Date posted: 26/03/2019 8 min read

How to better manage your brain and your business

The CA Library has resources to teach you how to sharpen your focus, build a cybershield for your business, and lots more.

In Brief

  • In Hyperfocus, Chris Bailey provides a practical guide to managing your brain to become more productive, creative and happier.
  • Other available titles include Digital Resilience, which outlines an effective approach to cybersecurity, and The Barefoot Investor for Families, a money guide for children and teenagers.
  • All library services, excluding the cost of returning books, are free to CA ANZ members.

By Alexandra Johnson

Hyperfocus: How to work less and achieve more

Hyperfocus: How to work less and achieve more

By Chris Bailey (Pan Macmillan)

The age of distraction is upon us. Studies show we work for an average of just 40 seconds in front of a computer before we’re sidetracked. Whether we’re writing an email or having dinner with a friend, we spend half of our time and attention on what’s not in front of us.

In Hyperfocus, Chris Bailey, author of The Productivity Project, turns his attention to our attention – to decipher how we think and achieve things, and how we can do it better.

In this practical guide to managing our brains, Bailey offers a methodology to become more productive, creative and happier, both at work and at home. Productivity is not about busyness. It’s about doing the right thing in each moment.

Bailey takes us through practical techniques to increase our awareness, focus better, and potentially achieve more in a couple of hours than we may in a day.
Neuroscientists have found we have two major modes of thinking – a focused, productive mode they call “hyperfocus” and a creative mode, or “scatterfocus”, where we let our minds wander more freely, and find more unexpected connections between disparate ideas.

The key is to set aside time for both modes: hyperfocusing when the time is right and intentionally scatterfocusing when we can. (Scatterfocusing is most effective when we are doing something habitual, such as going for walk.)

While this book at times points out the obvious, it has plenty of food for thought. Because just as you are what you eat, you are what you pay attention to.

Digital Resilience: Is your company ready for the next cyber threat?

Digital Resilience: Is your company ready for the next cyber threat?

By Ray A Rothrock (Amacom)

Today’s digital networks are no longer an adjunct to business, they have become the substance of it. If you are not ensuring your company is prepared for a cyber threat you could be in for some nasty surprises.

Ray Rothrock is one of America’s leading cybersecurity experts and warns that if your business is connected to the internet, it’s at risk. Cybersecurity must be seen as an integral part of an organisation – not a reluctant expense instigated by the IT department.

Rothrock offers no magic bullet. It is not enough, he says, to simply erect a firewall and hope for the best. In fact, a security wall that cuts you off from threats could also cut you off from business. 

While firewalls, guards, access control and encryption are all essential, an organisation must also build digital resilience. The way to do business in today’s connected world is through actively monitoring networks, identifying weaknesses and embedding a recovery plan.

This book was written for C-suite executives so they can clearly understand what’s at stake and how to survive – or even thrive – in an inherently insecure digital environment. Rothrock urges a holistic strategy, and recommends business leaders have an operational philosophy that enables their organisations to operate while under attack, learn from mistakes, and recover as quickly and completely as possible.

The Barefoot Investor for Families: The only kids’ money guide you’ll ever need

The Barefoot Investor for Families: The only kids’ money guide you’ll ever need

By Scott Pape (HarperCollins)

While we teach our children to eat with a knife and fork, and ride a bike, let’s face it, few of us impart good money management with much enthusiasm or success.

The seemingly indefatigable Scott Pape, whose book The Barefoot Investor was Australia’s top seller in 2017, turns his focus to kids and how to help them become financially savvy.

Sound too good to be true? Pape’s ideas are original, refreshingly doable – and fun. From how to get your four-year-old child on board, to helping your teenager get their first job, this book is full of useful tips and a must-have for both homes and schools.

But it’s not all about money. Pape has come up with the “barefoot ten” – steps to ensure your child is willing to pitch in around the house, understands the value of helping people in need, and can cook a meal for the family.

The cornerstone is a regular family meal, along with three jam jars and the “family legends” game which inspires storytelling and no-tech togetherness. Pape is under no illusion parents and kids will adopt and maintain any complicated program – three minutes of money management per meal is all that’s required.

There’s a cheeky charm that shines throughout the book. It’s a fun weekend read that could help you set your kids up for a life.

Also recommended

Your Happiness Was Hacked: Why tech is winning the battle to control your brain – and how to fight back

Your Happiness Was Hacked: Why tech is winning the battle to control your brain – and how to fight back

By Vivek Wadhwa and Alex Salkever (Berrett-Koehler)

Have “unhealthy behaviours” in our use of technology become habits? Such behaviours can rob us of time and affect our relationships. This book explores how attitudinal shifts in our tech relationship can bring positive outcomes to our lives.

The 1 Minute Commute: Turn your skills into a business you’ll love, be your own boss, work from home

The 1 Minute Commute: Turn your skills into a business you’ll love, be your own boss, work from home

By Robert Gerrish (Pan Macmillan)

Robert Gerrish discusses how to map your path, seize your market and define your work style to become your own boss. There is also advice on how to build a loyal following, compete in an online world, and create a lifestyle-friendly business.

Retirement Fail: The 9 reasons people flunk post-work life and how to ace your own

Retirement Fail: The 9 reasons people flunk post-work life and how to ace your own

By Greg Sullivan (Wiley)

An experienced CA and wealth manager, Greg Sullivan examines the ways people who have worked and saved hard then squander retirement savings through bad decision-making. He offers advice on how to implement a financially secure retirement.

The Art and Science of Financial Modeling

The Art and Science of Financial

By Anurag Singal (Business Expert Press)

Learn how to create effective financial models, interpret the results and feel confident of their accuracy. Anurag Singal explains the skillset required to prepare financial models for business, including mergers and acquisitions, venture capital, or long-term financial forecasting for companies.

Listen

Freakonomics Radio

Podcasts that give an economist’s viewpoint on a wide range of subjects, from the horrors (or collaborative joys?) of the open-plan office to how schools stifle creativity.

Watch

How Conscious Investors Can Turn Up the Heat and Make Companies Change – TED Talk

By Vinay Shandal (Run time 13.37 mins)

BCG partner Vinay Shandal discusses the correlation between environmental, social and governance factors in financial performance.

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