My favorite books on becoming more innovative

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the recognized expert on work-life balance, harmony, and integrative issues, and since 2009, hold the registered trademark from the USPTO as the “Work-Life Balance Expert®." My books have been featured in 68 of the top 75 American newspapers and, in two instances, advertised in Time Magazine and The Wall Street Journal. In all, 16 of my books are published in Chinese, among them Simpler Living, appearing as a 3-volume set, Everyday Project Management, The 60 Second Innovator, The 60 Second Organizer, The 60 Second Self-Starter, Ten Minute Guide to Time Management, and Ten Minute Guide to Project Management. I also have 13 books published in Arabic.

I wrote...

The 60 Second Innovator

By Jeff Davidson,

Book cover of The 60 Second Innovator

What is my book about?

The 60 Second Innovator asserts that nearly everyone would want to be an innovator if they could. Only a fraction of professionals within an organization, however, prove to be innovators. Unfortunately, most people in the working world head into their jobs the same as they always have; they approach their tasks much the same, attempt to stay within their comfort zones all day long, depart, and return the next day to repeat the process.  

If you work for a company that encourages innovation, lucky you!  If not, that doesn't mean you're up the creek in the day-to-day execution of your job. You can adopt the mindset of an innovator right where you are, with what you have and The 60 Second Innovator will serve as your handy guide.
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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts

Jeff Davidson Why did I love this book?

I never realized it, but purchasing a house is a bet. Sales negotiations and contracts are bets. Job and relocation decisions are bets. This fascinating book claims that even ordering the chicken and not steak is a bet. Yes, everything is a bet. Thinking in Bets helps us re-examine our view of the world, and enhance all facets of decision-making in our lives.

The author says that we are overly biased in our decision-making. We con ourselves into accepting our beliefs, whether or not they're even worthy of our trust. Worse, our biases invariably hamper our decision-making. And gosh, we're so quick to develop beliefs, we gravitate towards absolutes ('this is wrong, that is right'), and fall prey to “motivated reasoning,” searching for confirmation while all but ignoring contradictory evidence.

I didn't know that believing is so easy – we are hardwired to believe. Our beliefs then impact how we regard the world, our actions, and our plans for the future. What's more, we are reticent to update our beliefs, particularly when changes would conflict with our 'self-narrative.' Our decision-making, it turns out, is only as valid as the accuracy of our beliefs, which are biased and usually wrong. Our beliefs are based on our past experiences and inputs, so going forward it's prudent to be purposeful, as that will help guide our 'future selves.'

When a likely event doesn't occur, the situation could represent bad luck and not necessarily a bad choice. This insight alone helps us move away from right-wrong thinking, and more towards a probabilistic way of assessing outcomes, just like betting in poker. My biggest takeaway? Judge decisions on how they were concocted and not how they turned out. You sometimes can score with a bad decision and fail to score with a good decision. Long-term, the decision-making process is what counts.

By Annie Duke,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Thinking in Bets as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Wall Street Journal bestseller, now in paperback. Poker champion turned decision strategist Annie Duke teaches you how to get comfortable with uncertainty and make better decisions.

Even the best decision doesn't yield the best outcome every time. There's always an element of luck that you can't control, and there's always information hidden from view. So the key to long-term success (and avoiding worrying yourself to death) is to think in bets: How sure am I? What are the possible ways things could turn out? What decision has the highest odds of success? Did I land in the unlucky 10%…

Book cover of The Millionaire Mind

Jeff Davidson Why did I love this book?

Millionaires are good at spotting opportunities that others do not see, finding a profitable niche, specializing, and thoroughly enjoying their careers or businesses. Curiously, they also have a knack for investing, be it investing in the equities of public corporations, making wise investments, and being willing to take financial risks given the right return. Perhaps most vital: they are willing to live below their means.

On the pathway to success, most millionaires regard becoming wealthy as the product of key elements. One is social skills: getting along with people, having strong leadership qualities, benefitting from good mentors, and having an ability to sell ideas and products. Also, being honest with all people, having a supportive spouse, and for many, maintaining a strong religious faith.

Other key elements are ignoring the criticism of detractors while maintaining a competitive spirit or personality, wanting to be well-respected, possessing extraordinary energy, and even being physically fit.

Are such people lucky? Generally they tend to be well-disciplined and well organized, which leads to ‘luck.’ And they are willing to work harder than most people!

By Thomas J. Stanley,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Millionaire Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Describes the qualities that enabled individuals to become millonaires, and looks at their childhood, education, and choice of vocation.

Book cover of Living Your Life Out Loud: How to Unlock Your Creativity

Jeff Davidson Why did I love this book?

Here is a book that I found to be highly engaging. The Greek philospher Plato was quoted as saying that "you can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation." If so, he has offered us a valid rationale for taking a stroll with someone whom we've just encountered, versus meeting at, say, a restaurant. The authors discuss one study where up to 90% of 5-year-olds tested as being highly creative. Yet by age 7, this figure declines 10%, and then declines to 2% after age 8. Hence, creativity seemingly declines as structured education begins.

Creativity involves the pressure to 'keep up' along with a bombardment of information. The accelerating pace of environmental damage is symptomatic of damage to the human spirit. One centurion said, “I lived my life" so that I would exceed age 100. For nearly all of his life, he proved to be an avid walker. A doctor, some 50 years younger, was flabbergasted and amazed to learn that this senior citizen walked four to five miles each day, even when rainy. The doctor asked, "What do you do then?" He was told, "I wear on a raincoat." Indeed.

The authors illuminate 12 characteristics of very creative people such as flexibility, receptivity to new ideas, emotional sensitivity, a preference for disorder (at least in the short term), tolerance of ambiguity, fluency of ideas, curiosity, originality, intuitiveness, perseverance, openness to risk, and even playfulness. Napping was also in the mix.

In summary, risk is basic to "living your life out loud." Ensure, however, that the risks you pursue are for yourself, deep-down seem right for you, and are entirely worth taking. Then, prepare a list of steps needed to decrease the risk as much as practical. Also, converse with other people who have been successful risk-takers.

By Salli Rasberry, Padi Selwyn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Living Your Life Out Loud as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An anecdotal manual offers guidelines on how to eliminate stress, resist external pressures, overcome financial obstacles, set and pursue healthy goals, and realize inner potential through creative expression. Original.

Book cover of If Life Is a Game, These Are the Rules: Ten Rules for Being Human as Introduced in Chicken Soup for the Soul

Jeff Davidson Why did I love this book?

The author was asked in an interview, why has this book sold? “My rules,” she said, “are basic instincts that people already know to be true. If seeing these rules on paper helps to release and validate my readers to take action then my purpose is accomplished.”

Your relationship with yourself is the essential template for all other relationships. Build a solid foundation based on who you are, and not on what another person wants you to be. If you are meant to be with another person it will happen naturally. Stay grounded when you are swept off your feet. Learn about the person over time. Do fact-finding before you move in, not afterward.

The 10 rules are simple enough. Lessons are repeated until learned. There are no mistakes, only lessons. You will receive a body. You may love it or hate it, but it will be yours for the duration of your life on Earth. You might encounter challenges in making peace with the body you've been given.

From there, other lessons accrue: acceptance such as appreciating your body as it is, self-esteem as in viewing yourself as worthy despite how your body performs or looks, and respect as in treating your body like a valuable and irreplaceable object. These are heavy-duty observations that are worth pondering.

By Cherie Carter-Scott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked If Life Is a Game, These Are the Rules as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Illustrated with anecdotes from the author's life, family, and friends, the motivational speaker, whose rules were included in "Chicken Soup for the Soul", elaborates on her ten ways to health and happiness.

Book cover of The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story

Jeff Davidson Why did I love this book?

It is easier to say what the ‘new, new thing’ is not than to say what it is. It is not necessarily a new invention. It is not necessarily a new idea – most everything has been considered by someone, at some point. The author explains that the new, new thing is a notion, poised to be taken seriously in the marketplace. It is an item that is a tiny push away from general acceptance and when it gets that push, will change the world.

In 1921, Thorsted Veblen predicted that engineers would one day rule the U.S. economy. He argued that the economy was premised on technology and that engineers (in today’s terms, ‘computer science majors’) were the only ones who understood how technology worked. So, inevitably they would use their superior knowledge to seize power from the financiers, captains of industry, and other business elites.

New growth theory holds that wealth comes from human imagination. Wealth isn't having more of old things, it is having entirely new things. Concurrently, an almost absurd value is placed on novelty, accompanied by a lack of interest in the past, whether one’s own, the Silicone Valley’s, or the world’s. The presumption among many of today’s technology elites is that if it is old it must be dead. Wow, quite a mindset, but as innovators, we have to consider the ramifications.

By Michael Lewis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The New New Thing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the weird glow of the dying millennium, Michael Lewis set out on a safari through Silicon Valley to find the world's most important technology entrepreneur. He found this in Jim Clark, a man whose achievements include the founding of three separate billion-dollar companies. Lewis also found much more, and the result-the best-selling book The New New Thing-is an ingeniously conceived history of the Internet revolution.

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Api's Berlin Diaries: My Quest to Understand My Grandfather's Nazi Past

By Gabrielle Robinson,

Book cover of Api's Berlin Diaries: My Quest to Understand My Grandfather's Nazi Past

Gabrielle Robinson Author Of Api's Berlin Diaries: My Quest to Understand My Grandfather's Nazi Past

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Retired english professor

Gabrielle's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Gabrielle found her grandfather’s diaries after her mother’s death, only to discover that he had been a Nazi. Born in Berlin in 1942, she and her mother fled the city in 1945, but Api, the one surviving male member of her family, stayed behind to work as a doctor in a city 90% destroyed.

Gabrielle retraces Api’s steps in the Berlin of the 21st century, torn between her love for the man who gave her the happiest years of her childhood and trying to come to terms with his Nazi membership, German guilt, and political responsibility.

Api's Berlin Diaries: My Quest to Understand My Grandfather's Nazi Past

By Gabrielle Robinson,

What is this book about?

"This is not a book I will forget any time soon."
Story Circle Book Reviews

Moving and provocative, Api's Berlin Diaries offers a personal perspective on the fall of Berlin 1945 and the far-reaching aftershocks of the Third Reich.

After her mother's death, Robinson was thrilled to find her beloved grandfather's war diaries-only to discover that he had been a Nazi.

The award-winning memoir shows Api, a doctor in Berlin, desperately trying to help the wounded in cellars without water or light. He himself was reduced to anxiety and despair, the daily diary his main refuge. As Robinson retraces Api's…

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