Habits are developed over a lifetime. And changing them isn’t easy. But the past few weeks have turned our lives upside down. They’ve changed the way we live and work forever.

How do you adapt to this rapidly changing world? How do you develop habits for the future? Harappa’s Habit Hour Special Edition webinars give you a glimpse into each of our five Habits—Think, Solve, Communicate, Collaborate, and Lead—and why they are important for the future of work.

As you adapt to the new world and catch up with your reading, here’s a list of five books that you can revisit to understand why each Harappa Habit is so important for a successful professional journey.

THINK: Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011

Thinking Fast And Slow by Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman sheds light on how the mind functions and navigates the complicated process of thinking. Kahneman, a psychologist and economist, looks at the two systems of thinking in the human brain—System 1 Thinking and System 2 Thinking—and how they constantly fight over control of your behavior and actions. In this process, various errors occur—errors in memory, judgment, and decisions. This book tells you how to avoid such errors. 

Given that the Harappa THINK Habit has so much to do with the way our brains work, this book is a perfect fit. Thinking is a complex phenomenon with various layers. The first step towards understanding it is learning about System 1 Thinking and System 2 Thinking. The second step is developing the skills of reasoning, decoding, learning, and being creative.

SOLVE: Bulletproof Problem Solving: The One Skill That Changes Everything by Charles Conn and Robert McLean, Wiley, 2019 

Bulletproof Problem Solving deals with the complex process of problem-solving, a necessary skill at work. Problem-solving might seem easy, but it isn’t always so. It’s a multi-step process. According to authors Charles Conn and Robert McLean, it’s a seven-step process across a variety of situations—from everyday situations requiring quick decision-making to large-scale strategic issues in business, and even global and social challenges. These seven steps are guaranteed to make you more productive, and in turn, more successful at the workplace.

Careful thought and planning go into this process as Harappa’s SOLVE Habit courses too prescribe—defining and structuring problems, making the necessary decisions, and creating and executing solutions.

COMMUNICATE: The Pyramid Principle by Barbara Minto, Prentice Hall, 1978

This is a big one. Communication specialist Barbara Minto’s Pyramid Principle has ruled the consulting world for a few decades now. Despite being in play for so long, it has proved that sometimes old is gold and there is often no alternative for age-old structures. Simply put, the Pyramid Principle is an effective structure for presenting your communication, where you state the main point right at the top of your speech or writing and then go on to support it with arguments and evidence. 

There is almost no form of communication where the Pyramid Principle doesn’t come in handy. And being able to draw up effective communication pieces, also affects our ability to decode communication that’s coming our way. In the Harappa COMMUNICATE Habit, the different forms of communication include speaking, listening, reading, and writing. But not all communication is verbal or written. A lot also gets communicated through certain innate qualities of a person. This is called presence, and it’s equally important to build while communicating your value in your place of work. 

COLLABORATE: The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle, Penguin Books, 2007

Bestselling author Daniel Coyle’s The Culture Code is an eye-opening read about how essential teamwork is to professional success. He talks about the importance of a positive culture at work and mentions three parameters that help build an environment conducive to growth—building safety, sharing vulnerability, and establishing purpose.

There has been so much talk about the importance of a positive culture at the workplace. And you must have also seen a number of articles and posts on the internet espousing tips and ideas that look promising. But have any of them really been able to crack the code? This book really has. 

What makes it interesting is that it doesn’t talk about just one field and industry, but cuts across the board. And this is the kind of diversity the Harappa COLLABORATE Habit also stresses on. Collaborating well is not just about working together on tasks. It’s about building trust, working in a team, understanding organizational dynamics, building a network, and balancing a team’s members.

LEAD: The Inner Game Of Work by Timothy Gallwey, Random House, 1999

True to the Harappa LEAD Habit, The Inner Game of Work also focuses on the individual. Part of a three-part series by tennis coach Timothy Gallwey, this book talks about the role that focus, learning, pleasure, and mobility play in allowing one’s own self to exploit their potential at work. It pushes the reader to challenge their motivations for going to work and the meaning they attach to their productivity at work, thereby forcing people to look at their professional selves in a whole new way.

This is what the Harappa LEAD Habit, often the toughest skill to define but also the most essential to gain professional success, also aims to do. We all need to push ourselves to be better versions of ourselves,  and this ability to keep moving forward should not be underestimated. There is also no one way that works for everyone, and the key is to figure out what works for you. Some ways in which you can understand what makes you tick as a professional are to understand and accept who you are, discover your purpose, and strive towards excellence. 

We hope that you like this list and that it keeps you busy for the next few weeks, not just reading, but also in building these skills. These books have been recommended by some of our stellar faculty, who are leaders in their own right in their fields, and we have no doubt that you too will have a lot to take away from these works of writing. 

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Explore topics such as Writing Skills, Process of Writing, Report Writing & Types of Reporting from our Harappa Diaries blog section to build your skills for workplace success.


Suha Gangopadhyay is a Specialist in the Curriculum team at Harappa Education. A postgraduate from University of Oxford, she wants to contribute to the growth of education studies in India, and dwells in a world where books are almighty.

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