Sunday Book Review : Remote by David Heinemeier Hansson

Remote: Office Not RequiredRemote: Office Not Required by David Heinemeier Hansson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I tend to find myself repeatedly finding I agree a lot with Jason and David even though I struggle to identify with them. I thought for sure this book would piss me off to no end. Mainly because I think that physical interaction is so important for success. However, they hit the topic pretty eloquently. They highlighted the right things about what is amazing when remote work is done right, but acknowledge that some face time and presence (head gap) is so very important. I suspect this book is powerful as a cultural wake up to many of the industrial minded managers out there that struggle greatly with effort versus results.

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Sunday Book Review : Please, Don’t Be a Dick by Alexey Golev

Please, don't be a dickPlease, don’t be a dick by Alexey Golev

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Reasonable representation of the landscape of working with a designer. The authors style felt overly passively pretentious hipster more often than not, but it could have just been them trying so hard to explain from the lens of the client. So I won’t pass immediate judgement. Okay I will, but then I will readily admit that it is on me and not them.

I am not sure I agree with a lot of the advice or even the final words.

“The designer and the client ultimately share a common interest — beautiful, functional design that communicates a message in a clear and interesting manner. ”

Every client I met wanted to make money. Some wanted to so with style but usually if given the choice of great design or quick money they would choose the later.

I do agree it’s all shit clients deal with when hiring a designer.

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Sunday Book Review: Leading Successful Change by Gregory Shea

Leading Successful Change: 8 Keys to Making Change WorkLeading Successful Change: 8 Keys to Making Change Work by Gregory P. Shea

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As a consultant that deals with organizations desiring radical change, thought this might be a good investment of time. It is a quick read, that gives some reasonable practical advice about overcoming a staggering failure rate of change initiatives. However, it was pretty dry and lacked the kind of story telling narrative that makes for good non-fiction. Shea does a good job of sharing proven methods (8 Levers of Change) and notes that a strong vision for the future is necessary. Most importantly change is not option, nor is it impossible.

Successful change efforts require 2 vital elements to meet their objectives:

1. Change behavior and
2. Change the work environment to support the new behavior

I liked that they acknowledge taking a more systems approach. Good content, poor read.

Available on Overdrive

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Sunday Book Review : The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt

The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient WisdomThe Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan Haidt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have a reputation of being some what of a negative cuss. In the spirit of ever seeking improvement of myself, I figured I would begin seeking what psychologists have to say about happiness. Haidt’s work seems fairly well received so I started here. Holy shit, this was not what I expected. I expected Oprah-esque doses of fluffy psycho-babble about positive feelings. In stead I got a a healthy dose of vitrue, happiness, fulfillment and meaning.

Haidt has taken several “Great Ideas” on happiness by luminaries of the past such as Plato, Buddha, Jesus, etc and studies those ideas that have common themes through the lens of modern psychology. From these he spells out lessons that apply to us.

In it, Haidt poses several “Great Ideas” on happiness espoused by thinkers of the past – Plato, Buddha, Jesus and others – and examines them in the light of contemporary psychological research, extracting from them any lessons that still apply to our modern lives. Central to the book are the concepts of virtue, happiness, fulfillment, and meaning. This is not a self help book, it is a philosophy book.

James Flint’s review in the Guardian probably sums it up best – “I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that laid out the contemporary understanding of the human condition with such simple clarity and sense.”

Available on Overdrive.

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Sunday Book Review : The New New Rules by Bill Maher

The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their AssThe New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass by Bill Maher

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I think my review of Bill’s New Rules still hold true.

“If you enjoy Bill Maher, you will like the book. If you hate him, you will hate the book. I don’t tend to agree with a whole lot that Bill has to say, but I enjoy his humor and like that he pushes the boundaries of discussions.”

However, this go around the rules seemed less humorous. They seem more agenda filled. They were kind of tired. Maybe my tolerance for idiocy is waning or my ire for Maher is clouding my objectivity. This one just wasnt worth the read. Not even for humors sake. Unless you are a huge Maher fan, spend your time reading something else.

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Sunday Book Review : The Sports Gene by David Epstein

The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic PerformanceThe Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance by David Epstein

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Similar to Colvin’s Talent is Overrated and Gladwell’s Outliers, Epstein hits it out of the park digging much deeper and getting more real. He sheds more light on the notion of 10,000 hours and nature vs nurture when it comes to performance. The best part is that Epstein uses stories to give us an in depth look at genetics, physiology and sports medicine. This is an interesting space (as evidenced by the number of best sellers written about it), that we are continuing to better understand, but still has a lot of black holes.

Available on Overdrive

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Sunday Book Review : The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking by Matthew Hutson

The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking: How Irrational Beliefs Keep Us Happy, Healthy, and SaneThe 7 Laws of Magical Thinking: How Irrational Beliefs Keep Us Happy, Healthy, and Sane by Matthew Hutson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one, I predicted it would be a self-help like book that would have me frustrated for selecting it. The title inclusion of irrational beliefs had me intrigued. I am glad that I gave it a try. This is a book about the science of “magical thinking”. You know things of religion, superstition, ritual and taboo. Why is a bat that Babe Ruth held to hit a home run, worth so much more than an identical bat made in the same period owned by an unknown 12 year old? Huston uses cognitive science to show that magical thinking is hardwired into our brains. In fact, it part of our evolutionary success. Skeptics who are actually open to science may find interest in this book. Huston also has a wicked sense of humor making for an easy read.

Available on Overdrive.

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Sunday Book Review : Next: The Future Just Happened by Michael Lewis

Next: The Future Just HappenedNext: The Future Just Happened by Michael Lewis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoy Lewis’ writing in general, but I particularly liked where he went with Next: The Future Just Happened. Showing how the Internet boom has changed everything. Telling the tale of the revolution with real life stories from those leading it. With a 13 year old son interested in technology and already making money on it, truer words couldn’t exist. The Internet exposes so much yet hides things in a way that a pre-teen can be a legal expert or a stock trader. After reading this you might have to ask yourself how aware you are of the future. Because it is now.

Available on Overdrive.

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Sunday Book Review : Aristotle for Everybody by Mortimer Adler

Aristotle for EverybodyAristotle for Everybody by Mortimer J. Adler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It claims to be for everyone, but I might suggest that it is for everyone interested in learning more about philosophy or the teachings of Aristotle. Adler does a great job of using metaphor and plain language to discuss hard topics of philosophy, but it is still philosophy. I highly recommend for those that haven’t read much Aristotle or did in high school/college and want to refresh their mind.

Available on Overdrive.

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Political Bites : South Mountain Freeway, Build or No Build?

South Mountain

Copyright Martin Ely

Should the South Mountain Freeway be built along Pecos Road, on tribal land or not at all?

It should be built, sooner than later. The more time delaying it only escalates costs. See my prior opinions on the South Mountain Freeway .

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