Books That Matter is Tracking Wonder’s interview series that showcases influential thinkers’ and authors’ relationships with books that matter to them.
Few people bring joyful mindfulness to entrepreneurship and to pivoting toward the next best thing the way dynamo Jenny Blake does. When corporate life nearly spent Jenny’s soul, she discovered the power of meditation and other mindful practices to help be her best during the most demanding career transitions.
Jenny’s book Pivot: The Only Move That Matters is Your Next One (Penguin Portfolio) lays out a clear 4-part Pivot Method for high-net growth and impact individuals to craft more meaningful work. In this Books That Matter feature, Jenny shares the book that helped her through her pivots and why she’d dive back into Arabic for Dummies if she could.
Jeffrey: What one book most took off the top of your head (Dickinson on poetry) or was “the axe for the frozen sea within” you (Kafka) or otherwise just changed something profound within you? What did it do for you? Maybe a book that lit you up as a child or that turned you on as a young adult or last week that salved some pain or turned your thinking upside-down
Jenny: The one that got me through one of the most challenging pivot points of my life was Outrageous Openness by Tosha Silver. It taught me the power of surrender, and going with the flow rather than trying to plan next moves with perfect specificity. Highly recommend as a reassuring, fun, and quirky-yet-powerful read.
Was there a book you imagined living inside of growing up?
The Never Ending Story—I loved picturing myself playing hooky from school, sitting up in an attic reading an epic adventure novel. Though Alice in Wonderland would be pretty fun too.
What’s the one book you’ve have most often re-read. Why?
Frequency: The Power of Personal Vibration, by Penney Peirce, because it teaches me how to find and return to my “inner blueprint” and home frequency.
What kinds of books are you most appreciating or seeking these days?
Books that are about re-wiring one’s brain by taking full responsibility for any agitation. Books like Loving What Is and Seat of the Soul.
You’ll read anything by whom?
Nassim Taleb, Tosha Silver, Byron Katie, Penney Peirce and John Welwood.
Survey: Roughly what % of books do you read digitally versus in paper?
I read 25% of my books digitally on Kindle for iPad (mostly while traveling) versus in 75% on paper, preferably hardcover.
In a sentence or two, what’s your forecast for the future of publishing?
I’m still all for traditional publishing, but I think it’s fantastic that people have such sophisticated self-publishing resources at their fingertips too.
If you had five days off to read books next week, which books would you at last read?
I’m learning Arabic at the moment, which is a bit of a guilty pleasure since it doesn’t directly relate to my work, so I’d dive back into the audiobook by Pimsleur and Arabic for Dummies. I love learning how to read and write the Arabic script too—it’s beautiful, one of our original languages, and not as complicated as one might initially think.
Which book would you want everyone to read? Why?
The little-known book I most relish and champion is Living With Joy.
What is the one thing you hope readers of your book Pivot come away with?
The one thing I hope readers come away with is that pivot points—hitting a plateau or feeling confused about what’s next—are not a personal shortcoming, but much more often a product of our success, especially if you’re what I call a high-net growth (and impact) individual.
JENNY BLAKE, Silicon Valley born and bred, is an author, international speaker, business strategist, career coach, and yogi now living and working in NYC. After five and a half years in career development at Google, Blake left her job in 2011 to launch her first book, Life After College, and has since run her own consulting business in New York City. Her latest book, Pivot, outlines a four-stage process to mindfully navigating career paths.