Our new book club – Reading for inspiration!

Written by Amanda Craig, Associate Director:

This year because of the extraordinary circumstances of lockdown and quarantine – the team at NHS R&D North West decided that we would create a less formal CPD event for ourselves in the form of an online book club to read and discuss together.

Choosing books that have inspired us and books that we have always wanted to read should we ever have the capacity – we got under way in September of this year with our first choice:

Book 1.The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker ( September 2020 Review)

A truly inspirational read for those of us who often wonder what on earth are we doing sitting in a meeting that has the wrong people at the table, doesn’t achieve anything that is needed and is way too long – with no tea/coffee or biscuits.

As we have all had to shift from physically meeting to on line working this year – the need and reason for meeting whether its by Zoom, Team or Whereby or any other of the many platforms that have suddenly grown in significance.  If like us you suddenly find you are “zoomed” to death and have no idea whether you are actually achieving outcomes that are needed this is the book for you.

Why This Book Matters:

The Art of Gathering explains how people have gathered forever and that rewriting the rules for how we come together can create experiences worth remembering.

The Big Takeaways:

1. People are meant to come together.

Even though we often overlook its importance, people always gather, whether it be church, school, work, parties, etc.

2. When planning an event, know why you’re having it in the first place.

Purpose is what creates an expectation for a gathering.

3. A good gathering isn’t afraid to leave people out.

It isn’t always the best idea to have everyone in one place. Even if it feels wrong at first, some gatherings just aren’t meant for everyone.

4. A good host will have a plan.

Though a chill environment can be nice, a well-planned event has a higher success rate than one that is overly nonchalant.

5. Don’t be afraid of setting some rules.

Sometimes allowing people to think inside the box yields creative results and an interesting event.


Book 2. Quiet by Susan Cain (October 2020 Review)

Wow – what can we say about this book except that it is a real eye opener for those of us who do not think of themselves as normally quiet and a real champion’s voice for those of us who are reflective, sensitive and quiet in nature.

The turning point and epiphany moment for me in this book is the realisation that it takes all types of people to make an effective community and that all voices should be heard even if they are “quiet”.

Similarly, we all have that “quiet” voice inside us and that often we need to stop and make time to listen to it before we act or speak.

If like me, you are naturally gregarious and loud and need to learn how to be quieter or if you are naturally quiet but need to find ways to make yourself heard either at work or within your social circle, this is the book for you.

Why This Book Matters:

An extraordinary book with the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how introverts see themselves.

At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who invent and create but prefer not to pitch their own ideas; who favour working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labelled “quiet,” it is to introverts we owe many of the great contributions to society – from Van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.

Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with the indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. Susan Cain charts the rise of “the extrovert ideal” over the twentieth century and explores its far-reaching effects – how it helps to determine everything from how parishioners’ worship to who excels at Harvard Business School. And she draws on cutting-edge research on the biology and psychology of temperament to reveal how introverts can modulate their personalities according to circumstance, how to empower an introverted child, and how companies can harness the natural talents of introverts. This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.


Book 3. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey (December 2020 Review)

We will be discussing the first section of this book at our team rehearsal day on 16th December, 2020.  But for now, and until we get a chance to reflect and share our thoughts on this incredibly influential book, here is the summary of what it contains that might help you choose if it is for you/ or not.

Why This Book Matters:

During his 25 years of working with successful individuals in business, universities, and relationship settings, Stephen Covey discovered that high-achievers were often plagued with a sense of emptiness. In an attempt to understand why, he read several self-improvement, self-help, and popular psychology books written over the past 200 years. It was here that he noticed a stark historical contrast between two types of success.

Before the First World War, success was attributed to ethics of character. This included characteristics such as humility, fidelity, integrity, courage, and justice. However, after the war, there was a shift to what Covey refers to as the “Personality Ethic.” Here, success was attributed as a function of personality, public image, behaviours, and skills. Yet, these were just shallow, quick successes, overlooking the deeper principles of life.

Covey argues it’s your character that needs to be cultivated to achieve sustainable success, not your personality. What we are says far more than what we say or do. The “Character Ethic” is based upon a series of principles. Covey claims that these principles are self-evident and endure in most religious, social, and ethical systems. They have universal application. When you value the correct principles, you see reality as it truly is. This is the foundation of his bestselling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

To come in Feb 2021: My Name is Why – Lemn Sissay