The Secret Science of Brilliant Leadership By Alan Watkins Publisher: Kogan Page
Why do people underperform? Whether on the sporting field or in business, people fail to reach their potential. Watkins unlocks the key to why this occurs.
He discusses enlightened leadership, allows a leader to tap into his potential through the aligning of their physiology, emotions, feelings, thoughts, behaviours and relationships.
The book looks at finding the balance with time management and energy management. He encourages not more time spent on activities, but the investing of my energy into our teams and organisations.
Coherence outlines how to be healthier, happier, and smarter, through finding balance. This in turns leads to being successful and influential in life and business.
The book is very detailed and has research to support his arguments. This means that it is not an easy read, and will take some effort to implement Watkins ideas.
How to Transform and Lead in the Age of Creativity, Innovation, and Sustainability
By Faisal Hoque, Drake Baer
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional
Everything Connects examines changing the behaviour of leaders, through finding holistic solutions to problems in leader’s lives and in the organisations they work in. It does use one particular strategy, rather draws on different disciplines of organisational theory, management theory, neuroscience, psychology, spirituality and self-improvement, believing that everything it connected, thus a multi discipline approach is required.
It is written in three parts. Firstly discovering when, who, and how you are, thus allowing us to gain a better understanding of ourselves. Second part examines the personal experiences, cultures while applying it to innovations and leading. The final part looks at values, decisions and finding ideas.
Drake and Faisal have combined their understanding of business and psychology for this book.
Everything Connects contains research to support their various ideas and theories, and allow the modern businessperson to find balance amongst ideas on innovation and sustainability, leadership and motivation.
While it is an interesting read, I felt they have not considered all the elements that contribute to the modern leader, and their slant to spirituality is biases, or perhaps just disagrees with mine. Not that I am disconnecting spirituality as a contributing factor, just their particular brand.
Overall, there are elements and ideas that the modern leader will take from this book, to place into action in their own lives.
Big Data Lessons for Navigating the Skills Gap and Building a Competitive Workforce
Matt Ferguson, Lorin Hitt, Prasanna Tambe
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional
The Talent Equation examines the relationship between personnel and big data. In particular utilising data to recruit, train and retain employees.
Companies using big data to analysis consumers has been occurring for years, and large companies particularly are good at collecting and analysising this data. This book looks at how to apply this same concept to human resources.
The Talent Equation encourages companies to focus data analysis to enable them to find, train and retain the right people, in spite of potential skills shortages, resources limitations, and other recruitment challenges.
There will be two readers of this book. Firstly the Human Resources Managers of companies, wanting to improve their recruitment and personnel departments, as well as reducing costs from frequent hiring processes. They will learn how to analysis the data provided from job seekers, and the available data in the marketplace, as well as develop big data records with analysis for existing employees.
The second to benefit of this book will be job seekers, who will gain insight in how organisations are recruiting and using data.
The book is full of data, reports and examples, and will take a HR department a while to break down into manageable action plans. Once done though it will place them ahead of their competitors.
The Secret to Hot Startups, Smart Investing, Savvy Marketing, and Fast Innovation
By Joel Gurin
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional
Having read several books (none any good) on big data, I was hesitant when this one arrived. I must admit I was surprised, and I actually learnt something reading the book – always a good thing!
There is a surplus of data available to business from their own collection methods. Open data is the governmental data that is available to all, generally free of charge. Most governments have established web pages to access this data source to improve their business prospects.
While this is an American book, I was surprised that the Australian government had a similar database available. (www.data.gov.au).
As more data becomes available each day, this book becomes an important tool for business to access data to improve their business plans, target marketing strategies, and having access to the latest trends as they emerge.
Open data is public, transparent and serves a purpose that anyone can access.
Talk is (Not!) Cheap: The Art of Conversation Leadership
By Jim McCann
I must admit the title caught my eye, and I wanted to read it to improve my own conversation leadership style. There is some good, and some not so good in the book.
Firstly the good. It is a quick and easy read, with a few gems to find that will improve your conversation skills. It would be ideal for a sales manager to pass onto his sales team to read, as they would find some gems in relating to customers.
It does provide a common sense guide of home truths to apply to any conversation. It has ten principles or tips, with the best being common sense "stop talking and start conversing. Start listening to each other. Start asking questions to get more information."
The not so good, is that it not a leadership guide or manual to improve leadership conversation. It is more a testimony of Jim McCann’s business success. It is a blatant promotion of his company.
The book was disappointing in that it didn’t deliver what the cover promised. As for the ten principles, noting you couldn’t get from google, or talking with your grandfather.
By Jeremey Donovan
Published by McGraw-Hill Professional
Not all of us will have the opportunity to make a TED Talk, but most of us will need to speak publicly at some point in our lives. This book builds a platform for everyone to develop and present a speech.
The book includes more than 100 tips, which are explained with examples. The book is divided into four parts: Content, Delivery, Design and Journey as a Public Speaker. Within each of these parts are chapters covering a multitude of topics.
The first part is establishing your Content, with topics including: selecting, organising, crafting and concluding your talk. There are helpful hints along the way. I found the part of transitioning between parts of a talk particularly helpful.
The second part contains vital information around the Delivery. Projecting emotions, adding humour, and movement including moving around the stage and non-verbals.
The third part is around the extras that make a difference. Using slides and video to inspire, Using props and a lectern, and dressing for success.
The final part is around the journey of a public speaker. This contains information to inspire you to be selected to give a TED Talk, as well as promoting your TED video.
Jeremey Donovan is the founder and lead organizer of TEDxMillRiver that focused on revolutionary innovation. Jeremey is Group Vice President of Marketing at Gartner Inc., the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company with $1.6 billion in annual revenue.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who does any form of public speaking.
Thanks to Netgalley & McGraw-Hill Professional for my copy. This review can also be found on my blog,
Managing Projects (20-Minute Manager Series)
Published by Harvard Business Review Press
This concise book cover the basics of managing a project for those on the run.
It is a very practical book covering Drawing up a realistic schedule and project plan; Monitoring key tasks and benchmarks; Communicating with stakeholders; and Bringing the project to a close.
This book is part of the popular Harvard Business Review’s 20 minute manager series. These books contain quick and helpful advice on management topics.
Recommended for managers that need quick tips as they are handed their next project.
Thomas H. Davenport
Published by Harvard Business Review Press
What is Big Data? This book explains what Big data is and how it is different from conventional data, and why it is important for business.
In understandable terms, Davenport describes Big Data as unstructured data that flows continuously. Technology and the internet provide this type of data, for businesses to process and analyse, often on the run.
The book goes on to explain how to start and develop a strategy to get on board, and integrate it into the business. This needs to be more practical than it is.
A worthwhile read and one for those who want to understand more about big data, but not for those wanting a book that will allow them to develop an action plan.
Thanks to Netgalley & Harvard Business Review Press for my copy. This review can also be found on my blog, Books-Reviewed.
by Stuart Crainer, Des Dearlove
Thinkers 50 titles have been design to review and provide the latest thinking on topics including leadership, management and strategy planning. This title on leadership does just that, reviews the current thinking and best practices, summarizing it with examples, in an easy to read format.
While it is not the ”treasure trove of leadership wisdom” from the top minds in business that they claim, it is a good summary of the latest concepts and theories.
The book addresses common themes around leaders, including their characteristic, born or nurtured, and levels of leadership. It draws the conclusion that no-one. model fits all, and that context plays a vital role in the success or failure of an organization key leader.
Thee authors also address the differences in generational issues and styles. With a reminder of the importance of leaders being authentic in their roles and lives.
Organizational success through leadership reflects heavily on historical leaders while trying to shape future leaders and leadership trends. This is not achieved as well as the authors probably hoped. Having said that, there are some lessons to be learnt between the covers.
By John Walsh
The book promises to give you easy steps to Presenting an Unforgettable Story, thus learning the Art of Storytelling. Many of us would love to hold the attention of a crowd by telling stories, yet feel under equipped to do so.
John Walsh’s book reveals some of the secrets in being a great storyteller. It is an easy to read story, rather than a text book or manual.
There are three parts to this book. The first section, the longest, presents the steps necessary to craft a captivating story. He breaks the art of crafting a story into fourteen steps. From story selection, to finding a memory hook, to planning the end of the story, the author shares ways to plan out a story.
The second section outlines seven tools that are needed to present a captivating story. Walsh writes from his own experiences and mistakes. He covers practical things like gestures, voice, facial expressions, and nervousness.
The final section of the book offers some practical examples and applications on retelling Bible stories. The author argues that churches ought to be telling more stories instead of preaching more sermons.
While the book is written for a Christian audience, it holds keys that any public speaker, or anyone telling stories in public can find useful. It enables the speaker to make a story engaging, with strategies on using gestures and modifying the story to take in factors about the audience. For example men think in pictures and women in words.
I recommend this book for anyone in public speaking or trying to get into public speaking.
Everyone a Leader
The concepts behind the book, of taking responsibility, of value adding to the worth of projects, is similar across disciplines. Colceugh uses his experience and knowledge to establish a framework for those young in the industry to apply to their framework.
It suggests that leadership is a trait that each individual can apply to their situation. That this leadership element can be fostered and developed as individuals develop from engineers to leader-engineers.
Colceugh utilises his experiences, particularly at DuPont, to give practical applications to the theories and models he puts forward.
David Colcleugh retired as Chairman, President, and CEO of DuPont Canada in 2003 after a 39-year career with the company. He currently teaches Leadership Development in the Faculty of Applied Sciences and Engineering at the University of Toronto.
I would suggest this book for student engineers, those young in their careers, and those that are having difficulty coping with the changing world, particularly as business and technology continue to invade the world of engineering.
By Brandon Cox
While there are a lot of books available about ministry and a lot about technology, Brandon Cox’s book has a twist, combining the two, in a well written book.
Brandon writes from experience having adopted modern technology to connect with the world and build relationships. He neglects none of the gospel message, but presents utilising the technology people use everyday.
It is written easy enough that you can read it in a single setting, but a second read, in depth reveals just what many churches and leaders are missing out on.
This is a very practical book, contains short chapters examining different aspects of social media, as well as the how to of social media. It allows the church pastor to reconnect with their own flock easier, and to reach further into the community.
I like the depth of thought, insight and theology of mission and leadership, he contains in the book. Particularly I admire the constant call back to relationships, and the call to examine motives behind using social media.
Church leaders will easily be able to bravely step into social media, regardless of where they are at. There is something for all in ministry, in how they approach social media and connect to people in the world.
Rick Warren, well known pastor of Saddleback Church has written the foreword for the book. He encourages leaders to ride the social media wave to spread the Gospel farther and faster than ever before.
Brandon Cox in his book encourages church leaders to utilise the digital world in spreading the endless message of the Gospel. It is easy to read, and will enable even the most reluctant minister to step forward into a brave new world, carrying the message they treasure, to a new generation.
A must read for all pastors and church leaders.
Heath Henwood consults and speaks on Leadership, Strategic Planning and Management techniques. He has a Masters in Leadership, and is a Doctorial Candidate focusing on Leadership Development Strategies. He has extensive experience in private business and serves on several boards.