5 inspiring readings for the New Year

Whether we change or not, we all have a desire to improve ourselves.  New Year offers a logical opportunity to pause and reflect. That is why "new year resolutions" are very popular, though in practice most resolutions do not live long. Yet, I think it is always useful to be "inspired". Inspiration can pull us out of lethargy. So here are 5 articles that I found most inspiring to make a positive change in my life. Hope they help you too!

  1. Managing Oneself: I have great admiration for Peter Drucker, the management guru. My love for him started when I read his article in HBR titled "Managing oneself". It contains wonderful advice for creating a "fruitful life", starting with knowing your strengths, putting yourself in a career that utilizes those strengths and planning for a productive retirement. I read it every 6 months or so to get inspired. Very highly recommended. The HBR article is not freely available on the web, but that article itself is a condensed version of a chapter with the same title in Drucker's book "Management Challenges for the 21st Century". You can read that 34 page chapter here. It may take an hour to read and comprehend, but that will be an hour well spent.
  2. 7 habits: Many years before Drucker, Stephen Covey entered my life through his wonderful book "7 habits of highly effective people". If I have to recommend one personality development book, I would choose this! The 7 principles Covey describes are simple to understand and remember. The principles are immensely practical too and they helped me a lot to conquer my fears during my B.Tech days. A very good summary of the book can be found here
  3. Setting priorities: Habit 3 of seven habits is "putting first things first" which is best described by a quote from the book - "Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least". We are overwhelmed by too many things in our life and unless we make a conscious effort to focus on the essentials, we get lost in doing things which do not add much value. This short HBR article titled "The disciplined pursuit of less" offers a great reminder for this. 
  4. Overcoming procrastination: If you are like me, you will find that reading great stuff does not help much in putting it to practice. I struggle to find the motivation to act in my best interests without getting distracted by temptations. This brilliant HBR article offers practical suggestions to make us get to action. 
  5. Taking it easy: It is a known experience that setting high goals for ourselves has a side-effect of leading us to frustration when we do not meet our expectations. The very effort to be "productive" might make us feel stressed. So here is a recent long read article from Guardian that looks at the history of time-management and questions the focus we put on "productivity". It is a refreshingly different take on productivity and can help to put the four articles above in perspective.

Here to a more satisfying new year!


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