Sunday Book Review – Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success by Ken Segall

Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple's SuccessInsanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success by Ken Segall

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ken really takes you a journey of what it was like to work with Apple. This is the third or fourth book recently that helps highlight what is magical about Apple and it’s founder Steve Jobs. Simplicity. What a wonderful thing. So difficult to obtain, yet so sublime when found. Highly recommend this to Apple Fan Boys, Product People and Creators.

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Sunday Book Review – The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli

The Art of Thinking ClearlyThe Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rolf digs into human psychology, reasoning and neuroscience to illustrate what goes into choosing, thinking and processing. Similar in vein to other books like Predictably Irrational, Freaknomics and many of Gladwell’s works. This is a good 101 for people wanting to understand logical fallacies and cognitive biases. If you have already engaged in these topics in depth, this one might be worth skipping.

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Sunday Book Review – Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance by Atul Gawande

Better: A Surgeon's Notes on PerformanceBetter: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance by Atul Gawande

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Always looking for metaphors and stories about achieving better performance, I figured I would try to find some inspiration from something other than sports and typical coaching situations. The first part of the book was interesting but seemed to really be much about performance. I was about ready to give up on the book until Atul dug into Cystic Fibrosis and what excellence looks like there. So much good information about how performance can be improved.

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Sunday Book Review : Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth by R. Buckminster Fuller

Operating Manual for Spaceship EarthOperating Manual for Spaceship Earth by R. Buckminster Fuller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Buckminster Fuller lays out in this short book an analogy that Earth is a space ship flying through space with a finite amount of resources. Looking through this lense Fuller portrays a number of theories, thoughts and ideas. The book started off extremely strong getting into specialization and the “Great Pirates”. His call to “How big can we think”, as humanity was certainly appealing. The latter half of the book seemed to be less engaging, though still thought provoking. If you like systems thinking or philosophy this is a short, power packed piece of work.

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Sunday Book Review: Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything by Don Tapscott

Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes EverythingWikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything by Don Tapscott

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Wikinomics does a good job painting on how the world has changed. Pushing hard towards for ideas: Openness, Peering, Sharing and Acting Globally. The book is a bit older (in Internet years), so much of what is highlighted as “will change” has already happened or took a different course. I didn’t care much for the writing style and points seemed belabored instead of succinct. If I had read it in 2007 I may have loved it. In 2015, I felt I was just wasting my time.

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Sunday Book Review: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values  Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values by Robert M. Pirsig

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A book touching on quality using a great story telling and philosophy. I was weary at first. I had picked up the book a decade or so ago and read the first chapter and got distracted. This time I was completely enthralled. I think I was in a better mental place to be open to a different approach telling about great ideas. This book and style isn’t for everyone. Those that can appreciate a great story with a strong opinion on life will love it. Highly recommend for software engineers and product people.

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Sunday Book Review: Software for Your Head by Jim McCarthy

Software for Your Head: Core Protocols for Creating and Maintaining Shared VisionSoftware for Your Head: Core Protocols for Creating and Maintaining Shared Vision by Jim McCarthy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It is rare that a book changes your life. This book is one of those books. I learned about the Core Protocols at an Open Space Agile conference in Portland. I brought some of the ideas to the team I was working on at the time. They fell by the wayside and then a few years later I tried them with a new team. They quickly became a key set of guiding principles for communication in my work and in my life in general. This is a must read for anyone working on teams or in a marriage.

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Sunday Book Review: My Life as a 10-Year-Old Boy by Nancy Cartwright

My Life as a 10-Year-Old BoyMy Life as a 10-Year-Old Boy by Nancy Cartwright

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ay Caramba! Bart is voiced by a girl! Nancy is a riot. The audiobook is narrated by Nancy herself which makes it a joy to cruise through. The best part is Nancy talks about being a professional and what it takes to make it. Voice work is hard work. Growing up when the Simpsons first aired as shorts on Tracy Ullman it is easy to forget animated primetime series didn’t exist before the Simpsons. Nancy gives a view into how the Simpsons have evolved over time and how they got their start. It makes me want to learn more about James Brooks. In addition to being the executive producer and a writer for the Simpsons, James was responsible for Mary Tyler Moore, Rhoda and Taxi.

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Sunday Book Review: I Live in the Future & Here’s How It Works by Nick Bilton

I Live in the Future & Here's How It Works: Why Your World, Work, and Brain Are Being Creatively DisruptedI Live in the Future & Here’s How It Works: Why Your World, Work, and Brain Are Being Creatively Disrupted by Nick Bilton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Anyone doing technology for a living will probably find little new in this book that they don’t live and observe everyday. For those that feel overwhelmed by technology and the culture of the Internet this is probably a good primer to help get up to speed. Nick is humorous and the book very readable. This is a good book for businesses, organizations and institutions that are struggling to adapt to the new economy way of thinking.

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Sunday Book Review: What To Do When It’s Your Turn by Seth Godin

What To Do When It's Your Turn (and it's always your turn)What To Do When It’s Your Turn by Seth Godin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I generally dig Seth Godin, but often feel that his works are just compilations of quotes and ideas re-packaged for easier consumption. I have come to respect that more and more. This book is no different, but it seems more powerful than normal. Specifically, it lends itself by calling for generosity. Seth builds that into the purchasing of the book itself.

I loved Notice, dream, connect, do. We fail to notice because we’re busy keeping busy. We fail to dream because dreaming implies that we have to take a risk to realize our dream. We fail to connect because we might get rejected. And we fail to do because we haven’t noticed, we haven’t dreamed, and we haven’t connected.

Equally compelling is this call to action. Avoid certainty. Pick yourself. Postpone gratification. Seek joy. Embrace generosity. Dance with fear. Be paranoid about mediocrity. See the world as it is. Be the boss of you.

Just a sample of the type of wonderful nuggets you will find within.

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