May&June Reads: Leaders Eat Last/The Happiness Advantage

I know what you’re thinking! Stephanie gave up on her year long reading project… and truth be told you’re kind of right! The thing is… I’ve been struggling to finish my May read, which made it difficult to start my June read, and nearly impossible to start a new book in July and suddenly August was half-way through! However, today’s good news, my love for June’s The Happiness Advantage, by Shawn Achor, has made me persevere, which by the way is what happy people do! SO, here we are with yet another book review. Today, I’ll be updating you on my May and June reads (Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek and The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor).

I was drawn to Simon Sinek’s Leaders Eat Last as I’ve encountered his TedTalk “Start with Why” a few times over the past few years, a talk detailing why Apple is so successful, because they start with why instead of what. First things first, Leaders Eat Last would be a great book for a work assignment, but it just felt like work reading it, keep in mind I worked my way through Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky for my English degree, so I’ve got the grit to make it through just about anything, but I didn’t want my reading project to feel like work, which is why I eventually put it back on the shelf. With all that being said, I did pull out some quotes that I thought were relevant and that made me think of the team I’ve tried to build as a supervisor over the last three years at my retail job.

“Every single employee is someone’s son or someone’s daughter. Like a parent, a leader of a company is responsible for their precious lives.”

This quote reminds me of one I heard during my retail career, something along the lines of, you are someone’s dinner table conversation, so think about whether you want the people sitting at that table to cheer for you, or otherwise. Personally, I’ve always called my employees my kids, I have always felt a sense of responsibility for their happiness and their well-being, but I know firsthand that not all leaders are like that. All this is really saying is BE HUMAN.

“Leaders are those willing to look out for those to the left of them and those to the right of them.”

Notice that this quote doesn’t say leaders are looking out for those below them! As someone who was charged with leading a team at my retail job, I always made sure to be on the front lines with my employees, always beside them, next to them. Leading by example was the phrase I wanted my team to use to describe me, and as such, there was nothing I would ask my team to do that I wasn’t already doing myself, or would help them with.

The Happiness Advantage is one of my favorite reads so far, if you’re looking for a preview, listen to Shawn Achor’s episode of Oprah’s Super Soul Podcast, as that’s literally what made me buy his book and I am so happy I did.

“Expecting positive outcomes actually makes them more likely to arise.”

You’re probably tired of me talking about my new job by now, but I swear expecting to get it and encouraging myself to think positively during the process made a HUGE difference in my confidence level, and spoiler alert I GOT THE JOB!

“If this reads like a random clip from an alphabetized nightmare list of the very worst things that can befall us, that’s because it basically is. But it also happens to be a list of events that researchers have found to spur profound positve growth.”

It makes me feel really profound to think that all the hardships I’ve endured since my dad’s diagnosis are forcing me to grow, and even though there’s been a lot of darkness, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I got a DM from a family friend recently that said “As his light dims, yours shines brighter,” which made me feel like I get to walk around with my dad’s light, even after he’s gone.

“Success is about more than simple resilience. It’s about using that downward momentum to propel ourselves in the opposite direction. It’s about capitalizng on setbacks and adversity to become even happier, even more motivated, and even more successful. It’s not about falling down, it’s falling up.”

I’ve been falling up my whole life I think. When things seem bad, I focus on the good, when people are negative, I inspire positivity. I wore a bright yellow shirt that said “YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE” to most of my dad’s doctor’s appointments, as grim as they were. Here I am, on the internet opening up my heart and soul to all of you, hoping to inspire hope, hoping that when you fall down, you stand up, because even when it feels impossible, I choose to fall up.


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