10 books to give – and read – during the Christmas holidays

Here we are again this year at our traditional appointment with the books to put under the tree. The first book I recommend is the book by Marco Cecchini, The Draghi enigma (Fazi editore, 2020), which describes Draghi through the voices of people who have had the opportunity to interact directly with him: officials of central banks and ministries, economists, protagonists of the Italian and European political and economic scene such as Giuliano Amato, Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, Innocenzo Cipolletta, Mario Monti, Romano Prodi and Giulio Tremonti.

A book therefore that is not only about the “savior of the euro” but about a Mario Draghi “manager”, a man who had to make decisions in a dramatic historical moment for Italy and the eurozone, who was able to manage his own career up to the top first of the Treasury, then of the Bank of Italy, Goldman Sachs and the ECB.


IS an axiom: those who reach the top believe they have deserved their success, those who have not made it deserve their destiny. The opportunities are the same for everyone, you just need to know how to seize them. It’s really like this? Reading this book by Michael Sanders raises some doubts, The tyranny of merit. Because we live in a society of winners and losers (Feltrinelli editore, 288 pages, published in 2021).

The book starts from a news episode. In 2019, the U.S. federal prosecutor accuses thirty-three wealthy parents of fraudulently paying to secure their children’s admission to prestigious universities including Yale, Stanford and the University of California (USC).


There are several books that combine the world of sport with that of management. Many force excessively the teachings of highly decorated coaches and sportsmen to adapt them to the world of business and managers. The book by Franco Rossi and Luciano Sabbatini entitled “The Inner Athlete. Elements of Coaching, Mental Training and Neuroscience applied to sport”(200 pages, Franco Angeli Editore, 2021) specifies in the title that we are talking about sport, and nothing else.

This definition of boundaries is important because it avoids the forcing that we mentioned above, talking about competition, the athlete’s winning mental attitude and transporting him to the world of companies without any mediation. This book is about sport and this means that any parallels with your work experience, with your managerial activity, with your organization are your responsibility. It will be up to you to decide what is useful to transport from the sports world to yours. And to do so, in this book there is certainly no shortage of ideas.

Well, now that you know all about resilience and how to resist the hardships you face every day at work, forget everything. Training courses, books and articles on resilience are a thing of the past. Or better. now that you understand what resilience is, you must realize that this is not enough. It is not enough because it focuses on how to resist shocks, how to be flexible but does not explain how to benefit from the experience, how to evolve after experiencing a problem and make sure that it does not recur in the future.


It is therefore necessary to overcome the concept of resilience, take a step forward and read the book by Giuseppe Vercelli and Gabriella d’Albertas entitled Antifragile. Make fragility your strength and uncertainty a workhorse (Feltrinelli publisher, 256 pages, 2021). Giuseppe Vercelli is professor of Sport Psychology at the University of Turin as well as being responsible since 2011 for the Psychological Area of ​​Juventus FC In this book, Vercelli introduces us to the concept of antifragility, which goes beyond that of resilience and which is born after having and overcome a critical situation.


For each job vacated by a senior, a new recruitment for a young person corresponds, the ratio is one to one. This axiom is actually a commonplace, as Elsa Fornero writes in her preface to the book by Gianbattista Rosa, Active Aging in the company. Transforming senior jobs from problem to opportunity (Franco Angeli publisher, 2021, 120 pages).

A cliché based on the false belief that the economic system is made up of a “certain” number of jobs and that therefore a newcomer can find employment only in the face of a corresponding exit by those who occupy that position. Recent research by the Bank of Italy tells us that the reality is more complex and that this replacement ratio is limited to one employee for every two retirees. Also in her preface, Elsa Fornero also countered the advocates of early retirement by arguing that such an initiative, advertised as favorable to young people, would actually fall on them, burdening them with other taxes to guarantee social security assistance to an increasing number of retirees.


Why are you angry? Why do certain situations at work exasperate you, triggering instinctive reactions of anger? You’ve tried all the breathing techniques you can, but that colleague there just can’t stand it. If traditional techniques haven’t worked so far, try reading How to never lose your temper again while always keeping control of the situation by David J. Lieberman (TEA Editore, 224 pages). The author, psychologist and best-selling author such as The Portable Psychoanalyst and Uncovering the Lies is a recognized expert in behavioral sciences and interpersonal relationships.


Cal Newport also claims this in his bestselling book Deep work. Concentrate to the max: in the future only people who will be able to focus their attention on complex activities related to their work will be successful. People who will be able to say no to the prevailing philosophy of multitasking, who will be able to disconnect from the various technological devices when they have to face a complex task, evaluate options, make decisions or creatively imagine a solution that is not yet visible. To be able to achieve the right concentration at work, however, it is necessary to equip yourself with tools that allow you to facilitate concentration itself, one of these tools is the famous, old diary.


The agenda as a work tool is certainly nothing new. Used in paper or electronic form, the diary marks the daily life of our work activities but are we sure we are using the diary in the correct way? This book by Claudia Elisabetta Muccinelli entitled The Art of the Agenda: organize your time without wasting time (148 pages, 2020) opens a reflection on the use of one’s time. Reflection elaborated in the form of a philosophical interview-dialogue with the time designer Roberto Rosso.

Multitasking is a skill of the animal, not of the man. It is a regression to the world of animals in nature. It is an indispensable attention technique for survival in the wild habitat. In fact, an animal intent on feeding must perform other tasks at the same time, such as keeping other predators away from prey. This means that in nature the animal is used to dividing its attention between different activities. Therefore, multitasking is not a skill of man, of the labor and information society. Indeed, the rapid change of focus between different tasks, sources of information and processes generates a dispersed and dispersed attention in man.


This writes the philosopher Byung-Chul Han in the re-edition of the book The society of fatigue (Nottetempo editions, 132 pages) so much so that multitasking is defined as a threat to the integrity of the individual. Exhaustion and fatigue are in fact the most common reactions to this threat, so much so that Burnout is defined as the evil of the workers of this century.


“The problems we face today become blessings in the rearview mirror of life. Over time, yesterday’s red light will turn green. ” It seems like one of the usual motivational thoughts to read after having unwrapped yet another happiness cookie. On the other hand, what could one expect from a book written by a famous Hollywood actor that we have seen in some American comedy? What depth of thought can a collection of reflections contain, thoughts alternating with stories of episodes from the life of Matthew McConaughey? This book, Greenlights. The art of running downhill (Baldini & Castoldi publisher) has become a small publishing case, a success that goes beyond the fame of the actor. It is possible that those who bought the book did so at first attracted and intrigued by the “brand” of the famous actor, as if it were a gadget. Then, thanks to word of mouth this book became a bestseller.


And finally, a novel published in 2018 but which I recommend you read if you haven’t done so yet. A coming-of-age, friendship novel that tells the contrast between city and mountain: Paolo Cognetti The eight mountainsEinaudi publisher, 200 pages.


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