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Ten books to add to your reading list

06 April 2017 - BY Conversations at QSR International

Staff at QSR International share the books or websites that have made an impact on them.

TED talk: The Puzzle of Motivation by Dan Pink

In this talk, author Dan Pink discusses ‘extrinsic motivations’, the idea that for most tasks you can’t incentivize people to perform better with money. For us here, it highlights that there is a gap of knowledge between the traditional views of management and motivation and what science tells us. He uses the example of Microsoft Encarta and Wikipedia – the former (now defunct) being built by a team of well-paid professionals and the latter being developed by passionate volunteers and stood the test of time. Watch the video.

TED talk: Start with Why by Simon Sinek

A few people around the office submitted this talk and it’s easy to see ‘why’. Also a best-selling book, “Start with Why” helps us to step back and use "why" to think about our users and our business. How do we connect with users and researchers who share our fundamental belief in uncovering insights in qualitative research? It is a must watch if you need to step back and think. Watch the video.

TED Book: Why We Work by Barry Schwartz

This book – which is also a TED talk (we’re sensing a theme here) helped us to think about the purpose of our work. Why is it that people think we work to get a paycheck? Other questions the book helped us answer were, “how we see our work” and whether we see our work as a career or a calling. Take our work for example, we’re all committed to building software that people can use to arrive at conclusions and make informed decisions. Having this in the back of our minds will not only help us be happier at work, but also realise we’re part of a bigger plan. Buy the book.

Podcast: Resilient leadership - how to handle adversity with greater skill and unite your team

This Melbourne Business School talk features Dr Jill Klein discusses resilience with her father, holocaust survivor Gene Klein. In 1944 at the young age of sixteen, he was a prisoner in Auschwitz and spent a year in Nazi concentration camps. Dr Klein gives this talk to demonstrate that nothing we face at work is as challenging – and building resilience is an inherent part of weathering any problems we may face. Building resilience is so important to getting through adversity and coming together with others, rather than shutting off. Listen to the podcast.

Book: Designing your life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans 

This New York Times Best Seller by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans applies design thinking principles to life choices. Put simply, designers create worlds and solve problems using design thinking. By using this mindset and adopting their framework they make it clear that no one should settle for a life that makes them unhappy. Buy the book.

TED Book: Thinking, fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

This book, often dubbed an ‘intellectual memoir’ builds on the five decades of work by psychologist Daniel Kahneman. It reveals how our "experiencing selves" and our "remembering selves" see happiness differently. When you think about it, this then changes how we see ourselves and our outlook on society, policy and the economy. Buy the book.

TED Book: The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere by Pico Iyer  

This book deals with the idea that the more ways we have to connect, the more we seem desperate to unplug. It goes into the realm of how we're always on, always connected and getting interrupted by phones and the like. What resonated with us here is that the best holiday is not going away anywhere, but staying at home and calming the mind. This is one book to read if you need help unwinding. Buy the book.

Book: The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr and George Spatford

The Phoenix Project is based on the true story of a car manufacturer who is under-performing in the market because of their organisational structure, IT systems and infrastructure. It explores the transformations the organisation went through to improve itself, and people's relationships with each other. And, yes for those of you that have already read it, it is a book about DevOps. This book did the rounds at QSR International to keep our eyes on the prize. Buy the book.

Blog: Wait but why

This blog did the rounds on our general Slack channels because it was so different to everything else we had read or looked at. The blog uses infographics, cartoons and conversations to help you reflect on society, life and everything in between. It’s a great way to pass the afternoon and a great experience, different from anything else on the internet, as well. Read the blog.

Podcasts: Song Exploder

This podcast sees musicians take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made. It features: the Dropkick Murphys, Solange and Band of Horses among other musicians and films like Moonlight and La La Land. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon reflecting or discovering new music and the meaning behind it. Listen to the podcast.

Is there a book that should be on this list? Tell us in the comments below.

Conversations at QSR International is a regular column where different staff members discuss the issues that resonate with them.