Book 422: Smarter Faster Better – Charles Duhigg

Duhigg, Charles - Stronger Faster BetterWhen I requested a copy of this upcoming book (released March 8, 2016) from Random House*, I was really hoping for a repeat of Duhigg’s 2012 The Power of Habit. Unfortunately, there was something missing from this one. I can’t quite figure out what it is, but I think it has to do with the first book being much easier to apply and this one overall being more theoretical.

That being said, this was incredibly readable and had a lot of great case studies that I’ve encountered in numerous settings and other books I’ve read recently about work productivity and managing up. Duhigg’s writing style is incredibly easy to read and he seamlessly ties together disparate examples to elucidate his points. Off the top of my head a few are: the development of Disney’s Frozen, General Electric (I feel like I’m an expert after Badowski’s excellent Managing Up), aviation near-crashes, the writing and staging of West Side Story, Google, Cincinnati school reform, debt collection and many others! Needless to say you will easily find at least one example that you really identify with.

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Book 403: What Millennials Want From Work – Jennifer J. Deal & Alec Levenson

Deal, Jennifer J. and Alec Levenson - What Millennials Wany From WorkLong story short, Millennials are just like everyone else so quit complaining about us! 😉

When I saw the title I knew I wanted to read it as I’ve been reading everything I can recently on management, the workplace and professional development topics that interest me. The publisher, McGraw-Hill Professional, kindly provided a pre-publication copy* and it will be available the first week of 2016.

Obviously, the ultimate lessons of the book are a bit more complicated than the opening of this post, but it really does boil down to something as simple as we’re all the same, just reacting to ever-changing technology, economy and society. It was reassuring to see this with well backed global research and written in an approachable and readable way.

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Book 392: Simple Giving – Jennifer Iacovelli

Iacovelli, Jennifer - Simple GivingWhen I read Doing Good Better, I was looking for this. That isn’t a knock on Doing Good Better, it’s a kudos to Simple Giving and Jennifer Iacovelli. And I guess that’s an even bigger kudos to Tarcher/Penguin (publisher’s site) for sending me a copy because I would never have found sought it out, even though philanthropy is what I do for a living.* Simple Giving comes out next week October 27, and I can’t recommend it enough.

Where Iacovelli succeeds in the breadth of which she covers in this rather short book. She talks about individual and crowd sourced philanthropy, she talks about volunteering and socially conscious purchases and businesses and she spends time talking about how you can engage even the youngest of philanthropists in volunteering their time.

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Book 383: Managing Up – Rosanne Badowski and Roger Gittines

Badowski, Rosanne and Roger Gittines - Managing UpMy final foray, at least for the time being, into professional development was Badowski’s Managing Up: How to Forge an Effective Relationship with Those Above You, and if I’m completely honest it’s the only one I should have read.

I enjoyed the “theory” and the “professional opinions” in the Harvard Business Review compilations I read, Managing Up (The 20-Minute Manager Series) and HBR Guide to Managing Up and Across, but neither of them had the wit, the humor or the charm of this book. Seriously, there is something to be said about reading a book that could be an incredibly boring (or pedantic) subject that makes you laugh out loud or giggle to yourself on public transportation. They all provide great advice, but this book offered the advice through the art of storytelling and not the other way around.

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Finding My Voice

As my final follow-up piece in my series of why my blog and online presence will enhance future career opportunities I’m going to talk about my voice. (For the first three pieces click the links: introduction, technology and building relationships.) For all intents and purposes “voice” in this piece can easily be exchanged with “aesthetic.”

2015 03-04 Yet Another Typo, Proofread PeopleLet’s get the basics out of the way; I was not an English, Communications or Journalism major. A lot of the English grammar terms I know I learned while taking Spanish because I apparently didn’t pay attention in high school English class. (They taught us that right?) What little editing I do know I’ve picked up on my own, learned in a really intensive copy editing class or am schooled in on a regular basis by the amazing editor at work. What’s great is that, none of this keeps me from wishing to copy edit books, like the one above, or to organize and copy edit the internet, but that is an entirely different world.

All of this being said I still have a voice. I have a distinct voice and it’s worked to my advantage personally, on this blog, and professionally, working with students and young alumni. Someone recently said to me that the ability to change your voice based on who you’re writing to/working with is a skill you can’t be taught, that you either have it or you don’t. I like to think I have this skill and mostly it is thanks to this blog.

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Book 380: Doing Good Better – William MacAskill

MacAskill, William - Doing Good BetterI’m torn on this one and not for any obvious reasons. I think MacAskill does an excellent job laying out the foundations of “effective altruism” and I think this is something fundraisers and nonprofits need to be aware of for the future. However, I feel like there wasn’t enough to convince me 100% that this is the best way to move forward, probably because I had questions about MacAskill’s own nonprofits and experience.

Let’s start with the good. MacAskill has created a solid evidence-based way of helping alleviate some of the world’s biggest problems. Learning what a Quality-Adjusted Life Year (QALY, pronounced kwalee) challenged my perception of how to rate a nonprofit, but more importantly raised questions about whether things should be comparable when you’re talking about life-saving research. The answer is yes, with a bunch of caveats.

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Book 379: HBR Guide to Managing Up and Across – Harvard Business Review

Harvard Business Review - HBR Guide to Managing Up and AcrossIf you follow the blog you’re aware I’ve been having a mini-professional identity crisis. Earlier this week I wrote about What Color Is Your Parachute? 2016 where I found tips and tricks to focus on my strengths and professional interests. I also wrote about my first forays into the idea of managing up with Harvard Business Review’s Managing Up, in their 20-Minute Manager Series. I was interested in finding out more after I read it and luckily I already had a copy of this from my local library.

As I read Managing Up (The 20-Minute Manager Series), I realized I’ve had great managers at all of my positions. Each one of them has encouraged me to explore my interests and to develop skills that will help me throughout my career. What I’ve also learned is that knowing a lot about your own personality, work style and needed support are vital to success.

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