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5 Books on 'HOPE' you must read.

By Glen Gerreyn

I am aware that not everybody would have a natural affinity with the word HOPE. You might call it positivity, belief, vision or faith. It doesn't matter what your expression of hope is, we can all agree that it is an essential element in the struggle to both survive and thrive.

Hope is one of the key components in Positive Education. Using the strengths based approach and emphasising and building upon positive emotions, schools and workplaces can become optimal places of learning and creativity.

The US Air Force believe there is one number that can help you survive in any situation and that number is 3. Remember this number when you are in a survival situation so you understand your list of priorities.

They believe you cannot survive:

3 months without companionship or love.

3 weeks without food.

3 days without water.

3 hours without shelter in extreme conditions.

3 minutes without air.

3 seconds without HOPE.

HOPE is often made up of a one-two combination of belief and expectation. When in a positive emotional state neurochemicals called endorphins are released, which enable us to overcome obstacles we would not otherwise be able to scale.

HOPE therefore is not just an idea I want to spread, but a value I wish to embolden. Hence here are my top five books on HOPE I would recommend:

1. The Psychology of Hope - C.R. Snyder

This is the HOPE text book. Professor Snyder was a specialist in the area of positive psychology. Most of his work was conducted at the University of Kansas. For a text book, it is a great read full of illustrations, insights and clinical cases. It presents the theory of hope. Hope Theory consists of three elements. Number one is the ability of an individual to envision goals. The second characteristic is that the person would understand there are many pathways to that goal and the third element is self-efficacy; the capacity of a person to muster up power and energy in pursuit of that goal. If these three elements are in place a person has hope. A great read for anyone leading a company, a school or a family.

2. The Anatomy of Hope - Dr Jerome Groopman

Why do some people find and sustain hope during difficulty circumstances, while others do not? This book explains why. Dr Jerome discusses his experiences of thirty years of medical practise. It distills the reach and limits of hope and also the difference between false hope and true hope. He explains that for many, their initial response to hope is vague and mythical, thinking of it as a "magical want in a fairy tale that will by itself miraculously restore a patient". He as a 'rational scientist trained to decode the sequence of DNA and decipher the function of proteins fled the fairy-tale claims of hope.' But now every day tries to look for hope in his patients.

3. Resonant Leadership - Richard Boyatzis - Annie McKee

Whilst not a book elusively on hope this book does dedicate a whole chapter to its importance. The books subtitle is telling; 'Renewing Yourself and Connecting with Others Through Mindfulness, Hope and Compassion. Napoleon Bonaparte said, 'Leaders are dealers in Hope'. The capacity to lead is totally dependant on the leaders ability to inspire hope. One of my favourite ideas from this book is that hope is not delusional, hope "gives us the strength to deal with the current reality while engaging our talents in moving toward the future."

4. Making Hope Happen - Dr Shane Lopez

Modern and incredibly well researched. It is a book for people who believe that their future can be better than their past and who look for a way to make it so. His message is clear. Hope Matters. Hope is a choice. Hope can be learned. Hope is contagious. Dr Shane is a Gallup Senior Scientist therefore his data is first class. He has published seven books including the Encyclopaedia of Positive Psychology. Filled with great information on why hope is vital in every arena and how hope increases our productivity.

5. Hope in the Dark - Rebecca Solnit

This is a beautiful piece of art incredibly written and vital for every activist who has ever had doubts about their cause. Our world today is complex and uncertain and full of disruption politically, technologically. socially and environmentally. This book helps the activist realise that every act does in fact make a difference and that the positive consequences of our acts are not always immediately measurable. It also helps the leader to embrace uncertainty because it is more useful and more accurate that either passive optimism, pessimism or despair.

Hope is tenacious. Hope is audacious. Hope is positively contagious.

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