I understand the value of checking for progress regularly and finding blockers early. Being managed by someone who focuses heavily on a strict process, without really understanding how it affects the rest of the team and lacking the fluidity needed to grow. I can also have difficulting if I am led by someone who doesn’t show expertise on our tasks, making it way more difficult to share success stories and explain the difficulties that I am facing.

Am I ready to become a leader?

I am approaching the point in my career when I am no longer scared of management tasks, and I really want to understand what shall I focus on if I want to become a manager. I would love to learn more from game theory and gamification, to create rewarding and engaging environments. And I should improve the ways I give and receive feedback, being a critical part of any leadership position.

If you are interested in the topic and you would like to learn more, there are many books which have inspired me on the subject. As I previously mentioned, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less taught me the importance of focusing on your biggest impact. Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most helped to build your tools in those moments that matter the most. There are also many skills from improvisation that easily translate to team environments like focusing on listening, embracing the fact that you will have to drop your ideas, the joy of playing or focusing on this exact moment; just to name a few!

Let me hear from you!

What do you value from a manager? What would you recommend to some of your previous managers? If you are a leader, what do you struggle the most with? Do you agree with the points exposed here? Please, I would love to hear from your experience!