My Reading List – Spring 2016

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Reading List – Spring 2016

I didn’t have any 5-star reads over the spring months (my bar is pretty high to be rated a 5), but there were a couple of really great books that I would highly recommend.

Below are my ratings for them, as well as a brief summary of how each might add value to your life.

My Rating Scale

5 – Simply Amazing: Loved the style and the content; added significant value to me, and will be one I re-read.
4 – Very Good: Engaged with the majority of the content and found some fantastic nuggets all throughout.
3 – Good: Had a great chapter or two; overall was average.
2 – Ok: Had one or two things that I resonated with or found helpful; as a whole was just so-so.
1 – Pass: My time was better spent elsewhere.

4-Star Reads

The Power of the Other by Henry Cloud
In many senses, Dr. Cloud tells us what we already know, relationships have the power to help us be healthier and more successful. Where he goes beyond this common knowledge is by breaking it down as far as how power is created through specific kinds of connection. I particularly like his perspective on competition and peak performance. He included a great quote from Larry Page that my clients will hear me quote regularly, “Always work hard on something uncomfortably exciting.” This is a must-read for business owners and executives, and is one that most everyone can learn something from.

Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
I am a firm believer that we are our own worst enemy, and that we often do not reach our potential because we are holding ourselves back in some way for some reason. Holiday believes that outcomes such as these are the result of our ego getting the better of us. In his new book he teaches us how to not let this happen, but instead be “humble in our aspirations”, “gracious in our success”, and “resilient in our failures”. There is something in this book for everyone. You can also read my review of his book The Obstacle is the Way here.

Becoming an Agile Leader by Victoria Swisher
Great book that I will recommend to all of my clients who are managing/leading people. Swisher covers topics that are applicable to every leader: self-awareness, mental agility, people agility, change agility, and results agility. She provides a fantastic overview of what each of those mean, and then provides very tactical ideas of how to sharpen our skills in each of those areas and how to apply them in our business and personal lives.

3-Star Reads

Teach Me to Pray by Andrew Murray
I’ve actually been reading this book for nearly a year and finally finished it. Murray’s words are rich and can only be taken a bite at a time. I started it with the desire to be a more prayerful person and he helped me on that journey, beginning with the beautiful admonition to dwell alone with God, “Let the place of secret prayer become to me the most beloved place on earth.”

Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez
Personal finances are an area that I lack the depth of knowledge and understanding that I desire for myself, so I am constantly trying to learn from those who have seemingly mastered it, rather than allowing it master to them. My favorite section in the book provides ten ways to save, beginning with these: 1) Stop trying to impress people. 2) Don’t go shopping. 3) Live within your means. Overall, I would say that this book has several very helpful areas, but may be a bit too cumbersome for the average person (though worthwhile if you are disciplined to work through the recommended steps).

2-Star Reads

Follow Me by David Platt
I’ve been wanting to read something by Platt for a few years, and I think I either picked the wrong book to start with, or maybe I just don’t resonate with overall his style and philosophy. There were a few ideas and insights that I really appreciated, like his perspective about financial giving and his reminders about God’s desire to be in relationship with us, and I do love this quote, “Our souls long for the presence of God.” I should note that his Amazon rating is a 4.7 with nearly 450 reviews, so I am in the minority on not loving this book.

My Next Review

Below are some of the books that I am currently reading. I will post a blog in October that provides my ratings and reviews for everything that I read between now and then.

Under New Management by David Burkus
Do Over by Jon Acuff
H3 Leadership by Brad Lomenick

What was one of your 5-star books this Spring?
What are you currently reading?

PS: Rather than doing affiliate links to Amazon and putting cash in my personal pocket if you purchase a book from my reading lists, my Amazon links provide a portion of the sale to be donated to one of my favorite non-profit organizations, The Cupcake Girls. I appreciate you making the purchase through my link to support the incredible work they are doing.

My Reading List – Winter 2016

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Reading is my happy place, and the books I read during the first few months of this year packed a punch; some of my all-time favorite reads.

Below are my ratings for them, as well as a brief summary of how each might add value to your life.

My Rating Scale

5 – Simply Amazing: Loved the style and the content; added significant value to me, and will be one I re-read.
4 – Very Good: Engaged with the majority of the content and found some fantastic nuggets all throughout.
3 – Good: Had a great chapter or two; overall was average.
2 – Ok: Had one or two things that I resonated with or found helpful; as a whole was just so-so.
1 – Pass: My time was better spent elsewhere.

5-Star Reads

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
Ann’s poetic way of writing, which is the complete opposite of what I usually read, had me hooked from page one. I am awed and inspired by the way she views life. I actually read this book twice, back to back, and am currently re-reading it again. You cannot read this book without being deeply compelled to become a more grateful person.

Living Forward by Daniel Harkavy and Michael Hyatt
You may be tempted to think that I only listed this as a 5-star read because it is written by the owner of the company I work for, but in all reality, I chose to join Building Champions because I am in complete agreement with Daniel’s philosophy: our lives are more full and rich when we live intentionally. Daniel and Michael’s book walks us through how to proactively live life on purpose so that every area of our lives is as meaningful as we desire it to be. Learn a little more through this interview with Forbes magazine, or through this podcast with Dale Partridge.

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
Wow! Talk about teamwork and perseverance. This is an incredible story that will not only get your adrenaline pumping, but will remind you that teams that work together are able to truly move mountains, and that victories are sweeter when someone else is victorious with you.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Louis Zamperini’s story is truly the epitome of resilience. My own personal courage was bolstered every time Louis encountered a new, and often more horrifying, situation. When you’re tempted to think that you can’t overcome a certain challenge or obstacle, look to Louis’s example to give you confidence to carry on.

4-Star Reads

Scary Close by Donald Miller
This life is a waste if we’re not going to live it as the person who we were created us to be. Donald’s book talks about his journey of becoming real, of pulling off the mask. His story is an encouragement to all of us to become more self-aware, and to not let fear, shame, guilt, or any other feelings keep us from living life as we were intended to.

Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand
Of all of the characters in this epic story, it is the life of Tom Smith that intrigues me most. Tom’s ability to help Seabiscuit actualize the potential that only Tom saw in him is a thing of beauty; nothing less than art in motion. It is a reminder that each of us have a gift that we are meant to share.

3-Star Reads

Deep Change by Robert Quinn
Not an easy read, but some good wisdom for those of us who have areas in our lives that we are working on and expecting transformational change. He also has a field guide with introspective exercises that are intended to help facilitate the desired change.

2-Star Reads

The Principle of the Path by Andy Stanley
“Choosing the wrong path in life will cost you precious years.” Andy’s book identifies why it is important to follow Daniel Harkavy’s outlined method in Living Forward for how to live a life of intention and purpose.

My Next Review

Below are some of the books that I am currently reading. I will post a blog in July that provides my ratings and reviews for everything that I read between now and then.

The Power of the Other by Henry Cloud
Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
Do Over by Jon Acuff
H3 Leadership by Brad Lomenick
Under New Management by David Burkus
Becoming an Agile Leader by Victoria Swisher

What was one of your 5-star books this Winter?
What are you currently reading?

PS: Rather than doing affiliate links to Amazon and putting cash in my personal pocket if you purchase a book from my reading lists, my Amazon links provide a portion of the sale to be donated to one of my favorite non-profit organizations, The Cupcake Girls. I appreciate you making the purchase through my link to support the incredible work they are doing.

My Reading List – Fall 2015

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Below are the books I read in Q4, with my rating and a brief summary of what I learned, as well as how I think it might add value to your life.

My Rating Scale

5 – Simply Amazing: Loved the style and the content; added significant value to me, and will be one I re-read.
4 – Very Good: Engaged with the majority of the content and found some fantastic nuggets all throughout.
3 – Good: Had a great chapter or two; overall was average.
2 – Ok: Had one or two things that I resonated with or found helpful; as a whole was just so-so.
1 – Pass: My time was better spent elsewhere.

5-Star Reads

I didn’t have any 5-star reads in my Fall reading, but the best book of 2015 for me was Essentialism by Gary McKeown. Every single one of us would like to have more time in our lives, and Gary does an exceptional job of walking through how to make that happen.

4-Star Reads

For The Love by Jen Hatmaker
Life is difficult, and Jen gets real with her readers making sure that we know it’s ok to let our real lives show, and to not get caught in the trap of trying to make our lives appear perfect and easy. She is hilariously funny and her message will resonate with everyone who has ever tried to make their life look like it’s straight off of Pinterest.

The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst
Akin to Greg McKeown’s book, Lysa’s overall goal and intent is to help us determine where our time is best spent and how to say no without disappointing people. She presents us with practical filters to use for our decision-making. I found much wisdom in her easy-to follow, and implement, approach.

People over Profit by Dale Partridge
Our economic, and general societal, well-being is still recovering from the effects of people in the finance world sacrificing their convictions for greed. Dale does a great job of showing us what leads to poor decision-making in organizations, and provides us with seven core beliefs that, when acted upon, will bring health, vitality, and sustainability. One of my favorite quotes is, “Fire others the way you would want to be fired.”

3-Star Reads

QBQ! The Question Behind The Question by John G. Miller
Through some simple questions and disciplines, John teaches us how to take personal accountability. He reminds us, “We can’t change other people. We often can’t control circumstances and events. The only things we have any real control over are our own thoughts and actions.”

You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero
“There will never be anyone exactly like you. You were given special gifts and talents to share with the world, and even though everybody has special gifts and talents, nobody will use theirs quite the same way you do.” If you need some inspiration and reminders that you are strong and capable, this book will definitely provide you with that pick-me-up.

The Prince of the Marshes by Rory Stewart
A fascinating look at life in Iraq during the years following the ousting of Saddam Hussein. Rory, a British diplomat, shares his story about the time he spends in Iraq trying to help the country unite and re-build with its own government and culture. I preferred Rory’s book, The Places In Between, about his year in Afghanistan over this one.

2-Star Reads

Money by Tony Robbins
I had high hopes that a multi-multi-millionaire would bring some great insights in regard to personal finances, but I was pretty let down. The book is nearly 700 pages, but was extremely repetitive; it could have been 200 and retained the few valuable elements. The section about 401k investments was helpful, but overall I’ve learned far better financial wisdom from Dave Ramsey and my uncle.

1-Star Reads

Disarming the Narcissist by Wendy Behary
This is the only book I read in 2015 that I would say is not worth reading. From my research on this topic, there are more helpful articles on the internet. Bummer!

My Next Review Will Include

Below are some of the books that I am reading or re-reading over the next few months. I will post a blog in April that provides my ratings and reviews for everything that I read between now and then.

Do Over by Jon Acuff
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
Living Forward by Daniel Harkavy and Michael Hyatt
H3 Leadership by Brad Lomenick
Deep Change by Robert Quinn
Scary Close by Donald Miller
The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

What was one of your 5-star books this Fall?
What is on your reading list this Winter?

(Here are the links to my other 2015 reading lists: winter 2015 and spring & summer 2015.)

PS: Rather than doing affiliate links to Amazon and putting cash in my personal pocket if you purchase a book from my reading lists, my Amazon links provide a portion of the sale to be donated to one of my favorite non-profit organizations, The Cupcake Girls. I appreciate you making the purchase through my link to support the incredible work they are doing.

My Reading List – Spring & Summer 2015

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I needed a break from business books, so most of what I read over the last six months was light reading. Below are the ones I read in Q2 and Q3, with my rating and a brief summary of what I learned, as well as how I think it might add value to your life.

My Rating Scale

5 – Simply Amazing: Loved the style and the content; added significant value to me, and will be one I re-read.
4 – Very Good: Engaged with the majority of the content and found some fantastic nuggets all throughout.
3 – Good: Had a great chapter or two; overall was average.
2 – Ok: Had one or two things that I resonated with or found helpful; as a whole was just so-so.
1 – Pass: My time was better spent elsewhere.

5-Star Reads

Love Does by Bob Goff
I had the opportunity to hear Bob speak last month and he is as loving, funny, inspiring, and authentic as I expected him to be. After hearing him speak, I knew I needed to read his book again; it’s that good. I love this quote; “There is only one invitation it would kill me to refuse, yet I’m tempted to turn it down all the time. I get the invitation every morning when I wake up to actually live a life of complete engagement, a life of whimsy, a life where love does.”

The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday
Ryan’s writing is masterful, and his beliefs about our ability to choose how we respond to trials and adversity are spot on. His words buoyed me more than a few times while I was training for a race and had moments of wondering what the heck I had gotten myself into. These words of his hit me like a ton of bricks, “We spend a lot of time thinking about how things are supposed to be, or what the rules say we should do. Trying to get it all perfect. We tell ourselves that we’ll get started once the conditions are right, or once we’re sure we can trust this or that. When, really, it’d be better to focus on making due with what we’ve got. On focusing on results instead of pretty methods.” Ouch! You can watch an interview of Ryan talking about the book and his philosophy with one of the founders of Quest Nutrition here.

4-Star Reads

Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas
“There is great freedom in how we can meet with and enjoy God. This is by His design and according to His good pleasure.” I’ve wrestled for years with not encountering God in seemingly normal ways. Gary’s Nine Pathways To God showed me that I was created to commune with God in a unique way, as are each of us. Truly very freeing.

Not Fade Away by Rebecca Alexander and Sascha Alper
This beautiful memoir was one that I simply could not put down. Rebecca’s story is heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. We could all learn from her resilience and positive attitude.

Big Burn by Timothy Egan
Timothy weaves together two fascinating true stories to create a history lesson that feels like an old western tale. His awe-inspiring research brought facts to light that had been hidden for over 100 years, and caused me to be even more grateful for our national parks.

Chess Not Checkers by Mark Miller
Mark outlines a simple, straightforward methodology for being a strategic thinker in the workplace. He articulates how business really is a sport where winning results from good decision-making, “High performance is not a matter of circumstances, luck, or DNA. High performance is about choices.”

Values, Inc. by Dina Dwyer-Owens
It’s pretty evident that our culture is no longer going to put up with companies that aren’t living by values and ethics. In fact, Dina asserts that lasting success comes from having values that are shared by the entire company, meaning that every employee is not only aware of them but is measured against them in performance reviews.

3-Star Reads

Siren’s Fury by Mary Weber
This is the second is Mary’s trilogy. Candidly, these books are meant for teenagers, but since I enjoy a good fantasy book every now and then, I’ve enjoyed escaping to her made-up world with its fanciful characters and elaborate landscapes.

2-Star Reads

The Code by Shaun Tomson
A good book of principles to live by; it’s a must read for every teenage boy.

My Next Review Will Include

It was an enjoyable season of light reading, but I’m ready for some good meaty books this Fall. Below are some of the books that I am reading or re-reading over the next few months. I will post a blog in early January that provides my ratings and reviews for everything that I read between now and then.

People over Profit by Dale Partridge
Do Over by Jon Acuff
For The Love by Jen Hatmaker
Secrets of Dynamic Communication by Ken Davis
Time Traps by Todd Duncan

What was one of your 5-star books this Summer?
What is on your reading list this Fall?

(Here are the links to my summer 2014, fall 2014, and winter 2015 reading lists.)

Always Be Growing

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I just turned 40.

One of my sisters asked me what one key learning from these past four decades I could pass on. Being that I’m not very quick on my feet and needed time to ponder and reflect, I told her that I’d have to think about it.

At first some of the things that I teach my clients came to mind: taking time to reflect, being intentional about where you’re headed, making decisions on purpose, etc.

Those are all very valuable, and when implemented are certain to make a positive and lasting difference in our lives.

But one mindset trumps all else: Always be growing.

When I look at the people who I admire most and the people who I most desire to be like, I see humble people who set out each day to be better than they were the day before.

I see people who not only recognize their strengths and weaknesses, but who do something every day to strengthen a strength or diminish a weakness.

I see people who face their fears.

I see people who admit that they don’t have all of the answers, and place themselves in a posture of learning.

I see people who take time to rest and recharge, but who don’t allow laziness or complacency to overtake them.

I see people who explore and try new things, and don’t let failure keep them down.

I see people who not only apologize when they say or do something wrong, but who learn from the experience so they don’t make the same error again.

I see people who seek wisdom, understanding, and discernment.

What I love about this is that everyone can grow. We all have the ability to be better today, in some way, than we were yesterday. Maybe it’s in a behavior, maybe it’s about a belief, or maybe it’s acquiring new knowledge or information. Whatever it is, we have control over whether or not we grow.

Today, at 40 years old, I commit to growing every day.

What does growing look like for you today?

My Reading List – Winter 2015

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I started off 2015 with some really good reads. I have listed them below with a rating and a brief summary of what I learned from the book, as well as how I think it might add value to your life. (Here are the links to my summer and fall 2014 reading lists.)

My Rating Scale

5 – Simply Amazing: Loved the style and the content; added significant value to me, and will be one I re-read.
4 – Very Good: Engaged with the majority of the content and found some fantastic nuggets all throughout. (Check out Jon Acuff’s blog post where he talks about engaging with a book.)
3 – Good: Had a great chapter or two; overall was average.
2 – Ok: Had one or two things that I resonated with or found helpful; as a whole was just so-so.
1 – Pass: My time was better spent elsewhere.

5-Star Reads

Essentialism by Gary McKeown
Over the last few years I’ve watched and loosely participated in the debate about being able to “have it all”, particularly when it comes to women in leadership. Many people in this debate are of the mindset that they can have it all or do it all. McKeown masterfully shows how it’s impossible to truly have/do it all and tells us that there is always a trade-off. He persuades us to think about these trade-offs strategically and thoughtfully, and to ask ourselves, “What can I go big on?” instead of “How can I do it all?”. There is immense wisdom throughout the entire book; an absolute must read! You can also watch an interview of McKeown with Michael Hyatt and Michele Cushatt.

4-Star Reads

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk
We all have something we’re trying to spread the word about, right? It might be an actual product or it might be a service. Vaynerchuk does an exceptional job of showing us how to best use the main social media platforms to market the specific thing we’re selling. His case studies are fantastic, giving great visuals about best practices and how to fail miserably. He says we need to be “personable, charming, generous, and above all, real.” For those of us who are still figuring out social media (which is 99% of us) this book is incredibly helpful.

The Art of Work by Jeff Goins
My favorite sentence in Goins’ new book is “Discovering your calling is not an epiphany but a series of intentional decisions.” I’ve read a dozen or more books over the last decade about how to discover meaningful work, and while they’ve all had some good nuggets of wisdom, by in large they’ve been too mystical, too ethereal, or too philosophical for them to actually be useful. Goins eliminates the mysteriousness of finding our purpose and provides us with the nuts and bolts that can actually help us get somewhere and live a life of significance.

Daring Greatly by Brene’ Brown
Authentic leadership is something that I strongly believe in. Brown helps to lay a foundation for us to be authentic in the workplace by reminding us that it begins with living with courage, and facing down shame by being vulnerable and loving ourselves as we are, and modeling this behavior to those around us. She reminds us that even in corporations, relationships should be of primary importance, “Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.” Leaders who embody this mentality are going to create organizations that are filled with healthier and more satisfied people (which studies show leads to a better bottom line).

Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud
We all get in our own way from time to time, hindering ourselves from growing or moving forward. Naturally we’re grace-filled people, which is usually good, but sometimes we’re not doing anyone any favors by not making the hard decisions and moving on. Cloud talks specifically about all aspects of life, and how there are often times when a product, a company, a friendship, a behavior has run its course and it’s time to bring it to a close, “proper endings lead to the end of pain, greater growth, personal and business goals reached, and better lives. Endings bring hope.”

The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin
For perfectionists and traditionalists like me, Godin’s book is challenging. He urges us to reconsider how we view our work, or even what we do for work. Indicating that maybe we’re playing it too safe or that we’ve gotten comfortable, too comfortable. He says, “We settled for a safety zone that wasn’t bold enough.” I’ve met them, just like you have, people who have been doing the same job for 17 years and are good at it but were clearly meant for something different. This book isn’t going to let those of us in that boat just keep on that path; his words create a discomfort that requires change.

3-Star Reads

Wrecked by Jeff Goins
Finding that thing that tugs so strongly at our heartstrings that we are compelled to do something about it is exactly what Goins urges us to focus on in this book. He says that each of us have something that we are deeply passionate about, but can easily ignore it because of the busyness of life. He challenges us to not “mortgage our passion”, to not “make up for it with performance”, and to not “try to overcompensate with activity”, but to dive in and give of the gifts we were given and “live intentionally and audaciously” even if it causes our hearts to break and our lives to be “wrecked”.

Tell to Win by Peter Guber
Using stories from his own career, Guber shows how to influence someone to your point of view. He highlights specifics situations where he neglected to tell a story and his proposition failed miserably, as well as situations where he succeeded in winning someone over because he brought them into the story that he was trying to create. For those of us who have sat through countless board meetings where the numbers are recited like a 5 year-old singing the ABCs, we know how important it is to show why the numbers are important, what their bigger meaning and contribution is. Guber says, “Stories make facts and figures memorable, resonant, and actionable”, and he does a great job of showing us how to create these stories.

My Next Review Will Include

Below are some of the books that I am reading or re-reading over these Spring/early Summer months. I will post a blog in early July that provides my ratings and reviews for everything that I read between now and then.

The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday
Chess Not Checkers by Mark Miller
Secrets of Dynamic Communication by Ken Davis
Time Traps by Todd Duncan
Values, Inc. by Dina Dwyer-Owens
The Code by Shaun Tomson
Do Over by Jon Acuff

What was one of your 5-star books this Winter?
What is on your reading list this Spring?

What Are You Expecting This Lent?

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Last year, I wrote this post about my newfound discovery of the true meaning of Lent and how it is applicable to me as a normal average woman who believes in Jesus Christ.

Coming to learn the purpose of this season as being one of preparation added a depth of understanding of Lent that I had never had before.

Similar to last year, I am entering into this season with my focus being on how I can grow and be prepared for whatever God has planned in the coming season. This year I am joining author, teacher, and speaker, Margaret Feinberg’s #LentChallenge of reading through the Gospels (the New Testament books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). If you’d like to join in, this post from Margaret provides the reading plan for these next 40 days.

I am expectant for God to use this season to purify my motives, solidify my backbone, and clarify my calling.

What are your expectations for this Lent season?

My Reading List – Fall 2014

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I didn’t read as many books as I had intended to during the Fall and early Winter months, but I did read a handful of really good ones. I have listed them below with a rating and a brief summary of what I learned from the book, as well as how I think it might add value to your life. (You can also take a look at my reading list from Summer 2014 here.)

My Rating Scale

5 – Simply Amazing: Loved the style and the content; added significant value to me, and will be one I re-read.
4 – Very Good: Engaged with the majority of the content and found some fantastic nuggets all throughout. (Check out Jon Acuff’s blog post where he talks about engaging with a book.)
3 – Good: Had a great chapter or two; overall was average.
2 – Ok: Had one or two things that I resonated with or found helpful; as a whole was just so-so.
1 – Pass: My time was better spent elsewhere.

5-Star Reads

Love Does by Bob Goff
Truly an inspiring and motivating book. Goff’s love for life is infectious. The stories that he shares are sweet, tear jerking, and heart-warming. His perspectives about the meaning of life are rooted in an authentic desire to love people so much that they seek to create the best life possible for themselves and those around them.

4-Star Reads

The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni
This is a must read for senior leaders who have reached a plateau and need a game-changer for their organization. Lencioni’s masterfully constructed case for organizational health is that game-changer. The disciplines he outlines are not complex, but when executed really will create a significant advantage.

Quiet by Susan Cain
A fantastic in-depth look into the world of introverts. The depth of research that Dr. Cain did for this book is awe-inspiring. Her chapters on the value that introverts add to the workplace, to our business culture, and to our organizational environments are incredible. Managers everywhere would be smart to read Dr. Cain’s book where they will learn how they can make their teams and departments stronger by having the right mix of introverts and extroverts.

Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo
An exceptional tutorial on becoming a better presenter and speaker. Gallo does a great job of showing what did and didn’t work for TED speakers, and how to touch your audience’s hearts, and teach them something new through a presentation that they’ll never forget. Very useful insights and tips for anyone who wants to become a better speaker. Dave Savage of Mortgage Coach hosted Gallo on one of their monthly webinars; you can watch here as Gallo shares the main aspects of the book.

48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller
This is a must read for anyone who is considering a career transition. Miller leads the reader through a very sequential process of defining your gifts and skills, and then identifying how best to put those gifts and skills to work in something that you are passionate about and will gain fulfillment from. By following his detailed step-by-step process, success is certain.

Storm Siren by Mary Weber
I don’t read very much fiction, but when I do I usually prefer fantasy or adventure (i.e., Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, Hunger Games, Harry Potter, etc). I was excited to pick up this first of Weber’s trilogy and be invited into a fun and engaging story. When you just want to escape to a whole other world, this book will lead you there.

3-Star Reads

Great by Choice by Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen
Building on principles identified in Good to Great, Collins and Hansen outline how companies can architect their own future by establishing certain disciplines, which will also help them to weather storms and thrive. The concepts around SMaC and Bullets, then Cannonballs are the best aspects of this book, providing the best direction for today’s organizations.

Eat More Chikin: Inspire More People by S. Truett Cathy
Down to earth practical insights and wisdom, Cathy makes leadership feel natural and simple. A good and quick read that shows leadership in a common sense way.

My Next Review Will Include

Below are some of the books that I am reading or re-reading over these winter months. I will post a blog in early April that provides my ratings and reviews for everything that I read between now and then.

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk
Secrets of Dynamic Communication by Ken Davis
Time Traps by Todd Duncan
Essentialism by Gary McKeown
Wrecked by Jeff Goins
The Art of Work by Jeff Goins
The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

What was one of your 5-star reads of 2014?
What is on your reading list this Winter?

My Reading List – Summer 2014

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Several people who I follow on social media publish their reading lists, and because those lists have been such a great resource to me, I’ve decided to start publishing my reading lists in hopes that they will be helpful to you.

I have listed below the books that I read over the summer months, and have given them each a rating, as well as a brief summary of what I learned from the book, and how I think it might be helpful to you.

My Rating Scale

5 – Simply Amazing: Loved the style and the content; added significant value to me, and will be one I re-read.
4 – Very Good: Engaged with the majority of the content and found some fantastic nuggets all throughout.
3 – Good: Had a great chapter or two; overall was average.
2 – Ok: Had one or two things that resonated with me or were helpful; as a whole was just so-so.
1 – Pass: My time was better spent elsewhere.

5-Star Reads

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
An extraordinary book about success with counter-intuitive perspectives about why certain people and groups are as successful as they are. Gladwell’s examples throw punch after punch after punch; leaving you stunned and awed. Every page left me inspired and hungry to do good in the world, and make a difference in peoples’ lives. This one scores a plus on the rating scale as well, because when I emailed Gladwell with some questions about the application of the content, he personally emailed me back twice.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
An absolutely outstanding book that tells the tale of an organization that is brought face-to-face with its unhealthy practices and habits, and what it must do to get healthy. By placing the dysfunctions front and center in our minds, Lencioni takes away our ability live in denial and causes us to acknowledge how we are allowing unhealthiness to continue, and even fester, in our organizations and teams.

4-Star Reads

David & Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
As the title leads us to believe, this book by Gladwell talks about giants and underdogs, but true to Gladwell’s style it is done in a way that gets us to look at giants and underdogs in a paradoxical way. The stories and examples Gladwell uses are fantastic and engaging. Good reading for folks who are in marketing and/or sales, and those who use data to tell a different tale. I would also recommend watching Gladwell’s talk to Saddleback Church where he goes into greater detail about the lives of David and Goliath from the Hebrew Old Testament, and additional circumstances that may have helped David to defeat Goliath; truly fascinating.

Drive by Daniel Pink
I am a big fan of motivation; I enjoy talking and learning about what motivates people, especially in the workplace. Pink’s book does a fantastic job of outlining where business owners and leaders should be focusing if they want to keep a motivated and engaged workforce. Pink has the perfect amount of theory to keep this PhD gal engaged and interested, and pulls in enough practical application to give specific techniques and tactics to an in-the-trenches manager to use with their teammates.

No More Dragons by Jim Burgen
A truly helpful book for anyone who recognizes that their life has drifted to somewhere that they never intended. By sharing his own story, Burgen helps you to realize that all is not lost, that it’s never too late, and you’re never too old to get things back on track and moving in a better direction.

The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews
I actually listened to this one on CD and I felt like my Grandpa was sitting next to me telling me a fable filled with his wisdom as a means of helping me succeed in life. The truths Andrews shares are relevant for everyone. I was excited to learn that a non-fiction book from Andrews, The Seven Decisions, came out a few months ago that shares the key points from The Traveler’s Gift; I’m sure it will be on my reading list sometime in the next year.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
We all think negatively about ourselves to one degree or another. Shirzad Chamine names it the saboteur, Pressfield names it the resistance. Regardless of what you call it, Pressfield emphatically states that it is what is keeping you from achieving your potential or from pressing in to your unique calling, craft, or gift. Though he directs his words to artists and creative folks, the truths are applicable to business people just the same.

This Is Your Brain on Joy by Dr. Earl Henslin
I’ve been on a quest to understand what life is like for those struggling with mental disorders, and this book came highly recommended from a friend who struggles with severe anxiety. The insights provided about what brain impairments do to a person’s mental acuity and health were incredibly helpful and eye opening. Henslin provides practical ideas of how to improve day-to-day life for someone living with a mental disorder.

Execution by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan
One that I re-read every three or four years, this remains the classic instruction book for managers on how to create an organizational culture of implementation, actually getting things done, and doing what you say you’re going to do.

3-Star Reads

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
An older one of Gladwell’s, this book talks about thinking without thinking and the power of intuition. There were a couple of good examples and stories, but overall I found the content in this one to be pretty common sense and thus, not very engaging.

How Did You Do It, Truett? by Truett Cathy
A nice little book by recently deceased founder of Chick-fil-A, where he tells the story of how he got started in the restaurant business. Some good words of wisdom and practical advice from Cathy in a very quick read.

Blog, Inc. by Joy Cho
This is a good practical guidebook about how to set-up a blog, but fairly elementary for anyone who has already done any research on blogging. I would only recommend it for someone who is completely new to blogging; in which case it would probably be quite helpful.

What I’m Reading or Am About To Read

I also want to share with you some of the books that I am reading this Fall. I will post a blog near the end of the year that provides my ratings and reviews for each of the below, and any others that I read between now and then.

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk
Talk Like Ted by Carmine Gallo
Secrets of Dynamic Communication by Ken Davis
Time Traps by Todd Duncan
Quiet by Susan Cain
The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni

What is on your reading list this Fall?

Did Your Family Go On Summer Vacation Without You?

Growing up, summers were a blast! There was always so much to look forward to. Whether it was more frequent trips to the beach or practicing our dives and belly-flops at a friend’s pool or camping somewhere along California’s gorgeous coastline or heading to see the Colorado cousins. I can honestly say that my childhood summers were close to perfect, almost idyllic.

The one thing though that would have made them complete, is if my Dad had been able to join us more often.

The majority of my childhood my Dad was building two businesses. He worked hard to provide for our family of six. But in doing so, it meant that he often didn’t join us at the beach, or only came camping on the weekends, or met us in Colorado for one of the weeks we were there.

As I reflect back on this, I know he did the best he knew how. But, I have to be honest with you, I sure do wish that he’d had a business coach who would’ve helped him plan better, strategize more, identify his core convictions more thoroughly, and work through his calendar and teach him how to maximize and prioritize his time.

Knowing what I know now, I’m confident that if he’d had the kind of support and accountability that my Building Champions colleagues and I provide to our clients, that he would not have missed out on so much, and our summer vacations would have been even more amazing.

I say this with confidence because one of my colleagues just helped his client take her first real and unplugged vacation with her family in 13 years. Another former client of ours just took a 4-week vacation to Europe with his wife and was completely free of work obligations while there.

These, and similar successes, happen because, as coaches, we help our clients be intentional about where they spend their time and how they make their decisions.

Did you miss out on time with your family this summer and want to make sure it doesn’t happen again next summer?

Here are some ideas and resources to help you not miss your next family vacation:
1. Greg McKeown’s new book, Essentialism, speaks to the value of disciplined prioritization.
2. Lysa TerKeurst’s new book, The Best Yes, speaks to rising above the endless demands for a woman’s time and attention.
3. I, or one of my colleagues at Building Champions, would love to engage with you through coaching and help you become more intentional and purposeful.

What are you going to do differently so that you don’t miss summer vacation next year?