Books in January and February

February 1, 2011 at 11:54 am 2 comments

Ivana Sendaka writes a post every month about the books she has read.  I’m part of her super cool gang and I appreciate reading what books she has read and what she thinks about them.  So I’m imitating her idea – that being the sincerest form of flattery.

I started the month and the year reading The Tiger: a true story of vengeance and survival by John Vailant.  This is a neat story about Tigers, our relationship with them and the history and culture of Eastern Russia.  Records the theory that our ancestors may have scavenged as often as hunted.  He describes a relationship people have with wild cats as one of mutual respect.  He tells the story of a tribe of hunters who use poison arrows, so they first hunt to find their game, then track it to where it dies.  They often find big cats eating their supper.  The tribesmen walk up calmly and with respect telling the cats that this is their kill.  The blood-stained, gorging cats get up and walk away.

Life may be hard living in the ‘wild’ but it is more predictable than we would think as we imagine it from the perspective of our living rooms.

The Element: how finding your passion changes everything by Sir Ken Robinson. Lots of stories about people who find and follow their passion.  The tribes he describes include ones with people who do the thing you like – readymade and there to help.  We don’t always have to build our own tribes.  He also writes about people who prefer doing it for love rather than doing it for money.

He doesn’t talk as much about the education system as I would have thought based on his TED talk and the next TED talk.

Not Buying It: my year without Shopping by Judith Levine.  A fun month by month exploration of buying, and all that goes with it.

Saturday A novel by Ian McEwan.  I found this to be like one of those movies you start watching and a couple of times you find yourself wondering if you will bother to finish watching it, except that it’s well-made.  I enjoyed the writing and would read another of his, probably.

Here is a list of what I am currently reading.  I’m only writing this list this one time just to give you an idea of how I read.

At Home: A short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson

The Upside of Irrationality: the unexpected benefits of defying logic at work and at home by Dan Ariely

The Smart Swarm: how understanding flocks, schools and colonies can make us better at communicating, decision making and getting things done by Peter Miller

Free Range Kids: giving our kids the freedom we had without going nuts with worry by Lenore Skenazy

Our online international book club is reading The Art of Non-Conformity: set your own rules; live the life you want; and change the world by Chris Guillebeau.  Did I mention he has agreed to join us for one of our sessions.

Addendum: I don’t always read 5 books at the same time.  I usually read a non-fiction, a fiction and book club book(s).  All but AONC are library books.  I started with Smart Swarm because I really liked Ants at Work and this is similar.  I am enjoying this book.  Then I got the Free Range Kids book.  I had reserved this one and had been waiting a while for it.  I suspect I will not be able to renew it, so I am under the gun to finish it.  Then I got The Upside of Irrationality and it’s the same situation.  I loved Predictably Irrational so I dived in.  Then I got At Home.  The library tags books with long waiting lists, asking us to turn them around quickly.  I dipped in to see if I really wanted to read this one or if I should send it back.  I’m having a hard time putting it down.

I will finish At Home first, although it will take the longest.  It’s a meaty book.  Then Upside.  I should finish that in a day or so – depending on time available.  Then Free Range Kids will be a quick and fun read, too.  I’ve read some of the passages to the kids – we’re all enjoying it.  I’ll finish off with Smart Swarm.  I don’t think there will be any problem renewing that one.

I’ll continue to read a chapter a week of Chris’s AONC in time for the book club every Friday afternoon.

I usually head to bed pretty early so that I can read for an hour or so.  I don’t watch much TV these days I’d rather read.  I always carry a book with me, you know, just in case I have a spare minute or 2.


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The Three Success Factors

I have worked closely with 100’s of business owners and I have seen too many struggle. I have seen what works and what doesn't.

It takes 3 things to succeed:
1. Hard work - and I know you do that already.
2. Knowledge - domain knowledge: you've got that and continue to learn; and business knowledge: this is where everyone focuses and it's easy to find
3. Mindset - This is the killer app. This is what makes or breaks small business owners.

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