The business world has increasingly become a world of individuals. Corporate teams that once banded together to push forward are now like mercenary gangs… Corporate culture has often become little more than a sea of managerial nomads, loyal to no one and motivated overwhelmingly by salary, convenience, and the size of the corporate gym…
This has been a disaster for managers and leaders who want to create values and get results. It’s difficult to lead workers who have been abandoned to senior management. It’s tough to make unpopular choices when senior management won’t back you up. It’s hard to stay on course when subordinates can go around you.
Enough… It’s time to run your organization like a team again, and in a manner that is principally designed to produce results.
Jeff Cannon, and Lieutenant Commander Jon Cannon: Leadership Lessons of the U.S. Navy SEALS : Battle-Tested Strategies for Creating Successful Organizations and Inspiring Extraordinary Results
You are invited…
As we ponder the remarkable accomplishment of Navy SEAL Team 6, we will host a special Bonus Program Book Synopsis, focusing on the book Leadership Lessons of the U.S. Navy SEALS : Battle-Tested Strategies for Creating Successful Organizations and Inspiring Extraordinary Results by Jeff Cannon and Lieutenant Commander Jon Cannon.
I presented my synopsis of this book at the special request of a client company, and it is both a good book, and worth a new look after the recent accomplishment of this remarkable group of professionals in Pakistan.
I will begin will begin with a few reflections from the book The Looming Tower: Al-Queda and The Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright (Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, 2007), and then present the full synopsis of the Navy SEALs book.
Proceeds will be donated to Fisher House (Helping Military Families). Fisher House is rated 4 stars by Charity Navigator, their highest rating..
Date: May 23
Time: 7:30 am (we will begin serving breakfast at 7:00 am)
Place: Park City Club, in the Park Cities/Dallas (near the corner of Northwest Highway and the Tollway)
Please let us know if you plan to attend. We will not offer on-line registration. Either send me a direct e-mail (click here to send me that e-mail), or call Karl Krayer at 972-601-1537 to reserve your spot. You can pay at the door with either check, cash, or credit or debit card.
I have oft quoted, on this blog, and in countless presentations, from The Looming Tower: Al-Queda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright (winner of the Pulitzer Prize, 2007). And Inside the Kingdom by Carmen Bin Laden.
Here is s link to a reading list, all books that were highlighted on PBS, with links to interviews with the authors: A Reading List for the Post-9/11 Era, posted by Molly Finnegan , May 3, 2011. From the intro:
The NewsHour has featured conversations with many writers over the past decade on books that address, directly and indirectly, how 9/11, bin Laden and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have influenced how we live today. After the jump, find a sampling of some of these featured titles with links to the full conversations.
The list is a good one, and, yes, it includes The Looming Tower. Here is the quote lifted from the full interview (link on the page) with Wright on the book list page:
From the conversation:
“Humiliation is one of the most common words in bin Laden’s vocabulary. Certainly there have been many Muslim men who have been physically humiliated, especially Arabs and Egyptians in those prisons. For instance, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the number two guy in al-Qaida, experienced three years of torture in Egyptian prisons, as was true of many people who are in al-Qaida today. I think that accounts for the appetite for bloodshed that’s so characteristic of al-Qaida and so unusual in many respects for a terrorist movement, which is normally just interested in theater….When he uses that term, it resonates with many Muslims who feel that Islam has been in retreat for hundreds of years and been displaced from his proper place in the world.”
Shortly after it came out, I read the book The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright. He won the Pulitzer Prize for this book (for General Nonfiction – 2007).
As the Egypt situation unfolds, this might be a good book to put in your reading stack. We hear a lot about the Muslim Brotherhood. Here is a little background from the book about Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood (there is much more in the book).
The year was 1949. Sayyid Qutb, (who later had an enormous influence on Osama bin Laden), was in Washington D.C. studying English. He had his tonsils removed at the George Washington University hospital, where he has deeply offended by the conversations, and the “look,” of an American nurse.
“News came of the assassination of Hasan al-Banna, the Supreme Guide for the Society of the Muslim Brothers, on February 12, in Cairo. “Today, the enemy of Christianity in the East was killed,” he says the doctors told him. “Today, Hasan al-Banna was murdered…”
Banna’s voice was stilled just as Qutb’s book Social Justice in Islam was being published – the book that would make his reputation as an important Islamic thinker…
Shortly after, Qutb was offered a fee of ten thousand dollars for the rights to translate his new book into English, “a fantastic sum for such an obscure book.” Qutb refused. He later speculated that James Heyworth-Dunne (the man who offered the fee) was attempting to recruit him to the CIA. “I decided to enter the Brotherhood even before I left the house.”
The book is filled with insight into the thinking of the Muslim Brotherhood (“It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its law in all nations, and to extend its power to the entire planet,” wrote Hasan al-Banna).
And the book is filled with details about the treatment of its followers in Egyptian prisons.
In 1955, some of the imprisoned Brothers staged a strike and refused to leave their cells. They were gunned down. Twenty-three members were killed and forty-six injured. Qutb was in the prison hospital when the wounded men were brought in. Shaken and terrified, Qutb wondered how fellow Muslims could treat each other in such a way.
In this week of protest erupting into violence in Egypt, it might help to read some background. As Lawrence Wright captured, everything is connected, and goes back quite a ways.
And, by the way, learning about Sayyid Qutb is a good/important addition to your learning plan.
• (for a quick read about Qutb, read this article from American Public Media. Scroll down into the article).
So, here’s the request that came in an e-mail:
We are going on a cruise in September and I want to load my Kindle with three books. What are the three best books you would recommend for my reading? The request came from a very sharp, keen-minded, successful, independent business consultant. He attends one of our book synopsis events. This is my attempt to answer his question.
I am tempted to simply list some of my all time favorite reads (not necessarily the best books I’ve ever read, although they are close — but definitely books that I am very glad I have read), like: The Doorbell Rang, one of my favorite Nero Wolfe mysteries, by Rex Stout; and The Powers That Be and The Reckoning by the truly great David Halberstam; and Defining a Nation, edited by the same Halberstam.
And then there is this: what are the business books from the last few years (and even a little longer ago) that should be on your “I’ve definitely read that book” list? I would certainly include Good to Great by Jim Collins; something Gladwell (it’s tough to choose — probably Outliers); Servant Leadership by Robert Greenleaf and The Leadership Engine by Noel Tichy; almost anything, but definitely at least one thing, by Peter Drucker. Add to this The Art of Innovation by Tom Kelley, and a major personal favorite, The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp.
But – I still have not answered the question. If I had but three books to load on my Kindle for a September cruise, what titles would I choose? Here’s a list of five; you will have to narrow it down to the three that most interest you.
Choice #1: Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond. Diamond, a Pulitzer Prize winner with his earlier book Guns, Germs, and Steel, has written a tour de force in Collapse, sweeping us through the societies that collapsed, and providing warnings regarding the decisions societies make. An important book!
Choice #2: Inside the Kingdom: My Life in Saudi Arabia by Carmen Bin Laden, or, The Looming Tower: Al-Queda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright. Of course, the Wright book is the heftier of the two; it won the Pulitzer, and provides an amazing education about the rise of Al-Queda, what went into their thinking, and especially their animosity toward the West. But there is a personal tone and a very personal take on life in the strict Muslim world of Saudi Arabia in Carmen Bin Laden’s book — the former wife of Yeslam, one of the brothers of Osama Bin Laden. It is a captivating read, and noticeably shorter than The Looming Tower. (You can tell, from this response, that I think we ought to seek to understand this “other” culture that is so foreign to our own).
Choice #3: OK, which two business books to put on the list? Not necessarily which books to read for enjoyment, but which books provide the most important and useful information? I list two choices. I would put The Other 90%: How to Unlock Your Vast Untapped Potential for Leadership and Life by Robert Cooper, because everyone would benefit from reading an occasional “let’s aim high, and take things higher” book. Unfortunately,this book is not available for the Kindle. (Yes, I checked on all the others). So, for this category of business book, I recommend The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz. (I haven’t yet read the new Schwartz book, The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working: The Four Forgotten Needs That Energize Great Performance, which could be a better choice). And, for the other business book, I would have to go with The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande, just because I think it deals with the complexity of this age and provides really valuable suggestions. (And, it gives every patient going in to surgery an important question to ask his or her surgeon: “do you use a checklist?”).
And you will notice that there are no novels on my list. I read about a novel a decade (except for my relatively frequent re-reading of the Nero Wolfe mysteries). But I have actually bought a novel – in the past week. It is: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. I might actually read it – one of these days soon.
Two personal footnotes:
#1 – thanks, Tom, for providing a great idea for a blog post. I apologize for answering you in this fashion.
#2 — And, it would be interesting to have Bob Morris give his list of “only three” in response to this request? I’m pretty sure he would have different titles – all absolutely worth the investment of a Kindle purchase and a few hours of reading. So many books… so little time!
update: I definitely should have put The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis into the mix — as the book I would recommend to help you understand the financial meltdown of the last couple of years. So now I am up to six to choose from, to then narrow down to three. Sorry about that.