Meet our human Yoda! Professor Srikumar Rao teaches a famed course he created known as Creativity and Personal Mastery (CPM) which he has taught at Columbia Business School, London Business School, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley. He currently teaches CPM privately and in corporate settings. We all strive for happiness — but we spend most of our lives learning to be unhappy, says Prof. Rao. In this practical talk, he teaches how to break free of the “I’d be happy if ....” mental model, and embrace our hard-wired happiness.
Clients often ask me to recommend books. Here are 14 favourites within the personal growth field, science, sociology, and philosophy that support my work and have influenced my thinking. Some are certainly eye - and mind - opening! In alphabetical order by author:
THE MISSING LINK — Sydney Banks
This gem of a book offers the psychological and spiritual understanding which has the potential to heal our troubled world. Discover ‘The Three Principles’ - the foundational, universal principles that create our experience of life. The deeper your understanding of these Principles, the better your quality of life. “This book offers solace to the world-weary, hope to the discouraged, direction to the lost and contentment to the discontented.” My other favourite Syd Banks book (and perhaps a better one for young adults) is: The Enlightened Gardener.
A SHORT HISTORY OF NEARLY EVERYTHING — Bill Bryson
Bryson has taken his background in travelogue writing and merged it with science. He confronts his greatest challenge: to understand the oldest, biggest questions about the universe and ourselves. It is a fascinating journey through time and space. Key insight: We are capable of doing and achieving many things, especially when we apply our minds to solve problems that are seemingly impossible.
THE GREAT WORK OF YOUR LIFE: A GUIDE FOR THE JOURNEY OF YOUR TRUE CALLING — Stephen Cope
The often overwhelming realities of daily life may leave you feeling uncertain about how to realize your life’s true purpose—what spiritual teachers call dharma. Cope says that in order to have a fulfilling life you must, in fact, discover the deep purpose hidden at the very core of your self. Cope describes the process of unlocking the unique possibility harboured within every human soul. The secret, he asserts, can be found in the pages of a two-thousand-year-old spiritual classic called the Bhagavad Gita—an ancient allegory about the path to dharma, told through a timeless dialogue between the fabled archer, Arjuna, and his divine mentor, Krishna. A book for anyone wishing to penetrate the mystery of what the ancients called karma and dharma and what we call living an authentic life.
ONE MIND: HOW OUR INDIVIDUAL MIND IS PART OF A GREATER CONSCIOUSNESS AND WHY IT MATTERS — Larry Dossey
A tour de force into the world of consciousness! This is a powerful assessment of the challenging issue of collective consciousness. It gives a new understanding of what it means to be human — and that the solution is a ‘change of mind’ — and a renewed hope that we can successfully confront the challenges we face at this crossroads in human history. One Mind has drawn praise from the finest minds of our time.
MAN'S SEARCH FOR MEANING — Viktor Frankl
Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl's 1946 memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl laboured in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of others he treated later in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Favourite quote: “We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us”.
CREATIVE VISUALIZATION — Shakti Gawain
Learn to use the power of your imagination to create the life you want. Creative Visualisation is a technique the world’s most successful people use to realise their dreams and goals and to build courage and resilience. Making it a 5 minute (yes only 5 minutes!) daily practise will power you in the direction the life you want. As you use Creative Visualisation, you will find that you become more and more attuned to and aware of your higher purpose in life. For my students, this is the perfect book for you to deepen your understanding of this technique.
SAPIENS — Yuval Noah Harari
There was a time when at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come? Harari explores how the currents of history have shaped us and confronts the question: what, if anything, can we do to influence the course of the centuries to come?
LOST CONNECTIONS: THE REAL CAUSES OF DEPRESSION - AND THE UNEXPECTED SOLUTIONS — Johann Hari
“If the culture you’re embedded in isn’t healthy, you end up with an unhealthy individual.“ It’s a myth that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Hari investigates how this story began and explains the current wave of depression and anxiety - and the ways out of it. We’re living in a culture where we aren’t getting the connections we need in order to be healthy humans. Extract of a quote in The British Journal of General Practice: “I strongly believe that what Hari has created may be one of the most important texts of recent years.... It teaches that through community, through social and natural connection, and through understanding, depression can be tackled via alternative means.”
THINK AND GROW RICH! — Napoleon Hill
Written in 1937 this is the most widely acclaimed, influential book on success ever published. This book has changed millions of lives (over 100 million copies have been sold worldwide). It explains entrepreneur Andrew Carnegie's secret to success, revealed to Napoleon Hill during private interviews with Carnegie, the richest man of his time and during more than 20 years of research into the lives and philosophies of more than 500 of the most successful people in America. This timeless classic presents a systematic nuts-and-bolts approach to developing the skills and mindset required to achieve exceptional success in any field or endeavour.
MOONSHOTS: CREATING A WORLD OF ABUNDANCE — Naveen Jain
From redefining civilian space exploration to creating a path to free energy to disrupting healthcare and education, Jain is at the forefront of the exponential technology developments that will forever change how we live and work. Jain reveals the secrets of the "super entrepreneur" mindset--the catalyst for creating an exciting and abundant future and then walks readers through the application of these powerful concepts in three moonshot initiatives that he is leading today, one of which is Moon Express, a private lunar venture that promises to open up the moon's vast resources for the betterment of humanity. Learn how curiosity, imagination, and exponential innovation are creating life without limits and examine the skills and mentality we will need to thrive.
THINKING FAST AND SLOW — Daniel Kahneman
Kahneman, who was awarded the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. This book will transform the way you think about thinking. "There may be no better person on the planet who better understands why we make the choices we make." - Steven D. Levitt
RELATIONSHIP BREAKTHROUGH — Cloe Madanes
In a society where so many want to be victims and live in a world where things "should" be different, this book teaches us to take responsibility for our lives. Madanes shows readers how to better understand their own needs and those of others, bringing clarity and insight into any relationship and gives readers vital tools to transform their relationships and their lives. An important book.
THE ELEMENT: HOW FINDING YOUR PASSION CHANGES EVERYTHING — Sir Ken Robinson
A bestselling breakthrough book about talent, passion, and achievement from the one of the world's leading thinkers on creativity and self-fulfilment. The world is changing faster than ever in our history. We need to evolve a new appreciation of the importance of nurturing human talent and create an environment where every person is inspired to grow creatively. This is the essential strategy for transforming education, business, and communities in the twenty-first century.
FLOURISH: A VISIONARY NEW UNDERSTANDING OF HAPPINESS AND WELL-BEING — Martin Seligman
With this book, Seligman, one of the world's foremost academic psychologists, and founder of the Positive Psychology movement, offers a new theory of what makes a good life—for individuals, for communities, and for nations. Traditionally, the goal of psychology has been to relieve human suffering, but the goal of the Positive Psychology movement is about actually raising the bar for the human condition. While certainly a part of well-being, happiness alone doesn’t give life meaning. Seligman asks, What is it that enables you to cultivate your talents, to build deep, lasting relationships with others, to feel pleasure, and to contribute meaningfully to the world? With interactive exercises to help readers explore their own attitudes and aims, Flourish is a watershed in the understanding of happiness, as well as a tool for getting the most out of life.