This is an excellent book for anyone looking to shape some change into your organization or even your own life. A lot of people have difficulty with c...moreThis is an excellent book for anyone looking to shape some change into your organization or even your own life. A lot of people have difficulty with change and this book is an excellent resource for both learning about why we are resistant to change and how to make it easier and more successful.
Chip & Dan Heath look at the problem of "Change" and use an excellent analogy of an elephant and its rider to describe the emotional and logical components that fuel our actions and can effect direction change in our life. Sometimes change is hard because we can't see the logical benefit of the change. Often times, however, we are battling the emotional elephant that is resistant to change for deeper reasons that we may not even be aware. When you understand that analogy, you can start looking at problems and the need to change in another way and find solutions to tackling the problem that engage "the rider" or "the elephant" or, preferably, both to make the change happen and make it stick.
Throughout the book, the authors use colorful real-life stories to illustrate problems and how they have been overcome. They break down techniques directed at directing "the rider" and motivating "the elephant" in ways that I thought were thought-provoking, interesting, and very applicable to life and business. Change isn't just about getting other people to do what needs to be done, often it is about getting yourself to do it, too.
Finally, they talk about changing the environment to make the change either easier to happen, or more likely to stick. This is more broad-based thinking, but still is illustrative of how we often need to "look outside the box" at the problems behind the problem that keep our best efforts from succeeding.
I'm giving this book 4/5 stars because it's really a great read. The 5th star is taken simply because a lot of these ideas aren't new and if you've done a significant amount of reading in this genre, you've probably read much of this before. But, I give the authors full credit for putting those ideas together with a super-functional analogy that makes it memorable, and using modern references that most Americans will recognize and identify.(less)
A little over a year ago I heard about this book at a medical conference I attended where we were discussing the benefits of CPOE (Computerized Patien...moreA little over a year ago I heard about this book at a medical conference I attended where we were discussing the benefits of CPOE (Computerized Patient Order Entry) for hospital patients. Based on the recommendations of others at the conference I went ahead and bought the book and finally got to it a few weeks ago. I highly recommend you read this book.
About the Author: Atul Gawande is a surgeon who both maintains a private practice and consults for the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding worldwide health issues. He has written several other books, and based on this one, I'll definitely be getting his others to read in the near future.
Basic Premise: Gawande was presented with a statistical problem (epidemic) by the WHO - the rate of surgery and surgical complications is exploding in the world. That issue raises the question of what can be done to improve outcomes, not just in economically advanced countries but also in third world sites where surgery is still being performed at accelerating rates. While expensive solutions may be an option for developed nations, that isn't likely to be an option for those developing countries.
Dr. Gawande opens with a look into several medical cases as examples of the complexity of the medical decision-making process. These are, by the way, fascinating cases. He shows some failures and incredible successes. What makes the difference in these outcomes? He then takes the reader on a journey in which he looks for answers in different industries that could apply to the medical problem he is confronting. He looks at the construction industry, where incredibly complicated buildings are constructed in clockwork fashion taking into account thousands of natural variables. Those guys end up being able to do that with an incredibly small failure rate. Of course, when a building fails, it is likely to lead to many deaths. The same is true for medical cases. He discovers the value of a checklist in the construction world, but decides the type of checklist they use isn't really practical in medicine because while construction occurs over months to years, medical decisions must be made in seconds.
He then moves on to the airline industry, which is fascinating. This is a much more accurate fit with the medical problem and he finds again that checklists are in place in that industry leading to their very low rate of failure. Again he covers several interesting cases and how the implementation of checklists saved lives. Then he looks at the financial trading industry and how checklists have potential impact for that industry, but they fail to benefit from it due to the culture of the industry.
Finally, he gives some personal anecdotes as he implements a checklist in his own O.R. With success the outcome, of course.
Despite the setting of the book in the context of a medical issue, this book probably should be required reading for anyone who makes important decisions. The whole theme of the book, really, is that implementing checklists which ensure critical elements of any "process" aren't missed can and probably will result in improved outcomes. It's true in the construction and airline industry. There is evidence that it works even for institutional traders, if they'd use it, and the same is true for surgeons. How likely is it that your particular industry could do better with a checklist? I would suggest very likely. The Checklist Manifesto really raises a lot of questions about where can I benefit from developing checklists for my work as a hospitalist. There may even be room for a second book discussing how an organization should go about developing a checklist, although he does describe the process his team used. Consider the same for your own situation.(less)
Michael Hyatt's Platform is, in short, a book about getting your online presence in line, and why you should care to do that.
Many people, myself inclu...moreMichael Hyatt's Platform is, in short, a book about getting your online presence in line, and why you should care to do that.
Many people, myself included, maintain an online presence including active Facebook posting, Twitter, websites or blogs, activity on other sites of various interests, etc. In this age of information and the internet, people depend more and more on these activities not only for social interaction, but for personal recommendations of products, books, and pretty much anything else you can imagine. Less and less are we being influenced by traditional media advertising and at the same time, we are being swamped with information from every direction in all of our online activities.
This excellent and short (~250 pages) book doesn't talk in generalities like other books before it have done. It has short, direct chapters that serve in some cases to show you why you should care about a particular tool. In other cases they are essentially a "To-Do List" of how to get the most out of social media and your online presence.
Many chapters cover how to increase your social influence, how to get more out of Twitter. Why you should consider starting or maintaining your Blog and how to go about doing that. There are a number of chapters that cover what NOT to do as well as many people don't realize that side of things.
I read a lot of non-fiction and personal enrichment books and it's rare to find one packed as densely with useful information as Platform. If you are a professional of any sort, you should read this book.(less)
This book is an excellent overview of likely changes coming to our society from a world-view perspective. In generations past, there have been wholesa...moreThis book is an excellent overview of likely changes coming to our society from a world-view perspective. In generations past, there have been wholesale societal shifts in "direction." For instance, moving from into the industrial age, there was a shift from a family-based agrarian societal structure. That had profound effects throughout society. People left the rural areas and congregated in cities to find production jobs. Capacity of production was limited by the workers available so the educational system was changed to educate our children to a degree that they would be capable of succeeding in those types of jobs. That required left brain thinking. Over the past 150 years, that has been an extremely successful and productive model for western countries. But in modern times, there is another shift that is currently in full swing: a new renaissance, wherein those jobs & professions that require left-brain thought and training are better handled by computers or low-paid workers in other countries.
If you have been exposed to Goleman's Emotional Intelligence or Social Intelligence books and Friedman's The World is Flat (or even Hot, Flat & Crowded), you'll have something of an idea of how this book reads. The writing style is very similar to Friedman's, though not as densely packed. There is certainly some conceptual content overlap among all of these books as well. I found them all to be quite interesting. Or maybe "thought-provoking" would be the more appropriate term.
The focus of AWNM is on the new renaissance and how this could affect our future and that of our children. Is the current education system going to serve our children, or will it adequately outfit them to enter a job market in which they have no chance of competing with someone who works for 1/2 or less the wages? What types of skills and perspectives do we need to educate and train our future generations in order to make the next economic leap? There are some specifics and a lot of general ideas to digest. And probably act upon through groundswells of pressure and support on our educational system in order to make the necessary changes to best serve our next generations.
My primary criticism of the book is there isn't enough specific application discussed. The topics covered are huge and will probably affect our next several generations to such a large degree that not acting on this is foolish. Probably even downright negligent. So what are the "next steps" to take as (a) individuals, (b) local thought-leaders, (c) people on educational boards, (d) people involved in various strata of government or even politics? Speaking of politics, I'm essentially straight-up libertarian, and this book read as having a significantly liberal bias. To me, that felt unnecessary as these topics are really non-partisan. Perhaps it was hard to contain as many current right-brain-dominant individuals find themselves in liberal fields of work. Still, it needs to be noted as the topics should be equally important to conservatives, liberals, or anyone in our country. And for those reading it from outside of the western world, it really gives a good thought-platform on skipping straight past "equality" with the western world to a position of dominance quickly.
Definitely a recommended read. Start up a conversation if you do.(less)
Pretty good book overall. Definitely start with the previous book - QBQ, which discusses the fundamental concept of making sure you're asking the righ...morePretty good book overall. Definitely start with the previous book - QBQ, which discusses the fundamental concept of making sure you're asking the right questions to make forward progress.
Flipping the Switch takes it to the next level, though, discussing Application Principles that add to the QBQ. The application principles are Learning, Ownership, Creativity, Service, and Trust. Each section gives a relatively brief discussion of the principle, how it relates the the QBQ concept, and an entertaining anecdote to visualize the concept in action.
This is a brief book with simple concepts that should still help keep you more focused and productive in your work and personal life. Well worth the read.(less)
I just finished reading QBQ - The Question Behind the Question, What to Really Ask Yourself to Eliminate Blame, Complaining, and Procrastination by Jo...moreI just finished reading QBQ - The Question Behind the Question, What to Really Ask Yourself to Eliminate Blame, Complaining, and Procrastination by John Miller a few minutes ago.
What a great book!
I purchased it on Amazon 2/22/11 and finished it today 2/27/11 which is probably an all-time record for me as books I buy usually take months, if not years, to percolate to the top of my to-read list. This one, however, I seemed to keep getting prompts about in my other reading, Amazon searches, and of course regular mentions from Dave Ramsey. I'm currently going through Financial Peace University with my wife and am doing some personal enrichment reading in that regard, including currently reading The Millionaire Next Door and listening to Thou Shall Prosper on audiobook. Hopefully that puts things into perspective.
Having read quite a few business-related books in the last few years, what sets QBQ apart?
1. An ultra-sharply clear concept.
2. Broad usage potential, both in professional and personal life.
3. Super-fast readability
This is a 115-page book that reads even faster than that. Most chapters are 1-4 pages long, and not particularly dense pages at that. Each chapter reads as a mini article covering a specific item all of which revolve around the QBQ concept.
What is that concept? It's simple: getting to questions in our lives that move us toward positive action. As opposed to all those questions most people use daily in their work and personal lives which attempt to avoid responsibility or place blame on others for the problem of the moment. It really is that simple. But because the concept is so clear, the majority of the book gives examples of how we can rephrase our words and thinking to become more effective at problem solving. More effective ourselves. Not by attempting to change others. Not by anything other than realizing that we simply can NOT change others, and asking questions about why others do or don't do what we want them to do are useless questions.
Too often in this country today people act the victim. “I couldn't do what I needed to do because that person didn't do their thing.” “It's not my fault I burnt my tongue on that coffee, the cup wasn't clearly enough labeled 'HOT!'” You get the idea. So much of the genius in this country seems to be spent in figuring out how to avoid personal responsibility. At work. At home. At school. In parenting. For anything. Does anyone think this is a good thing? In any way?
To me, this book is a brief rebellion against that epidemic. It's something I'll make sure my kids read. It should be read by everyone in America, in my opinion. It's a short, easy, fun, enlightening read. Every 6th grader and every high school senior should be required to read it. Twice. Maybe again in college. QBQ is that good a concept.
Good general information, but nothing new to the genre in general. Still, for most people who feel "stuck in a rut" or otherwise stuck in a job and li...moreGood general information, but nothing new to the genre in general. Still, for most people who feel "stuck in a rut" or otherwise stuck in a job and life they don't enjoy or in which they are not fulfilled, this is a great book to point you in the right direction.(less)
Lots of hype... Hard to really get into this one as a physician as this guys tries to be as offensive as humanly possible towards us. There are good c...moreLots of hype... Hard to really get into this one as a physician as this guys tries to be as offensive as humanly possible towards us. There are good concepts in here, but there's a lot of unrealistic stuff as well. I read this with an open mind, but the approach he took closed my mind toward his concepts by 2/3 of the way through the book due to his offensive attitude.(less)
This is an absolutely fabulous book for anyone who wants to transform their financial situation from a nightmare into an absolute dream! My wife and I...moreThis is an absolutely fabulous book for anyone who wants to transform their financial situation from a nightmare into an absolute dream! My wife and I are currently going through Financial Peace University and this book is almost exactly the same information. It is indispensible.
Financial Peace Revisited is essentially the book form of Financial Peace University and is actually a part of that curriculum as you are asked to read certain chapters in association with a given week's topic.
The book has chapters and subsections. Chapters cover really everything you need to know about money, starting with the basics, then expanding into topics that will help you understand the spiritual aspects of money (yes there are some) the emotional aspects of handling money, lifestyles (and lifestyle management). And of course they cover budgets and the famous Debt Snowball.
Basically everything is geared toward educating you not only to understand money but also to understand why you are tempted to do the things that end up causing people to end up in money trouble. More likely than not, if you're reading this book you have experienced some financial trouble, or are pretty deeply in trouble. It's not enough to blindly follow somebody's advice on how to get out of it. If you do that, you'll simply end up in the same trouble again in the future. On the other hand, if you learn the pitfall(s) that lead to your trouble in the first place you are really learning how to avoid falling into the same trap(s) in the future.
This book isn't just for people who know nothing about money. Later chapters discuss building strong emergency funds (and why you should), retirement funds (and educates you on the most common solid options there), insurance coverage, and even charitable giving. There are chapters on teaching your children about money and also on how to handle money issues with family and friends (which can be touchy and very dangerous if you don't think about it logically.
Overall, this is an absolutely fantastic book. I can't say enough about it. Almost everyone out there could likely learn some things in this book that can substantially change their financial future, or at least has the potential to do so. Those lease likely to benefit are people who are deeply involved with wealth management already (perhaps professionally). And we all know people who constantly tell people the right thing to do, yet fail to follow their own advice.(less)
This was a good book, overall. I think the topic is timely and this is a reasonably proper Biblical basis to the book. The key factor here is the focu...moreThis was a good book, overall. I think the topic is timely and this is a reasonably proper Biblical basis to the book. The key factor here is the focus on pomp and ceremony.
The real take-home meat of this book is in the first few chapters - defining "authentic manhood" in a way that we can both aspire to as fathers and aspire to raise our sons to that same standard. In a way, I think it's a bit short on helpful suggestions. But then again, maybe it's more of a "call to arms" than a "battle plan" so to speak. Not a lot wrong with that. i've been going through the video series with some local guys as well and that helps flesh it out quite a bit.
The positives are good Biblical referencing for the sections that discuss manhood definitions and the importance of active, intentional fatherhood to provide your son(s) with the right direction to their lives.
The negatives, however, are pretty significant. There is a lot of emphasis on ceremony, which may (or may not) be useful in each son's particular case. There is literal emphasis on the importance of the ceremony to be "expensive," which to me is somewhat offensive. There is also emphasis on the family crest which promotes pride for the family, which may or may not be useful in years to come. Though it could certainly benefit the father-son relationship by giving a common creative activity. There is not much Biblical basis for these activities, however, so again, be aware of this fact.
Overall, I think that if you take this book as a call to arms, toward setting a higher standard for our sons in both their character and relationship with the Lord, I think this book is a reasonable start. If you are truly looking for something deeper, I think you may need to look elsewhere, but Raising a Modern-Day Knight is a short, easy read so it may be worth looking into regardless.
Read with discernment and try to keep your focus on creating a heart for Christ in your sons, being an active and intentional father, and modeling in your own life the positive characteristics you want for your son.(less)