Book 475: Difficult Conversations – Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen

stone-douglas-bruce-patton-and-sheila-heen-difficult-conversationsNow that it’s been almost a month I figured I might as well catch up on some books. I’ve actually made quite a bit of progress reading this month, given the facts of everything that’s going on and  affects my day-to-day work life (thanks Trump).

This book came to me from my current Human Resources Director when I spoke with her about how not-so-great Miguel Ruiz’s books were. Based on our few previous conversations she was like you should try this one because it’s more of a practical guide and less “worldly wisdom.” And boy was she right!

Even though the two books say basically the same thing, this one was so much easier to identify with and take action points away from it. This could have to do with the fact it was written by a group of Harvard University associated individuals, or it could also have to do with the fact that it was less spiritual and more practical.

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Book 435: 15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy – Luminita D. Saviuc

Saviuc, Luminita D. - 15 Things You Should Give Up To Be HappyAt some point over the past two years as I’ve read more and more mental/self health, professional/personal development books something must have struck a chord as I feel a lot calmer and more put-together than I have in a long time. I’ve noticed that a lot of these books suggest things I am already doing or have utilized in the past and it’s nice to receive the affirmation. It’s also nice to occasionally be reminded of the things that I need to continue working on in order to maintain the calmness.

When the publicist reached out to me with a copy* of this book I wasn’t sure I would have the time, or the desire to read it. However, I set the book on my to-be-read/determined shelf and it stayed there on top for a little over a month. And then when I was having a really rough week and didn’t want to start another book I picked it up to see what it had to offer.

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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 415: The Power of Forgiveness – Joan Gattuso

Gattuso, Joan - The Power of ForgivenessWhen I received this book from the publisher*, I immediately rejected it out of hand as I usually steer clear of books that have any sort of religious connotation. I am not a religious person and what spirituality I have is more theoretical than anything else, but primarily I have a to each their own mindset.

This being said, I set the book on my to-be-read soon pile and the longer it sat there the more I wondered if I should read it. Why shouldn’t I read something that makes me a little uncomfortable? Why shouldn’t I read something that could, potentially have a positive, affect my personal relationships? And I didn’t really have an answer to either of those questions, so when I was looking for a book to read before heading out one afternoon I grabbed this and started reading it.

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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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An Evening with Rebecca Skloot

So this sounds a lot fancier than it was. I’d love to say I sat down one-on-one and picked her brain about what is arguably one of the mos successful book responses I’ve ever written for this blog. And we’re obviously besties, I mean Ms. Skloot favorited my “On the Blog” tweet this past year,

2015 09-29 Radcliffe College DNA Seriesbut alas I didn’t get to sit down one-on one. However, I did get to attend a really cool talk as part of a Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study of Harvard University lecture series: The Past, Present, and Future of DNA.

I first read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks back in July of 2012, two years after its original publication and a year after it came out in paperback. Apparently this was far enough ahead of the curve that my response was the highest visited response on this site until recently. (Thanks Mr. Coehlo!) Not to be a hipster or anything, but yeah that.

2015 09-29 Radcliffe College Skloot EventWhen I found out about the lecture from my friend Martin, I jumped at the opportunity. I remembered really enjoying the book and I knew that it had become this cultural phenomenon through book groups and word of mouth. What I wasn’t expecting was how packed the auditorium was. I’m glad I got there as early as I did because not only was the main auditorium full, but the balcony and two over-flow rooms were as well! It was cool to see Radcliffe up-close and personal as I’ve only ever walked around/by it and never walked through the grounds, unlike the main Harvard campus.

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