5 thought-changing books you should read this year

Priya and I read several non-fiction books every year. Usually our yearly tally is 20 books each. We also summarise most of the books we read. You can read them in the Book Summaries section.

In this post, we have picked 5 books that are our favourites. Reading these books have replaced some cliched and flawed thoughts about talent, personal finance, productivity, psychology and concentration. Continue reading 5 thought-changing books you should read this year


We know you love books. We would you like to give two FREE audio books. Grab your trial Audible Membership with Two Free Audio Books . Cancel at anytime and retain your books.

How to take a compliment?

We often work hard to get noticed. Dress up well to get attention. But many times we are uncomfortable when finally the hard work pays off and attention is showered on us. We deny, deflect and feel uncomfortable with the attention and praise. It is surprising yet true, that compliment more than insults unnerve us and take us by surprise.

Lets look at what are the appropriate ways to take a compliment

Accept and say ‘thank you’

Often ‘Thankyou’ with a smile is the most sincere way to accept a compliment. You may elaborate on the thanks but never negate the acceptance.

Compliment: “That’s an excellent presentation. You really owned the crowd.

Bad response: “Thanks. But i forgot a few points in between. I think I could have done a lot better.

Good response: “Thank you.
Better response: “Thank you. I am glad you liked it
Thank you. I really worked hard on it and am very happy to know I got through to the audience

It’s not about you: Part of the whole syndrome

I had often been part of huge organising committees. Usually on the last day of the event, somebody gets hold of me and says a very sincere, heart felt and sometimes even a teary eyed thank you. It often leaves me speechless, not because the event did not deserve the compliment but I was such a small part of the huge event, I feel undeserved it on accept on behalf of everyone that really made the event happen.

But I realised, to them I am someone that represents the event team and hence the event itself. The compliment giver gets great satisfaction when I accept it with humility  on behalf of the team, rather than trivialising my role in their experience and deflecting the compliment. It, after all, is not about me.

Giving credit where it is due

Leaders often face the heat of team failures as well are heaped with praises for a work delivered by the team. A true leader never misses the opportunity to share the compliment with his/her team.

My best managers always ensured we heard back from the clients directly or through them when the client was appreciative of the team’s work. Needless to say the best managers never had much trouble retaining talent. The team members often went over and beyond the call of duty to assist such managers. I had the fortune of working with several of them.

Backhand compliment

A backhand compliment is a compliment that also carries with it an insult or a snide remark. We  hear this from friends and family and often leaves one fuming.

A bad compliment
A bad compliment

Eg: You look really nice in this dress. Why don’t you dress up like this more often.
Bad Response: ‘You are hardly the person to comment on anyone’s dress sense.’
Good Response: ‘Thank you for the compliment on my dress.’

In the bad response, the receiver ignores the compliment and focuses only on the snide remark. In the good response, the receiver ignores the snide remark and focuses solely on the compliment.

Ignore and respond tactically. It is better if you ignore the snide remark mentally as well and not just for the response.

Inappropriate Praise:

Women face a lot of inappropriate praise at work.

“Hey beautiful/ sexy” may be appropriate in a date but never in a work context. In this case, it is best not to  ignore. Ignoring may be misunderstood as docile acceptance or even a welcome. It is better to appropriately address it upfront and as early as possible.

Good response: “As my manager/colleague, I’d be more interested in hearing your inputs on my work rather on my dressing. Let’s stick to it”

Even though you may come sometimes across as rude, people will respect you for establishing boundaries upfront.

Conclusion

Accepting a compliment with grace makes both the receiver and the giver feel good.  It’s not that hard. Give it a try. Why don’t you start practising it with leaving a little comment below 🙂

Treat your brain like a two-year old child to beat procrastination

You have heard productivity gurus often say that in order to go to the gym the next morning, you have to lay out the clothes near your bed at night, or perhaps even sleep in them. This sounds like excellent advice. But despite that friction-busting move, here’s what happens in the morning.

Alarm clock: RRRRiiiinngggg!

You: Okay, let’s go to the gym.

Your brain: Whiiiiiiiiine…. I want to sleep. The bed is comfortable. I am not getting up.

Continue reading Treat your brain like a two-year old child to beat procrastination

Advice and Feedback – When to ignore?

We saw how to give praise and Feedback the last few weeks. In the next couple of weeks, lets look at how to receive them and what to do with it. When and what to consider and what not to ?

We seek advice and feedback often when we are unsure of our future course of action. Sometimes people add relevant perspectives that we had never considered. They challenge the way we look at our world and bring clarity. Sometimes they leave us even  more confused and are best ignored. But  how do we know when to do what? Am I ignoring an advice because it makes me uncomfortable or if it is not relevant to me?

Continue reading Advice and Feedback – When to ignore?

Explore and exploit: The intentions that determine our choices

Let’s say you have a dinner date night with your spouse this weekend. Will you pick the same restaurant where you have been before and enjoyed your meal or will you try something new? Your regular restaurant will surely guarantee a great experience. That’s why you often go there. But it takes away the feeling of serendipity. A feeling of discovering something somewhere which is better than any experience you have ever had. For that you should seek a restaurant you have never been to. What if you stumble upon something that becomes your new favourite? But contrarily, what if the experience there is so bad that it ruins your weekend?

You’ll never know the answer. You’ll never know if you are stuck in a rut, not willing to try something better. You’ll never know if a new trial will be a worthwhile experience. That is what we try to answer with the explore / exploit intention. Sometimes you have to EXPLORE new experiences, hoping that one of them becomes a new favourite. But more often, you have to exploit, using your existing knowledge to lock in a good experience.

Continue reading Explore and exploit: The intentions that determine our choices

How to give feedback the right way?

Providing feedback the right way is a critical part of the job of a parent, teacher, manager, friend, customer etc. Feedback provided the right way can help one to deepen relationships and become better at tasks at hand. A botched up feedback can turn a reluctant person into a rebel, beginner struggles into permanent disinterest and wasted talent. Last time we looked at ways to keep people motivated through right praise, let us know look at a even more vital aspect of sharing feedback the right way.

When to give Feedback:

Only when appropriate:

When your spouse is asking you about her new haircut, she is looking for validation and not feedback. It’s not much different from when your 5 year old artist shows his new painting. Distinguish between validation seeking and feedback seeking and act accordingly.

Continue reading How to give feedback the right way?

The four pillars of occupations

Hindu religion and several other cultures talk about the concept of trinity. In the trinity principles, three types of activities are spoken about. There is a creator who creates and a destructor who destroys. In the middle sits the concept of security, the one who protects. As with anything in Hinduism, these principles are deified. They are Brahma (creation), Vishnu (protection) and Shiva (destruction). Our occupations today can be classified into these three categories. Along with them, I would also like to add another category to make it a quartet, i.e. maintenance. I call these the four pillars of occupations. Continue reading The four pillars of occupations

How to Praise the Right Way?

To share our sincere praise to someone is the best way to make them like us and listen and adhere to our requests. But delivering the praise has multiple aspects to it, that we are not normally taught. While it is of no need to mention a list of benefits of praising someone, delivering it incorrectly, can backfire badly. So let us look at various aspect of delivering praise.

How to Praise?

Praise Sincerely:

Like a fake smile, a fake praise is often easily deciphered by the person who it is addressed to. Even if it works in the short term and you derive benefits, in the long term, you are bound to be caught someday and it may really badly backfire.

Continue reading How to Praise the Right Way?

Why doctors and lawyers ‘practise’

Since 2015, I have been a software freelancer. I have been frequently asked about where I work, to which I respond that I work from home. I am asked if I have my own business and company. My reply is that I work alone on contract with companies and that I don’t own a company and do not have employees. I explain that opportunities of such nature are abundant in fields like photography, carpentry and weaving, and thankfully in software.

To my own surprise, I have often caught myself replying, “Not a business, I’d rather say I have my own practice*.” I have heard several individual professionals, mainly doctors, lawyers and chartered accountants who use the term ‘practice’ to describe their occupation. It is a wonderful term in my opinion, something that perfectly describes almost everyone’s occupation, whether working alone or with a company, whether a sweeper or the prime minister.

Continue reading Why doctors and lawyers ‘practise’

Book Summary: Mindset – Carol Dweck

 

Title: Mindset, the new psychology of success
Author: Carol Dweck
Publisher: Random House
ISBN-10: 1400062756
ISBN-13: 978-1400062751
Buy from: Amazon.in | Amazon.com

This book has been the most embarrassing book for me to read ever, for it showed me the mirror. In effect it was deeply revealing, it gave me a perspective into how I had been looking at several things. Dr. Carol Dweck’s research has been the most revealing and explained many of my bizarre moments of life.

Personality Mindsets: Fixed Vs Growth

People with fixed mindsets believe that abilities are frozen in stone. Most of their efforts are spent in trying to prove themselves. People with Growth Mindsets believe that we can change and improve with practice.

Mindset - Growth Vs Fixed
Mindset – Growth Vs Fixed

Continue reading Book Summary: Mindset – Carol Dweck


We know you love books. We would you like to give two FREE audio books. Grab your trial Audible Membership with Two Free Audio Books . Cancel at anytime and retain your books.