Variety improves the things that we do too often, but it rules the things that we don’t do often enough. -Daniel Gilbert
My reading list is much like my running play list. I like to mix it up. A little American history, running stories, motivation,business, self help, and some good science fiction. As the quote above indicates, by reading a variety it improves the experience by keeping it fresh.
Here’s a review on a more recent read.
Measure What Matters: OKRs: The Simple Idea that Drives 10x Growth by John Doerr
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The case studies in this book are a fun read, especially in the audio book version which has each person related to the specific case study read their portion. The variety in voices kept the book entertaining.
Where the book lacked
was in providing detail. It is very vague and although the case studies were from companies that achieved great growth it doesn’t necessarily explain how the OKR’s caused the growth. Would My Fitness Pal really not been so successful without an OKR ? Impossible to say from reading this book.
If you are a “techie” and would be interested in hearing case studies from Silicon Valley then you would enjoy this book. If you want details on goal setting and measuring what matters then I recommend finding a different book.
Every book has a lesson or two. This one had quite a lot of great quotes because of all of the influencers used to illustrate the purpose. Here’s a few of my favorites:
“Leaders must get across the why as well as the what. Their people need more than milestones for motivation. They are thirsting for meaning, to understand how their goals relate to the mission.”
“There are so many people working so hard and achieving so little. —Andy Grove”
“When people help choose a course of action, they are more likely to see it through.”
What shall I read during Week 4 of Chicago Marathon training?
Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE by Phil Knight
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
One of my all time favorites! I listened to it on Audible during my commutes. Sometimes I would sit in my car in my driveway and just keep listening. I found the history, geography and world culture lessons given through the lens of someone sharing their life story absolutely fascinating.
In January 2008, I saw the movie The Bucket List and crazy as it sounds, as a non-runner put “run a marathon” on my list. I’ve been running in a different brand ever since, but now that I have read this story I am going to the running store to pick up some Nike’s immediately.
Thank you Phil Knight for your contributions and thank you for sharing your story.
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I’m going to let you in on a secret.
Depending on the circumstances of us meeting, if we’ve met, there will be two dramatically different responses to this revelation. Very opposing responses.
If we were introduced socially, you’re already in on the secret. If someone were to ask you “did you know this about her” your reply would be “isn’t it obvious, everyone knows that about her”.
Suppose our meeting happened in a professional setting. Revealing this truth about myself would receive a much different reaction. “No way”. “It’s not possible”. “Not her”.
Here’s the secret
I am not just a little bit shy. I am deathly shy. My preferred role in a social setting; wall flower. The thought of having to introduce myself to total strangers and be able to make small talk with them gives me the same pit in my stomach as having just ate some bad sushi. I can’t do it. I won’t do it. I remember being on a bus trip and someone yelled out “why don’t you ever talk”? My valiant hero responded “she never talks”. Shy. So shy. Paralyzed with fear.
In a professional setting a totally different persona comes to life. A hostess with the mostest, A larger than life very social figure. Someone who is outgoing, approachable, even . . . LOUD. Put her on a stage and let her speak to the room and she shines. Who is this person? Where does she come from?
It wasn’t always this way. I remember early on in my career I would have to do morning sales meetings. As I began to speak I would feel it. The burning red creep. It would start on my chest and the warm burning sensation would climb. I would think “don’t be visible, don’t be visible” as I felt it creep up to my neck. “Don’t be visible”, now my ears are on fire. “Don’t be visible”, my cheeks are certainly crimson with the burn. The horror. Complete terror.
What is different now? Competence. Studying your craft, becoming an expert and doing something over and over again until you build competence. Action builds competence. Competence then breeds confidence. Look at the athletes about to take part in the 2018 Winter Olympics. As they are about to begin their event they radiate confidence. It wasn’t always there. There was fear. Confidence came with repeated practice of their sport making them competent.
There are two reasons I decided to share my secret with you. First, you may be holding yourself back because, like most people, you have a fear of speaking. This can be conquered. Be a subject matter expert and keep throwing yourself into situations where you have to give presentations. Eventually, it will get easier and even become enjoyable. Second, as you’re working on yourself at the onset of the new year you may have some limiting beliefs about your abilities that are preventing you from setting certain goals. I can’t possibly give a presentation, don’t you know that I’m shy? Maybe it’s not speaking, perhaps it’s writing. Maybe it’s exercise. Just start doing it. Action builds competence and competence breeds confidence. You can do this.
Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success by Angela Duckworth
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book started out great. Her explanation of grit and the examples provided were very interesting. I feel that people will be encouraged to read that perseverance can win over talent or skill. Perseverance puts the ball in my court instead of in my heredity or environment. How badly do I want to be great? How hard am I willing to work for it? Imagine if everyone could get that and get the voice in their head lined up with that thought. Wow!
The book then turned very ordinary and repetitive and even sounded
just like plain common sense over scientific research. There is already plenty written on the 10,000 hours, or as this author calls it deliberate practice (yes, the deliberate part does make it somewhat different, I get it, but not enough different to spend so much time on it). Here was one of the low lights . . . If you keep at something you may eventually get it right, but if you quit you won’t ever get there. Um, duh.
One of my favorite quotes . . .“…there are no shortcuts to excellence. Developing real expertise, figuring out really hard problems, it all takes time―longer than most people imagine….you’ve got to apply those skills and produce goods or services that are valuable to people….Grit is about working on something you care about so much that you’re willing to stay loyal to it…it’s doing what you love, but not just falling in love―staying in love.”
― Angela Duckworth, Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success
Staying in love is the key.
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Most people never run far enough on the first wind to find out they’ve got a second. Give your dreams all you’ve got, and you’ll be amazed at the energy that comes out of you. William James
I really tried to like this book because of the recommendation it received. I asked myself over and over, is it just that I get it and don’t need to be sold on the concept that is bothering me? No, it is just a poorly written book. The author overplays her theory in every sports or business success or failure in the history of the world.
I give it 1 star and 5 Zzzzzzzz’s
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
This book came highly recommended so it jumped to the top of my “to read” list. Unfortunately, it fell flat of it’s recommendation.
Save yourself the time (and boredom) of reading this book. Here is all you need to know:
fixed mindset – my skills are limited
growth mindset – I can improve and have no limitations to how far I can go
The author unfortunately goes on (and on…and on) citing examples of success stories that she attributes to a growth mindset and failures she attributes to a fixed mindset with no merit to any of her claims.
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