Issue No. 275 of Your Weekly Staff Meeting urges you to set aside your iPhones and iPads and enjoy a tactile browsing experience with a spectacular coffee table book—and then email me a photo of your “ideal bookshelf.” Plus, this reminder: check out my Management Buckets website with dozens of resources and downloadable worksheets for your staff meetings.
*My Ideal Bookshelf
What a brilliant idea!
And how will you leverage this idea with your team at work, your family and friends, your small group and your social media followers?
The co-creators of My Ideal Bookshelf have served up a unique coffee table book that, at least momentarily, is more compelling than YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.
The idea: invite over 100 leading cultural figures “to share the books that matter to them most; books that define their dreams and ambitions and in many cases helped them find their way in the world.”
So, for example, Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers, The Tipping Point and other books, shares 12 books that have influenced him. His next book is about crime, so he acquired 150 books on the subject.
Gladwell writes, “I haven’t read them all, and I won’t. Some of them I’ll just look at. But that’s the fun part. It’s an excuse to go on Amazon. The problem is, of course, that eventually you have to stop yourself. Otherwise you’ll collect books forever. But these books are markers for ideas that I’m interested in. That’s why it’s so important to have physical books.
"When I see my bookshelf expanding,
it gives me the illusion
that my brain is expanding, too.”
Across the page from Gladwell’s book journey commentary is an original painting of his ideal bookshelf—showcasing the book spines creatively sorted by color and size. Amazingly, artist Jane Mount created 100 original paintings for this impressive work.
You cannot resist browsing this book! Hmmm. I wonder what’s on Atul Gawande’s bookshelf? Have I read any of his favorites?
Another writer, Andrew Sean Greer, confesses that he steals ideas from other books and “I have finally forgiven myself for not reading everything in the entire world.”
A chef and writer, Gabrielle Hamilton (one of the few to include a Bible, the King James Version), writes, “I think all of these books give the reader permission to break the rules.” Then referencing Jackson Pollock and e.e. cummings, she adds, “You can’t start out using all lowercase letters and no punctuation. You have to know all the rules first. Then you can play.”
Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage, by Alfred Lansing, was one of pro skateboarder Tony Hawk’s picks. His theme—the importance of perseverance.
An illustrator and artist, Oliver Jeffers, opens his profile with this: “I picked all of these books because I think you should always judge a book by its cover—or its spine, in this case.”
With a nod to high tech, Nico Mulhy, a classical music composer, showcases his iPad favorites on an iBook screen, painted sparingly with low tech brushes.
The mega writer James Patterson crammed 18 picks onto his ideal bookshelf. His profile enlightened: “For better or worse, I get right into the story. It’s like that rule of real estate, ‘Location, location, location,’ except for me it’s ‘Story, story, story.’ I think it’d be disastrous if everyone wrote the way I do. But I think it’s good that somebody does.”
The challenge was too overwhelming for Francine Prose, a writer, to pick her ideal bookshelf because “there are a gazillion bookshelves in my house.” So she picked her all-Chekhov shelf. That was interesting, but more so her commentary about the difference between short-story writers and novelists (and baggy writing). “But then I remember that Chekhov wrote six hundred stories. And that he died at the young age of forty-four. David Gates asked this about Charles Dickens, but you could ask it about Chekhov, too: ‘Was he a Martian?’ He was not from this planet.”
“Sometimes I meet ministers, and I always say to them,” writes David Sedaris (a writer),
“’If I had a church,
I’d read a Tobias Wolff story every week,
and then I’d say to people, “Go home.”’
There’s nothing else you would need to say. Every story is a manual on how to be a good person, but without ever being preachy. They’re deeply moral stories; the best of them read like parables.”
I bought My Ideal Bookshelf when it was published last November and I’ve savored this morsel, page-by-page, over many insightful evenings. Some closing thoughts:
• I love books and I’m in good company.
• Whew! I’ve hardly read anything! Where did I miss that one?
• What fun—to inspire others to read with such a visually-pleasing invitation to browse 100 bookshelves.
So what’s on your ideal bookshelf? The graphic on the last page invites you to fill in the titles of 10 books you can’t live without.
*The photo at the top of this blog showcases my ideal bookshelf. It’s not prescriptive for you, nor will my Top-10 remain the same a year from now. It was fun to stage the photo (Thanks, Jason!). I’m already remorseful about 10 other books I ignored. (Sorry, friends!)
If you’re interested, I’ve posted short summaries of my 10 picks here.
INVITATION: EMAIL ME YOUR IDEAL BOOKSHELF!
Email me a photo of your ideal bookshelf and I’ll post it on my blog. Or, if you prefer, post the photo directly on my Facebook page.
To order this book from Amazon, click on the graphic below for My Ideal Bookshelf, by Thessaly La Force (editor) and Jane Mount (illustrator).
Your Weekly Staff Meeting Questions:
1) What 10 books would be on your ideal bookshelf—and why?
2) What book, besides the Bible, has made an indelible mark on you—and why?
A Dollar’s Worth of Ministry - Insights from Mastering the Management Buckets: 20 Critical Competencies for Leading Your Business or Nonprofit
Obviously, I could not include my Buckets book on my Top-10 list, because when I asked Jeff Lilley several years ago what important books he had read, he recommended Humility, by Andrew Murray. (It’s powerful!)
But this issue’s big idea from Mastering the Management Buckets, (Chapter 11, The Donor Bucket) is to mentor givers on the Bible’s value system regarding money and possessions.
When I served at Willow Creek Association, Bill Hybels would often ask a rhetorical question at leadership conferences, “How much ministry can you do for one dollar?”
Pastors thought it was a trick question and they would often shout out interesting, and often humorous responses. Hybels’ simple answer: “With one dollar, you can do one dollar’s worth of ministry.” His point: you need lots of dollars to do lots of ministry.
Olan Hendrix, a management mentor to me and the first president of ECFA, famously wrote:
“Where there is no vision, the people perish.
Where there is no plan, the vision perishes.
Where there is no money, the plan perishes.”
Your organization or church needs money, so check out the books and resources on the Donor Bucket webpage.