6 Inspiring Books That Will Help You Face the Future With Confidence

UPDATED: May 22, 2024
PUBLISHED: February 4, 2021

Think Again

The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know

By Adam Grant

In Give and Take, Adam Grant taught readers about the importance of interactions with others. In Originals, he preached the value of new ideas. In his new book, Think Again, Grant wants readers to forget, let go and move on from ideas and knowledge that isn’t working for them.

“If you can master the art of rethinking, I believe you’ll be better positioned for success at work and happiness in life,” Grant writes. “Thinking again can help you generate new solutions to old problems and revisit old solutions to new problems. It’s a path to… living with fewer regrets.”

Sometimes no matter how well-thought out or carefully laid out plans can be, they can give us tunnel vision, Grant writes. When we become open to new ideas, we begin to see faults in those plans, and can identify and prevent mistakes we were likely to make. (February; Viking; $28)

Listen Like You Mean It 

Reclaiming the Lost Art of True Connection

By Ximena Vengoechea

We often tend to be hypocritical when it comes to listening. We get annoyed if someone isn’t giving us their full attention, but if someone else is telling a story, it’s alright if we check our phones midconversation. Sometimes that’s fine, writes Ximena Vengoechea in Listen Like You Mean It. But other times not listening can have serious consequences. 

In her book, Vengoechea doesn’t just offer tips and tricks on how to listen more intently; she goes deeper. Vengoechea also covers how to deepen conversations, how to handle them when they get tough, and how to get more out of them.

“If you’re tired of getting one-word responses from your partner, colleague, lover, or sibling, it’s time to start asking a different kind of question,” Vengoechea writes. “With connecting questions, we can go beyond the superficial and get to know our conversation partner much more deeply.” (March; Portfolio; $27)

The Way of Integrity

Finding the Path to Your True Self

By Martha Beck

Finding the way to integrity can help you find happiness, Martha Beck writes in her new book. That’s because when we’re not honest with ourselves, everything else suffers. 

“It’s probably because you’re internally divided,” Beck writes in The Way of Integrity. “That’s how it feels to be out of integrity. All these inner reactions affect our outer lives. Since we can’t concentrate, our work suffers. Irritability and gloominess make us bad company, weakening our relationships.” 

So how do you find the way of integrity? Beck breaks it down into three phases in her book. The first one is called “the dark wood of error,” where one feels lost, uncertain and exhausted. Then there’s the inferno, where one discovers the things that cause our suffering. One begins to heal in “purgatory,” where one begins to create new behaviors to match their inner truth. And finally, there’s paradise, where one starts living. 

This may sound like a lot, but stick with it. Beck finds ways to make metaphorical sense. (April; Penguin Life; $26)

Your Brain Is Always Listening 

Tame the Hidden Dragons That Control Your Happiness, Habits, and Hang-Ups

By Dr. Daniel G. Amen

In Your Brain Is Always Listening, the prolific Daniel G. Amen, M.D. seeks to teach readers how to tame what he describes as mental dragons—how to put the bad ones in their place and how to get the good ones to work for us. To explain how these dragons can work for or against us, Amen describes four circles of health and illness: biological, psychological, social and spiritual. 

“When any one circle is unhealthy, your brain is more likely to listen to your Dragons from the Past, from others, and from society, and then let them take control,” Amen writes.

If the dragon metaphor is too much for you, remember Amen knows what he’s talking about. The man has worked in brain health for 40 years. 

“Over 175,000 brain scans later, it’s become even more clear that the problems we treat aren’t mental health issues; they’re brain health issues that steal your mind,” he writes. (March; Tyndale Momentum; $26)

ALIEN Thinking

The Unconventional Path to Breakthrough Ideas

By Cyril Bouquet, Jean-Louis Barsoux and Michael Wade

Three professors from the Institute for Management Development have teamed up to write about alien thinking. No, not the way of thinking of extraterrestrials. In this case, ALIEN stands for Attention, Levitation, Imagination, Experimentation, and Navigation. The acronym offers readers a “framework… to overcome biases and mental models that can constrain creativity or doom a great idea.” 

The book is intended to help leaders manage themselves and their thinking. The authors admit that while managers were their focus when developing the plan, they believe their model of thinking can work for anyone at any organization. Their hope is that the book offers tools that will work for readers when inspiration strikes. 

“You can use the ALIEN model to catalyze original thinking and fast-track your ability to spot patterns and make the right mental connections,” the trio writes.  (March; PublicAffairs; $28)

Strong Like Water

How I Found the Courage to Lead with Love in Business and in Life

By Laila Tarraf

After more than 25 years as a senior human resource executive at companies like Walmart, Peet’s Coffee and Tea, and AllBirds, Laila Taraf came to know a lot about what makes people tick and how to keep an eye on them. But when her husband died of an accidental drug overdose, and she lost her parents soon after, Tarraf was forced to look into a person she wasn’t used to managing—herself. 

In Strong Like Water, Tarraf shares her tale of healing and looking deep inside. It wasn’t easy for her.  

“I used every coping mechanism in my well-stocked arsenal to keep myself compartmentalized and separate from my fear,” Tarraf writes. “Unfortunately, there was a lot of work that needed to be done.”

Tarraf shows readers the processes she went through to find healing and courage. Strong Like Water can read like a memoir, but Tarraf’s real-life examples can be relatable for readers from all walks of life. (April; She Writes Press; $17)

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2021 issue of SUCCESS magazine.
Photo by Natallia Boroda/Shutterstock.com

Jesus Jimenez is a staff writer for Dallas Morning News. He eats, breathes and sleeps Texas Rangers baseball. He also enjoys running, traveling and buying cool socks.