IZENTE Book Club January 2022

At the final management meeting of 2021, we were motivated to find a book that may inspire us as we enter the new year. It could be any genre, but the main takeaway should be that it helps us better ourselves as we start clean in 2022. Here is the round up of our picks, reviews, and how it will help us as we navigate the New Year. We hope to keep this going and provide you with a little insight as we delve into the reading realm together. 

David’s Pick: Conscious Leadership: Elevating Humanity Through Business by John Mackey, Steve McIntosh, and Carter Phipps

I’ll say that this was my idea for this book club of sorts (although our intuitive media manager helped build and encourage our ideas into something more). Books would be independently chosen of course because I feel most motivated and inspired by a read when it is something that I want to read. I’ve heard countless business partners and friends alike recommend John Mackey’s book and when the library had a copy available, I had to check it out. 

In summary, Conscious Leadership is about just that, the conscious reality of leadership. What heads of companies can thoughtfully do to innovate, change, and inspire. It is a collection of case studies, personal anecdotes, and techniques that left me inspired as a founder, leader, and human. I finished it in three afternoons meditating after each session to help comprehend and enlighten myself. I was left connected and have already purchased a used copy to keep in my personal collection. 

Conscious leaders infuse their organization’s purpose with authenticity and meaning. They make it come alive, in little ways and big ways, every day. Their passion for purpose can become a touchstone for those around them. They demonstrate and embody the “why” of an organization. And they show a reasonable pathway to “how.”

Mackey, McIntosh, and Phipps, Conscious Leadership: Elevating Humanity Through Business

A choice quote that left me particularly inspired was, “conscious leaders infuse their organization’s purpose with authenticity and meaning. They make it come alive, in little ways and big ways, every day. Their passion for purpose can become a touchstone for those around them. They demonstrate and embody the “why” of an organization. And they show a reasonable pathway to “how.”” 

It was after reading this book, I felt the changes IZENTE is making cement in my mind. I know that I am taking the company down the right path for the better. Building a stronger community and being ever present.

Melissa’s Pick: System Error: Where Big Tech Went Wrong and How We Can Reboot by Rob Reich, Mehran Sahami, and Jeremy M. Weinstein

This book has been on my Amazon wishlist for a while and after receiving it for Christmas from my wife, I felt it was the right one to read for this task. 

System Error was written by three Stanford professors. This sounds like the start of a joke, but actually the book itself was not joke-like and very eye opening. Much like taking a class that combines business, ethics, and technology I felt a return to college but in a good way. 

I feel that the publishers know best when it comes to summarizing content for the masses so here is a better description than I can provide on my own: 

System Error exposes the root of our current predicament: how big tech’s relentless focus on optimization is driving a future that reinforces discrimination, erodes privacy, displaces workers, and pollutes the information we get. This optimization mindset substitutes what companies care about for the values that we as a democratic society might choose to prioritize. Well-intentioned optimizers fail to measure all that is meaningful and, when their creative disruptions achieve great scale, they impose their values upon the rest of us.

Honestly, I thoroughly enjoyed this read. The authors worked together to thoughtfully balance a discussion on the frameworks of  technology, politics, and ethics and what we can do for the future. As someone who sees the intersection of big tech, business, and government on a daily basis, I found this to be an essential read in navigating the present and future. 

Jessica’s Pick: It’s About You Too.: How to Manage Employee Resistance to Your Diversity Initiatives and Improve Workplace Culture and Profitability by Lori B. Rassas

I really want to thank David, for inspiring us to step outside our comfort zones and find things that open our minds and help influence our business. I don’t really consider myself an avid reader, but I do enjoy reading and it is one of my goals to pick up more books that change my mind and challenge my viewpoints. To be perfectly honest, I picked this book because it was on a list and reading the description made me excited. I am now a bit of a fangirl for author Lori Rassas. A quick and dirty bio, she is an employment attorney, HR consultant, and lecturer for many higher ed institutions including Columbia and Cornell. Her book, It’s About You Too was published last year and is about transforming diversity initiatives, bettering your work culture, and engaging your employees. 

This was a really thought provoking book and made me stop and think about my actions as a HR manager, even with a small company I can evoke  big change. It’s About You Too provides so many interesting perspectives and helps the reader really look through the lens of different people in the workplace and how policy affects everyone. Diversity is everywhere, even if we don’t see it. Everybody in the workplace should be accounted for and thought of in the decision making process. 

Lori’s book not only had me thinking about my workplace, but workplace culture as a whole and how it needs to shift. How we navigate employee and employer relationships for the better. How we have those uncomfortable conversations. I am already expanding my diversity mosaic! 


Join us next month, hopefully, as we round up some more books read by management and how it is impacting and changing their business practices. 

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