The Power of Books

We all know that human beings are very intelligent but have you ever considered why and how that is possible? The book I’m currently reading answers that question simply: we inherit more than just genes from previous generations. We are also fortunate to inherit knowledge and understanding, and as a result, future generations can build on what people did before them, in a cumulative effect.

One way we pass on that rich inheritance is books. Reading and learning from books can truly change people. Have you ever read a book you couldn’t put down or one that inspired a change in your life? It’s just someone’s words but how incredibly powerful they can be!  It’s World Book Day on the 2 March, so to honour the day I’ve chosen three books that have inspired me in the past:

The One Minute Manager, by Ken Blanchard
A classic for any leader; in fact, any of Ken Blanchard’s books are great reading if you want to refine your leadership skills. It’s easy to read, with handy summaries at the end of each chapter. This book has great practical techniques to apply for good team management, such as how to set clear goals and how to give people feedback that has the right impact – all in one minute. My favourite quote is “people who feel good about themselves produce good results.”

Time Management, by Brian Tracy
I have yet to meet a person that says ‘there is nothing else I can do to improve the way I spend my time’. Which is why I think most people would agree that the ability to feel in control of how you spend your time, whether at work or in life, can have a major impact in our overall happiness.

I’ve recommended this book to so many people, a couple of them got slightly offended, like it was a ‘hint’ for them but I meant it as a genuine gift. Because sometimes we are so busy with life, we don’t realise that time really is a gift. Time with our loved ones, time to have a good night’s sleep, time to do well at work, or time to read! Essentially, time to do the things that we enjoy. We are often in a constant battle to get the balance right and this book will help you to conquer this and I promise you’ll thank me for it!

One technique from the book that I use often when my to-do list gets too long is to simply ask myself: ‘what is the most valuable use of my time, right now?’ and focus only on that until it’s done.  My favourite quote from the book:

“There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.”

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
My final recommendation is a best-seller from the world of fiction. This is a stunning story that mixes coming of age, love, friendship and dealing with loss, as well as lots of plot twists involving a missing priceless painting. This book was recommended to me by a friend that said ‘it will touch your soul’ and she was right! I not only loved it so much that I couldn’t put it down, I’ve now read it twice.

I think great writing doesn’t ‘show’ itself; you are so absorbed in the story, you don’t pay attention to how it’s written, you just want to know what’s going to happen next. I loved this book so much that I wanted to meet the characters, and ask questions about why they did what they did and how they felt.

One of my favourite quotes from it:

“Even if we’re not always so glad to be here, it’s our task to immerse ourselves anyway.”

I think it’s pretty obvious I love to read, I find it incredible that the words of someone that I’ve never met can have an impact on me and so many people. Which is why I will leave you with this quote from author William Styron: “A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.”

Ana Canabarro is a Senior Operations Manager for Mitie Client Services

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