Sarah Cooper’s book [100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings](http://amzn.to/2eOdjzq), is very much a fun, and funny book, which, is also surprisinglySarah Cooper’s book [100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings](http://amzn.to/2eOdjzq), is very much a fun, and funny book, which, is also surprisingly useful and relevant. Part satire, part social commentary, it reminds us of people and situations we’ve been in and gives us the opportunity to laugh at others and ourselves. If you’ve been in any medium to large size organization (or had to interact with one), you’ve seen most of these “tricks” in action, and you’re likely to want to share select items with others, laugh out loud, or perhaps wistfully imagine life where these things didn’t happen. But the book offers more than just the opportunity to mock your corporate colleagues. After having a good laugh, you have the opportunity to think about _why_ some of these tricks, — especially the ones that sound so reasonable — make you cringe when you see them in action. And that thought process can lead to better collaboration.
After you read Cooper's book (and I do suggest that you follow her advice and get a copy for yourself as well as a copy or two for a colleague), think about the meetings you've been in and the ones you are about to be in. Consider if they are useful, and have _only_ the right people. Some are. Many aren't. I suggest getting a physical copy of the book, because having one in the office (and perhaps on the table during certain meetings) will help people keep their jobs in perspective.
Sara Cooper captures the essence of useless meetings with humor and uncanny accuracy. 100 Tricks is a fun, entertaining read in the spirit of Dilbert, which will amuse you, help you get through a demoralizing day at work, and surprisingly, help you think about how to do better. ...more
I got a copy of this book at the recommendation of a leadership coach. After having done the “Saboteur” quiz on the Positive Intelligence site (http:/I got a copy of this book at the recommendation of a leadership coach. After having done the “Saboteur” quiz on the Positive Intelligence site (http://www.positiveIntelligence.com), I wanted to learn more about the his approach. While the book gets at some of the concepts I've seen in other places, the approach is worth exploring.
The positive intelligence framework is that we have within us Saboteurs, which hold us back, and a Sage, which helps us explore possibilities. While the anthropomorphism initially made me feel a bit awkward, there is some power in ascribing non-productive reactions to a part of your thought process, and giving it a name. The book explains techniques to both be more attentive to, and thus able to suppress, your saboteurs, and also how to “strengthen” your Sage, so you can treat setbacks as opportunities more readily.
Some of the basic themes of Positive Intelligence may sound familiar if you’ve spent any time learning about team leadership, but Chamine’s way of modeling them adds an interesting and compelling twist. Saboteurs are reminiscent of the concept of “survival rules” that I first learned about while reading one of Jerry Weinberg’s [Becoming a Technical Leader](http://amzn.to/2dYvoeP). Like survival rules, saboteurs are useful in certain circumstances, but have negative effects when you misapply them. Chamine describes how each Saboteur manifests themselves in terms of how you feel, act, and how others may perceive you. He then describes techniques to become more aware of them so that you can take a step back and act appropriately.
In short, this is a book about mindfulness and resilience, both very useful concepts that are very difficult to apply. Even if you feel like you have a basic appreciation of the how to be be more mindful and resilient, reading about them again, and considering a slightly different approach to achieving them can’t hurt.
While it has a business focus, you can apply what you learn to both personal and work situations. The author also explains how to apply the model and techniques in individual and team contexts. And while not about Agile, the book also left me with some ideas for activities to use in Sprint Retrospectives, which are after all, a practice teams use to be more mindful and resilient.
Positive Intelligence is a rather quick read (but you will want to take notes and mark pages), which mixes discussions, stories, and practices, so you can apply what you’ve learned. The book also makes frequent references to resource on the companion website. If you feel that negative reactions are holding you back, even subtly, this book is worth a read....more
This is a wonderful collection that captures the (ahem) joys of parenting. The comics are right on the mark. My wife described it as like "Pajama DiarThis is a wonderful collection that captures the (ahem) joys of parenting. The comics are right on the mark. My wife described it as like "Pajama Diaries for people with younger kids." If you are a parent, you'll enjoy this book. If you are not, and have friends who are, it might give you some insights....more
As Jurgen Appelo points out, management is too important to leave just to managers. Managing for Happiness is a useful and fun to read book that givesAs Jurgen Appelo points out, management is too important to leave just to managers. Managing for Happiness is a useful and fun to read book that gives you concrete tools to help identify ways to help your team to be happier. The book’s writing and typographic style are engaging and have the right mix of “expected” and surprising. and many of the ideas and exercises in this book are things almost anyone on the team can make use of. Some can help you to understand your personal situation, and others are activities anyone can introduce (assuming are reasonable corporate culture).
Anyone who works on a team will benefit from this book. You may end this book with a very long list of things to try, and, because Appelo cites many sources, a long list of things to read if you want to go deeper. Even though it would be great to have a quick read that solves your problems, helping to enable effective teams is hard work. Managing for Happiness will give you some tools to make that work easier....more
A short, pragmatic, easy to read, book that can help you be better at something both essential and often neglected: How to work together better. By chA short, pragmatic, easy to read, book that can help you be better at something both essential and often neglected: How to work together better. By chance I first opened the book to a page with the heading “The Main Problem: valuing tasks over relationships” and I knew that I made the right choice when I got the book. Teamwork is essential, in particular on an agile team, and building an environment where people trust each other enough to work as a team is hard.
This book explores a technique that can help to work across cultural, organizational and hierarchical boundaries. With theory, examples, and practices to try, it becomes easy to understand what Humble Inquiry is. The practice will take work.
Humble Inquiry is as much a mindset as a technique, since, as Shein points out, it is hard to be authentic when simply “acting humble” and people will notice, and you will thus erode rather than build trust.
Any leader, team member, spouse, or even parent can learn valuable things from reading this book. I would even argue that if you interact with _anyone_ there are lessons you can learn, or at least have reenforced. This book is a small investment in both time and money for a large reward. ...more
These books are a lot of fun. There are the basic components of a thriller combined with slightly fanciful twists on historical facts, with a vague hiThese books are a lot of fun. There are the basic components of a thriller combined with slightly fanciful twists on historical facts, with a vague hint of the supernatural or at least fantastic science. The reason I feel compelled to write about this book is that it deals with the history of Cotton Malone's father, and by chance I happened to be reading it during the week before and after Fathers's day. That all books (so far) end with a rather long discussion of which facts and locales were real and which were imagined makes the books even more fun....more