Reads: Fall and Winter 2019. 

As researchers, explorers, and strategists, we’re constantly seeking out new perspectives and lenses through which to observe, listen to, and connect with our fellow humans. This innate sense of curiosity serves us – and our clients – well in the work that we do, but it can also be overwhelming. So. Much. To. Learn. So. Many. Articles. Books. Podcasts. Documentaries. 

Sometimes you just need a mercilessly selective, highly recommended list of a few must-reads. Ideally at that time of year when the leaves are turning (or in the case of Chicago, snow is plummeting), temperatures are dropping, and you have a sudden yearning for all things hygge.

Well, look no further! We recently launched a mini crowd-sourcing request internally asking for just that. So get those kettles fired up, curl up in your favorite comfy chair, and get ready to get your coziness and learning on with these highly-recommended Sound Reads.


Some things you can look forward to:

Challenging yourself to see the world with new eyes

Open-minded and empathetic as we would like to think that we are, all humans are subject to a slew of subconscious biases and can easily settle into a routine way of looking at the world. It’s only healthy to question these patterns from time to time – and to do that, we must first become aware of them. 

From Hans Rosling’s 10 tricks for better understanding the world, to Caroline Criado Perez’s critical look at the way data systematically fails to take into account gender, these reads will have you reevaluating outdated assumptions and taking a more critical look at the information used to justify our public policy, healthcare systems, and even economic development.

Understanding the psychology behind decision making

If studying people has taught us anything, it’s that they don’t always make sense. People say one thing and do another. They contradict themselves wildly. And they don’t always know the “why” behind their behaviors or attitudes. It’s part of what makes humans so fascinating. 

Dan Ariely takes us through our constant tendency to behave irrationally – to overpay, underestimate, and procrastinate when it comes to a plethora of daily decisions and behaviors. And Daniel Kahneman expertly guides us through the human mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think: System 1 and System 2. Both books will leave you with a deeper understanding of the forces behind human behavior and decision-making.  

Gaining inspiration from brands who are getting it right

What do Red Bull, Samsung, Visa, and Innocent have in common? An ability to connect with fundamental human emotions, values, and greater purpose – an ability that positively impacts their financial performance. In the ultimate Brand Purpose Bible, Jim Stengel shows us how this ability has catapulted brands like these into the 50 best in the world. And to learn from not just the best, but also the most differentiated brands in the world, we give you Youngme Moon’s take on the outlier brands – those who chose adventure over orthodoxy and deviation over conformity. Inspiration guaranteed. 

Happy reading! Check out the deck, here!




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