Some of the best books I have ever read were recommended to me by friends. So in celebration of our month-long Ho‘ohana, A Love Affair with Books, I asked our Ho‘ohana Online Community to tell us, “What are you reading now?”
These ladies and gentlemen represent some of the brightest minds in leadership, and they are the most voracious readers I know. They are all authors in their own right, and I was so intrigued with their answers: I instantly made their recommendations the newest additions to my own reading wish list.
Today I’m very pleased to print for you their mana‘o on eight different books I know you’ll want to consider for your own library: their choices will delight you.
Terry, Christopher, Dave, Beth, Todd, David, Yvonne, Wayne and Bren, my warmest mahalo and aloha to all of you.
By Malcolm GladwellA mind blowing, and thought provoking book. After reading this you will not be able to look at the world in the same way! I am embarrassed that it took me so long to read it.
— a review by Terry Storch, terrystorch.com
Update 2/18: Terry added to his insights on Gladwell’s Tipping Point in a post on his own blog; it stimulated a firestorm of comments. Take a look. This is how he starts it:
Nearly everyone that I ever talk to in the church world asks me this question, “What one thing makes Fellowship successful?” And, as I have said in the past, the standard remark always starts with “It’s a God thing.” But that is not what they are looking for. Here is an exerpt of The Tipping Point that shows why Fellowship is an Epidemic.
“In epidemics, the messenger matters: messengers are what make something spread. But the content of the message matters too. And the specific quality that a message needs to be successful is the quality of “stickiness.” Is the message- or the food, or the movie, or the product- memorable? Is it so memorable, in fact, that it can create change, that it can spur someone to action?”
The Answer to How is Yes
By Peter BlockPeter Block writes that our organizations place too much importance on what is practical and utilitarian. This is done by asking “how” questions which focuses on how things will get done. While these “how” questions do need to be asked, he argues that deeper questions of meaning and values must be considered first. Otherwise, we miss the whole purpose of doing something in the first place.
— a review by Christopher Bailey, The Alchemy of Soulful Work
The Sound of Paper
By Julia CameronJulia is a creativity coach and writer who spends three quarters of the year in New York City and the balance in Taos, New Mexico. The Sound of Paper is a collection of personal essays followed by creativity exercises that begin while she is in New York and continue in Taos.
In true creative coach style, Julia often begins an essay painting descriptive pictures of her surrounding environment. As the river flows into the ocean, Julia’s pictures flow into meaningful advice for artists. Work at a day job, live, observe, pay attention, practice your art everyday, dig at it a little bit of the time, be open and let art show up and work through you.
The Sound of Paper is a six course meal for Joe Everyday artist’s starving soul. One doesn’t climb the mountain, stand on top and attract lightening bolts of inspiration with The Sound of Paper. It’s more like a come home from work, cook dinner, help with homework, clean up ”“ everyday-steady impulse type of inspiration”which is reality for most of us.
— a review by Dave Rothacker, WizSpeak
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins
This book has galloped onto NY Times and Amazon bestseller lists, mostly on word-of-mouth from people like me who will tell you that everyone should read this book. If you share my interest in the wisdom of indigenous cultures, you may have read Perkins’s previous books about his journeys to learn the shamanic practices of tribes in the Amazon and Andes. In those books, he briefly mentions a past as a management consultant or UN advisor. In Confessions he comes clean; he worked for a high-powered consulting firm where his job as Chief Economist was to insure that the firm produced economic projections so optimistic that multilateral agencies could lend huge, unjustified amounts to developing countries, thereby gaining their political loyalty to the US while funneling the dollars back to US companies (like the ones with contracts for the rebuilding of Iraq). He, like those he worked for, was conscious of this agenda.
All Perkins’s books, including Confessions, tell tales so incredible he takes pains to note: “The events described in this book actually happened.” Read it. Digest it. Then, reread the Epilogue and decide what you are going to do about it. I’m starting with my own Confessions. As Perkins says, “We must commit ourselves absolutely and unequivocally to shaking ourselves and everyone around us awake.”
— a review by Beth Robinson, Execukos.com
Becoming an Ironman
by Kara Douglass Thom
I’m a sucker for the “I never thought I would be able to accomplish (insert potential unrealitic goal here), but now that I have, here is my story” book.
I completed my first triathlon in March of 2004 after running my first marathon. I was hooked on the sport. I struggled with the decision if I would be able to complete a Half Ironman (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run) my first season, but with the encouragement of great training partners and a whole lot of training, I was able to cross the finish line in just over 6 hours in September of ’04.
Another one of the reasons I was inspired to tackle this goal came directly from reading this book. It is filled with personal stories from people that had completed their first Ironman triathlons. From professionals to amateurs, each story is a personal account of the struggle of tackling this endurance feat.
Whether you are a triathlete or not, you can’t read this book without understanding more about what drives you. It will challenge you to raise the bar in what you believe you are capable of doing.
Spend a weekend reading fantastic stories from those that have completed one of the most challenging accomplishments that sport has to offer. You might just find yourself raising the bar of your own expectations.
— a review by K.Todd Storch, Business Thoughts
Beyond the Brand
by John Winsor
John Winsor’s book, Beyond the Brand, attempts to suggest solutions for companies whose customers who have developed a “brand immune system”.
He makes a persuasive case that it is time to adopt a new set of objectives and to move Beyond the Brand. The strongest parts of this first book, are his case studies, because it is obvious that John, as the founder of Radar Communications, has been there and done that when it comes to helping clients create marketing and product development strategies.
He focuses on the need for companies to develop a bottom-up strategy to co-create products with their customers, by listening to key voices in their marketplace.
He has tackled a huge subject in this book and barely scratches the surface, because his entire approach is based on finding the “Center of Gravity” of a company where it makes meaning out of all of the intelligence it gathers. Unfortunately, finding this Center of Gravity where the important dialogs take place, is the most difficult task of all. In most companies where marketing is a “problem”, there is no center of gravity.
He could have well written the entire book on this subject alone.
There is much good in this book, but I would suggest that you read it in the following fashion to get the most out of it: Read Chapters 1-3, then jump to Chapter 12 which contains the case study which provides a framework for understanding the rest of the book. Then return to chapter 4 and read the parts that are interesting to you. I found the chapters with personal anecdotes to be easily understood and retained.
—a review by David St.Lawrence, Ripples
by Cynthia Hart, John Grossman and Tracy Gill
It’s that time of year–when hearts beat faster and blushes follow secret smiles. Valentine’s Day is not a single day, nor a single moment, it’s an entire lifetime–compressed into a moment– in the world of those in love. This wonderful little book, A Victorian’s Book of Love, Forget * Me * Nots, is brimming not only with the warmth and color of love, but with roses and hearts, cupids and butterflys, and images of life from the bygone era of romantic Victorian England. It’s a book filled with poetry and stories aimed at the tender hearts of lovers.
To quote from one happy page, full of cherubs in blues and reds, adorned with flowers and looking glasses, are these two short love poems:
“Forget me not where e’er you be, and I will ever think of thee.”
“The violet loves a sunny bank,
The cowslip loves the lea;
The scarlet creeper loves the elm,
But I love,…thee.
The Oriole weds his mottled mate,
The lily weds the bee;
Heaven’t marriage ring is round the earth,
Let mine bind thee?”
The book is tiny, six inches by six inches. It carries a colorful, glossy cover, complete with a scalloped heart cut-out, showing a young woman receiving a letter from her love, delivered by a dove. Inside, in 80 pages of pure delight, are poems and sayings written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Charles Dickens, and dozens of unidentified writers whose words fall like rose petals on the pages, evoking that flutter we all feel when love takes hold of us.
This is what I’m reading these days. These pink and red days, shining softly with preparation for— the I dos my love and I will say.
We think there is everything to like, and love, about that!
— a review by Yvonne DiVita, Lip-Sticking
Rivers of Revenue
by Kristin Zhivago
What would you do if your job disappears?
Where do you turn if your business fails?
You need a way out of the nightmare, and author Kristin Zhivago provides just the roadmap. Her book Rivers of Revenue is a step by step plan, to get the income flowing your way, once again.
Bringing over 35 years of hands on experience in helping businesses reach their goals, Kristin Zhivago offers the reader the same advice that has worked so well for others. Written in a conversational style, like that of a patient and supportive friend, Rivers of Revenue reads more like a blog posting series than a business book.
The secret to getting your business, your career, and your life back on track is to stop trying to sell to people. Whether it’s ideas, your products and services, or yourself, no one wants to feel like they are getting a sales pitch. Instead, everyone wants you to support them and their buying process. In turn, they will support you.
Kristin suggests that life should be a pleasure, and not simply hard work and drudgery. By taking the time to find out what people really want, you can work with your clients and customers in a winning relationship for all concerned.
She teaches you to avoid time wasting wild goose chases, and how to find and develop concepts that help everyone to achieve their needs and goals. You will benefit right along with your customers, who will stay with you permanently, because of that caring approach.
For those climbing the corporate ladder of employment, Kristin shows you how to earn and keep the respect of your peers, and to gain the attention of those at the top rung of the corporation. Instead of office politics, your career will blossom from achieving the company’s goals.
Take away: Kristin Zhivago teaches, in easy to understand step by step lessons, how to find what your customers want and need in the way of products, services, and customer support. By taking that time on their behalf, your customers will enjoy buying from you, as a person who supports them in their goals. As a result, the Rivers of Revenue will flow freely for everyone.
Rivers of Revenue by Kristin Zhivago is highly recommended for business owners, corporate managers, and sales and marketing professionals. Your success in business and life will be achieved, by helping others reach their goals too.
— a review by Wayne Hurlbert, Blog Business World
Update: 02/21/05: Aloha! If you clicked in from this week’s Carnival of the Capitalists, thank you for visiting. Take a look around while you’re here, and please consider subscribing to Talking Story for future updates and recent articles.
1. Pick up a feed here.
2. Ho‘ohana Community email subscription.