November 24th 2014
City 2.0. The Habitat of the Future and How to Get There. TED Books 2013. An excellent resource . It is pragmatic and full of real world achievable examples. The bonus is the linkage to individual writers and their individual TED talks. If you are in planning and urban design – a must read. Clearly written and a fairly quick read.
November 17th 2014
Baseline Selling. Dave Kurlan. 2006. ISBN 1420895672. I discovered the author in notes in another sales book. The idea of comparing selling to a baseball game was intriguing as at Rocketbuilders we had kicked the game idea around several times in our explanations in sessions. As Kurlan points out getting to every base and then hoem is very much like the stages in a selling process. I appreciated his care in pointing out the need to identify the buyers process ( long before it became fashion able to do so.) He also gives credit to several other authors ( including Sharon Drew Morgan) in shaping his point of view. A very reasoned and readable book, I highly recommend it to those new to sales or if you want to sharpen up your teams execution. His Blog is well done . http://www.omghub.com/
November 10th 2014
Smart Cities. Big Data, Civic backers, and the quest for a new utopia. Antony M. Townsend. 2013. A serious review/analysis of civic planning and how we got to the topic of smart cities. This is quite a neutral work that looks at most of the large and small projects and approaches that have been and are being tried. What the reader will appreciate is the chance to form his/her own opinions on the topic. The field is fast changing and the execution quite complex since cities are multi facets and subject to many inputs. Fiscal restraints can work to a benefit as large projects seem most prone to go off the rails. Again setting up a municipally owned fibre network seems to the starting point for today’s initiatives. Lengthy but a well written book heavily noted in the appendix.
November 3rd 2014
The Ten, Make That Nine Habits of Very Organized People, Make That Ten. The Tweets of Steve Martin. Steve Martin. 2014. Short hilarious book by what turns out to be a pretty smart guy. You will read it in no time , but laugh for a long time.
October 24th 2014
The Great War for Civilization. The Conquest of the Middle East. Robert Fisk.2006. ISBN 9781841150086. Although this book ends shortly after the capture of Saddam and the subsequent nightmare of an occupational war for the US in Iraq, the present horrific causalities of Palestinians in Gaza fits exactly with what Fisk predicted for the Middle East. This tome is a detailed description of what Fisk has observed with over 30 years of reporting for the Independent in the Middle East. He has the ability to report unvarnished observations of what goes on in these wars. He has no time for the “spun” stories and media managed material that both sides put forward. He tells you what he sees. Thus he is not the friend of the US, UK, Israel and the various trumped up despots that the West has supported in the Middle East since WW I . He is the describer and friend of the villagers, civilians and non combatants who find themselves in the hospitals, morgues, mass graves where ever these combats/power struggles play out. I was not surprised to see him sometimes labelled as an anti Zionist. Since he raises the question, if 10 Israeli’s are killed it is a massacre, but if 40 Palestinians die it is a tragedy. He asks who decides the difference in the wording? Through eye witness reports by himself and other journalists you see how war is portrayed by the the West to fulfill its own sense of right. Insightful and shocking you will never look at the news the same way. I began to agree that the Israelis are colonizing Gaza in direct violation of UN resolutions since 1967.
October 17th 2014
The One Week Marketing Plan. The Set It & Forget It Approach For Quickly Growing Your Business. Mark Satterfield. 2014. ISBN 9781939529787. The book is exactly as the title says. This is a very updated compilation of successful direct marketing approaches that are tested and effective in the world of content marketing. It can be just this simple ,especially for a start- up that sees so much that needs to be done. By following this book you will have a rudimentary program up and running that will give you feedback on much of your marketing content. Now its never this easy, as many of us are incapable of creating the type of effective copy needed for this to really work. But by following these ideas you will have much better idea of what will work and an appreciation of those who can write compelling copy. Easy to read and very well laid out. So its a good resource.
October 13th 2014
The Organized Mind. Thinking straight in the age of information overload. Daniel J. Levitin 2014. ISBN 9780670067640. The author is a favorite. If you enjoyed This is Your Brain on Music , you will also like this new book. Very thorough, academic yet retaining that easy to read style this book is journey for all of us to travel. I was taken with the insights on multi tasking ( we just don’t) as well as how to organize yourself, your inputs and what to do better equip your children for their futures from early on. Read this as a productivity tool, to improve employee retention, a guide to better understanding motivation, for tips on education , or read it for the sheer joy of a well written book. Yes I am a fan.
October 6th 2014
Walkable City . How Downtown can save America one step at a time. Jeff Speck. 2012. ISBN 9780865477728. The author, a city planner /designer has written an urban yet very readable guide to helping cities get away from their car addictions. Many of our local public forums return to keeping our city( New Westminster) a walkable city. Specks book is a great first step in seeing what can be and is being done in many places. He does an excellent job of stipping us of the car based blinders and prejudices that we all have in North America. I appreciated that he noted the efforts of Vancouver and Portland in these efforts.
I just completed a journey to Greece and Western Turkey and it is blindingly how much more interesting an old, pre car built city is for walking than one that is car based. And how increased traffic can really bind up these cities. Too bad they look to the West for insight son how to handle this. Kind of like asking a heroin addict how to kick the habit.
Speck also does a great job of showing/ linking our car based designs to increased carbon footprints and how some thoughts in design can ameliorate/prevent self induced issues. That was again brought to me in the Turkish city of Marmaris which had many covered streets/bazaars that were very pedestrian oriented. This was in a city that has an average daily temp of 30 degs. Shade is really important. Terminal 2 in Heathrow, UK is another good example , which uses mostly north facing windows to prevent increased heat build up in the open plan building. Its is a good job. If you fly Star Allinace you can experience this.
I recommend this to anyone interested in living in a more interesting, energetic and vibrant city.
October 1st 2014
The Outlander series. Diana Gabaldon. 2005 to 2014. This is an eight part series in the romantic historical fiction genre. These book s, if done well require an enormous amount of work to write to retain some form of historical accuracy. This author also chooses to write huge books, with good character development. So much development that she writes other novels that insert between the main novels in the series.
While playing in the Aegean Sea over the last 18 days I plowed through the main 8 part series, thank you Kindle. Despite being at first glance chick books the author writes a damn good tale and drives to lots of suspense. However she does not kill off any of her main characters, which makes the stores less gripping as you know they will be saved.
Interested ? Google for more detail on the stories. If nothing else you will improve your Gaelic. The present TV series grabs parts from a few of the books. Reading the books will spoil any surprise in the TV series.
September 12th 2014
The Social Employee. Success lessons from IBM, AT&T, Dell and Cisco on building a social culture. Cheryl & Mark Burgess. 2014. ISBN 9780071816410. Very thorough job on what the four firms have done in this space. A very useful book when you are a large firm looking to benchmark your initiatives. The early chapters give any company good ideas about how to engage your employees and the benefits of spreading the social work around. I appreciated their guidelines to help put bounds around what can be done. Good easy to read style.