Wednesday, January 2, 2013

book learnings from 2012 (part 4)

i've been writing my brief takeaways and learnings from each book i read in 2012. HERE's where i started and you can look back a couple posts for the 1st 30ish books i read in 2012. here's a few more with anywhere from 1-5 *s (stars) to let you know how good i thought the book was.

Managing the Non-Profit Organization - Peter Drucker     3*s
Definitely had high hopes for this book. Drucker is like the Godfather to everyone and everything leadership & organizational change/leadership/culture, etc... i thought this would be pure gold. and don't get me wrong, it was good... but just a 3* read.
honestly, Drucker is just hard to read. you can tell he's brilliant, but he's left over from like 1920 Germany and he writes incomplete sentences it seems like. really weird. brilliant guy, but not the best writer. he should have had someone else writing this stuff for him.
learned some good stuff though about starting and maintaining a non prof.

The Master Plan of Evangelism - Robert Coleman     3.5*s
this was required reading in college actually. then i actually took a class from Coleman at my seminary years ago... we had to read this book then, of course. so this was my 3rd reading for a class this summer. still a classic. simply a look at the way Jesus did evangelism to spark a movement to change the whole world. simple and great reminders of how we accomplish this mission 1 relationship at a time.

Management Teams - Belbin     2*s
uh... after i wrote the paper on it i forgot everything. corporate mumbo jumbo to me. not very helpful. maybe just the day i read it.

The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork - John Maxwell     3*s
similar to Drucker (above) i expected a lot more out of this book. i've read 5 or 6 Maxwell books in years past and all have been good. some have been excellent. this one was just OK. felt a little like his publisher said "you need to write a book on teamwork" and he whipped this out. didn't feel like it was birthed from his soul.
but no doubt there are some great principles. 10 of the 17 were probably no brainers that a 12 year old could have told you about teamwork. 5 or so are golden and are definitely helpful in leading a team. thankful for that.

Leading Through Conflict: How Successful Leaders Transform Differences into Opportunities - Mark Gerzon     4*s
i really loved reading this guy Gerzon. He's a Harvard guy and this is one of those books i would have loved to take my time with, savor each word, and slowly enjoy every page... but alas, i had to read it fast because it was required reading with a deadline. and since i didn't wanna pay the $30something price of the book on Amazon i checked it out from the reserve shelf and only got 1 week with it. read a chunk of it waiting in line for the iPhone 5 at the apple store (gotta use your time wisely to knock out a Master's degree in your "spare" twiddle your thumbs time).
Gerzon took a brilliant look at the 3 types of leaders there are in the world. pretty much all leaders follow one of these 3 types or models. Demagogues (Hitler & military generals & the like), Managers (the majority), and Mediators (Mandela). His use of story in this book is awesome. that's what got me hooked. tied into emotion brilliantly to help me feel what followers of these types of leaders feel.
summary = demagogues suck & that's how we get genocides (and unfortunately we have a lot of Demagogues in leadership roles in America :( ... Managers will never change the world, but simply hang on to the status quo... and Mediators are the way of the future. that's the only style to lead successfully through conflict.
and Gerzon spends most of the book divulging the 9 tools a mediator needs. "Presence" (being fully present) was admittedly the crux of the whole thing and seems to be a common thread in everything i read and hear these days...
if you're a leader, then you deal with conflict & i highly recommend this book.

Every Church Needs a Little Conflict - George Bullard     2*s
this book was pretty boring. couldn't get through it fast enough. basically for screwed up churches experiencing crazy dysfunction and conflict.  a guide to help you know when you should just fire someone, punch them in the face, help them leave, call the cops, sit everyone down for coffee, or get out of there yourself...
on the flip side, the intro does give a really helpful word on conflict NOT being bad or a sin like many people assume. conflict is a good thing many times and can/should be healthy in churches. IF it's handled well by everyone. and that's the tricky part.

The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team - Patrick Lencioni     4*s
i loved reading this book. like most of Lencioni's it's a "leadership fable" = short fiction with the principles woven into the story. the 5 dysfunctions all begin with and stem from what a team does about TRUST. if trust is present, it opens the door for a high functioning team, but without trust as a bedrock, the other 4 dysfunctions will most likely be there.
love thinking about applying this book. trust, honest conversations around the table, fierce accountability for the sake of the mission... love this stuff.
i'ma have to check out Lencioni's other fables because i dig reading this style.

The Conflict Resolution Toolbox - Gary Furlong     2.5*s
i'm sure it's a good book, just over my head. wasn't that interested. had read so many conflict books... this was all science and psychology and pyscho-babble jargon, blah blah blah... you really had to concentrate hard on every word & i'm sure i could have learned a lot, but my eyes were glazed over half the time.

What to Expect the First Year - Heidi Murkoff     4*s
great stuff. i would have been lost without it this year. Crystal pretty much knows everything about what we're supposed to do, but if i ask her & she doesn't know then this book has it. so helpful to be able to read this each month and know what to expect with Keira, what to do as she progresses, etc...

The Pocket Guide to Adulthood: 29 Things to Know Before You Hit 30 - Jason Boyett     3*s
wrote a whole series of blogs on this already, so i won't bore you with more. i enjoyed reading this book. really fun read. helpful for sure. honestly, didn't learn a whole lot of brand new stuff (except for card tricks and smoothie recipes) but all really solid reminders. maybe being an adult won't suck so bad now that i'm prepared :)

The Universe: 365 Days - NASA guys (Robert Nemiroff, Jerry Bonnell)     4*s
i actually have read this one about 7 times! 7 years in a row i read this book each day. it was a Christmas gift from my wife our first Christmas we were married. one of the best gifts ever. it's basically a different WOW from the universe every single day with an explanation of what you're looking at. the pictures are stunning and i start off with it each morning just to make me go "WOW. you made that, God? that's absolutely incredible! and beautiful. stunning! and it's 400 million light years wide!? wow, that's big! and you put it there just to show off your glory? you are the man!" you get the idea... supernovas, galaxies, black holes, comets... all around the cosmos in 365 days. breathtaking & worshipful for me.

i'm planning to wrap up these book takeaways in just 1 more post. and then it's my top 10 list for the year. (then on to finalize my 2013 list)

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