Truth be told, I like to dive into several books at once. Skipping from one book to another gives me the variety I crave in life, learn a new skill here, be inspired by a successful leader there, it all leads to self improvement. This time, I picked up three new Kindle titles that are all very different. I’ve enjoyed each of them so much that I’d recommend them to all of my dearest friends.
My sister Carol tipped me off to the first book, The Little Book of Skincare: Korean Beauty Secrets for Healthy, Glowing Skin. Being Korean myself, I’ve always wondered how Korean women achieve that effortless, natural glow and now author Charlotte Cho spells it out for us in this humorous book. Cho is founder of Soko Glam, a leading Korean beauty and lifestyle website, and she’s a licensed esthetician. She guides us through the Korean ten-step skin-care routine (yes, that’s a lot of steps). I appreciated how she gave specific recommendations on products (her “picks”) and how she weaves in personal stories from “beauty gurus” like top makeup artists, actresses and Korean skincare researchers. This book makes me want to start from scratch and buy a whole new set of skincare and make-up products. If anything, it’s nice to know that there’s a website like Soko Glam to help guide us through our skincare needs. (Pic by WhateverDeeDeeeWants.)
Our next book up is Ready, Set, Breathe: Practicing Mindfulness with Your Children for Fewer Meltdowns and a More Peaceful Family. It’s a whopping title, isn’t it? I found this book while searching for ways to incorporate mindfulness with parenting. By now you’ve heard about the whole mindfulness movement, noticing what is happening right now, in a friendly and curious way, and then deciding on what to do next. In this book, author Carla Naumburg takes the idea one step further by applying it to parents. How do you react when your child is having a meltdown? Do you put your kids in time out? Are they even effective? Naumburg provides real world tips saying, “the best possible responses involve connecting, getting curious, or showing compassion.” She then goes more into depth with each of these ideas. Here’s a paragraph I liked about having compassion for our kids:
When your child is having a moment-either a mindful one or a difficult one-the most skillful and empathetic choice you can make is to be kind. There are many, many ways to do this. It may be about sitting nearby with a calm, abiding presence. Or perhaps your child needs to be snuggled or tucked into a comfy spot with a favorite toy or blanket. Maybe he needs to hear a story about a time when you also made a bad mistake or got hurt by a friend or lost a beloved pet, so he doesn’t feel so alone. Or maybe he needs to be reminded that, no matter how confusing or scary or out of control the world may feel, you’re here and you’re going to take care of him, and you’re not leaving.
Next, here’s a practical tip we can all do today. “Now, I try to remember to acknowledge her feelings, offer my help, and remind both of us that nothing lasts forever, whether it’s a wonderful moment or an excruciating one. That small shift in focus, from feeling as though we are mired in our current experience to remembering that it’s just a blip on the radar, can help us enjoy the pleasant moments more fully and suffer a bit less with the difficult ones.” I wish someone would have taught me this at a young age. I’m starting to apply these lessons toward Parker. The book is aimed at kids three to ten, so those of you with younger kids may want to hold off on buying this book till your kids get a little bit older.
If you’re looking for practical tools on how to be a more mindful parent, this book is a great read. As a side benefit, you’ll pick up many useful tips on how you can incorporate mindfulness in your life, too.
The last book that I’m reading is Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration. Written by Ed Catmull, the co-founder of Pixar Animal Studios, the book takes us behind the scenes of how the innovative company Pixar was first born. More than that, Catmull gives us advice on how to build a creative culture, a strong company that’s built on trust. He talks about failure freely, how companies must take risks in order to thrive.
Rather than trying to prevent all errors, we should assume, as is almost always the case, that our people’s intentions are good and that they want to solve problems. Give them responsibility, let the mistakes happen, and let people fix them. If there is fear, there is a reason-our job is to find the reason and to remedy it. Management’s job is not to prevent risk but to build the ability to recover.
The most eye-opening fact that I learned was that each movie starts out as an “ugly baby.” You may have watched a Pixar film and imagined that they just formed magically, with no effort at all. This is hardly the case.
They are not beautiful, miniature versions of the adults they will grow up to be. They are truly ugly: awkward and unformed, vulnerable and incomplete. They need nurturing-in the form of time patience-in order to grow….The Baby is so pure and unsullied, so full of potential, but it’s also needy and unpredictable and can keep you up at night.
It takes months, if not years, of hard work and about 300 people per film to see it through. More than anything, I loved reading the behind the scenes stories about some of my favorite Pixar movies, like Finding Nemo or Toy Story, and the differences in management style between Disney and Pixar. Whether you’re looking for a management book or you’re just a loyal fan of Pixar, this book has something for you.
Here are some reviews for Creativity, Inc.:
“Just might be the best business book ever written.”—Forbes
“What is the secret to making more of the good stuff? Every so often Hollywood embraces a book that it senses might provide the answer. . . . Catmull’s book is quickly becoming the latest bible for the show business crowd.”—The New York Times
“The most practical and deep book ever written by a practitioner on the topic of innovation.”—Prof. Gary P. Pisano, Harvard Business School
(Pic by Reverend Hollywood.)