Spring Reads: Three Business Books on the CFI.co Radar

Deep Purpose

Naomi Snelling buries herself in some inspiring works that bring meaning — and more — to corporate life.

Deep Purpose: The Heart and Soul of High-Performance Companies by Ranjay Gulati

A wave of books about corporate purpose has broken over 2022, and this pithy offering from Ranjay Gulati serves up useful advice on charting a principled corporate course.

Aimed at business leaders, entrepreneurs, and heads of organisations, Deep Purpose gets to the core of issues facing business: the need to connect with employees and stakeholders to create a sense of belonging.

A cutesy set of ethical values just won’t cut it. Many businesses have dabbled in sustainability policies without truly aiming to lower their carbon footprint; some demonstrate a similarly tenuous grasp on “purpose”.

For measurable results, businesses need to embrace deep purpose — as opposed to convenient purpose, or purpose-as-disguise. This, says Gulati, is where the magic is, and it’s rooted in the concept of a wider measurement of “success”. When an organisation is rooted in meaningful purpose, it is possible to have your cake and eat it too. You get to outstrip your competition while helping humanity.

Far from being a fluffy indulgence, the art and science of creating that purpose is what sets great companies apart from the pack. Gulati’s book details the steps of the journey, packed with practical examples. It’s a pragmatic guide that goes beyond the adoption of purposeful words to the making of ideals and goals to drive a business.

Most of the case studies are American, but the concepts and analyses can be applied to businesses anywhere. Gulati’s own sense of discovery and transformation shines through, making his book an inspirational read. One not to miss.

The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward by Daniel H Pink

Like all Daniel Pink’s insightful books, this one is delivered with empathy and clarity. In characteristic straight-from-the-hip style, Pink illuminates the significance of regret. By showing us how to get our heads around this complex emotion, he allows us to use it as a momentum driver, and a force for good.

Regret is a universal human emotion, complete with a range of processing and response styles. Essentially, regret can be resolved or reframed. One of the tools elaborated in the book is projecting forwards: helping to reframe a situation with an understanding of whether or not your choices will matter.

Many of us have regrets that play on our minds, and this book helps us to examine that. Past mistakes should not paralyse us or stop us from moving forward: recognising, acknowledging, and processing regret is the key habit to adopt.

All That We Are by Gabriella Braun

If you’ve ever wondered why people behave the way they do, then this book is for you. Packed with relatable and moving stories, Braun’s gripping work is an accessible and insightful read that focuses on the unconscious human processes that operate in team working environments.

With case studies and anecdotes, Braun shows how psychoanalytic techniques can be applied to professional as well as personal environments.

This book is a great choice for anyone wanting to understand more about relationship dynamics — and a must-read for anyone interested in psychology.

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