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Our Books of the Year 2021

Colleagues from the getAbstract team present their favorite books.

Our Books of the Year 2021

We’ve announced the getAbstract International Book Awards and Stephen R. Covey wins the “Most Downloaded Summary” prize – as he does every year – but our internal choice of the best books of 2021 is not influenced by any prizes. We asked around the company for colleagues’ best titles of the year. And here they are:

Image of: High Conflict
Book Summary

High Conflict

“High conflict” traps you in endless cycles of outrage and blame. Learn how to transform disputes into healthy conflict.

Amanda Ripley Simon & Schuster
Read Summary

Right versus left, vaccinated versus unvaccinated, jet-setter versus train lover: We live in a world of ever-escalating binary choices. You’re either this or that, with us or against us; pick a side, shout, and plug your ears tight with cotton wool. High Conflict delves into the psychological foundations of today’s great polarizing divides and shows us how to escape the trap. I can’t think of a more desperately needed book in 2021.

/ Heather Hodel (Editor)

Image of: Everyday People, Extraordinary Leadership
Book Summary

Everyday People, Extraordinary Leadership

Your corporate title doesn’t make you a great leader, but five value-based practices may do the job.

James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner Wiley
Read Summary

So, what’s different about Everyday People, Extraordinary Leadership, compared to the other highly rated title co-authored by Posner and Kouzes, The Leadership Challenge? The most significant difference for me is the intended audience, which is ordinary, everyday people like myself. As do the authors, I believe that good leadership practices can emanate from any level within society, company, organization, club or family. The title of “leader” may be bestowed upon us by our status in a hierarchy. However: Being a leader is something that you earn not from the authority power vested in you but by how we harness the personal power within us and how we behave with and to others around us. Hence, when asked who my role model leader is, I reply that it’s my father, a farmer who lived his life following the harvest laws. The book contains many stories about ordinary people, like my father, who demonstrate great principles of everyday leadership and behavior, with tips and advice for developing the leader within.

/ Gordon Seymour (Sales Manager)

Image of: Noise
Book Summary


Wherever judgment exists, you will also find noise – and more of it than you think.

Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony and Cass R. Sunstein William Collins
Read Summary

Daniel Kahneman, Cass R. Sunstein and Olivier Sibony won the getAbstract International Book Award for a good reason: This is a thoughtful, deeply researched and helpful book. I found it particularly meaningful to understand how so many people reached bewildering conclusions about the pandemic and politics in the last year. Kahneman wrote Thinking, Fast and Slow, Sibony wrote You’re About to Make A Terrible Mistake, and Sunstein has written several crucial books about thinking, notably Going to Extremes and, with Richard Thaler, Nudge. This trio of brilliant minds helped me understand how people reach judgments that seem reasonable to them, often under confusion and pressure, and how anyone can reach better, more accurate conclusions by considering the way evaluative thinking works. Also, I’d like to give a special nod to Lincoln’s Mentors, a lovely history about using your allies and opponents’ wisdom, and about lifelong learning. As role models go, Abraham Lincoln ranks right up there.

/ Erica Rauzin (Editor)

Image of: The Burnout Fix
Book Summary

The Burnout Fix

Learn practices that foster resilience and prevent work burnout altogether.

Jacinta M. Jiménez McGraw-Hill Education
Read Summary

Jacinta M. Jiménez’s The Burnout Fix, awarded the getAbstract Readers’ Choice Award this year, provided me with a holistic perspective of what it takes to avoid burnout. I have made it a personal goal to “prioritize leisure time,” because avoiding or fixing burnout takes planning both in and outside of the workplace: Don’t wait until you feel the pain of burnout to take a break or vacation; plan it before you need it. In other words: Fill your cup before it runs empty. This summary was the gentle reminder that I needed to prepare for the new year:

/ Danielle Goodrum (VP of Client Services)

Image of: Massive Transformative Purpose
Book Summary

Massive Transformative Purpose

Find your lifelong purpose and create a map to achieve it.

Ángel María Herrera and Francisco Palao BUBOK
Read Summary

The current outlook is pretty grim in these times of crisis. Yes, there is hope. Hope that the pandemic will end at some point. Hope that we can go back to normal. But hope doesn’t get us very far. What does, is having a purpose. Purpose gives meaning to everything you do, it motivates and inspires you to take action. So, find your purpose to transform your life and reach your goals.

/ Elisabeth Nitzsche (Editor)

Image of: L&D’s Playbook for the Digital Age
Book Summary

L&D’s Playbook for the Digital Age

Future-proof your workforce for the digital age.

Brandon Carson ATD Publications
Read Summary

Technological change requires L&D to rethink – that isn’t new. But today, it’s all the more critical. Working for our getAbstract L&D Knowledge Forums, I’ve had the chance to listen to many L&D experts from getAbstract customers. I saw that many big organizations understand the value of self-directed learning and the importance of establishing a Learning Culture, especially in 2021. Brandon Carson’s L&D Playbook gives an excellent overview of what companies and leaders must consider to stay on top. One element that stood out to me: Carson suggests rethinking what it means to be an employee. Helping employees find meaning improves their performance. I couldn’t agree more.

/ Orry Westphal (Digital Marketing Manager)

Image of: Hardwired to Learn
Book Summary

Hardwired to Learn

Harness your ability to learn at any age to grow your career and reach your highest potential.

Teri Hart Teri Hart
Read Summary

Hardwired to Learn compiles current trends in organizational learning with concrete examples of companies investing in developing programs and continuous upskilling of their employees (like Amazon or McDonald’s). A quote that resonates well – and that I can re-use talking to L&D leaders as a sales representative for getAbstract – is: “True learning is hard, and will make you uncomfortable. Track your progress, and don’t give up.”

/ Sylvain Brousse (Sales Representative)

Image of: You’re Invited
Book Summary

You’re Invited

Connecting with influencers of all types is a highly effective strategy for personal advancement.

Jon Levy HarperBusiness
Read Summary

Have you ever wondered why creating meaningful human connections is crucial for people to succeed? In You’re Invited, behavioral scientist Jon Levy explains how the people you surround yourself with help you shape your future and define your success. This makes me think about an old Greek saying: “Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are.” People around us define our success and play a big part in changing our lives. So, you might wonder: How can I connect with people I look up to and, how can I build trust quickly with the people I want to be related to? Well, Levy provides actionable advice for everyone to make deep connections with anyone regardless of their stature, earn trust and achieve a reputation of confidence so that we can impact our communities and achieve our objectives. This abstract also got me thinking about how others influence us to be our best, how we are currently affecting people, and what type of influence we want to be. Are we being our best yet or trying to be our very best?

/ Maria Alonso (Customer Success Manager)

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8 We have curated the most actionable insights from 8 summaries for this feature.
8 We read and summarized 8 books with 2376 pages for this article.
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