Sunday Book Review : End of Discussion by Mary Katharine Ham

End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun)End of Discussion: How the Left’s Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free by Mary Katharine Ham

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I ran across Mary Katharine Ham watching an episode of Politically Incorrect (Don’t ask). I really like her style and her humor. I put the book on my list. A friend read it and mentioned it was good so I moved it up to the top. It was well worth the wait. I listened to the audiobook and it felt more like a podcast between the two authors than book. I was sad when it came to an end. The content is SO relevant to the world we live in and coming election cycle. We seem unable to actually have conversations anymore. Any meaning discussion gets shut down, often before it is started with name calling and mud slinging. The book certainly has a conservative bent, but I think it can be stomached by a moderate liberal on a good day. The criticisms from the authors certainly spare no party from guilty behavior. I encourage you to pick it up and read if 1. Political posts on your facebook stream are pissing you off. 2. You want to stay sane through the coming election cycle.

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Sunday Book Review : Getting Naked by Patrick Lencioni

Getting Naked: A Business Fable about Shedding the Three Fears That Sabotage Client LoyaltyGetting Naked: A Business Fable about Shedding the Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty by Patrick Lencioni

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love the simplicity of Lencioni. His story telling style and human friendly writing make blasting through his books a pure joy. This was a tale that is valid to anyone leading, but a must read for anyone running a client services business. Want to know how to get clients and have them be loyal? Want a full pipeline of work? Want to be able to charge a premium for your services? Getting Naked will help outline what it will take to make it happen.

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Sunday Book Review : Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life by Wayne W. Dyer

Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the TaoChange Your Thoughts – Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao by Wayne W. Dyer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As someone who identifies as Christian, I haven’t much paid attention to Eastern philosophy when seeking. I have done myself a disservice in not soaking in the teachings and wisdom of many of the great philosophers because of this. Of course, I am familiar with the commonalities, but not the nuances. It was nice to take a deeper dive into the Tao te Ching. Dyer did a good job of breaking it down and keeping it simple. Really find myself relating to need to be like water. Oddly Dyer passed while I was reading this book (the second author to do so in a month).

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Sunday Book Review : Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg

Nonviolent Communication: A Language of LifeNonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I heard rave reviews about this book in Agile Coaching circles a few years back. The title was a complete turn off. The people that were gushing over it were not always people I felt had a good grasp on what would be valuable in getting results as a coach, so I just brushed it off. A friend read recently and gave it really good reviews, so I decided to pick it up. Wow. All I can say is wow. Completely life changing. So deep. So not the psychology fluff I expected. Rosenberg is brilliant. This is one of those books that you need to re-read regularly to get the most out of it. I am sad I waited so long. Imagine a world where ever minute was spent helping people get their needs met and everyone you encountered was focused on helping you get your needs met. Powerful stuff.

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Sunday Book Review : Free Market Revolution by Yaron Brook

Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand's Ideas Can End Big GovernmentFree Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand’s Ideas Can End Big Government by Yaron Brook

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For anyone not very familiar with Ayn Rand’s principles/philosophy this is a good introduction that maps to real world situations/problems/scenarios. The author believes them to be the silver bullet to right the world. I found that it made me think deeper about the issues and remember a little more of my free thinking 18 year old self. I do think it is easy to forget how much Americans have eschewed Capitalism in it’s purest form. Regardless of what side of the political fence you sit on, I suspect every part of the spectrum will find something that stimulates them to dig deeper.

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Sunday Book Review : Disruptive – How To Disrupt Your Industry Through Selfless Service by Jonathan Keyser

Disruptive - How To Disrupt Your Industry Through Selfless ServiceDisruptive – How To Disrupt Your Industry Through Selfless Service by Jonathan Keyser

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jonathan does a phenomenal job of exposing his humanness. Showing the roots that made him who he is and his journey towards self-actualization. It is rare that a successful business leader is able to be so raw. Keyser reveals the principles that have built his company into a disrupter in the commercial real estate industry. A strong message to continually search for personal growth and mentorship is central to direction of the book. Ultimately it is a call to serve people. Selflessly serve people. A much harder call to action than most are willing to admit. Pleasantly surprised to see a book that holds true to Capitalism and hard work, but espouses strong moral boundaries to be human and help one another. Nicely done.

 

Snapshot of Keyser’s Principles

  1. We are known by one word… SERVICE…and we live the statement: “It’s not about me.”
  2. We outwork our competition and win as a result.
  3. We encourage bold action and are not afraid of making a mistake.
  4. We always do our best, and produce more than our clients request or expect every single time.
  5. We are the BEST and we honor ourselves, our partners and our clients be being and doing our best.
  6. We are one team, and each person plays an integral role.
  7. We give first.
  8. We always follow through with the commitments we make… ALWAYS.
  9. We have fun with what we do, and with the members of the team.
  10. We invest in our own self-improvement.
  11. We are a family, and always protect and serve each other.
  12. We are 100% coachable.
  13. We are 100% present in all that we do.
  14. We are disruptive, we embrace change, and we are forward thinking in all that we do.
  15. We are strong, healthy and fit.

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Sunday Book Review: Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the FutureZero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thiel’s genius is hard to deny based on the company he keeps (Stanford BA in Philosophy & J.D in law) and the successes he has had ($2.2 billion networth and growing). Don’t think you have to be in technology to get something from this book. This book is equal parts politics and business.

I particularly appreciate his diatribe on the misnomer that technology will replace humans. This is a quick read that is full of energy.

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Seeking Courage

I struggle with what level of disclosure to give in public forums, because vulnerability is a hard.  I don’t care for writing and know a path to getting better at something is to do a lot of it. At least that is the excuse I hide behind when it comes to sharing more freely. A while back during a long period of seeking self awareness it became apparent that I didn’t really believe in myself very much.  Other people believe in me.  I believe I am able to get results, but I haven’t been able to really believe in me.  I was smacked in the face on this topic looking in the mirror and seeing myself over 250 pounds and utterly out of shape and control.

I asked those around me to support me in helping me believe in myself.  I got that support and started to believe it was possible.  I spent almost a year walking every single day.  I had co-workers, clients and family supporting me by walking with me when I didn’t feel up to it.  If you are reading this and you remember walking with me, thank you so much for the support!  I slipped and broke the streak one day.  I panicked.  I gave up.  I took time off from walking, then I started Crossfit with my wife (who had been going for a year already).  Crossfit was miserable.  It was humiliating in every way.  It punished me mentally and left me feeling crippled physically.  I hated it.  I mean, I really hated it.  Every minute of it.  At the same time, I couldn’t stop going because it would prove to me every minute for 60 minutes 1 time a day that I could do it.  Every minute I thought I can’t go another minute, but I could and did.

Our box started a Smolov program that summer.  About half way through nearly everyone quit. Smolov is evil, I don’t blame them.  I kept going.  I kept going everyday.  There were days I struggled to walk.  Why did we buy a two story house again?  There were days I cried.  There were days I called my wife and told her I might have to go to urgent care because my body was revolting against me.  Regardless I showed up and squatted the next day, on schedule, like clock work.  I remember people asking “Are you still doing Smolov?” and then shaking their head.  In under 4 months I put 80 pounds on my squat personal best. Smolov is evil, but gains baby, gains.

Mud Obstacle

Fast forward to, I believe I can do it.  However, there are times I lack the courage.   Okay, most of the time I lack courage.  Like that time my wife suckered me into doing a tough mudder type obstacle course with her.  We come up the a-frame rope climb.  Terrified.  No way.  I don’t do heights.  She told people I was scared and to give me some room.  I about died of embarrassment.  Until all of them started encouraging me and telling me I could do it.  Guess what I made it up and over.

Recently I have been trying to do more work with my hands.  Finding my zen place.  Working on cars.  Building cabinets.  Fixing broken things around the house.  Amazingly, almost every time I go to start something I tell myself “no way I will be able to do this”.  Then I start doing it.  It goes well and I get excited.  Then something goes wrong and I get ready to give in.  The difference now is I believe I can do it.  So I recollect myself, step away rethink the problem and keep trying.

This morning I had my headphones wrapped around my backpack and when I pulled my backpack out of the car the end of the ear bud ripped off.  A decent pair of Beats that I really like.  I was so pissed.  I picked them up and put them in my bag in disgust.  Tonight I started thinking, “I bet I could crack them a part and fix them”.  When I got home I found out how to get them a part.  I decided to bring them to hacknight at Queen Creek Gangplank and see if I could fix them.

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I set up a soldering station and tested getting them working.  I was able to.  So then I soldered them.  I broke the solder putting them back together.  Then I couldn’t get them to work again.  I was devastated.  I got up to the throw them in the trash almost in tears.  Then I remembered all the support I have gotten in the past.  I sat back down and kept at it until I was able to get them working again.  I got them reassembled.

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As I put the final touches on them my favorite song of peace “Seven Bridges Road” by the Eagles started playing through them.

Maybe this is what courage looks like?  One thing is for sure, the biggest supporter I have is my wife.  I don’t know what I would do without her.

Sunday Book Review: Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John J. Ratey

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the BrainSpark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John J. Ratey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ratey a clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard lays down the proverbial smack of the effects of exercise. He breaks down a Naperville, Illnois school system that is serious about fitness and the outcomes it is getting. This is not your ordinary Physical Education course. Let me give you a hint, their minds are effected nearly as much as their bodies based on this activity.

Stress, anxiety, depression, ADD, hormones. What do they have in common? Exercise is one of the most effective tools to mitigate their effects. It might be one of the most powerful tools we have and we don’t even realize it. It is simply amazing the scientific studies showing the effects of excercise on the brain. Highly recommend for people who are into fitness or looking for motivation to get fit. If you are sufferring from depression this is a a MUST read. :)

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Sunday Book Review : Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders by L. David Marquet

Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into LeadersTurn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders by L. David Marquet

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Marquet takes us on his journey at the helm of the USS Santa Fe submarine and a transformation from Leader-Follower to Leader-Leader management. Having read quite a bit on empowering management styles there was a lot here that you can find elsewhere, though David does so in a very story friendly format. Noticeably different is the attention to detail around communication. Specifically around the words of “intention” for empowerment. I “intend to, i plan, i will, we will, etc” do some action. Coming from the software world it was interesting to see “stop focusing on no errors” coming from a nuclear submarine captain. I loved the focus on excellence instead. I could learn a LOT here. I thought it was interesting his observation about thinking outloud as a major difference in performance. Learning vs Training was articulated better than I had seen elsewhere. A must read for leaders.

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