Reading Posts

Decisive

Decisive

I recently finished the latest book from Chip and Dan Heath called Decisive. It is a look at the decisions we make and how our criteria for making them often produces the bad results we had hoped to avoid. I’m also having some of my team from Central go through it together as it serves as a great tool to evaluate the systems in place for any team to make decisions.

I wrote previously about a great insight from this book but here is a collection of some of my favorite ideas:

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Thanks for the Feedback

Thanks for the Feedback - Douglas Stone, Sheila HeedI recently finished a great book called Thanks for the Feedback by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen. As the title suggests, it’s a book about how to best give and receive feedback. This is such a crucial, yet underrated skill. I live in a world of feedback for my job everyday. I’m constantly receiving bits of feedback on decisions I’ve made or someone has made on my team. The truth is that this can be exhausting. But the solution isn’t to run away while we cover our ears. We need feedback to grow, and regardless of what we spend the majority of our days doing we can find feedback all around us.

Here are some great ideas from the book for all of us regardless of whether you are in any type of corporate environment:

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Leaders Eat Last

This week I finished my second book from Simon Sinek. The book is called Leaders Eat Last and looks at leadership from a variety of case studies and cultural evidence. I like the way Sinek challenges the status quo and invites the reader to think differently in a number of areas. I couldn’t agree more with him on the need of a leader to create and maintain a healthy culture for his team. The only aspect I didn’t love about the book was that it felt a bit disjointed at times with different tangents. The tangents were incredibly interesting and worthwhile, they just weren’t always obvious to the main point of the book. I posted one of them recently.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book that capture the theme of what Sinek says:

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"This tendency is exemplified by the way many Gen Yers respond to various social causes. They rallied to share the Kony video with their friends. Many posted pictures of themselves in hoodies to support Trayvon Martin. They texted donations to tsunami relief organizations. There is an intense excitement to do good, to help, to support. Yet after the dopamine hit is felt, it’s on to the next. Without giving any significant amount of time or energy, a generation comfortable with abstraction has confused real commitment with symbolic gestures."

Simon Sinek, Leaders Eat Last

Newspaper Blackout

I’m not sure how it happened, but I recently stumbled onto the work of Austin Kleon. Austin is an artist who uses words (or as he describes it: a writer who draws). While he’s written a few great books, I recently enjoyed reading Newspaper Blackout. It’s an art form referred to as blackout poetry. He takes an article from a newspaper and blacks out all of the words except a new sentence that he forms. The new sentence usually has nothing to do with the original subject of the article. Here’s the best part about it: it’s surprisingly fun to do yourself.

If you enjoy reading, or poetry, or art… you’ll likely enjoy this book. You might even give it (or something like it) a try yourself and unlock your inner creative. It’s turned into a fun way to mentally unwind for me. While it’s relatively easy to do, the hard part is figuring out which words to keep.

Here are some of the ones I’ve made so far:

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The Adoring Pursuit of Something Greater

paul and the faithfulness of god - NT wrightHumans are worshipping creatures, and even when they don’t consciously or even unconsciously worship any kind of god they are all involved in the adoring pursuit of something greater than themselves. Worship transforms humans, all of us, all the time, since you become like what you worship: those who worship money, power or sex have their characters formed by those strange powers, so that little by little the money-worshipper sees and experiences the world in terms of financial opportunities or dangers, the power-hungry person sees and experiences the world and other humans in terms of chances to gain power or threats to existing power, and the sex-worshipper sees the world in terms of possible conquests (that word is interesting in itself) or rivals. Those who consciously and deliberately choose not to worship those gods still have a range of others to select from, each of which will be character-forming in various ways. And, somewhere in the middle of this range, we find the worship of a God who was believed, by some people in the middle of the first century, to have revealed himself uniquely and decisively in a man called Jesus.

N.T. Wright, Paul and the Faithfulness of God