Inspirational reads to teach business leaders resilience while surviving the spiraling pandemic

Ashley Sava

When the going gets tough, the tough build resilience. While maintaining a state of perseverance is complicated in an era where the light at the end of the tunnel seems but a distant star, there are excellent books out there for businesses to receive tips, get encouragement and learn from those who have successfully and prosperously practiced tenacity and determination in the face of a challenge. 

“Grit to Great: How Perseverance, Passion and Pluck Take You from Ordinary to Extraordinary”

By Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval

“Grit is about sweat, not swagger. Character, not charisma,” Thaler and Koval write. 

Effort counts and businesses who avoid shortcuts and take the road of persistence have the grit to surpass their competitors. If you’re interested in learning about the failures and hardships that challenge successful people and businesses, this book teaches you that grit is developed not just from earning the battle wounds, but by believing you can stand up again. The authors, two ladies from the Bronx who had no given advantages or privileges, made it to the top of the highly competitive advertising industry due to their relentless drive to succeed. The secret? Absolute resiliency. While failure is inevitable, bouncing back is key. 

Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy”

By Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

If the events of today tell us anything, it’s that no one’s business strategies or life plans follow a perfect course. In this autobiography, Sandberg, joined by Wharton psychologist Adam Grant, explains the concrete steps anyone can take to recover and rebound from unexpected and even life-shattering experiences. Human beings are not born with a fixed amount of resiliency, but it is something we can build. While this is a personal account, it provides excellent takes on the crucial nature of bouncebackability, which is a necessary skill to fine tune for leaders across every industry. 

“This is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn To See”

By Seth Godin

“Now, instead of asking, ‘How do I get more people to listen to me, how can I get the word out, how can I find more followers, how can I convert more leads to sales, how can I find more clients, how can I pay my staff … ?’ you can ask ‘What change do I seek to make?’”

This book is about empathy, understanding and showcasing the human side of marketing, something critically needed today. Like most his books, this one teaches humanizing businesses so they can best deliver the messages most relevant to their audience. 

“Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back” 

 By Andrew Zolli and Ann Marie Healy

Some people, businesses, institutions and cultures just seem to recover from disruptive change better than others. Right? While resiliency is the reason, how can you build that as a leader and teach it to your team? Zolli and Healy explain how certain systems and cultures have learned to thrive by encouraging adaptation, flexibility, agility, connectivity and diversity. “Every journey toward greater resilience begins with continuous, inclusive and honest efforts to seek out fragilities, thresholds and feedback loops of a system.” 

Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life Without Losing Its Soul

By Howard Schultz

“The only number that matters is ‘one.’ One cup. One customer. One partner. One experience at a time. We had to get back to what mattered most,” Schultz declares in his biography. 

In 2007, Howard Shultz emerged from his retirement to once again take the reins of the infamous Starbucks. As Howard recounts, Starbucks had started focusing too much on growth for growth’s sake, rather than core values or celebrating coffee in a way that embraced its social element. As any business can learn, when the focus shifts from providing value to growing at any cost, the soul of the company dies. He details how he brought the heart back to a business who he feared would otherwise go under. 

“Freedom From Anxious Thoughts and Feelings: A Two-Step Mindfulness Approach for Moving Beyond Fear and Worry”

By Scott Symington

Business leaders are under a lot of pressure right now. Learning techniques to gain calmness and peace doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive. Rather than trying to teach people to discourage and ignore anxious thoughts, psychologist Scott Symington presents a practical, breakthrough approach called the two-screen method to help anyone easily cope with overwhelming thoughts. With an emphasis on accepting and redirecting your thoughts while focusing on personal values, this account gives readers a way to battle fears, insecurities and potentially destructive thoughts so they can preserve in their everyday lives.

Our Iceberg Is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions

By John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber

A fable about penguins? No kidding. Meet Alice, Louis, Buddy, Fred the Professor and NoNo: emperor penguins who probably resemble people you know. This fiction piece illustrates the way people deal with change. The tale depicts traits like confusion, insight, heroism and resistance. If you’re interested in performing well under stress and uncertainty of rapid change (who isn’t these days?) this award-winning work might be the book you need to teach yourself and your team how to thrive while navigating our changing waters. 

Keep on keeping on

If you want your business to stay afloat, never forget to listen to and consider customer needs first and foremost. The more you ingrain this mindset into your entire organization, the stronger customer experience you deliver.