Thinking about books and their authors…
I have presented synopses of business books every month for over 21 years. And I have presented synopses of books dealing with social justice issues every month for over 12 years. Add in other presentations prepared at the request of of clients, and I am pretty sure that I have prepared and presented synopses of close to 500 books over the last two decades. (For the first nineteen years of the First Friday Book Synopsis, my colleague Karl Krayer would present one book, and I the other. He has not been able to continue, due to his health; so I now present two book synopses each month)
I am thinking about categories of business books, and the authors who write them. I think I have come up with a simple way to “label” the books.
#1 – Books by academicians.
These books are valuable because these are books written by serious students of the business world. They conduct studies; they read, and incorporate into their books results from other studies. And they write their findings, with plenty of detail to back up their arguments.
Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders?: (And How to Fix It) by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, which I just presented at the August, 2019 First Friday Book Synopsis, fits into this category. It was a valuable book to read.
#2 – Books by practitioners.
These books are valuable because they are books written by folks who have “been there and done that.” Their real-world experience is very valuable. My other book from this August’s event, Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss, is this kind of book. He is a former FBI negotiator. His real-world negotiating experience provided great, valuable insight for all of us who have something to negotiate. (And…we all do).
One of my two books for our September event also fits in this category: The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You by Julie Zhuo. One thing I like about this book is that she is not a manager looking back after years of work, but she in the midst of learning as she goes; becoming a manager at a young age.
#3 – Books by story-tellers.
These books are valuable because…well…we are shaped by stories. And the very best story-tellers are in great demand. I think of authors like Walter Isaacson, and Malcolm Gladwell, and Charles Duhigg, and the new book Range by David Epstein.
These books usually make the most enjoyable reads. And I especially love to prepare these synopses for that reason.
There are probably other categories. But it seems that these three cover a lot of the titles I have selected and presented through the years.
Of course, there is “crossover.” All good books have elements of all three categories.; academicians can also tell stories, and do… But, most books seem to fit more fully into one of the three.
This much I know – a good book has so much to offer!
Check out my synopses of the books I present at the First Friday Book Synopsis. Each synopsis comes with my comprehensive, multi-page handout, along with the audio recording of my presentations. Click here for our newest additions. The synopses of the books I presented in August will be available soon.
We had another wonderful morning of learning at the August 2 First Friday Book Synopsis. The Park City Club always has the best breakfast! And people continued their conversations long after we officially concluded our program.
But, of course, at the center of the First Friday Book Synopsis, we have the two book synopses. This morning, I presented synopses of Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss, and Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders?: (And How to Fix It) by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic. They were both really good books to present!
I will be posting soon on each book on this blog, with my lessons and takeaways from each.
For our September meeting, I have again selected two useful and timely books. The flier below has all the details. You will be able to register soon from the home page of this website.
In September, we also have a bonus session by our sponsor Erika Bryant of Piece of Cake Marketing. She will provide a helpful marketing refresher – and beyond. That session goes from 8:30-9:30, immediately following our regular book-centric session.
Plan now to join us. It will be the perfect way to start the back-to-school, Autumn season of the year.
KEEP LEARNING – THERE IS ALWAYS THE NEXT NEW THING TO LEARN.
Here’s the flier for our September meeting, with all the details…
Retiring at the top of her game, the owner of the best goals-per-game ratio in U.S. history scored a total of 184 goals in just 256 games—a legacy that would forever leave an indelible mark for her legendary play.
(from the ABBY Wambach page at the USWNT site)
Abby Wambach was a soccer player. A very, very good soccer player: the greatest of all time. That is not overstatement. Here’s the line from Wikipedia: As a forward, she currently stands as the highest all-time goal scorer for the national team and holds the world record for international goals for both female and male soccer players with 184 goals.
In 2018, she gave the commencement address at Barnard College. (Read the speech here). She later expanded that into a book, WOLFPACK: : How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power, and Change the Game, and I presented my synopsis of this book at the July First Friday Book Synopsis.
It is a short book. It is packed with punch. It is an important book. And it is worth reading, whether you are an aspiring (or accomplished) athlete, or just wanting to build a better WOLFPACK at work, or in your community.
In my synopses, I always ask: What is the point? – Here is the point: The strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.
And I ask: Why is this book worth our time? Here are my four reasons:
#1 – Sometimes, we all need to just listen carefully to a good speech – a good commencement address. Because, we are all, always, ending something, and commencing something new.
#2 – It is always good to listen to anyone who was the very best at what she did. Abby Wambach was the very best at what she did.
#3 – We all will experience change, transition, even failure. This book will help us through those turbulent waters.
#4 – This book is a call to honesty. We’ve got too little of that these days.
Here are a few selected Quotes and Excerpts from the book – the “best of” the best of Randy’s highlighted passages. (I include more in my synopsis handout):
“Excuse me, Abby, I just need to ensure that what you present is applicable to men, too.” I said, “Good question! But only if you’ve asked every male speaker you’ve hired if his message is applicable to women, too.”
I loved the intimacy of our team dinners, bus rides, and stinky locker rooms.
What I loved most about soccer was being a teammate to women and a leader of women.
We not only won, we won with joy, honor, connectedness, commitment, and sisterhood. We were not only champions on the field—we were champions of each other.
Regarding glass ceilings … I’m mostly bolstered by folks who create their own ceilings. I’m less interested in banging down the door of some man who doesn’t want me there. I’m more about building my own house.
Later that night, back in my hotel room, I lay in bed and finally acknowledged what had been simmering inside me for decades: Anger.
I was angry at myself for not speaking up more about this glaring inequity and obvious injustice.
My story is every woman’s story.
In the first quarter of 2018, women in the U.S. earned 81.1 percent of what their male counterparts earned across all industries and ages. …women must work sixty-six extra days in order to earn the same salary as their male counterparts.
Black women are typically paid only 63 cents, and Latina women only 54 cents, for every dollar paid to their white, male counterparts.
What keeps the pay gap in existence is not just the entitlement and complicity of men. It’s the gratitude of women. Our gratitude is how power uses the tokenism of a few women to keep the rest of us in line.
Women haven’t yet accessed the power of failure. When it comes, we panic, deny it, or reject it outright. Worst-case scenario, we view failure as proof that we were always unworthy imposters. Men have been allowed to fail and keep playing forever. Why do we let failure take us out of the game? 346
Imperfect men have been empowered and permitted to run the world since the beginning of time. It’s time for imperfect women to grant themselves permission to join them.
If you watch footage of any of those goals, you’ll see that the moment after I score, I begin to point. I point to the teammate who assisted. I point to the defender who protected us. I point to the midfielder who ran tirelessly. I point to the coach who dreamed up this play. I point to the bench player who willed this moment into existence.
I’ve never scored a goal in my life without getting a pass from someone else. Every goal I’ve ever scored belonged to my entire team. When you score, you better start pointing.
Championing each other can be difficult for women because for so long we have been pitted against each other for the token seat at the table.
Maintaining the illusion of scarcity is how power keeps women competing for the singular seat at the old table, instead of uniting and building a new, bigger table.
Scarcity has been planted inside of us and among us. This is not our fault—but it is our problem to solve.
My entire life I’ve been the only one. The only woman in the room, the only woman at the table, and I’ve raised my daughters without a village. Being a woman is a special kind of lonely.
…you need a crew of brave and honest women to support you. You need a Pack. The question is: How do we build one?
She especially emphasized these ideas in her eight chapters:
One: You Were Always the Wolf
Old Rule: Stay on the path.
New Rule: Create your own path.
Two: Be Grateful AND Ambitious
Old Rule: Be grateful for what you have.
New Rule: Be grateful for what you have AND demand what you deserve.
THREE: Lead from the Bench
Old Rule: Wait for permission to lead.
New Rule: Lead now—from wherever you are.
FOUR: Make Failure Your Fuel
Old Rule: Failure means you’re out of the game.
New Rule: Failure means you’re finally IN the game.
FIVE: Champion Each Other
Old Rule: Be against each other.
New Rule: Be FOR each other.
SIX: Demand the Ball
Old Rule: Play it safe. Pass the ball.
New Rule: Believe in yourself. Demand the ball.
SEVEN: Bring It All
Old Rule: Lead with dominance. Create Followers.
New Rule: Lead with humanity. Cultivate Leaders.
EIGHT: Find Your Pack
Old Rule: You’re on your own.
New Rule: You’re not alone. You’ve got your Pack.
And in each chapter, she included her Call to the Wolfpack
• CALL TO THE WOLFPACK: Wear what you want. Love who you love. Become what you imagine. Create what you need. You were never Little Red Riding Hood. You were always the Wolf.
• CALL TO THE WOLFPACK: Be grateful. But do not JUST be grateful. Be grateful AND brave. Be grateful AND ambitious. Be grateful AND righteous. Be grateful AND persistent. Be grateful AND loud. Be grateful for what you have AND demand what you deserve.
• CALL TO THE WOLFPACK: If you have a voice, you have influence to spread. If you have relationships, you have hearts to guide. If you know young people, you have futures to mold. If you have privilege, you have power to share. If you have money, you have support to give. If you have a ballot, you have policy to shape. If you have pain, you have empathy to offer. If you have freedom, you have others to fight for. If you are alive, you are a leader.
• CALL TO THE WOLFPACK: Try. Fail. Feel it burn. Then transform Failure into your Fuel.
• CALL TO THE WOLFPACK: Her victory is your victory. Celebrate with her. Your victory is her victory. Point to her.
• CALL TO THE WOLFPACK: Believe in yourselves. Stand up and say: GIVE ME THE EFFING BALL. GIVE ME THE EFFING JOB. GIVE ME THE SAME PAY THAT THE GUY NEXT TO ME GETS. GIVE ME THE PROMOTION. GIVE ME THE MICROPHONE. GIVE ME THE OVAL OFFICE. GIVE ME THE RESPECT I DESERVE— AND GIVE IT TO MY WOLFPACK, TOO.
• CALL TO THE WOLFPACK: Claim your power, and bring along your full humanity. Clear the way for others to do the same. Because what our families, our companies, and the world needs is nothing more—and nothing less— than exactly who we are.
• CALL TO THE WOLFPACK: Life is not meant to be lived as a Lone Wolf. We all need a Pack.
Here is one very key lesson: Leadership is not a position to earn, it’s an inherent power to claim. Leadership is the blood that runs through your veins—it’s born in you. It’s not the privilege of a few, it is the right and responsibility of all. Leader is not a title that the world gives to you—it’s an offering that you give to the world.
And here are eight lessons and takeaways, from Abby directly, from her book — NEW RULES:
- Create your own path.
- Be grateful for what you have AND demand what you deserve.
- Lead now—from wherever you are.
- Failure means you’re finally IN the game.
- Be FOR each other.
- Believe in yourself. Demand the ball.
- Lead with humanity. Cultivate Leaders.
- You’re not alone. You’ve got your Pack.
Though this book is filled with substance, especially about working with others (you know: teams and teaming – wolfpacking), it is also a great motivational read. And we do need one of those occasionally; this one is a good one. I hope you will at least read her speech, and then maybe read the book. It will be good for you.
My synopsis, with my comprehensive, multi-page handout, along with the audio recording of my presentation delivered at the July First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas, is available now. Click here for this synopsis, and a number of other synopses of very good business books that I have recently presented. (Click here to access all of our synopses).
And, take a look at one of the greatest plays in the history of soccer. This is the pass from Megan Rapinoe to Abby Wambach from 2011. Users have voted Abby Wambach’s memorable equaliser at the death for the USA against Brazil at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011 as the best goal in the history of the Women’s World Cup.
Let’s think about reading books – and learning.
How do you decide that what you read is worth reading?
How do you pick the good books from the bad ones?
How do you learn something new – from someone that is reliable; trustworthy; right?
I was recently involved in a pretty disturbing conversation – disturbing to me. The subject was specific. (By the way, it was not a political discussion). The discussion was almost impossible to participate in. There were two “groups,” and each had their own starting point. One group did not believe that the source of information of the other group was a trustworthy source. Thus, actual conversation/dialogue was really difficult.
I face this dilemma when I select books to read, and then present, at the First Friday Book Synopsis.
I’ve been at this a while. For nearly 22 years; every month. For the first 20 years, I had a colleague, Karl Krayer, and we would each choose the books we would present. Two books, every month, for 20 years. Since he experienced health problems, I have been selecting, and presenting, two books each month (with a couple of month’s help from a guest presenter).
Of all the books I have presented – to use a baseball analogy – I have chosen some home runs (a few), a few triples, and a few doubles. I think I have gotten good enough at selecting books that I don’t choose anything less than a double.
Maybe I have presented a couple of strike outs. But not many…
And, only once, I chose not a strike out; but a cheater who should have been banned from the game, The book was unethical in its foundations, and I was embarrassed having read it. Yes, I stated, in my presentation, that I could not recommend the book at all, and I condemned the unethical proposals in the book.
(No, I will not identify it here).
Recently, I saw a tweet from a business leader that I deeply respect. In his tweet, he condemned an author and a book by that author. It was a book I liked, and learned from. So…a little soul-searching dilemma.
Frequently, I select books from the New York Times Best Sellers lists. Or books from articles on “books you should read this year.” (Google it – there are a lot of such articles). And, I rely on good interviews with authors that I hear, especially on our local excellent NPR program, Think, with Krys Boyd.
In other words, book selection is a very important, time-consuming task in my learning and my speaking.
And, there are times when I get into a book that I knew little about, and say to myself; pleasantly surprised – what a terrific book!
In my book selecting, I always try to remember Aristotle:
Ethos (the ethical appeal) – is the author genuinely credible; writing the truth, as it is known up to now. (further research can wreak havoc on what we know today…).
Logos (the logical appeal) – does the book make sense?
Pathos (the emotional appeal) – does the book touch my emotions? And, is the author appealing to my emotions in a good way; not in a manipulative or false way?
And, though not Aristotle, still from the ancient rhetoricians:
Mythos (the narrative appeal) – does the book make good use of stories? But, more than that, does the book’s story ring true to what I know of human experience?
But, here is what I know – I do not want to read, or believe, anything that I discover to be false. Certainly, not intentionally false. I want truthful authors, viewing the task of teaching readers through his/her books, with good intentions; with good will for the reader. They want us to learn something good and true and useful from their writing.
Those are just a few of my thoughts about learning. I hope you find them useful – maybe spurring you to think about your own reading, and learning.
“You can be unethical and still be legal that’s the way i live my life,.”
Mark Zuckerberg, quoted in “He Thinks We’re Going To Take A Swing At Him?”: Inside The Decades-Long Cage Match Between Mark Zuckerberg And The Winklevoss Twins — by Ben Mezrich, Vanity Fair, May, 2019
unethical: not conforming to a high moral standard : morally wrong.
We seem to have a crisis of ethics these days, in pretty much every arena and aspect of modern life. Banks charge people for services that they did not request (think Wells Fargo). People invent fake news stories; others share these stories, spread them, not taking the time to check on the truthfulness of the stories; or, not caring.
But, even within such an environment, the quote above from Mark Zuckerberg is jarring. So blatant. So…disappointing, So dangerous. So harmful. So wrong.
It’s pretty obvious what the options are;
Not Legal and not Ethical
Legal but not Ethical
Ethical but not Legal
Ethical and Legal
It’s been decades since I read the book Situation Ethics by Joseph Fletcher. My copy is buried in storage, and it is not available in the Kindle version. So, I can’t quote directly. But what I remember is this: that what is ethical can be determined by context, but doing the ethical thing is always motivated by love of the other person.
The answer is found in the fact that there are two types of laws: there are just laws, and there are unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “An unjust law is no law at all.” …Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine when a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law, or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas, an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality.
An obvious example, in addition to the one used by Dr. King re. segregation, would be a person who was hiding Jewish people from the Nazis. Such an act was against the law; yes, they would be breaking the law. But would they have been acting ethically? Yes.
Or…was Rosa Parks breaking the law when she refused to give up her seat on the bus in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955? Yes. Was she acting ethically? Yes.
In our modern circumstances, we should ask: is “legal” activity always ethical? The answer is no.
And Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged that. “You can be unethical and still legal” he said. And he stated that he would do the legal, even if he was not doing the ethical. “That’s the way I live my life.”
No thank you!, Mr. Zuckerberg.
Mark Zuckerberg needs to have a change of heart, and a deep discovery of some much better ethical foundations. “You can be unethical and still be legal that’s the way i live my life” is a philosophy of life that should be condemned, and utterly rejected. And he should be called out for it time and time again.
And, Facebook, Wells Fargo, and other companies who test the bounds of what they can get away with need to find some way to commit to the genuinely ethical. This would make our world better, don’t you think?
What about you? Do you aim for doing what is ethical? Is your moral compass solid, and reliable? If not, why don’t you?
Every failed presentation fails in one of two ways: the presentation had little or nothing worthwhile to say; or, even if the content was worthwhile, then it was delivered very, very poorly.
Would you like to deliver successful presentations? It is simple (not easy – just simple) – just have something really worthwhile and useful to say, and then say it very, very well.
Randy Mayeux, 2 Ways to Guarantee a Failed Presentation (click her to read the full article)
Come join us for our
Executive Public Speaking
Friday, August 23, 2019 – Click here to Register
Picture yourself up in front of a group to speak. Maybe a small group at work; maybe a much larger group, in a sales presentation; at a conference. Do you know how to fully prepare? Do you know how to deliver your message in a way that captures the audience fully; in a way that brings agreement with your message, and results in deeper trust in you as a speaker?
I can help.
On August 23, I will lead a fast-paced workshop on Executive Public Speaking. You will learn some basics, and beyond.
My graduate work was in Communication: Rhetoric and Public Address. I have taught Speech at the college level for nearly two decades. And I have taught this workshop within companies and organizations. The reason is simple:
Bad speakers make for inattentive people, and unproductive meetings and gatherings.
But good speakers help people pay much better attention to the speaker’s important message, to learn from the speaker, and then to better execute their next steps.
If it has been a while – maybe a long while – since you have taken a speech class, this could bring a valuable skill boost into your professional life.
Come join us. Click here to register.
(Note: bring a group of 5, or more, and you receive a substantial discount per person. Send me a direct e-mail to inquire about the group price).