Archive for the 'Leadership' Category

Brave New World Revisited. Aldous Huxley

Aldous Huxley, Famous Last Words

Aldous Huxley, Famous Last Words (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Brave New World Revisited. Aldous Huxley. 1958. ISBN 0795300166. Twenty-seven years after writing Brave New World , Huxley revisited his despairing view of the world trends and found that the downward spiral had accelerated. People were entranced by TV so that “amusing themselves to death” was trivializing history, politics and journalism.  Propaganda was replacing truth and repeating a lie often enough was a set policy. Demagogues and dictatorships were following his cookbook for control. Creation of short sound bites had replaced intelligent discourse.  A president was reduced to a TV personality . The pursuit of recreation had supplanted most of the non working life. The power elites were grabbing more of the wealth and control with the disparity tween top and the  rest widening.  What is telling is this was in 1958 and if he was alive today and saw the state of the US and other large countries he would not be surprised.  A thinking person should be quite taken with his prescience.  Every educated person should read this and Brave New World. An easy read but also disquieting.

Obsessive Genius. The inner world of Marie Curie. Barbara Goldsmith.

Obsessive Genius. The inner world of Marie Curie. Barbara Goldsmith.2005. ISBN 9780393051377. I continue my reading on strong women scientists.  Marie Curie was treated as badly or worse than Ada Lovelace by the scientific male dominated community. She and her husband toiled in poverty  and relative obscurity and discovered radioactivity, radium , polonium. The spent many years of both their lives in finding medical and industrial usages of their discoveries, while paving the way for many many other scientists.  This book does a very good job of illustrating the tight circle of scientists that the Curies moved among.  All this in the build up to two great wars.  The writing is clear and concise and you get to identify with the whole Curie family. Tragically it was their dedication and selflessness that led to their own radioactive poisoning.

The Power of Moments. Why certain moments have extraordinary impact. Chip Heath and Dan Heath.

The Power of Moments. Why certain moments have extraordinary impact. Chip Heath and Dan Heath. 2017. ISBN 1501147760.  An extraordinary book. The authors have crystallized in quite a short book how to make a major leadership impact though using certain moments in everyday life.  Using four imaging ares of Elevation, Insight, Pride and Connection this book will help you in all parts of your life.  I can see where this would have helped my elevate my teaching times, management roles and personal life.  I recommend this book for all managers as well as individuals. There is a wealth of resources that go with the book at www.heathbrothers.com/moments

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.