Advance Performance | Take Control of Your Thoughts, Sleep, and Become a Courageous Leader with these Four New Books
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Take Control of Your Thoughts, Sleep, and Become a Courageous Leader with these Four New Books

Take Control of Your Thoughts, Sleep, and Become a Courageous Leader with these Four New Books

This month’s authors give an insight into courageous leadership during a great crisis, the science of meditation and how it physically alters the brain, how Richard Branson reinvented himself and his company culture for the 21st century, and why we need sleep for a long and healthy life.

 

Forged in Crisis: The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times by Nancy Koehn

An enthralling historical narrative filled with critical leadership insights, Forged in Crisis, by celebrated Harvard Business School historian Nancy Koehn, spotlights five masters of crisis: polar explorer Ernest Shackleton; President Abraham Lincoln; legendary abolitionist Frederick Douglass; Nazi-resisting clergyman Dietrich Bonhoeffer; and environmental crusader Rachel Carson. What do such disparate figures have in common? Why do their extraordinary stories continue to amaze and inspire? In delivering the answers to those questions, Nancy Koehn offers a remarkable template by which to judge those in our own time to whom the public has given its trust.

She begins each of the book’s five sections by showing her protagonist on the precipice of a great crisis: Shackleton marooned on an Antarctic ice floe; Lincoln on the verge of seeing the Union collapse; escaped slave Douglass facing possible capture; Bonhoeffer agonizing over how to counter absolute evil with faith; Carson racing against the cancer ravaging her in a bid to save the planet. The narrative then reaches back to each person’s childhood and shows the individual growing – step by step – into the person he or she will ultimately become. Significantly, as we follow each leader’s against-all-odds journey, we begin to glean an essential truth: leaders are not born but made. In a book dense with epiphanies, the most galvanizing one may be that the power to lead courageously resides in each of us.

The Science of Meditation: How to Change Your Brain, Mind and Body by Daniel Goleman & Richard Davidson

More than forty years ago, two friends and collaborators at Harvard, Daniel Goleman and Richard Davidson were unusual in arguing for the benefits of meditation. Now, as mindfulness and other brands of meditation become ever more popular, to fix even more about our lives, they reveal the cutting-edge science of how smart practice can change our personal traits and even our genome for the better.

Drawing on cutting-edge research, Goleman and Davidson share for the first time remarkable findings that show how meditation can cultivate – without drugs or high expense – qualities such as focus, selflessness, and compassion.

For beyond the pleasant states that mental exercises can produce, purposeful, sustained mind training can create altered traits: sustained, beneficial qualities of thinking, feeling, and acting that are accompanied by lasting, supportive changes in the brain. The authors focus on our need for smart practice, including crucial ingredients such as targeted feedback from a master teacher and a more spacious, less attached view of the self. The Science of Meditation explains precisely how and when mind training benefits us.

Finding My Virginity: The New Autobiography by Sir Richard Branson

In his new autobiography, Finding My Virginity, the Virgin Founder shares his personal, intimate thoughts on five decades as the world’s ultimate entrepreneur.

Following on from where bestselling Losing My Virginity left off at the dawn of the new millennium, Finding My Virginity reveals how Branson created 12 different billion dollar businesses and hundreds more companies across dozens of sectors, whilst breaking world records on land, sea and air. It takes us behind the scenes as Sir Richard Branson creates the world’s first commercial spaceline, Virgin Galactic, and handles the biggest crisis he has ever faced.

Discover how Branson created a new life on Necker Island, while continuing to grow the Virgin brand into all corners of the world, and creating its unique company culture. Get the real story behind adventures and run-ins with everyone from Bill Gates and Kate Moss to Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama.

This is the true account of how the Virgin Founder reinvented himself and his brand for the 21st century, while continuing to push boundaries, break rules and reach for the stars in more ways than one. This is the story of the man behind the beard, the business, the bravado and the brand. Find out how the ultimate entrepreneur did it for the first time – all over again.

Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker

Sleep is one of the most important aspects of our life, health and longevity and yet it is increasingly neglected in twenty-first-century society, with devastating consequences: every major disease in the developed world – Alzheimer’s, cancer, obesity, diabetes – has very strong causal links to deficient sleep.

Until very recently, science had no answer to the question of why we sleep, or what good it served, or why its absence is so damaging to our health. Compared to the other basic drives in life – eating, drinking, and reproducing – the purpose of sleep remained elusive.

Now, in this book, the first of its kind written by a scientific expert, Professor Matthew Walker explores twenty years of cutting-edge research to solve the mystery of why sleep matters. Looking at creatures from across the animal kingdom as well as major human studies, Why We Sleep delves in to everything from what really happens during REM sleep to how caffeine and alcohol affect sleep and why our sleep patterns change across a lifetime, transforming our appreciation of the extraordinary phenomenon that safeguards our existence.