Book: The Art of Possibility

415rroHwgxL._SL250_.jpgThe Art of Possibility (Amazon) was the second book from the AltMBA with a woman co-author (the other was Thanks for the Feedback), and definitely in the top three that I got the most out of (along with Thanks for the Feedback and A Beautiful Constraint).

It’s written by an orchestra conductor and his therapist, which didn’t seem that auspicious but actually I got a lot out of it. It’s about how your mindset and approach changes things – whether you view things as zero sum, a competition, what your expectations are. Some of it seems very obvious (like don’t yell at volunteers?) but a couple of ideas that really resonated with me are:

  • Giving an A. And not just giving an A, but writing a letter as your future self talking about why you deserved the A. You can give youself an A, but you can also give others an A and free them from your judgement because your expectation is that they succeed.
  • Whether you see yourself as a victim or a player. As I read it I was super wound up about something that was objectively wrong and unfair. It encouraged me to take a different mindset to it, and whilst that situation is still wrong and unfair, I’ve freed myself from being made miserable by it, and making choices as a victim of it.

Whilst it is by a psychologist, it’s really about going from good to better rather than bad to okay – different from something like The Happiness Trap – and much more focused on our interactions with others than our inner world. All in all, worth a read.