A book about the American West? Indian wars? Sounds like a snooze fest to me, but holy moly I loved this. I'm easily swayed by adding dinosaurs or fosA book about the American West? Indian wars? Sounds like a snooze fest to me, but holy moly I loved this. I'm easily swayed by adding dinosaurs or fossils to anything. So, I'm based. But even if you aren't easily influenced, this book was great!...more
I laughed so much. How can a person be thus funny? Even when she dropped the F bomb I laughed because it was perfectly placed. I have a burning desireI laughed so much. How can a person be thus funny? Even when she dropped the F bomb I laughed because it was perfectly placed. I have a burning desire yo be friends with Paula Poundstone. And Tim Gunn. Those two people are as opposite as you can get, except for their absolutely endearingness!
Paula, if you read this, I want you to know that you are awesome!...more
I am a stay at home mom, but yet this was one of the best and most useful books I have read in my whole life. It wasn't a dry, boring business book. II am a stay at home mom, but yet this was one of the best and most useful books I have read in my whole life. It wasn't a dry, boring business book. It had lots of stories (even the author talks about how teaching through stories is highly effective) that made it interesting and engaging.
There were two major things that I realized through reading this: #1 running a family is similar to running a business and #2 I quit a job years ago that I hated to passionately and this book helped be understand why that was such a dysfunctional work environment.
#1 The book talks extensively about being 'engaged' as an employee and as a leader. As a mother, some days I am very unengaged. I am plodding along, folding laundry, washing dishes, changing diapers, making dinner. So, I'm working, but I'm not seeking for ways to improve the process. In my case, improving the process might be the agonizing venture of teaching my 7 year old to load the dishwasher correctly or helping my 3 year old put away his clean underwear. Or, it might just be sitting down and playing with them. The author encourages executives to have contact with employees at lower levels. Not an official visit where everything must be polished, but a casual visit that fosters honest opinions about company processes and customer interactions. I can do that with my kids! Instead of having formal 'talks', I can ask them regularly for their inputs. They are children, so sometimes their input is nuts (ie 'we should have oreos and ice cream for dinner every night'), but other times I will learn important things (like when I yell at my little girl she feels stupid).
#2 First National Bank of Layton in Layton, Utah is the best example in the entire universe of what not to do, as spoken by this book. As I read this book, I thought of each job that I've had and each had a few bad bits and pieces. They also each were very good at some or many of the principles layed out in this book, ie 'no excessive meetings' or 'engaging with employees', except First National Bank (FNB) of Layton. EVERY CHAPTER had me saying, "Oh my gosh! That was the problem!"
One of the first chapters talks about meeting and how often meetings are scheduled because that's when meeting as scheduled, but not because a meeting is needed. And that meetings are scheduled for an hour, despite the fact that everything that be accomplished in half an hour. I remember there was a meeting that was scheduled for once a month for an hour to discuss bank compliance. There was never, ever enough stuff to fill an hour, nor was the meeting necessary. Everything could have been accomplished with a memo or an email. The woman that ran the meetings, Jacque Michels (the most vile, insecure, vindictive, and arrogant person that I have ever met (I haven't met Donald Trump...he might narrowly beat her)), was in charge of the meeting and she did not have enough work to do, so she planned this stupid meeting to make herself look busy and important. I remember one meeting in particular (yes, I'm still pissed about a meeting a full decade later) in which the format of the meeting was guessing what the initials after her name stood for. This woman had absolutely no life outside of bank compliance. (I think that is because she was a hateful creature and only rattlesnakes and alligators would be her friend.) So she took every class on the planet and got every bank compliance certification that existed. So, had she been a doctor, her name would have been Jacque Michels, MD. But, instead she was a high and mighty bank auditor and so her name was something like this: Jacque Michels, A.S.S., F.U., J.E.R.K., L.M.N.O.P, N.B.C., I.D.I.O.T, A.A.R.P, R.U.N.D.M.C, etc. And the point of the meeting was that. That was the least helpful meeting I've ever been to. It was stupid. It was arrogant of her. And it did not further the business in the least. In fact, it slowed everything down because all of the bank managers were stuck in that meeting for an hour. Several had to travel an hour one way to attend. Stupid. I almost hope she googles herself and finds this.
Another chapter was about employee engagement and how so many employees just do exactly what their job is and not a damn bit more. There were two employees that I remember distinctly. They were named Ruby and Barbara. Both had worked at the bank for well over 2o years. And they were doing things exactly as they had done for 20 years and neither was going to budge one millimeter to take on a new task, even as their old tasks vanished (ie manually checking the signatures on checks). I was put in the unfortunate position of being Barbara's boss. She was a problem employee, despite having 20+ years of service under her belt. I spoke to my boss about it. I was working on her performance review. I was forced to give her a pay increase (because she'd always gotten one) and wasn't allowed to give her low marks on anything (because she'd worked there for 20+ years). I remember by boss saying that we couldn't let her go because she wouldn't be able to find another job that paid as well. So, thanks to my bosses, I was stuck limping along. And she knew it and she did less and less and less. And if you do absolutely nothing and get a raise and a good performance review...what incentive do you have to improve.
The book doesn't talk specifically about paying employees lots of money, but it does talk about not treating employees as just as expense that you resent. I was definitely treated that way. Any raise to any employee was very grudgingly given. And so no one felt like putting in any effort, no matter how small, because it wouldn't be rewarded anyway. I did some research toward the end of the time that I worked there and I discovered that I would have been paid $10-12,000 more at another bank for doing a similar job. I also learned that one of the employees that reported directly to me earned more than I did. I thought it was strange when I was told that I wouldn't need to handle the pay increase portion of his performance review, but I was drowning in idiotic meetings and I was happy to have something lifted from my plate. I learned later when he was promoted to my same level and transferred to a different branch, that he was being paid that extra $10-12,000 that I wasn't being paid. HE. He was married. HE had a wife to support. I was single. I was a women. I could, this is a real quote from the CEO of the bank, "get married, have a baby, and quit anytime, so [they] couldn't pay me that same amount". Do I regret not suing the hell outta them? Yes. Deeply, passionately, and powerfully.
Oh, the list could go on for years. That was such a poorly managed place that I am amazed that they are still in business. Their pride is based on the fact that they've been open 100+ years. My thoughts are, if you are a bank that's been open 100+ years and you're still only up to 7 branches, your growth may be a little stunted. Everyone in the community knows this bank. Their main branch is a well known building. I cannot imagine the growth power they could have if the employees were engaged, management communicated freely and honestly with the employees, and the employees were encouraged to point out new avenues of growth. Instead, they seem to have the motto, "We're consistent. We did stuff this way for the last 100 years and we'll keep doing it for the next 100 years." ...more
Well, this book was more about chemical bonds and molecule diagrams than it was about why baking soda does whatever it does and how to change your recWell, this book was more about chemical bonds and molecule diagrams than it was about why baking soda does whatever it does and how to change your recipes. I really wanted more of the idiot's guide to cooking chemistry. Instead it was just chemistry-chemistry. I took intro chemistry several times in college. I rejoiced when I finally got the C- that I needed to pass the class. A part of me dies when I see a picture with a bunch of letters (C, H, O) and lines drawn between them. My brain cannot process that....more
I finished this book on the morning of election day. I felt so sickened by it that I was sort of relieved that Hillary was certain to win.
I read thisI finished this book on the morning of election day. I felt so sickened by it that I was sort of relieved that Hillary was certain to win.
I read this feeling like it was heavily biased against Donald Trump. However, the more I think about it, the more I feel like there was/is actually nothing good to say about his character and ethics and perhaps the book was simply straight forward....more
Whyyyyyy? Why in the world would you hike thousands of miles? That's such an ambitious undertaking that I thought there would be some motivation behinWhyyyyyy? Why in the world would you hike thousands of miles? That's such an ambitious undertaking that I thought there would be some motivation behind it. I expected that she would be running away from a broken home/marriage, wanting to connect with people on her travels and learn their cultures, or any there reason. But none was given other than hiking is just what she does. Maybe that really was her motivation, in which case she's crazy. She left her beloved dog behind and a loving family in order to be gone for several years.
Some people she met along the way were jerks. But she met so, so, so many jerks that I wondered if she was attracting them. Assuming people are bad makes it a lot easier to see bad and find bad and accept bad. That's the case in most situations. If you look for good, you'll find it....more
I absolutely loved this book. It was nice to be able to read one page and not be left hanging. My life is currently being lived in tiny bits between dI absolutely loved this book. It was nice to be able to read one page and not be left hanging. My life is currently being lived in tiny bits between diapers and feedings and little boy shenanigans and homework and on and on. So a book of snippets rocked my world.
And the snippets were awesome. Some made me say, "Wait! WHAT? I've gotta know more!" Some made me giggle. Some made me very sad....more