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 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 363: Her Best-Kept Secret – Gabrielle Glaser

Glaser, Gabrielle - Her Best Kept SecretMany of you might not know this about me, but when I have a problem that I don’t know how to deal with my first response is to research it as in-depth as possible. That makes it a bit awkward when I blog about everything I read (this is my journal reading journal as much as it is your review site). At the same time it’s great because I get to share interesting books, like Her Best-Kept Secret (Amazon Affiliate link), that I never would have read. And I force myself to explore and synthesize in-depth a lot of topics.

If you see me on a day-to-day basis you’re aware that someone close to me has a lot of problems with alcohol, it’s kind of obvious they are a “she” based on the book title. In reality, I’m not sure it would’ve mattered if they were a she, because after reading The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous (link to the article) in The Atlantic I knew I wanted to find out more about non Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) programs and I figured Glaser was a great place to start as she mentioned her book in the article.

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Book 342: The Anxiety Toolkit – Alice Boyes

Boyes, Alice - The Anxiety ToolkitMy friend Caitrin (of podcast fame) sent me an article from Refinery 29 and after checking it out I knew I needed to read this book. I reached out to the publisher, Perigee Books (Publisher’s site), and they generously provided a copy of the book in return for my honest opinion. In addition to the book, there is an amazing free resource at theanxietytoolkit.com!

Last year I had a panic attack which resulted in a hospital visit when the lingering effects didn’t go away. I was already in therapy for stress, so I was convinced I was having a heart attack, but I wasn’t. That experience resulted in my researching more about anxiety and ways to deal with it. Between therapy last year, I “graduated” 😀 last month, and reading this book I’ve come to realize I’ve always experienced a lot of anxiety but I’ve developed really good coping mechanisms throughout the years. Now on to the book!

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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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Book 277: The Willpower Instinct – Kelly McGonigal

McGonigal, Kelly - The Willpower InstinctThis wasn’t one of the original self-help books I set out to read this year, but one that I randomly found on the library shelf while looking for another book and I’m glad I snagged it. In case you missed it, I’ve just wrapped up a 10 week project following this book’s program and you can check it out here. I’ve also linked to each of the individual posts at the end of this post.

The book started out slower than I thought it would, but as I followed her instructions and spread it out over the ten weeks, a week per chapter, I found that it was laid out perfectly. Even though I struggled with how slow the implementation of the first bit was, it seriously helped lay the foundations for the later chapters. McGonigal clearly knows her subject matter and set it up in a way to slowly build on every thing until you were ready to tackle the more philosophical/psychological aspects.

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