10 books to give away – and read – over the Christmas holidays

This year we are back at our traditional appointment with the books that are placed under the tree. The first book I recommend is Marco Cecchini’s book, L’enigma Draghi (Fazi-Verlag, 2020), which describes Draghi through the voice of people who had the opportunity to interact with him directly: central bank officials 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, then, that is not just about the “savior of the euro”, but also about a “manager” Mario Draghi, a man who, at a dramatic historical moment for Italy and the euro zone, had to make decisions, who was able to shape his career himself to the Headed first the Treasury, then the Bank of Italy, Goldman Sachs and the ECB.


IS an axiom: those who reach the top believe they have earned their success, those who didn’t deserve their destiny. The opportunities are the same for everyone, you just have to know how to use them. It really is like that? Reading this book by Michael Sanders, The Tyranny of Merit, raises some doubts. Because we live in a society of winners and losers (Feltrinelli editore, 288 pages, published in 2021).

The book begins with a message sequence. In 2019, US federal prosecutors accused thirty-three wealthy parents of fraudulently paying to secure their children’s admissions to prestigious universities such as Yale, Stanford and the University of California (USC).


There are several books that connect the world of sport with that of management. Many excessively push the teachings of highly decorated coaches and athletes to adapt them to the world of business and management. Franco Rossi and Luciano Sabbatini’s book 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 demarcation is important because it avoids the above-mentioned compulsion to talk about the competition, the winning mentality of the athlete and to transport him into the corporate world without mediation. This book is about sport, and that means that any parallels with your work experience, with your leadership, with your organization are your responsibility. It’s up to you to decide what makes sense to bring from the sports world to yours. And there is certainly no lack of ideas in this book.

Well, now that you know all about resilience and how to withstand the rigors you face every day at work, forget it all. Training courses, books and articles on resilience are a thing of the past. Or better. Now that you understand what resilience is, you need to realize that it is not enough. It’s not enough because it focuses on how to withstand shocks, how to be flexible, but doesn’t explain how to benefit from the experience, how to evolve after a problem arises and make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future occurs.


It is therefore necessary to go beyond the concept of resilience, take a step forward and read the book by Giuseppe Vercelli and Gabriella d’Albertas entitled Antifragili. Make fragility your strength and insecurity your workhorse (Feltrinelli editore, 256 pages, 2021). Giuseppe Vercelli is a professor of sports psychology at the University of Turin and has been responsible for the psychological department of Juventus FC since 2011. In this book, Vercelli introduces us to the concept of antifragility, which goes beyond that of resilience and is born after having passed and overcome a critical situation.


Each position vacated by a senior equals a new hire for a young person, the ratio is one to one. This axiom is actually a truism, as Elsa Fornero writes in her foreword to Gianbattista Rosa’s book Active Aging in Business. Transforming senior jobs from problem to chance (Franco Angeli editore, 2021, 120 pages).

A cliché based on the mistaken belief that the economic system consists of a ‘certain’ number of jobs and therefore a newcomer can only find a job if the job holders drop out accordingly. Recent Bank of Italy research tells us that the reality is more complex and that this replacement rate is limited to one worker for every two retirees. Also Elsa Fornero, in her foreword, countered the proponents of early retirement, arguing that such an initiative, touted as being beneficial to young people, would actually be at their expense and burden them with other taxes in order to guarantee social assistance to a growing number of pensioners.


Why are you upset? Why do certain situations at work exasperate you and trigger instinctive anger responses? They’ve tried all sorts of breathing techniques, but the colleague over there just can’t take it. If traditional techniques haven’t worked so far, try reading How to Never Lose Your Calm Again by Always Maintaining Control of the Situation by David J. Lieberman (TEA Publisher, 224 pages). Author, psychologist and bestselling author such as The Portable Psychoanalyst and Uncovering the Lies, he is a recognized expert in the behavioral sciences and interpersonal relationships.


Cal Newport also claims this in his bestseller Deep work. Maximum concentration: Only those who can focus their attention on complex activities related to their work will be successful in the future. People who will be able to say no to the dominant philosophy of multitasking, who will be able to detach themselves from the various technological devices when faced with a complex task, evaluating options, making decisions or themselves be able to creatively imagine a solution that is not yet visible. However, in order to be able to achieve the right concentration at work, it is necessary to equip yourself with tools that allow you to facilitate concentration yourself, one of these tools is the famous, ancient diary.


The agenda as a working tool is certainly nothing new. Used in paper or electronic form, the journal marks the daily life of our work activities, but are we sure that we are using the journal in the right 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 in the form of a philosophical interview dialogue with contemporary designer Roberto Rosso.

Multitasking is an animal ability, not a human ability. It is a regression to the animal world in nature. It is an indispensable attentional technique for survival in the wild habitat. In fact, a scavenging animal has to perform other tasks at the same time, e.g. B. 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 an ability of humans, of the work and information society. In fact, the rapid change of focus between different tasks, sources of information and processes creates a scattered and scattered attention in humans.


The philosopher Byung-Chul Han writes so much in the new edition of the book The Society of Fatigue (Nottetempo editions, 132 pages) that multitasking is defined as a threat to the integrity of the individual. Indeed, exhaustion and fatigue are the most common responses to this threat, so much so that burnout has been defined as the scourge of this century’s workers.


“The problems we face today become blessings in the rearview mirror of life. Over time, yesterday’s red light turns green.” It seems to be one of the usual motivational thoughts one reads after unwrapping another fortune cookie. On the other hand, what to expect from a book by a famous Hollywood actor that we’ve seen in an American comedy? What depth of thought can a collection of reflections contain, thoughts alternating with episodic stories from the life of Matthew McConaughey? This book, Greenlights. The art of walking down the mountain (Baldini & Castoldi-Verlag) has become a small publishing case, a success that transcends the fame of the actor. It is possible that those who bought the book, initially attracted and fascinated by the “brand” of the famous actor, did so as if it were a gadget. Then, thanks to word of mouth, this book became a bestseller.


And finally a novel that was published in 2018 but that I recommend you read if you haven’t already. A coming-of-age friendship novel that tells the contrast between the city and the mountains: Paolo Cognetti The Eight Mountains, Einaudi editore, 200 pages.

Leave a Comment