Yes. It’s time to shake off the cobwebs of summer, and try to sharpen our minds for the busy fall season ahead. To help, we recently asked Rulesware employees in the U.S, Mexico, and El Salvador, to share the books that inspire them. We were delighted with the responses. Our sharp-as-tacks employees offered up an eclectic range of titles that included everything from biographies and classic business must-reads to graphic novels and harrowing memoirs.
We hope you’ll find a little inspiration, too.
To inspire improved communication
This pick is a true classic. Ana, a Junior Developer in our Development Practice, who we first met just last December at a recruiting open house, notes that How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie “is an inspiring book that teaches us how to improve our social skills and how to clearly communicate our ideas in our business or personal lives.” For her personally, she says “this book helped me to understand that there is always a better way to say what you need to say, and it helped me to accept and respect the point of view of others, and to take challenges with a smile and to never give up.”
“My book shelf has some technical books and art books,” says Jose, an Engineer in our Development Practice, , “but Difficult Conversations – How To Discuss What Matters Most does not fit in those categories; it’s a different kind of book that helps you deal with difficult conversations at home and also at work or with friends.” He says “this book has encouraged me to see any difficult conversation as an opportunity to learn about the other person’s point of view, and to try improve relationships with my family, friends and at work.” Worthwhile indeed.
To inspire focus
Cesar, a Junior Engineer in our Development Practice, recommended Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, for offering lessons not just in leadership, but in life. A few highlighted takeaways for him:
- Choosing what not to do is as important as choosing what to do–and will help you to focus your attention on the things that really matter.
- Simplicity is the highest sophistication: make something intuitive rather than challenging to users
- Your passion should be your main focus of attention; all the rest is secondary.
- A good artisan uses the best material to do his job, and makes it as beautiful as possible even when nobody will see it, simply because that is his or her signature.
To inspire love, respect, and mindfulness
Alfonso, a Junior Engineer in our Development Practice, says Awareness by Anthony de Mello is “an amazing journey to understand how we as humans behave and why we react …[making] us more aware and conscious of our actions—something that’s required to build stable, trustworthy and collaborative work relationships.”
To inspire living with purpose and joy
“If you know that you’re going to die, and you have one last lecture to leave a legacy, what would you say to your students or children?” Marvin, one of our talented QA Engineers in El Salvador, asks this question to establish the context for discussing Randy Pausch’s wonderful The Last Lecture, a book capturing the lessons that Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, tried to pass along in his last-ever lecture on September 18, 2007—after he was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer.
“Many people might expect this talk to be about dying,” Marvin says. “But it had to be about living. He lectures here about the joy of life, and also talks about honesty, integrity, gratitude, and other things he held dear.” Pausch observed that just as engineering isn’t about perfect solutions, the lecture he gave wouldn’t be perfect either—but rather “about doing the best you can with limited resources.” Have a tissue on hand.
To inspire openness and awareness
Ivania, a Development Practice Lead who has been with Rulesware for 5 years after joining our very first wave in El Salvador, picks The Mastery of Love, or La Maestría del Amor, by Dr. Miguel Ruiz. The book, subtitled “A Practical Guide to the Art of Relationships,” asserts that awareness, freedom, and love are the essence of who we really are as people–concepts central to the Toltec tradition, which was practiced in southern Mexico by ancient artists and scientists.
“This has been a life changing book to me,” Ivania says. “It has opened my mind and heart to a different way of thinking and loving. I read it again when I find myself lost and struggling in life.”
To inspire self-knowledge
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Marcela, a Junior Engineer in our Development Practice, says this is one of the quotes from How to Get What You Want to Have by John Gray that she holds most dear. The book, she says, offers anecdotes and proven tools to help one achieve a fuller sense of personal identity, as well as “many stepping-off points for meditation exercises to help us ascertain what exactly it is that we want, and methods for removing the blocks in our way.”
To inspire strength (and perseverance!)
Sue, our Executive Assistant and skilled multi-tasker was inspired by the memoir of Jeannette Walls, as told in The Glass Castle (also just released as a movie). “The extreme challenges that Walls faced in childhood have molded her into the strong women she is today,” Sue observes. “It also shows that no matter what success we attain to in this life, we are always tied to the family we were born/raised in. It shows how you can take a challenge and turn it into a strength.”
Sue also picked Genome: An Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters by Matt Ridley, a book about the mapping of the human genome which is—according to the book—spelled out in a billion three-letter words using the four-letter alphabet of DNA. “There is so much information within these pages that you cannot absorb in one sitting,” says Sue, confessing that she’s now read it cover to cover at least three times. “I can’t even to begin to count how many times I have picked it up and re-read a few chapters at a time with highlighter and pencil in hand to mark my notations on its pages … But each time I read it I comprehend and absorb even more.”
To inspire courage
Erick joined Rulesware’s IT Department recently as a Network Administrator. He offers up the great Neil Gaiman as the author of one of his inspirational picks: the graphic novel The Sandman. For him, it’s the messaging within the adventurous plots that offer the most inspiration. In the 6th volume “Fables and Reflections,” for example, Erick describes a story, “Fear of Falling,” in which a playwright and director is terrified of either/both the inevitable success of failure of his new play. A guide, Morpheus, helps him not by offering advice but rather by forcing him to realize the conflict within his mind—the fear to failing or succeeding—which, as Erick observes, can prevent any one of us from fulfilling our dreams.
To inspire a positive attitude
“When I think about our lives here, I usually come to the conclusion that we live in a paradise compared to the Jews who aren’t in hiding.” ~Anne Frank
For Karen, a QA Engineer with Rulesware,, it’s the expressive power of young Anne Frank (in Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl) writing a diary, in hiding from the Nazis in the last years of her life, that inspires most profoundly. “Even when her life…was marked by poverty and limitations, she decided never lost faith and be positive that someday she was going to be free again to pursue her dreams and continue with her life,” Karen notes. “Her positivism while she was facing tough times reminded me that a change in our attitude can change our entire life.”
Have you got a recommendation for a book that inspired you? We’d love to hear it! Please add it in the comments below.