August 30, 2016

Book Reviews

"The Psychology of Totalitarianism" by Mattias Desmet  (118 KB)

The world is changing and since covid-19, it seems to be changing fast. How do we understand what is happening on the planet? What are the forces that seem to be pushing our world in a particular direction? Professor Mattias Desmet says that what is occurring is not by coincidence and he gives a thorough explanation of world events based on history and current trends.

"Chicken Little: The Sky Isn't Falling" by Erica Komisar (603 KB)

There is no doubt that parenting is hard work at the best of times. Sadly too, research and anecdotal experience is showing us that our teens are struggling to find resilience and instead, are succumbing to anxiety, depression and addictions to name a few. That's why a practical book like this one should be required reading for all those raising an adolescent.

"The Truth About COVID-19: Exposing the Great Reset, Lockdowns, Vaccine Passports, and the New Normal" by Dr Joseph Mercola and Ronnie Cummins (150 KB)

This book presents a minority perspective which goes against the mainstream media as well as social media. In this day and age, what is "fake news" and what is "real news"? Many people are now starting to ask key questions about lockdowns, mask wearing, the mRNA vaccines in terms of safety and effectiveness as well as vaccine mandates leading to digital vaccine passports. You'll either agree with this book or not agree. Irrespective, it's worth a read.

"Woke, Inc: Inside the Social Justice Scam" by Vivek Ramaswamy (263 KB)

The author of this book is an insider in that he's an entrepreneur, founded multibillion dollar enterprises and led the largest biotech IPO in 2015-2016. But he pulled out of it all. Why? He reveals the way that corporate America (and other countries too) pretend to care about social issues on one side (being "woke"), while with slight of hand, plunder and wreck on the other side all for the sake of the dollar.

"The Advantage: Why organisational health trumps everything else in business" by Patrick Lencioni (338 KB)

This book was initially written over 10 years ago in 2012, but its message is more relevant today than it ever was. How do we create healthy organisations; those with a positive culture? We know that a healthy organisation enhances productivity as well as increases staff engagement and retention. Lencioni provides the practical know-how.

"When Coffee & Kale Compete: Become great at making products people will buy" by Alan Kement (479 KB)

There are many books on innovation and creativity in business. This one is somewhat different because it pushes the theory that new and successful products and services are a result of customer's JTBD (Jobs to be done). Customers want to make progress and improve their life situation and hence, have Jobs To Be Done. Innovation is about knowing these jobs.

"The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting Up a Generation for Failure" by Greg Lukianoff & Jonathan Haidt (114 KB)

What is happening on our planet such that violence is escalating, universities are no longer places for free speech and debate and there are rising rates for adolescent depression and anxiety? This book provides some answers to these and other issues.

"The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts" by Gary Chapman (2592 KB)

The concept of expressing your love to your partner in the language they understand the best is simple yet foundational in transitioning from romantic love to a lasting, fulfilling, and loving marriage, and it is as relevant today as it was in 1992 when the book was first published. This is a timeless message.

"The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Dr Stephen R. Covey (3285 KB)

For a book that has been on the best seller list for 25 years, it must have something to say. And say it does. No matter whether you want to enhance your own personal leadership or whether you lead a team or group, this book sets out the principles and the habits that provide for a more rewarding life both in and outside of the workplace. So what are these habits?

"The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness" by Stephen R Covey (1675 KB)

The follow up to Covey's best seller of "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" is this one; The 8th Habit. It's about finding your voice and also inspiring others. It's about finding what you have to offer that is unique. It's about finding your purpose in life...and that's worth searching for! This book shows how.

"12 Elements of Great Managing" by R Wagner & J Harter (1960 KB)

The book demonstrates that "great managing is not some amorphous, ‘difficult to quantify’ concept. The data give a clear image of what is most important for inspiring people to do what the company needs of them." Each chapter describes one of the 12 Elements and includes a profile of a manager who demonstrates that element in their management style. This is evidenced based management at it's best.

"The 100 Thing Challenge: How I Got Rid of Almost Everything, Remade My Life, and Regained My S (2086 KB)

Have you ever felt weighed down by the thouands of things you possess? The book is written from the heart in a conversational style, and while not top-notch literature, it’s a wise and fun look at our cluttered lives and what it can be like to unclutter them.

"2011 Trendspotting for the Next Decade" by Richard Laermer (117 KB)

If you are looking for a book that includes shocking observations, uprising observations, and sublime insights, then this book should be your number one choice. Even though highly disturbing at times, the author has kept a light and funny tone throughout the pages, even when conveying heavy information.

"Ageless Body, Timeless Mind: A Practical Alternative to Growing Old" by Deepak Chopra (283 KB)

This is an expertly-written book that goes beyond ancient body/mind wisdom and current anti-aging research, to spectacularly demonstrate that we can look and feel young even when we are going through our old-age days.

"Boomerang: The Meltdown Tour" by Michael Lewis (123 KB)

The book takes readers on a tour of countries greatly affected by the fiscal financial crisis in 2008 such as Ireland, Greece and Iceland, describing how different kinds of people with different reasons run to the cheap credit in the early part of the crisis. The book shows readers the global perspective of the debt crisis. It puts it all into perspective.

"The Brain that Changes Itself" by Dr Norman Doidge (1961 KB)

Until recently, mainstream science purported that brain anatomy is fixed during adulthood until the process of decline that comes with age. However, this book shows that the brain is plastic and can change.

"Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home and School" by Dr John Medina (1773 KB)

Written by a developmental molecular biologist and research consultant, you'd be forgiven for thinking that this might be an academic text filled with technical and scientific phrases and jargon. But you'd be wrong. So what does Dr Medina show us? He takes the scientific discoveries that are relevant to our brain and reveals what it all means in everyday life. There is something for everyone in this book.

"A Brief History of the Future" by Jacques Attali (184 KB)

The back cover of the book says this: "What will planet Earth be like in twenty years? At mid-century? In the year 2100?" Prescient and convincing, this book is a must-read for anyone concerned about the future. Never has the world offered more promise for the future and been more fraught with dangers.

"Career Renegade: How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love" by Jonathan Fields (159 KB)

Life's too short to spend your days doing something you don't care about. Packed with hundreds of resources, innovative strategies, case studies, and tools for success, Career Renegade reveals how to earn a great living doing what you love.

"Connected: The Amazing Power of Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives" by N Christ (196 KB)

This is a thoroughly researched and a well-written book that addresses issues related to complex social relationships between people who know each other, as well as people who do not know each other. 'Connected' is a book that is aimed at providing an accessible and lively synopsis of how social networks work, as well as why they matter in today’s society.

"Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us" by Daniel H Pink (121 KB)

In this book, Pink argues convincingly that companies that offer tangible or extrinsic rewards to their workers as a means of motivation have it all wrong. Instead, he uses behavioural science research to show that the rewards for workers are intrinsic. Yes, it's an inside job.

"The Element: Finding Your Passion Changes Everything" by Dr Ken Robinson (2531 KB)

So what is the Element? In this book, it is defined as the meeting point between natural aptitude and personal passion. You're "in your element." The challenge of this book is for us to really find ourselves and what we are really passionate about. It's about being able to put aside the restrictive and punitive education that most of us have been through and to take another look at who we really are and what talents we really possess.

"Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ" by Daniel Goleman (173 KB)

Since the mid 1990's, the notion of Emotional Intelligence has taken the business world by storm. It is more about interpersonal and communication skills than about IQ or technical skills. However, while this book seeks to point us in the right direction, it fails to deliver this message in a clear and concise fashion.

"The Escape Artists: True Stories of People Who Turned Their Obsessions into Professions" by Joshua (5364 KB)

The 17 year old sat in front of me and asked, "How can I surf and also make a living?" We all have our passions and strengths and that doesn't mean that we all want to sit behind a desk all day or in an office cubicle. This book is about those people who tell their stories about how they were eventually able to pursue their vocations "outside the square."

"The Extraordinary Leader" by Zenger & Folkman (2741 KB)

The Extraordinary Leader is a book that tells us that anyone can learn how to lead. The authors, John H. Zenger and Joseph R. Folkman, encourage leadership among their readers through presenting hard data and scientifically-based studies in a realistic manner that aspiring leaders from a wide range of backgrounds and applications can relate to.

"Family Business on the Couch" by Manfred FR Kets de Vries et al (1120 KB)

Without doubt, the most difficult family business issues are not the problems that the actual business faces, instead, it is the emotional issues that arise. Of course, the business side and emotional side are connected.

"Fierce Conversations" by Susan Scott (276 KB)

The first thing we need to realise is that "fierce" does not mean fierce; it means real. What will it take for you to have that meaningful conversation at work, home or elsewhere? Susan Scott shows you how to have such conversations and so enrich your life and that of those around you.

"The Five Literacies of Global Leadership" by Richard Hames (2790 KB)

Richard David Hames researched extraordinary leaders around the world to see what makes them tick. The book sets out to capture the ideals, principles, thoughts, models, and practices – the code that motivates [extraordinary leaders] and explains their success.

"Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity" by David Allen (2531 KB)

We all feel overwhelmed at some times - there's so much to do and not enough time to do it. We feel "time poor." We need to find our work/life balance. Perhaps we feel out of control. How do we get organised? Easier said than done? Not if you read this book. It could be the key you've been looking for.

"Go Put Your Strengths to Work" by Marcus Buckingham (218 KB)

Research discovered that only 17% of the workforce makes use of their strengths on their jobs. This book will help you to make a remarkable transition that will enable you to utilize your strengths and get the most out of your efforts.

"Helping: How to Offer, Give, and Receive Help" by Edgar H Schein (1586 KB)

Edgar’s book which was named one of the top five leadership books of 2009 by "Strategy+Business" Magazine, looks at the social and psychological dynamics common to all types of helping relationships.

"Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion" by Robert B. Cialdini (94 KB)

"Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion" is a book that gives you insight on how you can defend yourself against manipulation from others.

"Influencer: The Power to Change Anything" by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron Mc(2843 KB)

The authors state that their book came out of 20 years of their work in organisations and once they noticed successful patterns occurring as a result of influence, they set about researching the world for what it was that brought about change – real change. From Boston to Bangkok they sought examples of people who had produced remarkable change. What were the ingredients for change? How did they do it? It has to do with a set of skills; and these skills can be learned by all of us.

"Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die" by Chip & Dan Heath (3457 KB)

This book has done us all a great service. There is no excuse any more for anyone to give a presentation that is not memorable and "sticky." The Heath brothers (Chip & Dan), through their research and surveys of great orators and memorable speeches, have determined that there are 6 traits that ensure successful presentations. So what are these traits that make ideas and presentations stick?

"A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" by Donald Miller (392 KB)

What's the story of your own life? You might reflect on what kind of story you are living and how active you actually are in your own plot and direction. So what's it going to be? Will the number of people at your funeral be determined by the weather conditions at the time, or are you up for living a great story. Donald Miller shows how to make it great. Your choice.

"Now, Discover Your Strengths" by M Buckingham & DO Clifton (3708 KB)

This book focuses on developing one’s strengths rather than trying to erase one's weaknesses. Based on a Gallup study of over two million people who have excelled in their careers, the book uses a revolutionary program to help readers discover their distinct talents and strengths. It is a powerful read.

"Outliers: The Story of Success" by Malcolm Gladwell (1184 KB)

So, what makes a person successful? Traditionally, we look towards the person's ingredients, factors or traits of the individual to seek some answers. However, Gladwell in his book suggests that we ought to also look to the person's culture and the way that they spend their time. From Canadian hockey teams, to Bill Gates and the Beatles, the answers for success are intriguing.

"The Power of Full Engagement" by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz (2304 KB)

If your days are so busy that you find it nearly impossible to be fully engaged and effective in each endeavour, this book can help you manage your energy and turn things around.

"The Power of Intention" by Dr Wayne Dyer (2717 KB)

If you’ve heard this saying: "When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change," now you know that it came from The Power of Intention, one of Dyer’s most inspiring books, which echoes the cry for a major shift in consciousness the world over.

"The Power of Uniqueness" by Arthur Miller (1971 KB)

That title describes well the thesis of The Power of Uniqueness. It helps answer the question, “What should I do with my life?”

"Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard" by Chip and Dan Heath (733 KB)

Written by brothers, Chip (professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business) and Dan Heath (Senior Fellow at Duke University’s Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship), Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard helpfully mixes psychological research with pleasing metaphor to articulate how to best effect change.

"There's a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem" by Wayne Dyer (2942 KB)

This book marked a shift in Dr. Dyer’s impressive and award-winning career as a self-help advocate by focusing more on the spiritual, on higher-self guidance, and sowing love.

"Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman (1674 KB)

Thinking, Fast and Slow brings Kahneman and Tversky's studies to life through an enticing tour of the human mind describing how the fast, intuitive, and emotional system of thinking works with the slow, deliberate, logical system to shape our thinking.

"The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference" by Malcolm Gladwell (155 KB)

How is it that some products or services take off and others don't? How is it that some sell and others never get off the ground? A "tipping point" is the level at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable. It's almost like a flu virus or an Internet virus. It spreads quickly and is difficult to stop. As Gladwell states, "ideas and products and messages and behaviours spread like viruses do." So what are the factors that can make a product or service to become unstoppable?

"A Whole New Mind" by Daniel Pink (138 KB)

This book highlights some interesting revelations between right-brain (creative) thinkers and left-brain (logical) thinkers. It's directed essentially towards a business audience, whereby it discloses how the right-brain thinkers are taking dominance over their friends who utilize the left brain. Just like stated on the cover, the author tries to establish the reasons as to why the right brainers will rule the future.

"Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps" by Allan and Barbara Pease (2169 KB)

A light-hearted look at the science behind the differences between the sexes.

"Why Should Anyone Be Led by YOU?" by Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones (2131 KB)

This book takes a different slant on the age-old question of what it takes to be a great leader.