Wednesday, December 24, 2008

HIGH ALTITUDE LEADERSHIP:  What The World's Most Forbidding Peaks Teach Us About Success
By Chris Warner and Don Schmincke

The timing for this book couldn't be better.  The economy is in the disposal, jobs are being lost at an alarming rate, and we're all learning to do "more with less."  

 Lack of leadership and/or vision or perhaps just plain greed  at major financial institutions and the automobile industry required that we, the taxpayer, bail these organizations out.  I think someone needs to take a hard look at who is leading major organizations and how they are doing it.   Who doesn't remember Enron!

Chris and Don are unlikely co-authors.  As I read their impressive backgrounds, it struck me that Don is the science guy.  He graduated from MIT and Johns Hopkins University with research ranging from simulating timing systems for the navy's nuclear missile systems at Draper Labs, to studying atmospheric effects on satellite frequencies at the Applied Physics Laboratory to automating the Harvard/MIT biomedical laboratory.  He also is head of the SAGA Leadership Institute and he uses anthropology and evolutionary genetics to dispel management myths.  

Chris is the adventurer and mountain climber.  He founded Earth Treks back in 1990.  Earth Treks operates three of the nation's indoor climbing gyms, a rock and ice climbing school and an international mountaineering guide service.  Does it strike anyone else that together these two guys are McGuyver?

I think taking some time to give the background of the two authors is important because of the nature of the mountain climbing analogy used in this fascinating book.  The book shares first-person examples from major mountain climbing expeditions, interspersed with scenarios from boardrooms and business.  There are eight "dangers" that prevent individuals from reaching the highest levels of performance.  

Readers will find this book thrilling because of the illustrated log entries from Chris's most exhilarating expeditions (K2, Everest, and Mount Shivling, to name a few).  The application of these life-and-death situations  to business is well thought out and compelling.

I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it, not as the "next thing" in leadership because that would be buying into "tool seduction" as discussed in the book.  I think the ideas are excellent and food-for-thought for anyone in any kind of leadership position.  What do you think?

hear the interview

By Theresa Garnero, APRN, BC-ADM, MSN, CDE

The number of people in this country who have diabetes is staggering and that number continues to rise. When I saw this book, I thought it would be an important tool for people who have just been diagnosed with the disease, but it is also important for those who have been living with it.

Garnero does several important things in this book. First and foremost, she introduces humor. No, I don't think diabetes is funny, but I do know that using laughter and fun as part of the treatment can work positively for the individual. Humor alone can be a powerful, healing force. Garnero is a cartoonist and her cartoons fill the book. She also has some great quotes that came from diabetes patients.

I like the way the book is laid out. There are short bursts of reading, then a "personal goal" section for the individual to take the information they just read and apply it to their own situation. This book will even work for children because of the way the information is laid out and Garnero's approach.

If you or someone you know has diabetes, get a copy of this book. What do you think?

hear the interview

Monday, December 8, 2008

THE TROPHY KIDS GROW UP: How the Millennial Generation Is Shaking Up the Workplace By Ron Alsop

Who are these kids anyway and why do they think that work should be all fun, games and social networking?

This well-researched book gives the reader an insight into the generation born between 1980-2001. Some of the interesting things the author discovered include:

  • Millennials are inclined to change jobs frequently in their search for the "ideal career."
  • While they will use your organization to get the training and experience they want, there is no doubt they will leave for what they consider to be a "better opportunity," yet they want employers to give them the best because they believe they deserve it.
  • Millennials have "helicopter parents" who are so involved in their lives that they may show up at their child's workplace asking to sit in on interviews and/or performance appraisals.
  • A Junior Achievement survey showed that 9.4% of males want to be professional athletes and 10.0 of the females want to be doctors.
  • Millennials may be the most socially conscious and altruistic group since the 1960's.
This captivating book will give organizations and managers ideas about how to deal with this group in the workplace. The Millennials don't have the same work ethic or expectations of work. How does a manager handle a mixed workplace where there are older workers who perceive the Millennial generation with their piercings and tattoo's as unacceptable co-workers? How does an organization recruit and integrate them into the current workforce? All good questions and all addressed in this fascinating book.

This book is a must-have for everyone who wants to understand this generation. What do you think?

Cheryl: Thank you so much for a great interview this morning. It was really a delightful experience. - Ron Alsop

hear the interview

WHAT HAPPY PARENTS DO:  The Loving Little Rituals of a Child-Proof Marriage
By Carol J. Bruess, Ph.D. and Ann D. H. Kudak, M.A.

This attractive little book would make an excellent gift for expectant parents.  It draws on interviews with hundreds of parents and more than 15 years of research to offer hands-on advice for keeping a relationship alive during the child rearing years.

With so much emphasis placed on children, sometimes the parent's relationship suffers from lack of attention.  Here are ideas and stories from couples who have used little things to keep their relationship alive and healthy.  You will laugh, and you will find things you will want to try.  

I loved this beautiful little book and I think you will too.

hear the interview

BLOOD ISLAND By H. Terrell Griffin

Matt Royal is a retired lawyer who finds the good life in Florida.  Royal ruined his marriage to the love of his life because of too much booze and too many late nights.  He finds his life in danger when his ex-wife comes to ask him to look into the disappearance of her oldest daughter.  Suddenly there are car chases, gun fights and bodies dropping everywhere.  Mix in a religious cult, a private island and some really bad guys, you have the right mix for this rock 'em, sock 'em action novel set in Florida.

 I like Terry Griffin's insider perspective in this novel.  He is a Florida resident who practiced law in Orlando, but he says he is not Matt Royal.  He told me that Matt Royal is "who he would like to be."  

I enjoyed the novel and the action, but I admit to enjoying a good mystery.  What do you think?    

hear the interview