There are very few things that get all of us at The Story Co. more excited than a great story! With 2021 coming to a close, here’s a quick recap of some of our favourite reads throughout the year…

1. The Go-Giver by Bog Burg

Now, this is not one of your regular “business help books”. 

Having guidance in the form of a story rather than a textbook, not only helped to convey the book’s message… but also showed how well messages can be understood through stories!

The lessons drew on the law of reciprocity, meaning transactions are not all about winning or losing. Instead, we should be seeking to provide more value than we receive.

The “Go-Giver” mindset is one that should be applied at work, at home, with friends, and with strangers… it is a way of life!

2. Culture Code by Daniel Coyle

This is a book I go back to again and again when working with teams who are interested in ramping up their cohesiveness and effectiveness.

Since its writing in 2018, I think his message has only become more important, and I whole heartedly believe in his statement, “Group culture is one of the most powerful forces on the planet.”

Since many of our workplaces have moved to a virtual format, it is so important that we are now focusing on creating an amazing team culture in an online/work from home environment

Through his research in sectors such as creative, hospitality, military (and everything in between), Daniel explores three primary skills:

  • build safety – create an environment where it is ok to provide feedback, regardless of status;
  • share vulnerability – allow for an environment where teams are willing to accept the help and support of others, which in turn, drives trusting cooperation; and,
  • establish purpose – foster an environment of a shared culture that defines the group’s purpose and goals.

3. How to Eat Fudge by Jelena Jerkovic

When a 13-year-old writes a book, it gets my attention!

And when it gets published and you can buy it on Amazon and it is called “How to Eat fudge” –  I buy it!

Jelena Jerkovic is honest, open, and vulnerable in a Brené Brown kind of way.

Wise beyond her 13 years, she is navigating the end of grade 8 and the upcoming unknown of high school.

Fudge is an acronym for: Fear, uncertainty, doubt, guilt, expectations. Her book includes some worksheets, tools, and tips to help you when you slip into F.U.D.G.E.

I know she says it is for kids, and she is a kid…so she should know. But I think fudge is great at all ages! After reading this you might think fudge has never tasted so good!

4. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

This is my all time favourite business memoir. I read it as soon as it came out in 2016.

I have always been a Nike fan right back to university days when the Nike poster of the long distance runner drenched in rain, arms out with the caption “there is no finish line” adorned my residence room at Queen’s. That image spurred on a lot of miles in my waffle trainers.

It is hard to recognize the behemoth of a company that once started in Phil Knight’s trunk. His obsessive passion to find the best shoe for runners was always his fuel.

This is a book of struggle, it is relentless, eccentric, and far from perfect. Phil Knight doggedly pursued building this company, living most of his life in debt.

In this book you are pulled in and along for the ride! When you feel like you hit the turning point, that they have made it as sales hit 40 million… but there is no sigh of relief, he was on the brink of bankruptcy, again.

He goes on to say, “I’d like to share my experience, the ups and downs, so that some young woman or man going through the same trials and ordeals, might be inspired, comforted or warned. Some young entrepreneur, athlete, painter, novelist will press on.”

For Phil Knight there is no finish line, and there is something about that still inspires me (with or without the waffle trainers.)

5. The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek

In The Infinite Game, Simon Sinek talks about an infinite mindset that resonated with me: “no matter how successful we are in life, when we die, none of us will be declared the winner of life. And there is certainly no such thing as winning business.”

You already know that I am attracted to the idea that there is no finish line, Sinek sees winning as a finite game, and compares it to business, where our primary objective is to keep playing. When a game is won it is over. The players go home.

An infinite perspective drives innovation, and if there was ever a silver lining of Covid it is the freedom it brought us to experiment. We had to try something new, nothing was the same, nor will it ever be. We have come to expect surprises and in the process surprised ourselves with brave and resilient attitudes that brought new opportunities.

My twist on the infinite game is that when our purpose is driven by serving others, rather than beating others, we create purpose-driven brands whose positive impact is infinite. The most sustainable way to build a business.