Guest contributions:

04.22.13  Uncommon Leadership 

04.02.15  Switch and Shift  

05.13.15  Better Practice Team Performance

05.29.15  Better Practice Team Performance

07.08.15  Switch and Shift 

07.14.15  Better Practice Team Performance

10.05.15  Switch and Shift 

Stacey's Reading List...


"Tribe of Mentors" by Timothy Ferriss

"Shortcut" by John Pollack 

"Seeing What Others Don't" by Gary Klein

"Several Short Sentences About Writing" by Verlyn Klinkenborg

"The Birkman Method - Your Personality at Work" by Sharon Birkman Fink and Stephanie Capparell

"Creative Intelligence" by Bruce Nussbaum 

"Improv Wisdom" by Patricia Ryan Madson

"Training To Imagine" by Kat Koppett

"Quiet" by Susan Cain

"Where Good Ideas Come From" by Steven Johnson

"A Whole New Mind" by Daniel H. Pink

"Emotional Intelligence" by Daniel Goleman 

"Rework" by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson  

"The Leadership Pipeline" by Ram Charan, Stephen Drotter, James Noel  

"Life:  Selected Quotations" by Paulo Coelho 

"Deep Change" by Robert Quinn

"The Power of Full Engagement" by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz  

"The Way of the Shepherd" by Dr. Kevin Leman and William Pentak  

"Developing the Leader Within You" by John Maxwell  

"Mr. Peabody's Apples" by Madonna

"Orbiting the Giant Hairball" by Gordon MacKenzie




blog archive

Seeking Wisdom in Books

Originally published as Guest Commentary in the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal (January 06, 2014)

What are you reading these days?  Chances are you’ve got at least one personal development / leadership book in your reading stack.  And it’s probably by a well-respected author like Stephen Covey, Jim Collins, or John Maxwell.  

What if you read something different…?  While the leadership section of the bookstore is filled with great resources, there are other equally brilliant books, in adjacent areas, that can serve you well in your personal development.    

Let me offer up one traditional leadership book, and then suggest four other books from areas as diverse as personality psychology, brain sciences, writing, and thoughts on life.  

The Way of the Shepherd by Dr. Kevin Leman and William Pentak (2004)

These leadership principles are timeless.  Written as a parable, the essence of this book is best reflected in the following excerpt.  “People have a powerful flocking instinct – they have a tremendous need to belong.  Great leaders instill a sense of meaning and belonging in their followers by putting the personal imprint of who they are and what they stand for on their people.  That imprint becomes the common ground where the people collectively meet and identify with their leader – it becomes the common denominator of the organization.”  

As to why more leaders don’t shepherd their people:  “Great leadership comes at a price that too few are willing to pay”. 

Quiet:  The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain (2012)

Introversion and extraversion are two of the most exhaustively researched subjects in personality psychology.  This book does a tremendous job balancing out both personality perspectives, giving you great insights regardless of your preference.  Ultimately it’s not an either/or equation…it’s both/and.  The human race needs everyone contributing to the greater good in the way that works for them.  And we need everyone to develop an understanding of that which is different from them. 

Such insights into human behavior are invaluable.  The brilliance of this book is that it can start a conversation – a conversation about how people are different.  While we are all still humans, we are differently human. 

A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink (2005)

Nearly 10 years ago this pivotal book suggested that forces in the world economy would shift society from left-brain thinking to right-brain thinking as the dominant thought pattern. In retrospect, that is precisely where we’ve landed today.  Think about the relevance of storytelling, our desire for product design, or how individuals are searching for greater meaning in their lives.  It’s all foreshadowed in this book. 

Summed up nicely in two great sentences:  “Meaning is the new money.  The MFA is the new MBA.”    

Several Short Sentences About Writing by Verlyn Klinkenborg (2013)

The ability to write well is a critical skill for any leader.  The nuances of word choice, structure, and tone all matter…and are built sentence by sentence.  While Klinkenborg is well published and highly credentialed, the formatted style of this book is more unconventional.  One might read it just to experience that. However I found the real win to be in the advice on how to revise, since most writing is really rewriting.  So “revise toward brevity, directness, simplicity, clarity, rhythm, literalness, implication, variation, presence, silence…”

Life – Selected Quotations by Paulo Coelho (2007)

While Paulo Coelho is best known as the author of The Alchemist, this book is a complication of some of the most profound passages from more than 17 of his published works. If you need a moment of quiet reflection, there is a passage for that.  If you need a quote for a leadership speech or words of wisdom to share with a colleague, there is a passage for that.  I’ve gifted this book of quotations to people who have impacted by life.  My copy lives permanently in my backpack. 

Reading educates us by strengthening our core competencies, inspires by rallying us to greatness, and challenges how we think (and what we think about) by opening doors into new disciplines. 

I encourage you to read often and from as many formats, genres, styles and perspectives as possible.  After all, there is no monopoly on wisdom.

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