My 2021 Book Club

There are 8 days before the year ends.

This means we are all thinking about our New Year’s resolutions—our 2022 goals.

By this time last year (2020) I was making my own list.

One of my resolutions was to read more.

I strongly believe in accountability and if you know me, you know fostering community is one of my passions.

So, I decided to combine all three things, the goal to read more, accountability, and community into one thing: a book club.

I messaged a few friends from university who are bookworms like myself and proposed the idea of doing a book per month.

We chose a book and got together on the last Thursday of each month to discuss our thoughts on the book’s teachings, the author, and how it made us grow as individuals.

If you're a bookworm like me, (and my book club friends) you have to check out these titles and add them to your 2022 reading list.

Each one will help you learn something new about yourself.


A Promised Land by Barack Obama

Obama’s memoir gives you an insight into what he had to endure and go through as the 44th (and first Black) President of the United States.

This book talks about the behind curtain struggles people face in decision-making roles. And as someone who is in a leadership position, this book will probably resonate with you.

The biggest lesson is to not lose sight of your goals for the burden of daily ups and downs.

Aftershock by Nadia Owusu

Aftershocks is a 2021 memoir by Nadia Owusu, an American-Ghanian writer.

It won the 2019 nonfiction Whiting Award.

The memoir spans from her early childhood as an orphan to her late complicated twenties. Educational, motivational, and empowering.

This book talks about the life of an immigrant, the meaning of home, culture, language, and belonging.

As conversations about inclusivity are more prominent in the workforce, this book is extremely useful. It’s also eye-opening for anyone as it creates room for discussion and brings awareness to empathy and different perspectives.

Will by Will Smith

Will Smith’s transformation from a West Philadelphia kid to one of the biggest rap stars of his era, and then one of the biggest movie stars in Hollywood history, is an epic tale—but it’s only half the story.

This memoir is a product of a profound journey of self-knowledge, the story of how one person mastered his own emotions.

This is a dynamic book and although it was released a month ago, it is already a top seller.

In this book, you’ll see Smith animated, in a new deeper light. Even Oprah Winfrey says it’s one of the best memoirs she has read.

The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King

This book distills the insights gleaned from Thomas King's critical and personal meditation on what it means to be "Indian" in North America.

It also weaves the circular tale of the relationship between non-Natives and Natives in the centuries since the two first encountered each other.

In this book, you’ll read King’s perspective on pop culture, historical events, and his own complex experiences with activism, and the effects of the ever-shifting laws and treaties on Native peoples and lands.

We all have a part to play in this land’s reconciliation efforts and learning about the history from Indigenous perspectives is a small step towards seeking to understand the past and how we might tell the story in the future.

Growth: Personal and Professional

Give and Take by Adam M. Grant

In today’s drastically reconfigured world, success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others.

For generations, we used to focus on the individual drivers of success: passion, hard work, talent, and luck.

In this book, award-winning researcher Adam Grant examines the surprising forces that shape why some people rise to the top of the success ladder while others sink to the bottom.

Grant unpacks how Giver, Taker and Matcher behaviour styles indicate professional success.

But after reading this book, you’ll be open to a whole new approach on how work, interactions, and productivity impact professional trajectory and better understand the behaviour of your employees or colleagues.

The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

Most people want to be successful in life. And of course, everyone wants to be happy.

When it comes to the pursuit of success and happiness, most people assume the same formula: if you work hard, you will become successful, and once you become successful, then you'll be happy.

But in this book, Shawn Anchor challenges that notion and breaks down the 7 principles of positive psychology that fuel success and performance at work.

He asks the profound questions, “What if happiness came first?”

This would be a perfect holiday gift and an amazing read to start the new year with the right mindset.

The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho

The Pilgrimage is a 1987 novel by Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho.

This book is a recollection of Coelho’s experiences as he made his way across northern Spain on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.

The novel serves as half adventure story, part guide to self-discovery.

Spoiler: in the end, we discover that the extraordinary is always found in the ordinary and simple ways of everyday people.

Lessons for a Change in Perspective

21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

How do computers and robots change the meaning of being human? How do we deal with the epidemic of fake news? Are nations and religions still relevant? What should we teach our children?

In this book, Yuval Noah Harari touches on today's most urgent issues as we move into the uncharted territory of the future.

As technology advances faster than our understanding of it, fully takes over our daily work, and there are fewer in-person interactions due to the pandemic, the world feels more polarized than ever.

This book is thought-provoking and addresses the challenge of navigating life in the face of constant and disorienting change.

Skin in the Game by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The phrase “skin in the game” is one we have often heard but rarely stopped to truly dissect.

It is the backbone of risk management.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb shows how the willingness to accept one’s own risks is an essential attribute of heroes, saints, and flourishing people in all walks of life.

In this bold and provocative book, Taleb redefines the world’s views and long-held beliefs about risk and reward.

Usually, when working at startups, we put a lot of our skin in the game to ensure the company succeeds. This will be a great read, especially for your sales team.

The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The book focuses on the extreme impact of rare and unpredictable outlier events and the human tendency to find simplistic explanations for these events, retrospectively.

Nassim Taleb calls them a black swan, an event, positive or negative, that is deemed improbable yet causes massive consequences.

As we approach a full two years of a global health pandemic—a Black Swan—this book will be a great addition to your reading list.

In this book, you’ll understand the impacts of highly improbable events and learn a few tools on how to navigate and exploit a world with unpredictability, which as managers of startups, we know are unavoidable.

Who not How by Dan Sullivan

Have you ever had a new idea or a goal that excites you, but not enough time to execute it?

In this book, Dan Sullivan, the world's foremost entrepreneurial coach, talks about how to make a mindset shift that opens the door to explosive growth and limitless possibility—in business and life.

In a world of social media and limitless LinkedIn connections, being connected is more important than ever.

Making the shift from asking yourself "How can I do this?" to "Who can do this for me?" involves retraining your brain to stop limiting your potential based on what you solely can do and instead focus on the nearly infinite and endless connections between yourself and other people.

The Book of Coaching: For Extraordinary Coaches

I recently published a blog about how the best leaders I know, act as coaches.

As a manager, if you identify as a coach, this book is for you.

This book is for the coach who wants to make a difference in the world and build an abundant life and business in the process.

In this book, you’ll learn a range of things from how to become an extraordinary coach using a results-driven approach to how to get a clear long-term vision, use powerful tools and methodologies to elevate your coaching skills, and much more.

Final Thoughts

I can't emphasize enough the rewards and positive impacts that come from reading.

If you are the type of person that struggles to consistently have a reading streak, you don't have to do it alone. Create a Book Club at work. This way you can discuss the teachings with your colleagues, bond as a team, and keep each other accountable.


Atomic Habits by James Clear

This book will help you kickstart any new habit, including reading!

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