“Good is the enemy of the great” rings only too-true in our culture of frenetic to-do lists and goals. Whether experienced in corporations, families,“Good is the enemy of the great” rings only too-true in our culture of frenetic to-do lists and goals. Whether experienced in corporations, families, teams or individual lives, this culture of busy-ness for its own sake is almost certainly thwarting the true greatness that we were created for. With wisdom he has been sharing with business leaders for decades, Collins helps us hone down what is non-essential in our habits, thinking and modern lifestyles, in the effort to unearth what is truly best, rather than merely ineffectual mirrors of what others have done before. Creator of the “Don’t-do list,” he gives us permission to be creative, fail and try new things, all within the framework of teams that are united in their passions, skills and goals. Most importantly, and long before any mission statements or financial projections are in place, Collins stresses that leaders must be sure to “get the right people on the bus,” which of course means eliminating the wrong ones, harsh as it may initially sound. If a team member is bringing down the group, he or she is also bringing him or herself down as well. By leading well, managers create opportunities for people to serve and work in thriving environments, humbly leading others to find their finest calling when the current one is flatlining. Everyone benefits when a lackluster dream dies and a truly great one is born....more
Infamous and oft-censored Salman Rushdie also writes nice fairy tales for children, this one depicting the epic confrontation between good and evil, sInfamous and oft-censored Salman Rushdie also writes nice fairy tales for children, this one depicting the epic confrontation between good and evil, specifically fought within our own conflicted selves. Pretty, creative and gently humorous, it is perfect bedtime reading for all ages...more
Charming sequel to The True Meaning of Smekday, Adam Rex’s Smek for President brings beloved alien named J.Lo and pre-teen human, Gratuity Tucci, backCharming sequel to The True Meaning of Smekday, Adam Rex’s Smek for President brings beloved alien named J.Lo and pre-teen human, Gratuity Tucci, back into our lives for another installment of planet-saving/destroying potential. This time, they are on a moon of Saturn, without Mom’s permission of course, and they are going to be in so much trouble when—if—they ever get back home. Despite the inconveniences of space travel and language translation, New Boovworld is extremely interesting, especially as its politics have started to resemble America’s, in an unpleasant, Donald-Trump sort of way. It seems Gratuity and her many-legged Boov friend are going to have to save a planet again, and though she doesn’t want a lot of attention for her heroics, Gratuity can’t help but be annoyed when others try to take the credit for all her hard work. Some introspection occurs. In the meantime, J. Lo is still embarrassed by almost destroying Earth in the first place, so he makes multiple time travel machine prototypes in order to correct his first mistake. Dozens of future J. Lo’s come back in time to try to stop him, even kill him, to get him to desist his tampering, and eventually he gets so confused that he gives up. Sure, many thousands of humans and aliens died as a result of the war with the invading Gorg hordes that followed his accidental satellite signal, but the humans and the Boov are now at peace, plus he now has a loving family with Gratuity, her mom and her cat. It was all worth it. After much hilarity, chasing and explosions, these two and their new mostly-sentient friends stop the silly antics of the Boovworld presidential election, without getting grounded for, like, ever....more
A young British woman is the unlikely bread-winner for her entire extended family. When she is fired from her long-standing job at a coffee shop, sheA young British woman is the unlikely bread-winner for her entire extended family. When she is fired from her long-standing job at a coffee shop, she takes all the employment agency tests and seminars and interviews and ultimately realizes she has the perfect skill set for…nothing. With growing financial pressure from her family, she becomes desperate enough to take on a care-giver job for a paraplegia patient, despite having no medical background whatsoever. The money is surprisingly—and a little suspiciously—good, and soon she finds out why. The patient is more than a bit ornery. He wants to die, and she makes it her goal to help him see the beauty of life again. She learns that giving to others is our best life work, and at this she is more than capable. Poignant, sad, lovely, with faint hints of creepy. ...more
Banning books backfires, making them all the more alluring. Such is especially true for William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, which well-meaning schoolBanning books backfires, making them all the more alluring. Such is especially true for William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, which well-meaning school librarians have removed from youth reading lists for decades due to the violence, language and the racism of its characters. Ultimately, however, if these attributes were excised from all literature, there would be none left worth reading. Holding a brutal mirror up to the conflicted heart of humanity, Golding’s tale provides the universal template of all social politics with gripping narrative from page one as a gaggle of children left to survive by their wits on a tropical island after a plane crash during an unnamed war. Being good Brits at heart, they desire enough order to feel like home, but as children, they also desire fun. Things get dark when the game becomes the acquisition of power for its own sake rather than for the greater good.
Whether a group of three or more people forms over a football or a church fundraiser, the same dynamics of power and altruism struggle for supremacy. The success or degeneration of any project hinges on the balance and clever use of power by those who wish only to serve selflessly. There will always be a Jack, a Ralph, a Simon, and a Piggy, and—especially when there is an election for President looming on the horizon—we must decide which one we allow to reign in ourselves. Rather than being banned, this beautiful and stark apocalypse should be required reading for every human. ...more
A charming treatise on the impact of books and humans on the life of the classically introverted, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is an exploration ofA charming treatise on the impact of books and humans on the life of the classically introverted, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is an exploration of the uniqueness of every book/person no matter how similar the covers, and why it is often easier to write about the things we hate rather than those we love. Through A.J.F.’s book reviews and life, we remember that our life is not just one story, but a collection of them, just as our bookshelves, hopefully, are similarly varied and full. A snobbish book store owner in a tourist trap town, he learns through much trial and error that “We are what we love. We are that we love.” I will accept his assignment of reading two of his favorite short stories,“1948” by J.D. Salinger and “1980” by Raymond Carver, even if he is only a fictional character, because “You know everything you need to know about a person from the answer to the question, What is your favorite book?”...more
“…you have worse things to be frightened of,” said the monster.
Conor’s writing assignment in English class, a journaling project called Life stories,“…you have worse things to be frightened of,” said the monster.
Conor’s writing assignment in English class, a journaling project called Life stories, feels like a death sentence. It’s a cruel assignment, really, considering what he is currently going through, and what he has been going through since his dad left to start a new family on another continent. Must he constantly rehash his neverending misery, only to have his fellow classmates mock him for his grief? Now, as his mother undergoes yet another round of chemotherapy, and his overbearing grandmother threatens to send him to boarding school, a sense of foreboding causes nightmares, one unspeakable one in particular. Is it any wonder, then, when a monster knocks on his window at 12:07 am on multiple visits, looking for a little chat? Though this bellicose behemoth takes on a form intended to terrify, the journey this creature leads Conor on is far worse. The creature speaks, and sometimes yells, to Conor through three obscure fairy tales. At the end of these stories, Conor must face the truth of his own, the secret he has never admitted to another living soul.
“Stories are wild creatures” but they “can be more important than anything. If they carry the truth.” ...more
Pastor Troy Evans, "P.E.", literally risked his life in writing this book. He had to get permission from his former gang leader in order to share howPastor Troy Evans, "P.E.", literally risked his life in writing this book. He had to get permission from his former gang leader in order to share how his life was derailed by an unsought-after Savior, replacing his worship of pride, destruction and power with a humble submission to God and his fellow man. Now he serves as lead pastor, author and passionate public speaker to the hip-hop culture of Grand Rapids, MI, and beyond. In this inspirational true story lies hope for troubled youth who are involved in the dangerous underworld of street life—often resulting in prostitution, violence, drugs, crime— and the inevitable deadness of spirit that accompanies such a lifestyle. With practical thought questions and action steps at the end of each chapter, this memoir shows how our communities can be truly be transformed by the local church....more
Running became prayer for Michael Chitwood. Hours on the road alone with God helped him to grieve several devastating personal losses, and he learnedRunning became prayer for Michael Chitwood. Hours on the road alone with God helped him to grieve several devastating personal losses, and he learned that pain is the best, though certainly least appreciated, training ground for a life of relentless compassion. His journey led him to begin Team World Vision, a movement that emboldens average, non-running-type folks to participate in marathons in order to alleviate suffering in countries like Africa. He insists that God will not necessarily make your life—or 26 miles—easy, but He can give you what is needed to endure, most likely right on the other side of fear. Michael lives what he preaches, encouraging us to let God transform our pain into something beautiful.
“Some people say, ‘How can God let people starve to death or let children die because they don’t have safe water to drink?....God could ask us the same question…He has trusted us with all the resources to meet these needs…By global standards, we are the rich people.’”