Nov 12, 2019
Great leaders often have one indispensable element in common: optimism. If you poured over the top leadership books this year from social entrepreneurs and business leaders across industries, you'll find this common theme. Here is a shortlist of recent business leadership books to get you started with the right outlook and on the path to success.
Want to read a business book that Bill Gates calls "pretty fundamental"? Despite our troubles, Rosling sees glimmers of optimism. Over the past two hundred years, for example, global life expectancy has risen from 30 to 72. Additionally, Rosling points to the shrinking rate of global poverty; down to about 9% from 50% in just 50 years.
What is the "negativity bias"? It essentially means that our brains are somehow drawn to negative imagery and thoughts so, in turn, we don't focus on the good. Enter pessimism. Author Stephen Pinkers argues that a pessimistic worldview served our ancient ancestors well when life-threatening disasters were looming around every corner. However, now pessimism presents a distorted view of the world we share. As Pinker writes, “The world has made spectacular progress in every single measure of human well-being and…almost no one knows about it.”
McCloskey, a lecturer of Economics, History, English, and Communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago, refers to humankind's advancement since 1800 as “The Great Enrichment.”
She argues that over the majority of our shared history, people did not have access to food, medicine, education and did not make a sustainable living wage. How much have standards risen? Try 10,000% over the past two centuries! If that isn't a cause for optimism, I don't know what is!
Ridley's work also confronts our pessimistic worldview that contradicts major advancements in lifespan, diet, education, resources, and other quantifiable metrics. Bill Gates gives Ridley credit for confronting this flawed pessimism. Ready to change your dreadful forecasts about life? Pick up this book!
Optimism is an essential ingredient of leadership. Just ask Bill Gates. If you haven’t read Factfulness, don’t bother applying to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “It’s pretty fundamental” that aspiring leaders read the book, according to Gates.
Factfulness—by Gates’s late friend and statistician Hans Rosling—covers ten reasons why the world is much better than people think. “It’s better to be born today than ever, and it will be better to be born twenty years from now than today,” Gates says. “It does bother me that most people aren’t optimistic.”
Gates is an unshakable optimist because he sees the big picture, a mindset he shares with his friend, Warren Buffett. Buffett’s optimism is a fundamental reason for his success. Buffett became a rich man by buying stocks for the long run when most investors panicked in the short term.