Books to read next: From arguments to greater understanding of ourselves

Last time we decided to share the Akateeminen & WTC Turku Book Club shortlist of books we reviewed for the club’s next read – and we’re doing it again!

Based on the heated discussion of the last meeting, it’s possible that Win Every Argument by British-American journalist Mehdi Hasan would be one of the top contenders this time. And we all know that today more than ever, arguments are everywhere – and everyone wants to win. Strong arguments, made in good faith, also have intrinsic value as they help us solve problems, uncover new ideas . . . and can also simply be fun. Win Every Argument promises to be a riveting guide to the art of argument, show us how to communicate with confidence, rise above the tit for tats on social media, and triumph in a successful and productive debate. Regardless of your situation, Hasan will teach you how to sharpen your speaking skills to make the winning case.

But how about not just winning arguments, but to communicate on a next level all together? Supercommunicators are the people who can steer a conversation to a successful conclusion. They can talk about difficult topics without giving offence. They know how to make others feel at ease and share what they think. They’re brilliant facilitators and decision-guiders. How do they do it? In this groundbreaking new book, Charles Duhigg, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author of the bestselling The Power of Habit and Smarter Faster Better, unravels the secrets of the supercommunicators to reveal the art – and the science – of successful communication. He unpicks the different types of everyday conversation and pinpoints why some go smoothly while others swiftly fall apart. He reveals the conversational questions and gambits that bring people together. And he shows how even the trickiest of encounters can be turned around. Packed with fascinating case studies and drawing on cutting-edge research, this book will change the way you think about what you say, and how you say it.

We do love some practical tips and tricks in this book club, so there’ll always be something to answer to that need of real step-by-step guides. Sport psychologist Dr Josephine Perry spends her life working with exceptional performers. She has identified ten psychological pillars that the ultra-successful have ingrained within their approach. And the good news is that we can all learn these mental building blocks. In The Ten Pillars of Success, you’ll hear those who have excelled in their field discussing their route to success and learn how you can emulate them. A sense of belonging, mastery, autonomy, purpose, confidence, process, courage, optimism, internal insight, or gratitude – all these skills can be vital in helping us overcome setbacks that can stand in the way of achieving our goals. Illuminating and inspiring, this book promises to give every reader a roadmap to reach their full potential.

And then we turn inwards, as it seems you can’t meditate your way out of a 40-hour work week with no childcare and now, psychiatrist Dr. Pooja Lakshmin offers a sustainable practice for real self-care. Based on her clinical and personal experience, Dr Lakshmin’s revolutionary framework in Real Self Care reimagines self-care as an ongoing, internal process that involves making difficult decisions in line with your values, putting boundaries in place, treating yourself with compassion and asserting your power. Practicing it has the power to change your relationships, your workplace, and our broken systems. Her work serves as a wake-up call, reminding us that wellbeing is not a product to buy, but a way to be. In the book, we are called to let go of the illusions of wellness and start practicing real self-care. Because the result – having ownership over your life – is nothing less than a personal and social revolution.

From wellbeing to remembering a life well lived – we talk about memory as a record of the past, but here’s a surprising twist: we aren’t supposed to remember everything. In fact, we’re designed to forget. Over the course of twenty-five years, Charan Ranganath, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience and director of the Dynamic Memory Lab at the University of California, has studied the flawed, incomplete, and purposefully inaccurate nature of memory to find that our brains haven’t evolved to keep a comprehensive record of events, but to extract the information needed to guide our futures. Using fascinating case studies and testimonies, Why We Remember unveils the principles behind what and why we forget and shines new light on the silent, pervasive influence of memory on how we learn, heal, and make decisions. By examining the role that attention, intention, imagination, and emotion play in the storing of memories, it provides a vital user’s guide to remembering what we hold most dear.

And finally, what promises to be a groundbreaking global overview of philosophy, travelling the world to provide a wide-ranging map of human thought: How the World Thinks. One of the great unexplained wonders of history is that philosophy flowered entirely separately in China, India, and Ancient Greece at more or less the same time. These writings would have a profound impact on the development of distinctive cultures in different parts of the world. In this book Julian Baggini, a philosopher, journalist, and the author of over 20 books about philosophy, sets out to expand our horizons, exploring the philosophies of Japan, India, China and the Muslim world, as well as the lesser-known oral traditions of Africa and Australia’s first peoples. Interviewing thinkers from around the globe, Baggini asks questions such as: why is the West is more individualistic than the East? What makes secularism a less powerful force in the Islamic world than in Europe? And how has China resisted pressures for greater political freedom? Baggini shows that by gaining greater knowledge of how others think we take the first step to a greater understanding of ourselves.

So which book did we choose next for Akateeminen & WTC Turku Book Club? As it turns out, we all have a Sapiens-size hole in our lives (as Observer describes the book). And if that was not enough, “The intellectual and spiritual generosity of this book makes it an essential text for our fractious and dangerously divided era”, Richard Holloway, author of Stories We Tell Ourselves says. So, since in this unpredictable world we simply yearn to understand ourselves, others, as well as the world better we’ll be diving into the praised How the World Thinks by Julian Baggini next.

This article was written by WTC Turku’s Heidi Saaristo, who enjoys both non-fiction as well as fiction and is the one person who most likely already read the book you just heard rave reviews about. Heidi is the Head of WTC Turku, helping companies to create sustainable growth abroad with her strategic vision and extensive experience in international business. In the Akateeminen & WTC Turku Book Club she brings her enthusiastic approach to discussions on a wide variety of current business and personal development topics.

The book descriptions that are used in the article are all from the Akateeminen website, where you can also buy your copy of the books:

Win Every Argument – Akateeminen Kirjakauppa

Supercommunicators – Akateeminen Kirjakauppa

The Ten Pillars of Success – Akateeminen Kirjakauppa

Real Self Care – Akateeminen Kirjakauppa

Why We Remember – Akateeminen Kirjakauppa

How the World Thinks – Akateeminen Kirjakauppa