Can you think of one book that had a significant impact on your life or career? That’s what we asked our leadership team this week and the results make for a pretty great reading list. If you haven’t read these books, perhaps it’s time you do.
Name: Andrea Wahbe, B2B Content Strategist and Growth Team Lead
Book: Inbound Marketing, by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah
Written by the co-founders of HubSpot, this book found its way to me back in 2010 when I was at a crossroads in my career. I can attribute it to actually changing my career path. I knew that I no longer wanted to work in digital advertising. While I loved writing about marketing, digital media trends, and entrepreneurship, I didn’t think I could make a career out of that. The media landscape was shifting and journalists and writers were really struggling at the time. To my very happy surprise, I discovered by reading this book, that I could have a sustainable career if I coupled my love of writing with social media and blogging. And so, I fully immersed myself in this emerging marketing landscape and have never looked back!
This book really impacted the way I think about communications. It came to me at a time in my career when I was being challenged to figure out how to change the perception of Coca-Cola, amidst reputational headwinds being faced by the company’s products. It was clear that misperceptions abounded. For instance, not only did Canadians have little to no understanding of how many calories were in a can of Coke, but they also had no sense of context for if, or how, the product could fit into their lifestyle. The lessons in Made to Stick were immediately applicable to this challenge and helped me find ways to effectively set the record straight about this iconic brand in a “sticky” way.
Name: Robyn Feldberg, Consumer Marketing Specialist and People Team Lead
Book: Pour Your Heart Into It by Howard Schultz
When I read this book, written by the founder of Starbucks, I was a recent Ivey Business School graduate and on the brink of my career as a marketer at a tier-one consumer packaged goods company. I knew that I wanted to gain the corporate training and experience this job would provide, but also knew that the entrepreneur in me wouldn’t last in the corporate world forever. This book was inspiring and honest and illustrated the value of having your dreams but also the reality of making those dreams come true and the hardships that you may face along the way. Howard is an incredible businessman who took his vision and turned it into one of the most successful companies in the world. I filed many points from this book away until several years later when I launched my own business, Huddy Buddy. After reading that book I never looked at a Starbucks the same way again. I had so much more respect for the brand and the man behind it, and how his tenacity and relentless belief in his dream made him so successful and brought so much to the lives of millions of people.
Absolutely 100%, all-in, the book that impacted the way I think about career, management, and morale is this book by the president of Pixar and Disney Animation. One of my favourite concepts in this book is the idea that (at Pixar) no one should ask permission to take responsibility. I think this is such an inspiring notion because if each team member takes on a project, no matter their role, with the lens of being responsible to the idea, program and results—the overall effort and support as a whole will be so much stronger. I believe team, passion, engagement, and excellence are intertwined. After reading Creativity Inc. I also finally have the answer to that classic question, “Who in the world, living or dead, would you love to invite to dinner?” I’d invite Ed Catmull!
When thinking about which book has been most influential in my professional development, my mind immediately turned to books about marketing, entrepreneurship, and time management. However, upon further reflection, the book that truly has had the most influence on my professional life is one that has made a foundational impact on my life as a whole. Dennis Prager’s Happiness is a Serious Problem is a simple handbook that helps ground any person, especially a busy professional, and reminds us that gratitude is the foundation of a happy life. The book’s main message resonates with me time and time again: seeking personal happiness is not only a noble pursuit, but a moral obligation to the people that you love and to the people that you work with, clients and colleagues both.
So tell us, what’s the one book that’s had the most impact on your life or career? Share it below in the comments section and let’s keep growing this list. Happy reading!