Archive for the ‘Business Books’ Category

Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure by Tim Harford

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Adapt: Why SUccess Always Starts with Failure by Tim Harford offers an inspiring and innovative alternative to traditional top-down decision making. Tim deftly weaves together psychology, evolutionary biology, anthropology, physics, and economics along with compelling stories of hard won lessons from the real world. He makes a passionate case for the importance of adaptive trial and error to deal with problems both global, personal, and everything in between. Click at the bottom of any page to purchase this breakthrough handbook for surviving and prospering in an ever-shifting world.

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All Hands On Deck – Culture Trumps Strategy – Joe Thy

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

This book by Joe Tye uses a fictional format to explain why organizational culture is so important and how you can get the people you lead to help you create the kind of culture you want. My summary deals with the key concepts, but you need the book to access the compelling story and valuable appendix. This would be a good read for your entire team to discuss.

Click here to see my summary of All Hands On Deck.

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Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other(© 2011, Basic Books: New York, NY) is Sherry Turkle’s third book that explores our lives on the digital terrain. Sherry has conducted hundreds of interviews to gather her data. She explores how the technology that lets us do anything anywhere with anyone can drain us as we try to do everything everywhere and are always on call. She looks at how relentless connections lead to a new solitude and impacts our emotional lives. She also sees hope as people seek to sustain direct human connection.

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Always On: How the iPhone Unlocked the Anything-Anytime-Anywhere Future and Locked Us In

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Always On: How the iPhone Unlocked the Anything-Anytime-Anywhere Future and Locked Us In by Brian X. Chen (© 2011, Da Capo Press: Cambridge, MA), is an insightful look at technology’s all-in-one revolution and its consequences. Will we give more control to individual companies and sacrifice privacy and freedom in the process? This is the first book to take on the possible future that products like the iPhone may portend. Brian writes the regular Apple column for Wired Magazine. In order to write this book, Chen interviewed many of the top technology thinkers, innovators, and researchers.

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APE: How To Publish a Book by Guy Kawasaki & Shawn Welsh

Thursday, December 13th, 2012
APE

APE: How To Publish a Book by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welsh (©2012) As the digital world has created a revolutionary opportunity for writers to become their own publishers, a new self-publishing infrastructure has emerged. This book offers a guide to this new publishing universe with details and inspiration. After you read this you are unlikely to let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t, wouldn’t, or couldn’t write a book. The APE in the title stands for Author, Publisher, and Entrepreneur, and Guy and Shawn devote sections of this book to each part of the process. It makes for a great read and a better reference as you bring your book to life. Be sure to click the icon at the bottom of any page to support this stellar self-published effort.

Guy and Shawn

  • Guy Kawasaki is the author of eleven previous books, including What the Plus!, Enchantment, and The Art of the Start. He is also the cofounder of Alltop.Com and the former chief evangelist of Apple. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University, an MBA from UCLA, and an honorary doctorate from Babson College.
  • Shawn Welch is the author of From Idea to App, iOS 5 Core Frameworks, and iOS 6 for Developers. He is also the developer of several iOS apps. Previously he worked as a senior media editor for Pearson Education. He helped pioneer many of Pearson’s earliest efforts in iPad solutions. Welch has a BS from Kansas State University.

[Author Section] Why should anyone give a shiitake about your book?

  • This is the question Guy starts with to help you decide if you should write a book in the first place. Keep in mind that people by books to help themselves, not to further your career. Question two is, will your book enrich your readers with some combination of knowledge, understanding, entertainment, or laughter? If your answer is yes you should write a book. Other good reasons include the value of the intellectual challenge, furthering a cause you believe in, and the therapeutic value of the process. Bad reasons are thinking you are in popular demand and that you will make a lot of money. You just might. but the odds are against you.

Some Publishing History

  • While we don’t have to wait for scribes to hand copy books anymore, publishing a book in the traditional way still takes twelve to eighteen months. Authors and readers can’t wait this long anymore. Guy details the steps and the people involved in the traditional approach from agents to editors to copy editors to publicists. He warns about being rejected, and gives examples of many famous writers who had rejection experiences. He notes that traditional publishing is under siege by many forces, and may not be appropriate for writers like you. Self-publishing, on the other hand, is the best thing that has ever happened to writers.

The Self-Publishing Revolution

  • Traditional publishing grew up in a world with limits and logistics such as shelf space, access to printing presses, editing and production expertise, and shipping of physical books. The 1980’s brought us laser printers and software that allowed anyone to publish. This was followed by electronic delivery systems that eliminated the need to print physical books. As a result, publishing is more democratic. That doesn’t mean, however, that the quality is any better. Any intermediaries between the author and the reader must add value or face their demise.
  • Now authors can control content, design, and how long the marketing effort lasts. With print on demand services, books can stay in print for any length of time and revisions are easy to make. More, if not all, of the profit goes to the author. You can get global distribution, set your own price, cut quantity or license deals, and monitor sales as you wish.
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Better By Mistake – Improve your life and performance by Alina Tugend

Thursday, April 14th, 2011
Mistake

This eye-opening book features the big idea that embracing mistakes can make us happier and more productive in every facet of our lives. It examines the tension between the idea that we must make mistakes to learn, and the fact that we often get punished for them. © 2011, Riverside Books: New York, New York

Another Way of Learning

  • My teacher said I learn by making mistakes. Since I didn’t make any today, I guess I didn’t learn anything. This story is followed by the notion that when people think they must do everything perfectly, they can spend energy blaming each other rather than finding a solution. It results in defensiveness and accusations rather than apologies and forgiveness. Mistake prevention gets in the way of daring and innovation. Most of us think that mistakes make us look stupid.

(Re)Defining Mistakes

  • My teacher said I learn by making mistakes. Since I didn’t make any today, I guess I didn’t learn anything. This story is followed by the notion that when people think they must do everything perfectly, they can spend energy blaming each other rather than finding a solution. It results in defensiveness and accusations rather than apologies and forgiveness. Mistake prevention gets in the way of daring and innovation. Most of us think that mistakes make us look stupid.
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Blink – Vintage Gladwell

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking is Malcolm Gladwell’s second bestseller. Even though it was written in 2005, the information remains current and valuable. This summary is written with educators in mind. His 3rd book, Outliers, is also available here.

Click here to see my summary Blink.

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Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School

Sunday, October 13th, 2013
Brain Rules

Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School by John Medina tells how what we know about brain science can be used to positively influence our daily lives. This book is vital for educators, policy makers, and anyone who wants to get more out of their gray matter. Click at the bottom of any page to purchase this essential book.

Dr. John Medina

  • John is a developmental molecular biologist focused on the genes involved in human brain development and the genetics of psychiatric disorders. Most of his life has been spent working in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. He teaches at Seattle Pacific University where he is the director of the Brain Center for Applied Learning Research. He also teaches in the bioengineering department at the University of Washington. His other books include Brain Rules for Baby, The Genetic Inferno, as well as books on Alzheimer’s, depression, and AIDS.

The Brain is an Amazing Thing

  • The human brain is easily the most sophisticated information-transfer system on Earth. As you read this, it sends jolts of electricity crackling through hundreds of miles of microscopic wires in less time than it takes to blink. Brain scientists have a lot to learn, but they rarely have conversations with educators and business people. This book is meant to fill this communications void. Each of the 12 rules here are supported by research that has been replicated, and John focuses on how what we know can be applied to our daily lives.
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Bull Spotting: Finding Facts in the Age of Misinformation by Loren Collins

Friday, January 6th, 2017

Bullspotting

Bull Spotting: Finding Facts in the Age of Misinformation by Loren Collins will help you spot and avoid lies in a world with more accessible truth and lies than ever. In the age of fake news you can learn how to use the tools of critical thinking to identify the common features and trends of misinformation campaigns. Loren will help you tell the difference between real conspiracies and conspiracy theories, real science from pseudoscience, and history from fantasy.

Loren Collins

  • Loren is and attorney and firm associate with the Law Office of W. Bryant Greene, III, P. C. He is the creator of Barackryphal, a website that debunks the fallacies propounded by birthers regarding the birth and citizenship of President Obama. He has written for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on the topics of misinformation and critical thinking.

1. Baloney Detection

  • Operating in the world efficiently depends on one’s ability to identify crap, also known as misinformation. Today we are constantly bombarded with information, which makes crap detection more import than ever. We tend to rely on common sense, but recall that there was a time when common sense told our ancestors that the world was flat. It can be helpful, but we need to look to science to uncover the truth.
  • Most of us are not conditioned to distinguish between good and bad sources. We favor information from sources we like and visa versa. We accept information that supports our beliefs, and doubt information that doesn’t. This is know as confirmation bias. Other biases include having our thinking impacted by how something is framed, and putting more weight on recent information.
  • People evolved to spot patterns even when they don’t exist and to create stories, myths, to explain the patterns. The ancient Greeks, for example, created different Gods to explain how the world worked.
  • A common feature of creative misinformation is the reliance of anomalies. The problem with this approach is that it doesn’t produce a cohesive alternative theory. The idea is that if you can undermine one detail of the consensus view you have disproved it. If you see this in action, it tends to be a good means of spotting misinformation. Occam’s razor tells us that the explanation that makes the fewest assumptions is most likely to be the correct one.

2. Denialism

  • Denialism concerns the rejection of truth accepted by experts. In some cases popular opinion denies scientific facts. For example, a 2010 poll showed that 40% of Americans believe humankind was created in our present form less than ten thousand years ago. The primary tactic is to look for anomalies that can poke holes in established theories. Deniers do not advance a cohesive alternative theory that can be tested.
  • When confronted with evidence, deniers will often say it is forged or fake. When evidence can’t be denied they may say that it means something else like the Nazi gas chambers were not used for mass killings. Fake experts are also associated with deniers. While they may have college degrees, the degrees are usually in unrelated fields. Subjective experiences and anecdotes are often treated as solid evidence.
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Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World – by Tony Wagner

Monday, December 5th, 2016
Creating Inovators

Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World by Tony Wagner (© 2012, Scribner: New York, NY) explores what parents, teachers, and employers must do to develop the capacities of young people to become innovators. Tony profiles innovators to identify patterns in their childhood that made them what they are. He shows how to apply his findings to education and tells parents how to compensate for poor schools. Keys include collaboration, interdisciplinary problem-solving, and intrinsic motivation. Sixty original videos are included that you can access via a smartphone. Go to Creating Innovators for a trailer.

A Primer on Innovation

  • Innovation is about the process by which new things take place. It involves using novel and creative ways to create value via new products, services, business models, or processes. It involves valuable original ideas or insights that you somehow implement. It’s creative problem solving applied to the real world. Incremental innovation significantly improves products, processes, or services. Disruptive innovations create a new or fundamentally different product or service that disrupts markets and displaces dominant technologies.
  • Innovations can be technical like Apple’s iPod, iPhone, and iPad. They can also be social like the nonviolent strategies of Gandhi and M. L. King.

Skills of Innovators/Nature of Creativity

  • Tony offers the following as the main skills needed: 1) critical thinking and problem solving 2) collaboration across networks and leading by influence 3) agility and adaptability 4) initiative and entrepreneurship 5) accessing and analyzing information 6) effective oral and written communication 7) curiosity and imagination. It is also necessary to imagine the world from multiple perspectives, see all aspects of a problem, be optimistic, experiment to explore problems with a bias towards action, work with others as the day of the lone genius seems to be over. For places like Google and Apple, intellectual curiosity is more important than smarts. They also want people who will take control of a situation rather than waiting to be lead.

What Is Needed

  • Creativity is a habit and like any habit, it can be either encouraged or discouraged. Teachers that value the right answer more than provocative questions tend to drum the curiosity out of students early on. Creativity can be encouraged or discouraged.
  • Tony cites work of Teresa Amibile’s who says that creativity or innovation has three components. They are expertise, creative thinking skills, and motivation. She believes that motivation is the most important and that intrinsic motivation has more impact than extrinsic motivation. Tony adds that childhood play should lead to adolescent passion and adult purpose. They are the three interrelated elements of intrinsic motivation. He notes that a disproportionate number of innovative people attended Montessori schools where play is an important part of the curriculum.

What Is Needed

  • Knowing how to find those things you are interested in and that motivate you is way more important than specific things you study. This implies that you should put a buffet of opportunities in front of children and let them engage in unstructured play. If a child finds an interest, it should be encouraged.
  • Tony tells of a course at Stanford where students work in teams to solve open-ended problems. Most high school and college courses that feature individual competition, specific content, and extrinsic incentives like grades and GPA. What is needed are courses that feature teamwork, multidisciplinary approaches, and the intrinsic incentives of exploration, empowerment, and play.
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