Whale Doneby Ken Blanchard

Book Review: Creativity, Inc

Creativity by Catmull
Topic: Building a Creative Culture
Audience: Adults


Creativity, Inc was a book that had been suggested to me by several people. At first glance I wasn’t sure it was for me, but then I heard the author, Ed Catmull, speak at The Global Leadership Summit. I quickly learned I needed to reconsider my resistance.

Creativity, Inc is not simply about being creative, rather it encourages leaders to establish a healthy and creativity culture. From day to day tasks, to meetings, to major corporate decisions creativity changes the process and changes the outcome. Ultimately it changes the experience for all involved.

Catmull speaks a lot about fear and the need to remove fear from the creative process. One quote that spoke to me was, “In a healthy, creative culture, the people in the trenches feel free to speak up and bring to light differing views that can help give us clarity.” Now that sounds like a lovely place to work 🙂

Creativity, Inc is a great read for those who desire to think outside the box and create a culture where people can thrive.

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Book Review: Give and Take

Give and Take by Grant
Topic: Understanding others
Audience: Adults

When I first heard Adam Grant speak about a year ago and I was blown away by what he shared. His ability to separate people into three simply categories: givers, takers and matchers has completed changed how I see people and how I see groups of people functioning together.

I now understand why adding or deleting one person from a large group can have a dramatic effect on the dynamics of the group. I always thought it was just their personality that impacted the group but I now know there is much more to it.

Give and Take includes research, concrete examples and thought proving ideas that leave you wanting to know more.  This book will change how you see individuals and how you understand group dynamics.

Add Give and Take to your list for 2016!


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Book Review: Help the Helper

Help the Helper by Pritchard & Eliot
Topic: Extreme Teamwork
Audience: Appropriate for teens and adults

Help the Helper is a must read for people who want to develop a culture of extreme teamwork. This book highlights the success that can happen when we truly become selfless and decide to do whatever it takes to help the team succeed. The book is full of examples of people who lead with a help the helper mentality.

One part of the book that I enjoyed was the introduction of the idea that we all need people who will lead like Sherpas.

Page 216: “When a climber shows you photographs of scaling Everest, there are always snapshots of their group hoisting arms and ice picks in celebration at the top of the mountain,” relates Domingo. “There’s never a Sherpa in those pictures.”

What he’s referencing is the contrast in mission between climber and guide. Hikers’ goals are to summit, to stake their flag in the mountain. Sherpas’ goals are to see to the hikers’ safety and survival. And while foul weather can derail climbers, Sherpas stop at no length to accomplish their goal.

Teams that I have been a part of that were highly successful all had a help the helper culture. When people come together and truly put the team first great things happen.

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Book Review: Teammates Matter

Teammates Matter by Alan Williams
Topic: Teamwork and Playing your Role
Audience: Appropriate for teens and adults

Teammates Matter is a must read for anyone who is a part of a team. Author Alan Williams, a member of the Wake Forrest Men’s Basketball, shares stories from his perspective on the team.  Despite his work ethic Alan finds himself sitting the bench for the bulk of his four years. In fact during his four year career he played a total of 59 minutes. That is correct, 59 minutes over a four year span.

What he does very well in Teammates Matter is bring into perspective the reality that we each have a role to play and every role matters. While he wasn’t a well known player he did play his role better than anyone else could have and he found ways to make his teammates better. He also brought to the light the value of what his teammates did for him. He gives several wonderful of examples of teammates who weren’t going to let others look down on him or on the role he played.

People who aren’t athletes can also benefit from the concept of knowing your role which is so prevalent in Teammates Matter. It is valuable resource for all-star players, bench warmers, coaches, fans and parents. Do you want to play your role the best you can?  Give yourself a few hours to read Teammates Matter and I think you will be energized to play your role.

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Book Review: You are a Badass

You are a Badass by Jen Sincero
Topic: Motivation
Audience: Appropriate for adults

I read You are a Badass at just the perfect time. For some time I had been thinking about working on some new projects but I had filled my mind with all the challenges, obstacles and reasons why I couldn’t take action on these projects. You are a Badass cuts to the point and it helped me to clear my mind of all the excuses I had built up. I was preparing for failure before I had even taken the first-step and this book helped me to put things in perspective and get back on track.

You are a Badass is full of humor and wisdom which I personally think is a great combination. I found myself shaking my head, highlighting lines, swearing out-loud while thinking “she wrote this line about me”!

This is a great read for people in transition or for people who want to be in transition. While I didn’t find any of the ideas to be groundbreaking I did find them to relevant and applicable. This book was a great reminder that we can choose to live a different life each and every day.

As Sincero says, “Your life is your party. You get to choose how you invite people and experiences and things into it.” Welcome to my party people, let’s do this!

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Book Review: Leaders Eat Last

Leaders Eat Last  by Simon Sinek
Topic: Leadership
Audience: Appropriate for adults

Leaders Eat Last is a must read book for anyone interested in developing as a leader! Simon Sinek is an expect on culture and leadership and I found this book difficult to set down. The basic premise of the book is understanding how leaders must take care of their people and provide an environment where they feel safe. He provides many examples of how leaders can create an environment where people feel so safe that they are willing to take great risks. That culture of safety is the responsibility of great leaders.

He shares in detail about “The Circle of Safety” which is a concept that would transform any unhealthy culture into a culture of greatness. The concept embraces the idea that when trust exists within an organization the employees are able to focus on true danger, that which comes from outside the organization, rather than fearing what danger lies withing. If an organization has to fear danger from within they will fail to perform at the highest level.

He also talks about the idea that leadership is not a rank but rather a choice to serve others. Part of that service happens at critical times when we choose to put our people first. One of the ways we can take care of our people is to “eat last” even when our rank might be higher than theirs. Great leaders take care of their people and high functioning organizations understand this dynamic.

Sinek also talks about the idea that great leaders, at times, have to break the rules in order to protect their people. Great leaders must be able to see clearly what is in front of them and process what is best for their people. An organization might have a detailed manual encompassing all their policies and procedures but great leaders are able to go against the grain when they know their people are in danger.

Leaders East Last is a book that I would currently consider in my Top Five books to read on leadership. Find some time, grab a highlighter and enjoying the journey of learning about leadership from the perspective where “leaders eat last”.

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Book Review: Whale Done

Whale Done by Ken Blanchard
Topic: Positivity
Audience: Appropriate for adults and young adults

Whale Done is a quick and easy read. The story centers around Wes Kingsley who visited SeaWorld and was amazed that they were able to get killer whales, feared predators, to perform such amazing tasks. He was so amazed that he wanted to understand what steps they took to train these animals and he was surprised at how simple the process really was. The trainers emphasis was on building trust, focusing on the positive and redirecting negative behaviors. Wes began to see that many of these ideas applied to interactions with people as well. He was especially impressed with the ideas that some people like to use the “GOTcha” approach – catching people making mistakes. While others more effectively utilize the “Whale Done” approach – catching people doing the right things.

Blanchard does a great job of encouraging people to be more effective at work and at home by taking a Whale Done approach to life! We all want to be acknowledged for doing the right thing.
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Book Review: Servant Leadership

Servant Leadership by Robert Greenleaf
Topic: Leadership
Audience: Appropriate for adults

Servant Leadership is a book that profoundly helped to shaped my view on the true meaning of leadership early in my development as a leader. First printed in 1977 this book has stood the test of time in a field that is producing new leadership resources on a daily basis. There have been many authors and speakers who have followed behind Robert Greenleaf in promoting the concept of leadership as a form of service and many of those individuals credit Greenleaf for the concept.

Servant Leadership is a practical read and it is rewarding in application. Greenleaf does a great job of communicating his ideas and concepts in ways that can be applied in a variety of contexts. If you are interested in this concept Servant Leadership is a must read.
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Book Review: The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
Topic: Life Lessons
Audience: Appropriate for adults and young adults

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch is exactly what is sounds like, the final lecture of a dying Professor. In this book he talks about not only pursuing your own dreams but enabling the dreams of others. He is clear that it takes tremendous work, passion and focus to achieve your dreams. The statement that stood out to me the most is “The brick walls are there to stop people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop other people.” As leaders we must often be visionaries and there will be many brick walls on the paths we need to take, but are those brick walls there to stop us, or the other people?

In The Last Lecture Randy Pausch will challenge you to live your life to the very fullest and pursue each of your childhood dreams.
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Book Review: The Energy Bus

The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon
Topic: Positivity
Audience: Appropriate for Adults & Teens, he also has authored The Energy Bus for Kids

The Energy Bus is simple to read but full of deeply profound life lessons. The story centers around George, a father, husband and employee who is finding life’s challenges to be overwhelming and these challenges are taking a negative toll on his life. He is miserable and those around him are miserable too. One Monday morning George finds himself with a flat tire and he forced to take a city bus to work, which he is not at all happy about doing. Little did he know he was in for the ride of his life. While on the bus each day he learned from the driver, Joy, a series of ten life changing principles called The Ten Rules for the Ride of Your Life. Once he applies these rules to his life everything changes for him.

This book is easy to read, has great character developed and strong underlining moral themes. Whether you are a CEO of a large corporation or a young teenager this story will apply to you. I highly success taking the time to read The Energy Bus, but be warned, you might just find yourself enjoying the Ride of Your Life!