What I Am Reading: From Poker To Executive Presence

My clients often ask me what I am reading and what podcasts I am listening to.
Here are a few gems I can’t stop thinking about—and discussing with clients and

The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win. Maria
Konnikova is a psychologist who decided she wanted to become a world class
poker player. She hired a poker “coach” and entered professional poker circuit
games around the country—losing often in the beginning and then gradually
earning money as she studied her new craft. This is a fascinating book about her
journey and her learnings way beyond poker—decision making, understanding
biases, recognizing “tells,” when to go “all in” and when to sit tight. And how to
recover from making mistakes. Maria is a terrific writer and you will want to
continue reading her fascinating story just to find out if she wins big.

The Long Game: How To Be A Long-Term Thinker in a Short-Term World. Author
Dorie Clark occupies a unique space in the marketing/coaching world as a
marketing guru for entrepreneurs who wish to become, in Dorie’s words,
“recognized experts.” Her advice to entrepreneurs expands to those in the
corporate and non-profit world as well. In The Long Game, Dorie’s fifth book, she
writes about how to achieve big goals through small steps, intermediate wins, and
what she terms “strategic patience.” Dorie illustrates the long game with inspiring
stories about friends, colleagues, and herself.

How to Change: The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.                          Much of my coaching work involves helping clients make significant
changes in their lives. Some approach change with enthusiasm and make shifts
easily. Others hold onto their current state as tightly as they can despite feeling
miserable. From her award-winning research, Katy Milkman, professor at The
Wharton School, writes about why timing can mean everything when it comes to
making change. She also shares that giving advice, even if it is in an area you are
having trouble with, can help you achieve your goals.

For those of you who would prefer shorter reads, I suggest the articles of
Herminia Ibarra, currently the Charles Handy Professor of
Business at the London School of Economics. Many of her articles can be found in
the Harvard Business Review, including her award-winning article, “The Leader As
Coach.” I have sent her recent HBR article, “Reinventing Your Career in the Midst
of Coronavirus,” to many clients. Even if you don’t want to make a job switch, her
thoughts about making change in the middle of this pandemic are invaluable.

Finally, my favorite business podcast is WorkLife with Adam Grant. Adam, who
coined the pandemic term “languishing,” covers a wide range of workplace issues
that concern all of us. His recent guests have included Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman.
An impressive guest this year was Mellody Hobson, the co-CEO of Ariel
Management and the Chairwoman of Starbucks. While the topic is feedback,
Mellody offers lessons in executive presence, sharing your message, and
answering interview questions in just the right amount of words and thoughts.

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