I've been reading leadership books for many years, and really couldn't find one that matched my personal style: leading from behind, mentoring employees, and working towards the good of the organization, without worrying about personal rewards.
This is a series of essays based around the concept of the leader as a servant. The leader serves the employees that work for him/her, the institution, and the community at large. This is a departure from the usual leadership books, which are usually based on the "alpha male" leadership style.
It must be said that this consists of a series of essays that were written for different target groups over a number of years. The specific topics cover corporations, seminaries, colleges, and other non-profits. The material can get a little repetitive, but in a way that helps reinforce the key concepts, as well as to give insight into the needs of these different institutions.
This is a good, though provoking book for those who want to be successful, but at the same time make sure that everyone around you is successful as well.
The modern world is one that rewards assertive, extroverted, and (lets face it) aggressive people. The author makes the argument that 1/3 to 1/2 of the people in the world are introverted: and more importantly, we need them.
The book does the somewhat obvious by telling us how important the quiet folks are, especially in a world where technology makes the face-to-face interactions a little less important.
More helpful is the rest of the book: how does a quiet person interact with the world? How do you "fake" being an extrovert when needed? How do you manage quiet employees? How do you help your quiet child interact in the loud world?
From discussion about the physiological reasons for introversion, to monitoring (and modifying) this behavior in order to function in the extroverts world.
A great book for those looking to understand and appreciate the introverted person, whether it be yourself or another person in your life.
The title of the book refers to the Marine tradition of having those of lowest rank eat first. It illustrates the principals of the book, but really doesn't do the material justice.
This is one of the few books I would consider life changing. It explains how our natural tendencies (and, looking to leaders is one of them) are being corrupted by our modern life of abundance. Humans are shaped by the conditions that defined life for most of our history - small groups struggling to survive in a harsh world with limited resources. Our current life with a surplus of everything we need, while disconnected from our "tribe", means we are unhappy and looking for something greater.
Leaders need to be aware of what we need as individuals, groups, and organizations, and how to harness our group power to make an environment where we can thrive. Profit doesn't inspire - sacrificing for the good of others is what we want.
Great book for those who never bought into the authoritarian leadership we see too often today.
Great book on how to quiet the noise of your mental life and focus on what is important.
Its short, which is the point. Stripped down to the essentials, it is just what you need if you feel pulled in a lot of directions. The author speaks about his personal discoveries, so you don't get a lot of made-up stories to prove a point.
The short duration should not put you off. It is a solid listen you can do in a few days. And it is short enough so that you can re-listen when you need reinforcement.
This is very close to the "Dead Like Me" TV series that ran around 2003. It is about a young girl recruited to be a reaper, collecting the souls of the dead.
I got this during a 2-1 credit deal and didn't really know much about it. Its clever, snarky, and light listening. Has some good humor. Not bad, but intended more for the YA crowd.
Its a fairly complete story, although it is set up to be a series. It is fine as a stand-along book.
Do less, but better.
Okay I wanted to be simple, but I should expand. This book is essential for those of us who are overwhelmed by tasks. You'll hear why essentialism is important, how to decide was is essential, and what is not. Then it talks about how to apply it: how to stay focused, how to say no, and how to help those around you focus on what is important as well.
After so many installments to the story, I was beginning to get bogged down by the complexity of the storylines. So many characters and complex situations over so long a period made the last book feel very heavy.
Skin Game is the 15th book in the series, but it feels like one written much earlier. The number of characters involved is limited, and there are actually very few references to the events in past books. It is lighter in tone and faster in pace.
There would be very little problem with a person picking this book up as the first one read - the plot is simple and where some backstory is needed, there is a brief explanation. I recommend the entire series, but starting with this one will be a good intro if you didn't feel like going back to the beginning.
Great narration as always, Jim Marsters.
This is one of the few books that made me go "wow"! The story and narration are great, but there are some real ideas here that you will think about for a long time after its over.
What does a society do when nanotechnology can provide all basic needs?
How do people get a "tribal" sense of belonging when there are no nations left?
Can you formulate a learning process customized to each individual child?
While these may sound like totally different topics, this and more are developed by this book. In some cases the ideas overshadowed the story: the ideas were fully formed, but there were some loose ends in the story. I would like a sequel just to know what happened to some of the characters.
This is a great story, telling a very compelling tale. At 27 hours it is a very long listen, and only gets part of the way through the story.
The only fault I can give it involves the amount of detail - there are times where it feels like the book is being told in "real time", and you'll get long descriptions on what the main character, Kvothe, had for breakfast every day. While the story and narration is good, there are a few times when it gets a bit tedious and you want the author to move it along.
"Day 2" is 43 hours. I've actually held off getting it because of the length of the volume. Much as I want to continue the story, the length of the book is off-putting.
Day 3 is still being written, FYI, and according to Wikipedia will be the final book in the series.
This is an end-of-world story along the lines of Paolo Bacigalupi's "The Windup Girl", where bio-engineering is both the way to feed the masses and control them.
The story describes the end of humanity from the viewpoint of a man who, as the best friend of Crake, sees it happen.
I have to say that the story was interesting, but by the end I really didn't care much about the main character. The performance was good, but there was just not the depth that was needed to fill out the person in a way that made care.
Granted, this is the first of a trilogy ("The Year of the Flood", and "MaddAddam" are the sequels) and there may be more background to flesh out the protagonist.
I would recommend Windup Girl before reading this one.
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