Archive for the 'Leadership' Category

Finding My Virginity. The new Autobiography. Richard Branson.

English: Sir Richard Branson at the eTalk Fest...

Finding My Virginity. The new autobiography. Richard Branson. 2017.  ISBN 9780735219434.  Well,  you could not find a more elaborate showman than Branson and he certainly has no issues with tooting his own horn ( Now for the second time) .  That said he is also a master of the story so each chapter is an unique and compelling story. the copy is fresh , insightful (perhaps a tad self seeking) . Today’s leader would learn much from Branson’s breezy leadership style.  While staying in Australia I chatted to relatives who were among the early Virgin Blue employees and they could not say enough good things about the man and his leadership team.  The breadth of his efforts is astonishing, from telecom through to health and space. In one story Branson makes a very good argument for the moving of drug and addiction/treatment  from being a criminal to a health problem. We saw this working well in Portugal which has decriminalized all drug and addiction issues.  Each chapter/story pulls you forward through this substantial book until nothing he does could surprise you.  So I advise reading the book.

South! The story of Shackeltons last expedition 1914-1917. Sir Earnest Shackelton

Flag of South Georgia and the South Sandwich I...

South! The story of Shackeltons last expedition 1914-1917. Sir Earnest Shackelton.

I have read parts of this book, watched a few documentaries,  heard lectures on Shackelton and seen many of the points of land he talks about while cruising the Antarctic. Yet the book still takes you well beyond all that. It is an inspiring story about will, leadership, skill and perseverance that would resonate with many of today’s leaders.  This issue includes the three parts of the voyage; the trapping of the Endurance and Shackelton’s heroic seamanship and struggles to  get to South Georgia in a very small sailboat and the rescue of the men on Elephant Island, the men left ashore when the Aurora is cast adrift and their work/travails at establishing supply depots across the shelf, and the voyage and rescue of the Aurora and its crew. Plus the appendices contain records of the meteorologic , geological and ice studies carried a out as well as a good analysis of the whaling activities in the areas.  Through it all the author maintains a laconic, non boastful accomplished style, sadly lacking in much of today’s self aggrandizing press.  I highly recommend this book.

The Sky Below. A true story of summits, space, and speed. Scott Parazynski cw Susan Flory

English: STS-120 mission specialist Scott Para...

The Sky Below. Scott Parazynski cw Susan Flory.  2017.   The author is a medical doctor, mountaineer, astronaut and free diver.  He grew up living around the world and became very adaptable. His life story is thrilling, historic, and encouraging.  Its also an easy read. There are similarities to books written by other mountaineers, who are also driven black and white people.   A good four hour flight book.

Kitchen Confidential. Adventures in the culinary underbelly. Antony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain being interviewed in the WNYC...

Kitchen Confidential. Adventures in the culinary underbelly. Antony Bourdain. 2008.  Hilarious, cutting, pithy and all too true sounding this a book that rips the covers off kitchens and those who work there. The author makes no bones about his generations of obnoxious, dissolute, atrocious behavior. It seems to be all there.   You will come away with a new insight into the industry.

Smart Cities. Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia. Anthony Townsend

Smart Cities.  Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia. Anthony Townsend. 2013.  Slate magazine says,  “Townsend has collected fascinating stories of urban renewal and innovation from around the globe and packaged them into lessons that are neat and digestible”. Our City is pursuing an Intelligent City initiative and I found much useful information that applies in this book.   I especially found his views of bottom up initiatives  useful as that is the model my City is using.  He references many organizations and website that have some valuable ideas and programs for any City to investigate. Very much worth the read and this is an author to follow.

The introduction is available at npr.org.

Becoming Facebook. The 10 challenges that defined the company that’s disrupting the world. Michael Hoefflinger.

English: Mark Zuckerberg, Founder & CEO of Fac...

Becoming Facebook. The 10 challenges that defined the company that’s disrupting the world. Michael Hoefflinger. 2017.  The author is a Zuckerberg fanboy – but as he lays it out in this book,  there are good reasons for it.  This book has reaffirmed to me why I retain my original Facebook shares.  The author clearly shows as an insider who understands how technology business grows why Facebook should stay on a tear.  Clearly written as well.

Power Up Your Sales. Generate leads for high end sales through public speaking. Kathleen Gage

Italiano: Author, life coach, and motivational...

Power Up Your Sales.  Generate leads for high end sales through public speaking. Kathleen Gage. 2017. An interesting little book about how one woman developed her speaking skills ( Thanks Tony Robbins) and built a career from it.  The tactics and tips she speaks about are all valid and proven. If you are self employed or part of a small business, you can do much worse than being able to speak and share with groups.  IN our consultancies early days we were always speaking to different groups through the selling season and we still do.  Quite easy to read and get good value from this book.  Salespeople need to be able to do this at a high quality level.

Ask More. The power of questions to open doors, uncover solutions, and spark change. Frank Sesno.

Spark plug

Ask More. The power of questions to open doors, uncover solutions, and spark change. Frank Sesno. 2017. ISBN 9780814436721.  I am a fan of AMACOM books, they always deliver. This book by Frank Sesno is a good one. Unlike previous books on using questions in sales, this one covers questions for your whole life and many different situations.  Its a great starting book and also one that you can carry for your whole career. They key to change and impact is listening and the cornerstone to listening is having great questions.  Buy this, read it and refer back many times.

Competing Against Luck: The story of innovation and customer choice. Clayton M Christensen, Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon, & David S. Duncan.

Photo I took in Rochester, Minnesota 2005-12-3...

Competing Against Luck: The story of innovation and customer choice.  Clayton M Christensen, Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon, & David S. Duncan. .2016. ISBN  9780062435637.   As ever any book from Christensen is a delight to read. This one fleshes out the concept of a Job to Be Done as the driving force behind successful innovation.  Many successful and  innovative companies start out with a clear focus on the users job to be done and they are wildly successful. Later as this focus gets muddied by all the reams of data coming from the marketplace, many companies lose their way.   Using experience gained from the numerous companies they  have worked with over the years, the authors clearly show how the successful companies like Amazon, Intuit, The Khan Academy ,  The Mayo Clinic and others continue to stay focused on their North Star.  I recommend this book to anyone in a position of leadership to read, ponder , reread and implement.

Pancakes in Paris. Craig Carlson.

Deutsch: Paris: Eiffelturm und Marsfeld

Pancakes in Paris. Craig Carlson. 2016. ISBN 9781492632122.  So a young American falls in love with all things France and Paris and through many twists and turns eventually finds his way back there to open up a Breakfast in America diner, since that is what he missed the most while living there.   His writing is very personal and human and he is totally unvarnished about the byzantine labor laws in France that make running a business a nightmare.    You will laugh and cry through this book as the author meets and then then gets through many incredible struggles. There are some good business and life lessons in this book.