Music Books and Other Reading
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Use the tags below to jump to books and writing I have curated for that subject.
Education and Pedagogy
Sinek’s second book (the follow up to the excellent ‘Start with Why’) focusses on the core message that leaders who enlarge the circle of trust benefit from staff who work for the company and back them up instead of feeling they need to focus on protecting themselves at all costs. He makes the point that as companies grow and those at the top are more removed from those on the ground that leaders need to be careful working under what he dubs conditions of abstraction, where leaders can lose sight of the impact of their decisions on the actual staff. It is about leading the people not the numbers. He is talking about empathy and relationships.
He also tries to dispel myths around the constant need to reinforce authority, describing legacy in leadership as the strength of what you leave behind, as opposed to the nostalgia of lamenting what you did at the time.
Simon dwells for much of the book on generational changes in attitude, and without damning any one group, towards the later half on millennials and the challenges of leading this generation. As an educator, leader and parent this was an interesting turn in the book to me. Leaders Eat Last is well worth the read time to my mind and has many thought provoking observations and insights into the true nature of leadership.
“the true price of leadership is the willingness to place the needs of others above your own. Great leaders truly care about those they are privileged to lead and understand that the true cost of the leadership privilege comes at the expense of self-interest.”
Productivity, Organisation, Habit Formation and Growth
Grit is an interesting and for many divisive take on the importance of perseverance and positivity on success. It builds on books like ‘Mindset’ and ‘The Power of Habit’ largely with Duckworth’s own research, much of which is US based and references the most famous examples over the average guy.
The later chapters are very education based, and in that part I found real value. Little of it feels like revelation, but does reinforce from a new angle what most educators already knew; that stickability and enthusiasm born of passion for your work will trump natural talent every time.
The book goes on to suggest ways to foster this, and so for that bank of useful insights I really enjoyed it. It is less clear on the definite pathway to personal grittiness, which would have been a welcome conclusion, rather than the positive cheerleading that it substitutes.
“as much as talent counts, effort counts twice.”
This follow up book in the series goes deeper on most of the principles and practices in the original Getting Things Done book. It explores David Allen’s subsequent thinking since the first book as well as exemplifies with many more recent examples, and also answers some of the questions bounced back at him over the years.
Having read the initial book and practiced most of the routines and systems for years I found it a useful refresher and a good way to rekindle enthusiasm for some of the later stages in the process.
For those new to the GTD methodology this is not the place to start – you definitely still need to read the first book as although this is useful content, it takes a more exploratory conversational route through the stages, horizons and routines and so would not make sense in isolation.
It is a tricky business to know when you should set goals and objectives in order to achieve a focus, … so you can later step into new directions and responsibilities with greater stability and clarity
Ironically the book proves it’s own point (or that of Vilfredo Pareto actually) as there is much repetition and could be significantly more concise. The finding Koch badges as the 80/20 principle in itself is very useful when applied to the many work, project and life scenarios he exemplifies, and for this alone the book is helpful.
He also details a number of examples where others have used successfully (or not) the learning for themselves. Later chapters branch out into healthy, money, relationships and wellbeing, with somewhat tenuous links back to the title topic. In this way the book is longwinded but ultimately a very useful read and exploration of a so-far little-covered subject.
““It is not shortage of time that should worry us, but the tendency for the majority of time to be spent in low-quality ways.”
This is a very short read. Interview style, and like hearing a cosy chat over coffee. The whole is so short that the various ideas around productive use of different lists are therefore concisely introduced with warmth and the human touch that some productivity robots lack. There is little here for those that are already well read around the subject but for the newly interested in list making and organisation it is a gentle and warm introduction. It may also be a good route to judging if you would like to read any of Paula Rizzo’s longer books on the same subject.