8 Summer Reads

Some of the books I have tackled this summer.

The upside of pursuing an MBA has been the rekindling my interest in reading actual books. Here are some of the books completed this summer:

Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
A solid, quick and entrepreneurial read by the 37 Signals guys.

Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead: What Every Business Can Learn from the Most Iconic Band in History by David Meerman Scott and Brian Halligan
Some great lessons on when to zig when everyone zags.

The Financier by Theodore Dreiser
Dreiser’s tale based on the life of Charles Yerkes, financier and “robber baron”. It took about 100 pages for me to root for the main character, Frank Cowperwood.

4 Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss
Enjoyable and eye-opening read. Worth checking it out.

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
A different historical and enlightening read. I was amazed at how interconnected many of the great men of science have been throughout history.

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
An addictive read. Made me ditch my orthotics.

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Another great book by the Heath brothers. Some useful strategies that I have been able to successfully implement.

No More Mister Nice Guy by Robert A. Glover
I came across this book from The Art of Manliness blog. At some point everyone has a lack of confidence. This book has some great ideas on how to get it back.

“Grease the groove”

I have noticed a common thread in some distinct readings. This common thread relates to positive habits and how to build them. Fitness, personal or professional habits can be shaped if you, “Grease the groove.”

Russian Kettlebell guru, Pavel Tsatouline coined the term. He uses it to describe synaptic facilitation — that is specific exercise plus frequent practice will equal success. He preaches that good, small habits can lead to big gains. Granted he is usually talking about pull-ups, but “grease the groove” can be applied to all aspects of life.

Grease the Groove for Strength by Pavel Tsatsouline

I found the same “grease the groove” concept in the writings of Paulo Coelho. Coelho, the international bestselling author, blogs and even pirates his own novels. I have enjoyed many of his books and given away many copies of The Alchemist.

Favorite Quote: By changing the way you do routine things you allow a new person to grow inside you.
Paulo Coelho’s Blog

The same “grease the groove” concept can be found in The Magic Lamp: Goal Setting for People Who Hate Setting Goals by Keith Ellis. The writing style is clear and authentic. It details what you need to do to help make your wishes into habits and habits into goals and reality.

Interview questions. Your resume. That start up idea. Music lessons. A cooking class. Pull-ups. That half-marathon. “Grease the groove” and make it happen!

“Mojo” Reads

I have had a lot of conversations with very talented people that seem lost in this new economic reality. Understandably many are upset about their respective employment situations; however, as a whole they seem to be forgetting what has made them great. Here are some recommended reads for some positive “mojo”:

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
I first borrowed a copy of the Alchemist in 1996 while backpacking in Australia and devoured it in a single day. I hated to return it. Since then I have recommended the book countless times and given away many copies as gifts. It is work checking out Coelho’s blog where he posts daily and even links to pirated copies of his work.

The Radical Leap: A Personal Lesson in Extreme Leadership by Steve Farber
This is a great short read about leadership. First read in 2004, I have taken the time to re-read it about once per year and see how I measure up.

The Magic Lamp: Goal Setting for People Who Hate Setting Goals by Keith Ellis
I recently came across this book. Would recommend. It is authentic and can help you get you from A to B.

Hang in there and read on.

Recent Reads

Three recent business books that I have read, enjoyed and recommend.

The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google by Nicholas Carr
Summary: Carr argues that computing, no longer personal, is going the way of a power utility.

Why I liked it: The historical perspective matches the current cloud computing trend. Nice parallels, but later chapters are lacking in determine what is next.

Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Grace by Gordon MacKenzie
Summary: Useful anecdotes about creativity and the creative process in a corporate setting.

Why I liked it: Great stories and vignettes. Enjoyed the pyramids and plum tree organizational structure idea.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t by Jim Collins
Summary: Offers a well-reasoned road map to excellence through examples of 11 companies that made the transition.

Why I liked it: Preaches simplicity and discipline for a corporate vision (or hedgehog concept).

Read on.