Monday, November 18, 2013

On my reading list: Autumn 2013

Enjoying too many books lately! Part-way through all of these. Still about 50-50 on Kindle vs. hard copy...

Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and at Work, by Chip and Dan Heath. Builds on the Nobel-prize winning work of Kahneman as well as other behavioral economists like Ariely. However, while those books give insights into how human make flawed decisions (usually too logical, or too emotional), the authors give a 4-step process and tons of practical tips and tricks for making decisions more likely to be successful. Easy read and very helpful! Authors used to write for Fast Company magazine and have two other books that I've not read but heard good things about.

The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business, by Patrick Lencioni. I've been reading and re-reading this for several months. Most Lencioni books are fables. This summarizes his main management and leadership principles from the last decade. Very pragmatic and covers the basics: forming a great leadership team, communication with clarity, great meetings, and more. As with many classic books, the concepts aren't new but it gives us a solid checklist or process to follow so we don't have blind spots.

Courage and Calling: Embracing Your God-Given Potential, by Gordon T. Smith. I've always distrusted people who say they knew exactly what career or even what country or community they wanted to serve. I like the "vocational" approach to life which Smith advocates. The idea is that you may have several different careers in life but there is a thread of commonality between them. This thread combines your unique design, temperment, interests, and, eventually, experiences. It becomes a vocation or a "calling" that will provide consistency -- and freedom -- to your life.

The World Is Not Ours to Save: Finding the Freedom to Do Good, by Tyler Wigg-Stevenson. Just downloaded this one, but can't wait to read it. I've always worked with extremely visionary and idealistic organizations that are trying to do big things (i.e. reinvent computing, end caste-based discrimination, or stop poverty before it starts)! Looking forward to balancing this with a proper sense of my role in the world. As the book summary says, "...passionate enthusiasm can quickly give way to disillusionment, compassion fatigue or empty slacktivism. As we move from awareness to mobilization, we bump up against the complexities of global problems...Veteran activist Tyler Wigg-Stevenson identifies the...pitfalls that threaten much of today's cause-driven [approaches]."

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