From the Desk of ERSON – April 2018

I’ve spent a bit more time this past month reading. I tend to read a lot but it is often journals rather than books (that’s a function of being a graduate student). I’ve been really pleased with a few of my recent finds and thought I would share some of those with you all. Below, I’ve compiled a few things that have come across my desk this month; a few books and a podcast. I hope you find them interesting and useful. Thanks for reading!

GRIT: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

gritThe work by Angela Duckworth is fascinating. I’m a big fan of the concept of grit and have read a good amount on the subject. Duckworth’s work brings the grit concept to a new level by proving, through various research studies, that having grit came overcome many other skills and strengths that may be lacking. My personal translation of this book is that girt boils down to two primary elements: passion and purpose. You must have both to truly exhibit grit.

Put your girt to the test; checkout out Duckworth’s girt scale on her website.

Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle


Culture has become a big thought for me lately; it’s been something I’ve pondered deeply about over the last year. I thought Coyle did a brilliant job with this book by highlighting some of the practical ways managers can build culture. The lens of his book focuses on three primary aspects that help build culture: safety, vulnerability, and purpose. The first two, safety and vulnerability, come naturally to me. I want people to feel safe and feel that can be real and honest. I accomplish this simply by not being a jerk. Vulnerability is a little different. I’ve always approached business with the attitude that I could be wrong; if there is another opinion and it can be articulated, I am open to it. When proven wrong, I will admit I was wrong.

Purpose has been a fascinating topic lately. There are many careers that have a clear purpose. Take healthcare, for example; the purpose of a doctor is to help an person overcome an illness. There may be varying facets to that, but all roles within healthcare ultimately roll up to that. We could use the same example for a firefighter or a police officer; their role is to protect and serve.

But what if you work for an organization where there is less social impact to what you do? How do you define purpose in that workplace? What if you worked at a grocery store; what would be the purpose in you stocking the shelves each day? What if you were a garbage collector; how would that role impact society? The impacts to society on these roles are less obvious than a doctor or a firefighter but they do exist. Take the grocery store worker example; they impact society by providing a means for nourishment to a family; they enable families to gather around a dinner table and enjoy fellowship together. That may feel like somewhat of a stretch, but that is their purpose.

Great at Work by Morten Hansen


This was a really great read that is filled with ideas about how you can be better at work and in life. The key take away for me after reading this book was the idea that you can be passionate about work and not have it consume you. This is a real challenge for me; sometimes I fail to enjoy life because I’m so obsessed with driving for results. It was a good reminder.


WorkLife podcast by Adam Grant


If you know me, you know that I am a fan of Adam Grant. If I wouldn’t be so intimidated, I would love to sit down and have dinner with Grant. Maybe one day he’ll be interesting in exchanging some research. Anyway. He has a new-ish podcast that is fantastics. He covers various topics within the area of organizational phycology. You can access the details here.