Issue No. 354 of Your Weekly Staff Meeting delivers my Top-10 book picks from 2016 (and my book-of-the-year) and three master lists of over 370 books I’ve reviewed since 2006. And for the record—this is NOT fake news! Also, Happy New Year! Plus, this reminder: click here to check out my 20 management buckets (core competencies).
John Ortberg asks in The Life You’ve Always Wanted, “If you were marooned on a desert island and could have only a single book with you, what would you choose?”
He noted that “somebody once asked this question of G. K. Chesterton. Given his reputation as one of the most erudite and creative Christian writers in the first half of the twentieth Christian century, one would naturally expect his response to be the Bible. It was not. Chesterton chose Thomas' Guide to Practical Shipbuilding.”
Good news. You can choose more than one book today from my 2016 book reviews. I don’t speed-read my book picks—and I was blessed with a full client load again this year, so I decreased my output in 2016 (you’re welcome).
This last issue of the year features books I reviewed in Issues No. 337 to 354. To read all the 2016 book reviews from Your Weekly Staffing Meeting, scroll through the archives here. To download a PDF of the chronological list of book reviews from 2006 through today (all 354 issues), visit the Book Bucket on my Management Buckets website. A second book review list, with all books categorized within my 20 buckets, is also available. And this week, I also updated my personal list (not prescriptive for you) of my Top-100 books (I added a few and dropped a few.)
In 2016, I published just 18 issues with reviews of 24 books (plus a YouTube video, “United Breaks Guitars”) featured in the book, Team of Teams (view the video).
It's a tough assignment to narrow it down to 10 books that all have popular appeal, because all of us are at different levels of competency across the 20 management buckets. What were your top 10 books in 2016?
[ ] The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan
More than three years after it was published, it keeps popping up on The Wall Street Journal list of business bestsellers. That caught my attention. Here’s the big idea:
"What's the ONE Thing
you can do this week such that by doing it
everything else would be easier or unnecessary?"
And this (now posted in my office):
"Until my ONE Thing is done—
everything else is a distraction."
A client told me that The ONE Thing has dramatically (her voice would actually put it in all caps…DRAMATICALLY) changed how she leads. She is now a disciple of the book’s “time blocking” approach and, amazingly, says she is more on top of her work than ever in her career!
The Other 9 on My 2016 Top-10 Book List
(With brief excerpts from my reviews, these nine are listed in alphabetical order by author’s last name.)
[ ] Leading Me: Eight Practices for a Christian Leader's Most Important Assignment, by Steve A. Brown
The author, president of Arrow Leadership, notes that there is “the temptation for stewardship to become an idol. This usually manifests itself in an insatiable drivenness toward more activity, more busyness and more accomplishment. Ironically, this kind of behavior in a leader is often applauded and encouraged by boards, churches and employers. They are impressed by and thankful for the output that often seems to accompany driven people and leaders.”
[ ] Called to Serve: Creating and Nurturing the Effective Volunteer Board, by Max De Pree
Max De Pree, former CEO and chairman of Herman Miller delivers contrarian counsel, smothered in grace. Example:
• “Many high-priced consultants will tell you to have the shortest possible mission statement. I don’t happen to think that is such a great idea.”
• “I feel that the closer an organization comes to being defined as a movement, the closer it will come to fulfilling its potential.”
I’ll be dipping into Called to Serve frequently in 2017 in the blog I write for ECFA, “Governance of Christ-Centered Organizations.”
[ ] The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate the Three Essential Virtues, by Patrick Lencioni
Lencioni’s books never (ever) disappoint. In his latest (and funniest, I think), he drills deep into three virtues in the final 60 pages (The Model and application)—worth the price of the book.
• HUMBLE: "Great team players lack excessive ego or concerns about status." He adds, "Humility is the single greatest and most indispensable attribute of being a team player."
• HUNGRY: "Hungry people almost never have to be pushed by a manager to work harder because they are self-motivated and diligent."
• SMART: "Smart simply refers to a person's common sense about people."
[ ] Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World, by Gen. Stanley McChrystal with Tantum Collins, David Silverman, and Chris Fussell
McChrystal says we must reject our love affair with “heroic leaders.” Not easy for a four-star general, who led the Joint Special Operations Command in Iraq during the Persian Gulf Wars, and retired in 2010 after serving as commander of all American and coalition forces in Afghanistan. Confessing to his own struggles, he writes: “Although I recognized its necessity, the mental transition from heroic leader to humble gardener was not a comfortable one.”
[ ] The Time of Our Lives, by Peggy Noonan
Peggy Noonan’s Wall Street Journal columns touch your head, your heart, and your funny bone (though her word would be wittier). Example: She says we get our news at what we still call the water cooler “and mean as the line at Starbucks.” You’ll read this slowly to enjoy every delicious morsel.
[ ] REBRAND: Workbook + Coloring Sheets for Ministry Branding, by Jason Pearson
Full disclosure—Jason’s my son. But this quick-read book (perfect for staff meetings) is over-the-top creative and useful—designed originally for his marketing keynote presentations to ministry leaders in 2016. I especially appreciated his market segmentation—a spin-off of the four social styles (reminding us that one marketing pitch doesn’t fit all):
Two styles are task-oriented:
• THE INFO-SPONGE CUSTOMER is the analytical. She’s logical and loves data.
• THE JUST-THE-FACTS CUSTOMER is the driver. He’s all about results and efficiency.
Two styles are relationship-oriented:
• THE HEARTFELT CUSTOMER is the amiable. He’s supportive, yet careful.
• THE SHARE-MEISTER CUSTOMER (great name!) is the expressive. She’s enthusiastic and unstructured.
[ ] The Seventh Key: Unlocking the Life God Created You to Live (A Novelette), by R. Scott Rodin
If you’ve read Rodin’s first two books in his trilogy, The Third Conversion and The Million-Dollar Dime, you will appreciate this third novelette even more. The storytelling is superb. In a meeting with Rodin earlier this month, I thanked him for the memorable people, places and things that populate his story. Unforgettable, really. He shared a word with me, “iconography,” that describes his approach. (OK, I looked it up!)
[ ] The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever, by Michael Bungay Stanier
This is the best coaching book I’ve ever read. If your employee name badge should read “VP of Bottlenecking,” you must read this book. The author’s seven essential coaching questions will help you coach others, and as Stanier perceptively writes, “Focus on the real problem, not the first problem.”
[ ] Outrageous: Awake to the Unexpected Adventures of Everyday Faith, by Aaron Tredway
Honest—I read half of these page-turning stories to my wife, Joanne, and we both agreed—Outrageous is the perfect book for family, friends, colleagues, and clients. Whew! Aaron’s heart for God and every soul on the planet shines through. Outrageous touched my heart.
P.S. Master List of Book Reviews: Click here to download these lists:
• List #1: Books by Management Buckets Category (370+)
• List #2: Chronological list of 354 issues of Your Weekly Staff Meeting from 2006 through today (370+ books)
• List #3: John Pearson’s Top-100 Book List (updated today)
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John Pearson's "Ideal Bookshelf"
Delegate Your Reading in 2017
Insights from Mastering the Management Buckets: 20 Critical Competencies for Leading Your Business or Nonprofit
The core competency in the Book Bucket, Chapter 5, in Mastering the Management Buckets, admonishes all of us that “we don’t just talk about books—we actually read them!”
C.S. Lewis said, "It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between." And by the way, back in 2013, several readers submitted photos for “My Ideal Bookshelf.” (Click here to see what books Jeff Lilley, Greg Anderson, David Curry, Jason Pearson and others had selected for their Top-10 lists—of all time!)
Ideas for 2017:
1) Delegate your reading. Assign books to other team members and ask for mini-reports at staff meetings. 2) Read relevant chapters only. Don't feel guilty for not finishing a book. 3) Hold high the value of sharpening the saw and model it yourself and reward others who read. 4) Budget for books. Invest in your people by investing in books. 5) Discover whether your people are readers or listeners. (Shout-out to my son, Jason, who read 34 books in 2016, mostly via audio books.)
I have some fantastic book reviews coming in 2017! For more resources from the Book Bucket, visit this webpage.
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