13 Books to Help Manage Change in Uncertain Times

These books can help you gain a new perspective, adjust your approach, and build a path forward.
Verity International
May 28, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has provided many of us with some extra time to focus on personal development. At a time like this, it’s easy to get consumed by the endless stream of negative media, which is why it’s important to set aside intentional time to step away and take a break. Reading during the COVID-19 pandemic can help you gain perspective on how to navigate changing environments. These are 13 books that members of our team recommend for coping with the crisis and moving forward.

Braving the Wilderness
Brené Brown

A book for the crisis of disconnection and polarization in which we find ourselves today.  Brené encourages us to bravely step into our own shoes to show up as our true selves. Only then can we create meaningful connections with each other.

The Little Book of Stress Release
David Posen, M.D

This practical guide to managing stress in different areas of our life provides useful and actionable advice for taking back control.  Each chapter focuses on a different strategy for managing stress, such as dealing with peer and corporate pressure, managing deadlines, maintaining effective communication and dealing with financial anxiety.  A true life-skills manual.

The Pause Principle
Kevin Cashman

An excellent take on leadership in a volatile and complex world.  Through powerful stories, Cashman presents a useful guide for leaders to step back and pause deeply. This allows individuals to move forward and strengthen critical leadership areas including personal leadership, developing others and fostering cultures of innovation.

Shackleton’s Way
Murrell and Capparell

The experience of Ernest Shackleton and his men who were trapped on the Antarctic ice from 1914 – 1916 draws similarities to how we can navigate our current state.  The authors turn this story of survival into a leadership handbook with practical actions that are still relevant today.

Redirect:  Changing The Stories We Live By
Timothy Wilson

A great book by a celebrated psychologist on how changing the stories we tell about ourselves and the world we live in can make us not only happier, but more motivated, making lasting changes in how we live our lives and lead others.

Search Inside Yourself
Chade-Meng Tang

Based on the ground breaking work at Google, this book provides a down-to-earth introduction to the practice of Mindfulness to foster better self-confidence, empathy and compassion.

Humility Is The New Smart
Dr. Edward Hess and Katherine Ludwig

Drawing on extensive multidisciplinary research, the authors emphasize that the key to success in an oncoming era of artificial intelligence when people cannot compete with machine power is to excel at the best of what makes us human: adopt a mindset of humility – not self-effacement – but acknowledging we can’t have all the answers, remaining open to new ideas, committing to lifelong learning and genuinely engaging with others. The book shares the attitudes and four critical behaviours of what the authors refer to as NewSmart.

Hardwiring Happiness
Rick Hanson

Nothing better than a good neuroscientist to offer a research-based approach to change your brain’s wiring to make you happier and more resilient. 

The Happiness Advantage
Shawn Achor

“If I work hard, I will be successful, then I can be happy” is what we all believe. What if choosing to be happy could actually lead to successful outcomes? After decades of research, Harvard researcher Shawn Achor outlines seven strategies with practical approaches to put this into daily practice.

Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader
Herminia Ibarra

One of the best books on leadership written in the past five years, this acclaimed thought leader shows how leaders at all levels can make small but significant changes in their jobs, their relationships and themselves for greater impact. 

Team of Teams
General Stanley McChrystal

A true-to-life account of McChrystal’s experience transforming the Joint Special Operations Task Force to become more agile, nimble and decentralized organization in the face of a new adversary.  The book shares powerful lessons in how to empower teams to experiment, act with agility and innovate, drawing upon real-life teams ranging from corporate enterprises to emergency rooms and NASA.

The Mind of the Leader
Hougaard and Carter

Based on a global research study, the authors discover a way that leaders need to be to lead effectively in today’s world of volatility and uncertainty.  With inspirational examples from companies such as Marriott and LinkedIn, a values-based approach of selflessness and compassion shows us the way. 

Built to Last
Jim Collins and Jerry Porras

Before he wrote “Good to Great”, Jim Collins gave us a history lesson on how great companies such as 3M were created because they focused on more than just quarterly profits.  He provides strategies that organizations can use today to pivot in these trying times by also staying grounded in their core purpose.

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