"If you only read the books that everybody else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking," said author Haruki Murakami.
We’re a bit of a nerdy, book-loving set here at Hubb. Our bookshelves are lined with the usual event planning tomes, but we’re also partial to books from authors outside our industry. These authors open new ways for us to think about and solve the challenges our events face.
We asked the event profs of Hubb what their favorite unorthodox books for event managers were and the results are in. Here are seven books other event profs aren’t likely reading and which can help you gain an edge on your peers.
1. The Lean Startup - Eric Ries
Yes, really, a book about startups. But hear us out: author Eric Ries defines a startup as "an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty," which sure sounds like a lot of the works we as event managers do. And whether we're working to deliver a completely unique experience that blows our attendees away, or to drive a massive ROI, the lessons shared within The Lean Startup—how to quickly make ideals reality, how to effectively measure your progress, and how to understand (and deliver) what your customers want—are highly applicable to the events world.
2. The Future of Happiness - Amy Blankson
Our mobile phones play a huge role in our lives, even more so as especially as meeting managers, but have they made us happier? Probably not. Instead, we bet your phone makes you feel anxious, unfocused, and unconnected with other people. This smart book by Amy Blackson gives tips for how we can manage our relationship with our phones, setting boundaries so we can balance productivity with sanity and ultimately, be happier.
3. The Untethered Soul - Michael Singer
One of the biggest limitations on us professionally is….ourselves; our own doubts and fears hold us back and prevent us from reaching our full potential. The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer will help you live in the moment, let go of thoughts and emotions that hold us back and quiet that internal voice of doubt that can be so destructive if left unchecked.
4. Drive - Daniel Pink
The power of persuasion is a key skill for event managers, who must manage teams and stakeholders in and outside of organizations. Read Drive by Daniel Pink and you'll have a better understanding of what motivates people, and how you can use it to help put everything together.
5. Quiet - Susan Cain
Everybody is not the same. Intuitively we know this, but what are the implications for our events, the experiences we create, and how we motivate our teams? In Quiet, Susan Cain explores one of the fundamental divides in human make-up and its implications. Read Quiet for a nuanced understanding of how to better manage your teams and to create experiences that engage all your attendees.
6. Naked Statistics – Charles Wheelan
Statistics gets vilified as an obtuse, difficult to master skill. Charles Wheelan’s Naked Statistics proves those criticisms invalid. This easy-to-read and (dare we say) interesting book provides a quick introduction to helpful and seldom seen skill in the events world. If you’re looking improve your decision making and better understand the firehose of data now available to us, this book is an excellent place to start, no matter what your math background.
7. Find Your Focus Zone – Lucy Jo Palladino, Ph.D
Have you made it this far without checking your phone or looking at another browser tab? No? Read Find Your Focus Zone. You’re not alone in feeling like the opportunities for distraction have exploded in recent years. For event managers who need to operate at their peak, this focus deficiency is a real problem. Fortunately, Find Your Focus provides genuinely helpful advice for eliminating the daily distractions that prevent us from reaching our productivity potential.
Looking for more event planning-focused books? We recommend Meeting Architecture: A Manifesto by Maarten Vanneste. Beyond that, BizBash and Capterra also have good lists.
Want to up your game at your next conference? Check out the Ultimate Guide to Conference Planning eBook.