September 1st 2014

Total Recall. Arnold Schwarzenegger & Peter Petre.

English: Arnold Schwarzenegger in July 2003

Total Recall. Arnold Schwarzenegger & Peter Petre.2012. ISBN 9781451662436. I have  admired Arnold for how he trained and drove himself to be the holder of more titles than anyone in bodybuilding by having a strong goal directed life.  This story talks on his whole life – how the goal to go to America came early , the journey to be a leading man in moves and then governor of California, the work involved, his family, marriage/divorce and his plans for the future.  The press too often gives a shallow view of public figures, this book gives you the depth needed to what is obviously a very driven, hard worker.  I am giving this book to all my sons as an example of what anyone can do in their life.  I liked the pace and writing style- it flowed well and seemed an extremely balanced view, all things considered.  It all comes down to reps or mileage.  Just  do it.

August 18th 2014

Who Gets Promoted Who Doesn’t and Why. 12 things you better do if you want to get ahead. Donald Asher

SVT Happy Hour

Who Gets Promoted Who Doesn’t and Why. 12 things you better  do if you want to get ahead. Donald Asher. 2007, 2014. ISBN 9781607746003.  A book filled with very sage career advice from an author who really knows this stuff. As I read the book I kept saying to myself, I wish I knew this when I was …on and on. He has a great sensitivity to all aspects of being in the workforce. I appreciated all the advice he directed to women and those who supervised them.  I enjoy the use of real life examples, to bring the points home. A book for anyone who wants a career to “moves” and gives them challenges and fulfillment.  If you think you are  a fast tracker – get this book to read, reread and keep forever. There is not a wasted word.

August 15th 2014

The Myths of Innovation. Scott Berkun.

Illustration from a collection of myths.

The Myths of Innovation. Scott Berkun. 2009. O”Reilly ebook.  The author was a Microsoft  IE coder and has written a few books for O’Reilly.  This one really blows the door off on common myths wrto innovation. I liked the book, it does a great job, is easy to read and well referenced. If you are in the Innovation “game” this is a must read book. No quick answers but lots of insights.

August 11th 2014

House of Lies. How management consultants steal your watch and then tell you the time. Martin Kihn

English: Abandoned house. The derelict house l...

House of Lies. How management consultants steal your watch and then tell you the time. Martin Kihn. 2005. ISBN 0446576565. Quite a hilarious book that was the inspiration for  House of Lies the TV series.  Yet the TV series is funnier than this book.  I appreciated the dictionary of consultants words and tongue in cheek  quick summaries of the Worlds Best business books. The portrayals are so gritty and  honest that you wonder how the industry of consulting could sustain itself.  Yet it did for many years.   Its an easy book to read and good for a cross country flight.  But get it out of the library – not a keeper.

August 8th 2014

Lawrence In Arabia. War Deceit, Imperial Folly and the making of the Modern Middle East. Scott Anderson

Middle East at Night (NASA, International Spac...

Lawrence In Arabia. War Deceit, Imperial Folly and the making of the Modern Middle East. Scott Anderson. 2013. ISBN. 9780385532938.  A well researched, thorough book that will give the student of history, politics  and events a good grounding into why the Middle East will continue to be a problem.  For me it reiterates that the US will continue to be foolish in its “help” to the Middle East – as it tends never to learn from history and experience. It was tragicomic to read about the boundless incompetence of the British military in WW I which cause untold millions to die unnecessarily.  Our trip last year through Turkey taught us much about that country , but their “version” of this time has been rewritten to put Ataturk in the best light with a glossing over of the dreadful effect the Young Turks had on the whole thing.   Lawrence does not come away as an inveterate truth teller in his own writings.  The reader will learn about the machinations of the French and Germans , Arabs and  Zionists in all this as well.   Well worth the read.

August 5th 2014

A Bigger Prize. How we can do better than the competition. Margaret Heffernan.

Schutzenschnur competition

A Bigger Prize. How we can do better than the competition. Margaret Heffernan. 2014. ISBN 9780385679831.  The author, after some very thoughtful , thorough research, has put together a well written, concise book that shows how competition is not the be all and end all of moving forward. All to quickly much of society is moving toward a belief that in  order fo an individual to get ahead someone else has to lose – the zero sum game.She pretty well slams the  counterproductive effects of competition  on :

  • education
  • sports
  • academia
  • research
  • financial services
  • software
  • music
  • movies
  • drug discovery
  • subprime debt
  • and more

What makes her arguments so compelling is that we have all seen exactly what she is pointing out and that if we allow this win at all cost approach to continue we will all be worse off. Not so say reading this will cause you to become a card carrying Occupy Wallstreet member, but unfettered capitalism /competition (in order for me to get ahead, you have to lose)  is taking us down the wrong road. What hit me the hardest is my current research on human development and innovation is pointing to similar conclusions as this author.   If you are any kind of leader, coach, educator this is one book you must read.

August 1st 2014

Made in America. An informal history of the english language in the United States. Bill Bryson

English: Bill Bryson in 2005. Bill Bryson Amer...

Made in America. An informal history of the english language in the United States. Bill Bryson. 1994/2001. ISBN 0380713810.  A funny yet very insightful book as only Bryson can  write it. Well researched with copious annotations this is book for historians, writers,  political scientists and students of all ages.  I learned so much from this book such as

  • The Pilgims were incredibly stupid  and unprepared for their settling of America
  • American angst over public sex, visual and written owes much to the Puritan influence
  • Current ideas about political correctness are seriously flawed.
  • Many Americanisms came from England – but the Brits could no longer recognize them.
  • America is an incredibly funny and diverse place.

Have ago if you can find this book (Its on Amazon) , it is well worth the read.

July 28th 2014

Edgy Conversations. How ordinary people can achieve outrageous success. Dan Waldschmidt

Jaguar E-Type 4.2 at Samuel's in Allston: View...

Edgy Conversations. How ordinary people can achieve outrageous success.  Dan Waldschmid. 2014. ISBN 9780989533102. I have received a few of these Git up and Go types of books over the years and invariably as an optimist I find lots of value in them.  The book comes with a small workbook and some motivating  book markers. The content hits hard and it makes a whole lot of sense.  You will enjoy his case studies of folks who achieves despite all sorts of obstacles.  I really appreciated the chapter on giving ( The g of edgy) as it is very true and it is not a tit for tat thing. You give because you like giving. Full stop.  There a few pages on what some people achieved at ages 1 through 100. Awesome.

July 25th 2014

Hire Right, Higher Profit$ The executive’s guide to building a world-class sales force. Lee B. Salz.

English: Cost-Volume-Profit diagram, showing b...

Hire Right, Higher Profit$ The executive’s guide to building a world-class sales force. Lee B. Salz. 2013. ISBN 9781493762620. This concise very readable volume packs in a lot of game changing information on hiring top quality sales people. These is just so much great common sense that I was surprised that someone else had not done this work before.  The ideas and strategies the author puts forth are practical and I know they work.   Why not have marketing help you write your sales ad?  They know  how to attract customers,  a salesman is another type of customer.   I have seen the hiring done very poorly and not often well.   This book will help you immensely in doing the job very well. Every sales manager needs this book on their desk. Once you read it you will keep it close to hand.

July 21st 2014

Enlightening Moments. Living Beyond the Frustration Cycle. Gary & Radha Bello

I'm Waiting. Fading. Floating Away.

Enlightening Moments. Living Beyond the Frustration Cycle. Gary & Radha Bello. 2011. ISBN  9780615526621.  I was introduced to Gary and his work by a mutual friend. After sitting with them for a few hours I was very intrigued by his views on life and living. Our meeting had to do with the present interest in Mindfulness in home and workplace. Gary has been helping people become more aware his whole life.  And Mindfulness is seeking to become more aware.  After our meeting Gary presented me with this book. It took me awhile to get to the thin but powerful book but I am glad I did. First he helped me see the difference between between aware of a situation vs reacting to it. Awareness allows you to surf the wave of the situation and come though it in a state of control and well being. Reacting leads to frustration, distracting and issue related behaviors.  Most of us are reacting. And let me say reacting does not work.  I also appreciated his weaving in of mediation and reflection in small doses/activities that really worked for me.  I am passing this book onto my sons as I feel it will be very valuable to them as much as it was to me.