So I’ve not blogged since January. Wow. Not a very good track record. But here I am anyway in August and want to share some thoughts around books I’ve read lately.
First, “The Boys in the Boat”, the true story of the 1936 Univ. of Washington men’s crew team and their amazing quest to represent the U.S. in the 1936 Olympics in Germany—while Hitler was building the Third Reich. If you read and liked “Unforgiven”, you will like this one as well. It’s a page-turner, reads like a novel. The story is so well written and it gives one a real sense of what it was really like to live day-to-day during the Depression of the 1930’s. We just have no context in 2014 of what so many people had to do to survive then. It is sobering and yet so inspiring. It truly is an against-all-odds sort of journey for these boys in the boat. If you’re looking for a book that will make you cheer, this is it!
“The Great Game of Business” by Jack Stack has been out since 1992 and has even been updated a bit. Why it took me so long to get to this eminently practical and also inspiring book I’m not sure. But it ought to be on every leader’s list if you’ve not read it. This is the guy who pioneered the notion of open-book management, of being completely transparent with all employees in a business—in 1992. Here’s what they do with new employees as soon as they join the business—which is still going strong. They teach them how the company makes money, and thus they learn right away how what they do everyday adds to the greater good of the company and all of it’s stakeholders. So simple, so powerful and yet ask yourself, do your employees or team members really know how your company makes money? This book will challenge many leaders’ thinking, even today, about how to run a business.
Finally, not a book but a very unique and easy-to-use journal called, “The Five-Minute Journal”. The byline of the journal says it’s “The simplest, most effective thing you can do everyday to be happier”. The authors, Alex Ikonn and Uj Ramdas, have created a straightforward way to record, everyday, what you’re grateful for, what would make today a great day, some daily affirmations and then a wrap-up at the end of the day on the 3 amazing things that did happen today and how you could have made today even better. I have begun using it and I’ve found it a very grounding and insightful tool for anchoring what I’d call a “gratitude practice”, something I often encourage clients to pursue when they seem to get stuck in their lives with problems and energy-draining drama, and lose sight of the legitimate goodness that exists in their lives as well. The journal has some guidance at the beginning for showing you how to use it—very helpful.
Ok—that’s it for now…more to follow soon.