3 Books, 2 Websites, and 1 Blog – 2012

John Coleman, in his August 2012 Harvard Business Review blog article “For Those Who Want to Lead, Read‘, describes the inextricable link between reading and leading.  In Coleman’s words,

“deep, broad reading habits are often a defining characteristic of our greatest leaders and can catalyze insight, innovation, empathy, and personal effectiveness.”

Those who know me are well aware of my proclivity to “give a book”.  So, to continue this activity – in a virtual way – I recommend some of my favorite readings of 2012.  I hope these will spark your interest and your comments.  Happy Reading!  Happy Leading!

The Books

emotional equationsEmotional Equations:  Simple Truths for Creating Happiness + Success.  Chip Conley.  New York:  Free Press. 2012.

Have you ever been told you were too emotional?  Have you ever felt despair, jealousy, or regret?  Are you a workaholic?  Do you want to increase your curiosity? During stressful situations, do the following statements enter into your consciousness?  “I want to remain level-headed … but I just can’t get over it!”  Or “I just don’t know how to become content with myself, my work, my life.”

Each day we are underwhelmed or overwhelmed with a variety of feelings.  Some of these are polarizing; some are life giving.  And many times, we feel as if all objectivity is gone, and our emotions have gained control over us.  The seeming capricious nature of emotions is rationalized in the book, Emotional Equations:  Simple Truths for Creating Happiness + Success.  Chip Conley brings emotions into the daylight with a systematic, component driven approach.

For example, those going through change – either personally or professionally – may be experiencing anxiety.  Conley’s equation: Anxiety = Uncertainty x Powerlessness.  By splitting the emotion into two factors, the author has given the reader a road map identifying different paths that may be followed.  Is information available to turn the uncertainties into certainties?  If not, how about reducing that feeling of powerlessness by becoming more proactive in preparing for the change?

Another equation is Happiness = Wanting What You Have divided by Having What You Want.  The question the author asks – “is all you have really all that you want”?  Conley suggests the reader look at his/her priorities and take steps toward living a happy reality.

If you are currently feeling (or suffering from) any of the 17 emotions listed in the table of contents, I recommend that you go straight to that chapter (after orienting yourself to Conley’s work through the first two chapters).  I believe once you read one chapter, you will find yourself turning to others – or as the author suggests, even creating your own emotional equations.

Emotional Equations is yet one more resource as you build your self-awareness, grow your emotional intelligence, and succeed in your interpersonal relationships.

power of habitThe Power of Habit:  Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business.  Charles Duhigg.  New York:  Random House. 2012.

How often have you really looked at your habits?  How often have you wished to change those habits that have a negative effect on you?  Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habit:  Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, is a primer on habits … how they are created and how they are changed.  The author looks at habits through three prisms:  individual, organizational, and societal.

As you read Duhigg’s book, it really seems easy … a habit is made up of a loop (a cue, a routine, and a reward) spawned by a craving.  So – if you want to change the habit, all you must do is identify the cue and the reward – and then, change the routine so the reward remains the same and the craving is satisfied.  Easy, right?

The author does provide the reader with a framework of how to change one’s habits.  You will also find interesting stories describing how habits become ingrained in the individual (the marketing of Febreeze), the organization (the workings of Starbucks), and society (how social habits lead to movements).

Throughout the book, the reader will learn more about keystone habits (small wins), willpower (the most important individual habit of all), sandwiching the new with the familiar to create a new habit, and the importance of a social network and “weak ties” in creating a movement for sustaining change.

The Power of Habit is an easy, practical read – one that you shouldn’t miss.

7 habitsThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:  Powerful Lessons in Personal Change.  Stephen R. Covey.  New York:  Fireside. 1989.

Speaking of habits, I must include The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:  Powerful Lessons in Personal Change in this year’s list.  In the summer of 2012, the world lost a person who has influenced thousands upon thousands of people through his compilation of seven easy to remember (but at times, hard to practice) habits.  Dr. Stephen R. Covey first published The 7 Habits in 1989.  Since that time, the book has been printed in 38 different languages and sold over 25 million copies.

As I said above, the seven habits are simple to understand, yet profound in their ability to change a world.

  • Habit 1 – Be Proactive.  This is the very platform upon which the other habits rest.  In essence, you have a choice.
  • Habit 2 – Begin with the End in Mind.  Have a goal – have a mission – plan your direction.  Lead the pack … don’t let the pack lead you.
  • Habit 3 – Put First Things First.  Act on your priorities.  Say yes to the important – say no to the unimportant.
  • Habit 4 – Think Win-Win.  My New Year’s wish … that we all practice this habit more frequently.  With time, patience, and respect, “what’s good for you” and “what’s good for me” may both be achieved.
  • Habit 5 – Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood.  The most difficult habit, some say.  But really, when you consistently practice the first 4 habits, number 5 becomes incredibly easy.  For it is not solely about you … it is about others.
  • Habit 6 – Synergize.  Imagine the power of multiple minds working together to find a solution.
  • Habit 7 – Sharpen the Saw.  Keeping yourself in tune – spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically – ensures you are able to live The 7 Habits each and every day.

Throughout the book, Covey shares interactions that illustrate these habits.  These stories will entertain you – and move you.  Dr. Covey’s request of us is to “live, love, and leave a legacy.”  Thank you, Dr. Covey, for the legacy you have left to the world.

The Websites

forbes websitewww.forbes.com

As we all do, I often turn to the Internet as an invaluable research information source.  Among my several “go-to” sites, I have found that the Forbes magazine website and blog is one of my favorites.  Well-written articles by a variety of contributors communicate timely information in categories such as leadership, business, technology, and entrepreneurship.

By registering on the blog site, you may sign up for feeds from your favorite contributors or on your favorite topics, comment on articles you find interesting, or share articles of interest with your social network.

This is definitely a website to bookmark and return to time after time.

ted websitewww.ted.com

As powerful as the Forbes site is with the written word, ted.com is equally powerful with the spoken word.  Ted.com is a compilation of the world’s thinkers … famous and not so famous.  With content from the funny to the remarkable to the insightful to talks that are just plain over my head, this site truly does contain “Ideas worth spreading.”

Another candidate for your bookmark bar.

The Blog



Seth Godin, author of The Purple Cow, The Dip, Permission Marketing, Tribes, the newly released The Icarus Deception, and many more, shares his thoughts via a daily blog.  These short exchanges prompt the reader to question his/her assumptions and view the world through a different lens.   The topics vary – but the thought provocation is constant.  Seth’s blog is a daily reminder to look at yourself, your business, and your relationships in an entirely new way.

As 2012 ends and 2013 begins, I wish you …

Happy Reading and Happy Leading!

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2 Comments on “3 Books, 2 Websites, and 1 Blog – 2012”

  1. Doni Perry says:

    My favorite list of 2012:

    1) Leadership and Self-Deception (Reread)
    2) The Checklist Manifesto-Very incitefule
    3) The First 90 Days
    4) IT Savvy
    5) The Art of Getting Things Done

    Books for 2013
    1) Outside In: The power of putting customers at the center of your business
    2) How to Kill 11M people
    3) Outliers (Should have read long time ago)
    4) Competing on Analytics
    5) The Advantage
    6) Squires to Knights (Mentoring teenage boys)
    7) Start with Why

Looking forward to your thoughts!

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