Books, Professional Development

Book 507: If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? – Alan Alda

Only two ARC/Galleys left and I am all caught up! The same publicist who sent me Finally Out reached out about this book and the title had enough humor in it I figured it was worth a shot.* I enjoyed this so much more than I thought I would!

What Alan Alda—I didn’t even recognize him from M*A*S*H (IMDb link), I just recognized his caricature—is doing is what the Plain English Campaign (website) has been trying to do since the late 70s, just through a different venue: improv. Both are trying to get things translated from the indecipherable jargon of science or government into easily relatable language. Alda, has basically made a side career out of this with the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University, where the observations he made from his many years on Scientific American Frontiers are put into practice to teach scientists how to talk to non-scientists.

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ARC, Books, Professional Development

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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ARC, Books, Professional Development

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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Books, Professional Development

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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Books, Professional Development

Book 378: Managing Up (The 20-Minute Manager Series) – Harvard Business Review

Harvard Business Review - Managing Up (The 20 Minute Manager Series)I wanted to look into the idea of “managing up” because every job I’ve held my direct manager has gone out for maternity or medical leave and this has thrown me into a different management structure than what I was used to. And then when my manager has returned it was yet another adjustment.

My immediate response to this book: They were not lying when they said 20 minutes! I actually read this book twice before I sat down to write my response. The good part is, that where I felt this book kept me wanting, they recommend reading the HBR Guide to Managing Up and Across, also by the Harvard Business Review and I already have a copy from the library!

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ARC, Books, Professional Development

Book 377: What Color Is Your Parachute? 2016 – Richard Bolles

Bolles, Richard - What Color Is Your Parachute 2016When I first received a request from the publisher, Ten Speed Press, to look at this book I was a bit hesitant. The primary reasons was that I’m not looking for a new job.

After checking out the press release and reading a bit more about the book’s history I realized this would be an excellent resource regardless of employment status and I’m so glad I read it. I did receive a copy from the publisher and I received no compensation in return for an honest response.

Overall, I found this book very informative. I think it’s useful regardless of employment status, especially if you want to learn more about yourself professionally. I wish I could write about everything I found useful in the book, but I’m only going to touch on a few specific topics. This being said, the tips in the book work.

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Books, Professional Development

Book 300: That Crumpled Paper Was Due Last Week – Ana Homayoun

Homayoun, Ana - That Crumpled Paper Was Due Last WeekEven though I am incredibly organized, I often think I can be much more organized and wonder how other people stay organized, so when I first heard about this book from Ann on Books on the Nightstand I knew I had to get a copy. I loved the title and wanted to read more about it the organizational suggestions. I grabbed a copy from my local library and here I am.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and it’s set up like many other self-help books: suggestion, how-to, summary and any worksheets or tools you might need. :, does a great job of offering many suggestions for every hurdle, which is great. There weren’t too many new tips or tricks that I felt I could use, but what I found great (and could see where it would help out a teen or pre-teen) is that she explains WHY you should do some of the organizational things you are told to do and doesn’t just tell you to do them. I also really enjoyed Homayoun holistic approach to organizational management for teenagers, from health and fitness to school and extra curricular activities she really pushed for the young men to take control of their own lives and schedules.

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