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Blog: Quote
  • Writer's pictureTara Rethore

What’s on Your Desk & in Your Ears?

Welcome 2021! Like most people, I’m particularly excited to turn the page on the calendar this year. While little will change about our environment in the near term, the mere possibilities engendered by “new and different” are heartening. Thus, my Reading and Listening list for 2021 includes things I will explore, rather than solely those I’ve already found to be valuable. Drawing from the many recommendations I’ve received over the year, here’s what I will be reading and listening to in 2021 – and why.


Think Like a Rocket Scientist – One of’s “6 Books You Need to Read in 2020”, this book seems particularly relevant in COVID-times. It provides a way of thinking that helps you to confront complex situations and challenges when there is little to guide you. I’m looking forward to unpacking the strategies offered by author Ozan Varol to identify nuggets of inspiration – and practical tips – I might share with clients to enhance their visioning and strategic thinking.

White Fragility: Why It’s So Difficult for White People to Talk About Racism – Leaders must be ready and willing to have difficult conversations at work (as I discussed in Silence: It Isn’t Always Golden). 2020 brought the topic of systemic racism out of hiding and into boardrooms and offices like never before. I’m reading Robin DiAngelo’s book to better understand how my own actions and language contribute to the problem. With this self-knowledge, I hope to become a more active part of the solution.

Principles: Life & Work – A client recommended this book by Ray Dalio, founder and CEO of Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund in the world. Known also for his ideals of “radical truth” and “radical transparency”, Dalio shares both his principles and how they can be used to make decisions and get the results you want in work and life. Dalio has a new book on the horizon, too: The Changing World Order: Where We Are & Where We’re Going. The title alone suggests this will be an excellent read amid global pandemic, economic recession, and dramatic social change.


Hello Monday with Jessi Hempel. So much about work and life changed during 2020. This seems likes a wonderful way to explore what it may mean for the long haul. Which aspects of our pandemic life will become permanent? Which can we eliminate? What have we really learned, both for ourselves and for the collective? How do we use this insight to do, find, pursue, or be something different?

Team Anywhere is a new podcast hosted by Mitch Simon and Ginny Bianco-Mathis. Its mission is to unlock the skills and practices leaders need to work effectively with disperse teams – a phenomenon that’s existed since the start of globalization and become even more visible during the pandemic. Their guests come from a variety of disciplines and experiences; all share how they lead, engage, develop, and inspire teams. I loved chatting with Mitch and Ginny in November (Episode 16). I’m excited to see where they take this podcast – and what they learn in the process.

This American Life hosted by NPR’s Ira Glass is a delightful, eclectic mix of stories and themes. They cover a rich array of the wild, wacky, wonderful, surprising, heartbreaking, and heartwarming moments that capture – and captivate – people. I’ve placed it in my listening library as a cheerful diversion and a provocative pursuit.

What’s on your reading and listening lists for 2021?

© 2021 Tara J Rethore. All rights reserved. Permission granted to excerpt or reprint with attribution.


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