An insightful and inspiring collection of strategies and tools for your business and your life.
This book is a collection of 50 “tools” focused on succAn insightful and inspiring collection of strategies and tools for your business and your life.
This book is a collection of 50 “tools” focused on success in business. The author has worked as an accountant, lawyer, real estate developer, and writer. His broad background has provided him with a variety of experiences from which he has drawn the tools he shares in this book.
The tools in this book span a wide range of topics, covering all manner of situations in which we often find ourselves in our professional lives. The tools and strategies include interpersonal/emotional tools such as “The Tin Woodsman” (effective compassion), “Leave Grumpy at Home” (trying to be happy at work), and “Wait Three Days” (calm down before you act) as well as practical tools such as “Budget, Don’t Fudge It” and “Don’t Run Out of Cash”, and many in between, such as “Toot” (speaking up for yourself and tooting your own horn when deserved) , “The (Dreaded) Annual Review” and “The Magic Piano” (noticing and appreciating the magic all around you – one of my favorites).
If you’re not a fan of business books, don’t let the title of the book dissuade you from taking a closer look. While the tools in this book are primarily aimed at business people, most of them (if not all of them) have applicability in our personal lives as well.
My experience in reading this book was somewhat uneven. At times I considered putting the book aside because it wasn’t holding my interest, and then at other times I didn’t want to put it down. I think this is because of the diversity of tools offered in the book. As I read through the tools in this book I would occasionally come across one or two that I didn’t find especially useful or inspiring (and there were a few of these), but then within a few pages I would find a few that really resonated with me. I expect the experience will be similar for many readers, and I believe this book has a lot of offer nearly anyone and everyone.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. Based on my experience with this book, I’ve added the author’s first book (“People Tools”) to my Wish List, and will keep an eye out for future book s by this author as well.
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for insights, strategies, and tools for improving their business and/or personal lives.
Disclaimer: I won a free copy of this book from the "12 Books" group as part of its monthly book discussion program....more
A useful and insightful look at effective coaching.
This book is about how effective coaching can help leaders to better motivate and engage their teamA useful and insightful look at effective coaching.
This book is about how effective coaching can help leaders to better motivate and engage their teams. Following an introduction that serves to explain what coaching is and is not, the book comprises two main sections.
The first part of this book is focused on four key principles of coaching; building trust, tapping into potential, creating commitment, and executing goals. These are the foundations of good coaching, and form the basis for the seven skills described in part two. The second (and considerable longer) part of the book is dedicated to exploring seven coaching skills:
* Build Trust * Challenge Paradigms * Seek Strategic Clarity * Execute Flawlessly * Give Effective Feedback * Tap Into Talent * Move the Middle
There is some natural overlap between the four principles and seven skills, but I think that's to be expected, given the subject matter. For example, the importance of trust between a coach and the people he or she is coaching can't be overemphasized. All the best coaching skills in the world are next to useless without the foundation of trust.
The author of this book, Michael K. Simpson, has spent more than 25 years training executives to be more effective coaches, and draws on this considerable experience in providing examples of several of the principles covered in the book. The author was mentored by Dr. Steven R. Covey, author of "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People," and readers will recognize several of the key themes from Dr. Covey's work in this book.
I generally enjoy books like this, and this one was certainly no exception. One of the things I especially liked about this book is that it provides lots of practical advice for leaders in the form of questions they can use to identify issues, resolve challenges, and bring out the best of the people whom they lead.
Of the seven skills outlined in this book, my favorite chapters were challenging paradigms and "moving the middle." We all get caught up in paradigms that no longer serve us, and I think that tools for identifying and breaking free of those are useful to everyone. The idea of "moving the middle" is one that caught my eye because it represents what I refer to as "common sense but not common practice." All too often emphasis is put on performance improvements of high level performers, but focusing on the middle can yield much more effective results.
That said, I do have some minor quibbles with this book. The first is that it's somewhat even in places. Some chapters are fairly short, high-level, and largely conceptual/theoretical, while others are more in-depth and offer more practical advice to readers. I think part of the reason for this is that some of the concepts discussed in this book are quite large in and of themselves (building trust and challenging paradigms for example) and could easily be the subject of their own books. The author had to draw a line at some point in terms of how in-depth he could go on each of the topics he addresses, and overall I agree with his choices, but there were times when I felt that the text wasn't going deep enough into some areas.
Another minor issue I had is related to editing. I spotted a number of spelling and grammatical errors that distracted me and pulled me out of the text. Normally I wouldn't point something like out, but in this case it was a bit more frequent that I would have expected. These were only a minor annoyance, but still something I couldn't ignore.
Overall I strongly recommend this book to managers and leaders looking to improve and sharpen their coaching skills. It offers lots of great insight and practical advice for effective coaching and deserves a spot in every coach's success library.
Note: I won a free copy of this book from the "12 Books" group as part of its monthly book discussion program....more
A fun and simple little book packed with the wisdom of Walt Disney.
This book collects quotes from Walt Disney on a wide range of topics, including MicA fun and simple little book packed with the wisdom of Walt Disney.
This book collects quotes from Walt Disney on a wide range of topics, including Mickey Mouse, Disneyland, movies and animation, television, education, America, business, the Walt Disney Company (known as Walt Disney Productions when Walt was still alive), animals, art & music, and other areas as well.
Many of the quotes in this book are fairly well known ("...it was all started by a mouse.", "we keep moving forward", "we call it Imagineering - the blending of creative imagination and technical know-how", etc.) as well as many that are on the more obscure side. As you read through this book, you get a sense of how Walt Disney approached his life and his work. You also get a glimpse into the philosophy that made Walt Disney one of the most influential creative geniuses in history.
We all have things to learn through our lives, and finding the right teachers and role models is one of the most important things we can each do to improve our lives. No matter who you are or what you want to do with your life, Walt Disney has something to teach you, and this book is a great place to start your lessons.
I recommend this book anyone interested in learning more about Walt Disney....more
An outstanding guide to the windows on Main Street U.S.A.
If you've ever visited a Disney "magic kingdom" park (those modeled after the original DisneyAn outstanding guide to the windows on Main Street U.S.A.
If you've ever visited a Disney "magic kingdom" park (those modeled after the original Disneyland), you've walked by dozens of windows bearing the names fictional businesses and their employees. What you might not realize is that these windows are tributes to the people who contributed to the parks in some way, such as design, construction, or operations. Having your name on a window on Main Street in a Disney park is one of the highest honors for Disney Cast Members, and is considered by some to be even more prestigious than being named a Disney Legend.
Disney is famous for its attention to detail, particularly in their theme parks, and windows on Main Street are an great example. Cast Member names aren't simply slapped on any old window. The fictional names on Main Street windows almost always allude to either the job or interests of the person being honored. For instance, Roy E. Disney's (son of Roy O. Disney and Walt Disney's nephew) windows have a nautical theme, based on his passion for sailing. Some windows are based on inside jokes, such as Imagineer Rolly Crump's window, on which he's listed as "Assistant Palm Reader" because he used to bring people to fellow Imagineer John Hench to have their palms read.
This book is a guide is all of the windows on the Main Streets of Disneyland, Magic Kingdom (Walt Disney World), Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, and Hong Kong Disneyland. Each park is given its own chapter, and the pages of each chapter are all the same color, which can help readers navigate between chapters more easily than using page numbers.
Within each chapter, the book arranges the window descriptions in order as a Guest at the park might encounter them, starting at the entrance of the park, continuing along the left side of Main Street, crossing to the right side of Main Street at the Hub, and then back towards the park entrance. This helps give the reader some idea of roughly where each window is located in each park.
For each window, the book provides the wording of each (the name and slogan of a fictional company) along with a description of the person(s) honored by the window. For the US-based parks, the book also contains pictures of all of the windows listed, and contains pictures of most of the windows from the international parks as well.
I knew there were a lot of windows in the Disney parks, but I had no idea just how many there were until reading this book. This book represents a Herculean effort on the part of the author. Beyond simply identifying the windows and getting the wording and names on each correct, the descriptions of the people honored by each window represent what must have been countless hours of research. Wherever possible the author provides more than simply a sentence about each window honoree, and tries to provide background on each so the reader can really understand the contribution each Cast Member made to the parks. The author's passion for Disney really shines through on every page of this book.
One of the things I especially like about this book is how it names so many of the Imagineers who worked on the parks. While management and operations Cast Members are obviously important to the parks, without the Imagineers, Disney parks just wouldn't be what they are. This book provides names of countless Imagineers who have gone largely unrecognized to many of even the most diehard Disney park fans, and for that, I give the author extra kudos.
Beyond simply being a reference to the windows in the parks, this book could also make for an interesting type of park guide as well. I've seen pictures online of people using the book to find specific windows in the parks, and I can envision many Disney park fans using this book as the basis for scavenger hunts and games.
All that said, I did have a couple of (very) minor quibbles with the book. First, I would have liked it if some of the pictures were a little easier to read. In the case of some windows, I couldn't make out any of the words from the picture (fortunately, the window descriptions compensate for this). Given the challenges of getting pictures of any kind for some of these windows (given their locations), this is a very minor point indeed, but is something I noticed. Secondly, an index of the names honored by the windows would have been a nice addition, but again, given the enormity of the effort involved in putting this book together, its absence is completely understandable.
As a fan of Disney parks, I had been looking forward to getting a copy of this from the moment I learned about it, and I wasn't disappointed. Simply put, I loved this book! I read it over the course of three evenings, staying up (too) late each night because I couldn't put it down.
If you enjoy Disney parks and want to learn more about the people responsible for creating them, this book is for you....more
This is the fifth installment of "More Cute Stories" from Rolly Crump (and Jeff Heimbuch), where the former Imagineer shares his tales of working at DThis is the fifth installment of "More Cute Stories" from Rolly Crump (and Jeff Heimbuch), where the former Imagineer shares his tales of working at Disney on theme parks and more.
This volume focuses on stories about animators and Imagineers that Rolly worked with during his time at Walt Disney Productions (before it was renamed The Walt Disney Company). This includes stories about some well known Imagineers including Dick Irvine (former head of WED Enterprises), Marty Sklar, and John Hench. As Jeff Heimbuch mentions in his introduction, one of the interesting things about these stories is that we get to learn a little more about the personal side of some of these people.
Another interesting thing to note is that while Rolly certainly had challenges when working with some of these people, he takes care to not disparate those people in his stories or portray them in a negative way. Rolly is very respectful of the subjects of his stories.
If you're fan of Disney animation, Imagineering, Disney theme parks in general, or Rolly Crump, I heartily recommend this....more
An engaging look at reinvention and how you can leverage it in your work and your life.
This book starts from the premise that one of the primary reasoAn engaging look at reinvention and how you can leverage it in your work and your life.
This book starts from the premise that one of the primary reasons companies fail is the tendency to rest on their laurels and not consistently revise and reinvent who they are and what they do.
After laying the groundwork and argument for the value and need for reinvention, the book explores a number of different approaches to reinvention in the following chapters:
Cannibalize Your Own Products Retool Your Operations Create Vivid Experiences Tell A Memorable Story Overhaul Your Culture Reimagine Your Customer Transform Your Career Forge Your Legacy
Each chapter includes case studies and stories about how companies in various industries have used the each approach to reinvention to stay competitive and succeed. Each chapter also provides questions and exercises to help readers apply what they've read to the real world. The result is a book that deftly combines real-world case studies, theory, and application. This combination of theory and real-world case studies/application is something that's missing in far too many business books, in my view, and was one of my favorite parts of the book.
In addition, the author shares discusses how each of the various approaches to reinvention apply (or could be applied) to the reinvention of the city of Detroit, Michigan, the author's home town. These sections serve as additional examples and provide even more real-world application of the ideas in this book.
I recommend this book to anyone interested in business books in general, and more specifically, to those interested in learning more about how to consistently improve what they do and who they are.
Note: I won a free electronic copy of this book from the "12 Books" group as part of its monthly book discussion program....more
An interesting and insightful look at leadership in the Social Age.
In this book, the author describes the Social Age as "the environment we inhabit toAn interesting and insightful look at leadership in the Social Age.
In this book, the author describes the Social Age as "the environment we inhabit today: it's a time when the very nature of work is evolving, changing to reflect a revised social contract and the advancement of technology to facilitate sharing and community."
Author Julian Stodd often writes about aspects of the Social Age on his blog, and this book is an in-depth look at leadership and what it should look like in the Social Age.
Part one of this book looks at the foundations of social leadership, including defining the Social Age, looking at the concept of the "social business", the "social contract" and social collaborative technology. This sets the stage for exploring what leadership looks like in the Social Age.
Part two gets to the heart of this book and focuses on what the author refers to as the "NET Model of Social Leadership". This model is built around three key areas: Narrative, Engagement, and Technology. Each of these areas are further broken down into three components that comprise the skills, concepts, models, and attitudes of social leadership, as follows:
Narrative: Curation, Storytelling, and Sharing
Engagement: Community, Reputation, and Authority
Technology: Co-Creation, Social Capital, and Collaboration
Each of these three components is even further broken down into three smaller pieces. For instance, the "Curation" component of the "Narrative" area comprises three facets: "Discovery,", "Perception," and "Interpretation." While I appreciate the goal of breaking down each piece of the model into smaller chunks, at times I found myself a little lost in terms of where in the NET model hierarchy I was.
I enjoy reading about business and leadership, and this book offers a distinctively different look at leadership through the lens of the social age. I especially like how this book combines traditional ideas around leadership, such as authority and collaboration, with some less traditional ideas, including curation, storytelling, and co-creation.
Anyone looking for ideas of what leadership will look like in the coming years will find good, insightful ideas in this book. This is a book that benefits greatly from being read more than once. There is a lot to digest in this small book, and many of the ideas and how they can be applied may not be evident to the reader upon an initial read.
I do have a couple of minor quibbles with the book, but neither of these is anything I would consider major. First, I read this initially on my Kindle, and many of the illustrations and mind-maps were difficult to read. This is more of an issue with my using a Kindle than with the book's content, but is something that Kindle readers should bear in mind. Secondly, most of the book is more theory than practice, and I think the book would have benefited greatly from more real-life examples of some of the principles discussed. Again these are both minor issues, and neither of these should discourage people from reading this.
I recommend this book to anyone interested in leadership in general, and the role of leadership and the skills needed to master it in the Social Age.
[Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book for being a member of the author's Learning Forum group on LinkedIn.]...more
Another great selection of stories from Rolly Crump, this time about the "Museum of the Weird" the planned-but-never-built addition to the Haunted ManAnother great selection of stories from Rolly Crump, this time about the "Museum of the Weird" the planned-but-never-built addition to the Haunted Mansion.
I recommend this, and the other volumes in the "More Cute Stories" series to any and all fans of Disney parks and Imagineering. ...more