The Ambits top 10 must-reads for the summer of 2021

The Ambits top 10 must-reads for the summer of 2021

12 July 2021
Gerrit Sarens
Gerrit Sarens
  • The internal Ambits team presents its Top 10 must-reads for leaders.

  • David's recommendations

  • Het no-nonsense meditatieboek (Steven Laureys)
    Meditation: you like it or dislike it. But it doesn’t always have to be fluffy and spiritual. Simply taking some time to not think, not look on your smartphone, read or discuss: it does your mind a lot of good. Steven Laureys proposes simple ideas on how to make meditation work for you.

  • Misschien wisten zij alles (Toon Tellegen)
    You might be reading bedtime stories to your kids before they go to sleep? Consider doing the same with your partner. It puts your busy day in perspective, especially when it’s a fairy tale that takes you on a journey far far away. A perfect quiet ending of the day, with some good life lessons on top!

  • Veerle's recommendations

  • Dare to Lead (Brene Brown)
    "Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them." and "Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind." When I have tough decisions to make or difficult conversations to steer through, these quotes help me stay true to who I am.

  • Mindset (Carole Dweck)
    A deep sigh of relief was heard when I read this book a few years back. Labeled 'not college material' as an adolescent, I struggled to accept my 'fate' and worked my ass off to prove to the contrary. And then miss Dweck researched that intelligence and personality cán be developed. The book gave me an explanation for my intense passion for learning and fuelled it even more.

  • Talent is overrated (Geoff Colvin)
    Talents alone do not guarantee success. Tenacity, perseverance, dedication, sacrifice to practice and practice and practice. Again, it's the mindset that makes for great performances.

  • Gerrit's recommendations

  • The daily stoic (Ryan Holiday)
    One of my all-time favorites. Where can you find joy? What's the true measure of success? How should we manage anger? Find meaning? Conquer grief? The answers to these questions and more lie at the heart of Stoic philosophy. The Daily Stoic is a compelling, accessible guide to living a good life, offering daily doses of this classic wisdom. You can read it one page per day (it will take you exactly one year) or just pick out what you need when you need it.

  • Egopreneur (Paul Van Den Bosch)
    I love to learn from top sporters. In this book, I have learned that you should not always go for the 100% as this will kill you in the end. Taking care of yourself is the basis to be able to take care of others. Not the other way around. Top sporters know very well how to do that. In this book, you learn how to become stronger and more resilient in a fast-changing and demanding world.

  • De kwetsbare leider (Joost Callens)
    This is definitely one that I re-read regularly. When you have read this book, you know what authentic leadership means. It's about showing your vulnerability, recognizing your emotions, knowing yourself and being true to your values. When leaders are able to translate this into their company culture, you have the basis for top performance. One side remark: this takes a lot of courage!

  • Afspraak aan de meet (Luc Rademakers)
    This book is written by one of our mentors. It's a fact that lots of successful leaders and entrepreneurs are also fanatic cyclists. The author explores the parallels between the drive to win a race and growing as a leader. This book is based on testimonials from 11 leaders. It is about three important ingredients for successful leadership: independence, perseverance and result orientation.

Struggles of a manager

Managers are

  • not or inadequately trained in this role


    • lack self-confidence
    • don’t know how to go from being a colleague to being a boss
    • need to loosen up on the command & control leadership style
    • must let go of the (technical) expert status
    • cannot give or accept constructive feedback
    • feel pressure to perform as manager
    • have difficulty building relationships
    • want to be liked by everyone or want to be the ‘bad boss’
    • play the hero
  • are struggling


    • stay too involved in operations
    • have trouble prioritizing
    • cannot delegate
    • fear conflict situations
    • disconnect from the team
    • deal with flawed strategic thinking
    • do not relate to higher management
    • lack clear communication skills
    • remain not self-aware
    • avoid difficult conversations
    • miss political antennas
    • ...
  • capable of more


    • need mental preparation as successor
    • need to be able to lead big changes ahead
    • need to learn to be emotionally resilient and in control
    • need to learn to make big decisions fast without all the information
    • must become persuasive presenters
    • need to learn how to cultivate their own personal brand
    • need to learn how to lead by example
    • manage by trust, not by fear
    • need to overly develop empathy
    • ...
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