A Plethora of Book Reviews

I get the occasional request to review a book or two from publishers, PR folks and authors.

Normally, I get less than one request a month for reviewing books but over the last month I’ve received quite a few more….five to be exact.

Its usually pretty easy for me to read through one additional book per month on top of all the other reading I do but lots of things got in the way over the last few months, so and I wasn’t able to get to all the books as fast as I would have liked.

That said, I finally go through all five books and, rather then write up five different posts reviewing each book, I decided to put them all together here. So…here goes…

Oh…and cover of the last book is awesome…enjoy ūüôā

Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter {affiliate link}

Multipliers - the bookThis is a pretty good book  by Liz Wiseman with Greg McKeown that describes the difference between two leadership styles that the authors call Multipliers and Diminshers.

A Multipler is a leader who is able to extract so much value from their direct reports, colleagues and coworkers while a Diminisher is a leader who tends to suck the energy, excitement and passion out of their direct reports and coworkers. Multipliers enhance the abilities of others while diminishers degrade the abilities of others.

While I thought the book was quite good, I found parts of it difficult to pay attention. I kept having to put it down and pick it up a day or two later.  This was due mostly to my inability to focus in sections of the book because I felt like some of the material was repetitive.

That said, this is a well written book. There are quite a few real world examples provided and some excellent discussion of leadership styles…well worth the read if you are into leadership books.

Lead Like Ike: Ten Business Strategies from the CEO of D-Day {affiliate link}

Lead Like IkeWritten by Geoff Loftus.¬†I liked this book….but not necessarily because it offered great, actionable, ideas for leadership. I loved this book because it takes a look at the historical context around Eisenhower’s leadership styles and decisions he made.

I love history and history books and this one doesn’t disappoint. ¬†That said, there’s not really a lot of actionable information in this book that you can’t find in every other leadership book out there.

Like I said..great book…if you like history. ¬†If you’re a student of military history,¬†military¬†leadership or leadership in general, you’ll probably like this book. ¬†If you’re looking for leadership and strategy advice I’d say find another book.

Leading at Light Speed: Build Trust, Spark Innovation, and Create a High-Performing Organization {affiliate link}

Leading at Light Speed Written by Eric F. Douglas.  According to the PR release, this book is a leadership book for anyone wanting to build organizations that perform at high levels.

Now…I think everyone wants to build organizations that perform at high levels. So..this book is for everyone right?

The book goes into the fundamentals of leadership and then describes ten ‘quantum leaps’ to take to become a better leader. Sounds awesome right? ¬†Quantum leaps makes you think of physics…or that television show with Scott Bakula.

Douglas’ ten quantum leaps are nothing new really. ¬†Things like ‘align the core values’, ‘lead through others’, ‘manage decisions well’ and ‘stimulate the creative flow’ along with others.

Like I said…the ideas aren’t anything new but they are delivered in a way that’s at least interested to read. ¬†This book is well written and, although it uses some corny terms and doesn’t really market itself well, its not a bad book. ¬† I can’t really recommend it though…while I liked the book, I didn’t find much in it that made me think or gave me new insights.

Be Bodacious: Put Life in Your Leadership {affiliate link}

Be BodaciousWritten by Steven D. Wood. When I first received an email about reviewing this book, I took a look at the title and was intrigued. I said yes and I’m glad I did.

I expected this book to be similar to those written by Patrick Lencioni and others…it was a bit different. The author uses stories to highlight various topics…and he does a pretty good job at it.

I loved this book…very very straightforward, honest and it definitely makes you take a second to think about your leadership style and your life.

While not a perfect book, I did enjoy it immensely and I think you would too.

Now…on to the last one.

Welcome to the Company (or what it’s really like working here) {affiliate link}

Welcome to the Company (or what it's really like working here)Dear lord…I love the cover of this book. I love that suit.

Written by Eileen McVety, this book probably has the best cover ever.

This book was actually sent along with Leading at Light Speed as a ‘bonus’ and boy was it a bonus.

I have to say this is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. It’s not a prize winner, but for shear enjoyment and, at times, I found myself laughing out loud at what Eileen writes.

The book is based on a fictional company and is written to mimic a new employee on-boarding & procedures book. ¬† Funny stuff…and for the most part its extremely true.

I’ll leave you with this quote from the flap of the book:

We’re confident you’ll find your employment experience at The Gordon Wiggins Group to be a richly satisfying one. Not overly confident, mind you. Like we wouldn’t lay money on it…but hey, it’s a job, right? So quit your griping.

Great stuff.  Highly Recommended.

I finally read “Good To Great”

For the longest time, I’ve put off reading “Good to Great” by Jim Collins but finally decided to pick it up.

Have you ever realized that your perception was completely wrong about something and felt like a fool?¬† Well..that’s what happened to me while reading this book.

I’ve always been wary of the book and the message it portrayed…at least the one I thought it portrayed.¬† Over the years, I’ve read many reviews (good & bad) of the book and heard many people talk about the book in a negative light. I allowed these negative sentiments about the book to keep from reading it.¬† I wish I’d picked the book up sooner…not because it delivers a resounding message but because it is much different than many of the critics have tried to make it.

Many critics claim the book trys to say ‘do these things and you’ll be successful’…I disagree.¬† That’s not what I got from the book at all. What I got out of this book was a affirmation of what I’ve been arguing for all along:

People are the most important asset an organization will ever have.

Many critics slam the book (and others like it) because many of the companies listed as ‘great’ aren’t that great these days.¬† The critics claim that this is ammunition against the book’s message…I disagree…sort of. I agree that many of the organizations outlined in this book are now ‘not so great’, but that isn’t proof that the message of this book is wrong.¬† Perhaps these organizations lost their way.¬† Perhaps they stopped focusing on the people and started focusing on the competition or maybe they started worrying about how investors would see them.

I like this book and its message.¬† I do think the idea of ‘do these things and you’ll be great’ is ridiculous but that shouldn’t stop an organization from looking at how other companies have been successful.

This book, and the many others like it, tend to oversimplify what companies and/or people have done to be successful.¬† There isn’t one solution that will fit every organization.¬† There isn’t a ‘recipe’ for success.¬† You can’t emulate your competitor, you’ve got to be true to yourself and your mission.

That said, the book was a good read and had some very interesting insights.  I may not agree with the entire premise of the book but i think there are some very interesting topics covered.

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