26. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Brian, Business, NonFiction, Self Help

Happy at Work: 60 Simple Ways to Stay Engaged and Be Successful by Jim Donovan, 176 pages, read by Brian, on 03/24/2015

18342410Happy @ Work is a good but not great book.  Jim gives the reader good ways to be more productive, work better with others and of course, to be happy at work.  The suggestions are good but obvious, yes, I like to be reminded of what I strayed away from but I was looking for to get over the next hurdle.

 

20. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Business, Informational Book, NonFiction, Tammy · Tags: ,

What If?: Short Stories to Spark Diversity Dialogue by Steve L. Robbins, 182 pages, read by Tammy, on 03/09/2015

what if  Corporate speaker Steve L. Robbins using examples from his own life including his children as a minority to assist companies large and small to increase diversity in the workplace. His stories and follow-up questions can also help individuals to look at the world from a different perspective than they may have ever experienced.
What If? also presents specific ideas of what organizations can do to engage our global world, build core competencies in diversity and inclusion, and benefit from the best talent available – regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, race, or disability. Thought-provoking short essays to inspire a better workplace and perhaps to inspire the reader to be a better member of our increasingly global society.

17. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Business, Informational Book, Kira, NonFiction · Tags: ,

Future Perfect: The Case for Progress in a Networked Age by Steven Johnson, 272 pages, read by Kira, on 03/17/2015

fut perftI read Future Perfect because I was so taken with Steven Johnson’s paradigm-shifting book Everything Bad is Good for You, which made a compelling case for the internet actually making us smarter – contrary to popular knowledge.  This book is more nuanced.  Johnson argues for a peer-to-peer revolution, in both politics and economics.

He starts off comparing the French configuration of rail lines versus the Germans.  The French had a master-plan, where every rail line would follow a straight line, and every line would pass through the center of the world – that being Paris.  This is in contrast to the Germans rail lines, that were a hodge-podge of lines that followed the terrain, forming a lace pattern, with much duplication.  But during WWII, the German rails proved their superiority, as they were much faster at transporting soldiers to whichever front, compared to the French who faced the bottleneck of Paris. cartography,map,network,train,transportation-839c638d5f46b779eb80ae800beb4d61_hindex Johnson uses this metaphor of networks or peer-to-peer operations consistently outperforming top-down hierarchies.  Johnson then applies the model to problems the US faces in politics and economics.  Worthwhile to ponder this alternate model.

12. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Business, How To's, Informational Book, Inspirational, Marsha, NonFiction, Reviewer, Self Help · Tags: ,

Unthink: rediscover your creative genius by Erik Wahl, 223 pages, read by Marsha, on 12/12/2014

downloadThis innovative book teaches you how to rediscover the delightful curiosity you had as a child.  Wahl walks the reader through how we were when we were younger, how we are now, and how we can find our Picasso.  Picasso is an acronym Wahl uses to describe his methods for rediscovering creative genius.  Wahl gives examples of each step, as well as quotes and inspiration.  Wahl is not some professional psychologist.  He is someone who has walked this path to Picasso himself.  Wahl gives us very poignant questions to ask ourselves as we consider where we are in our current life and who we hope to become in the future.  This book deserves more than one reading in order to glean all of the information you can out of it.  I recommend this for anyone struggling with who they are and where they fit in at home or at work.  Great read!

download (1)This little book is filled with fantastic tips for would-be freelance writers.  Everything from how to interact with editors to what types of pieces editors look for is covered.  The book is short and to the point.  There is no fluff.  I highly recommend it to anyone who is even thinking about diving into the freelance world.  It is guaranteed to not be a waste of time!

 

02. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Business, Informational Book, Madeline, NonFiction

The People's Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age by Astra Taylor, 288 pages, read by Madeline, on 07/29/2014

From a cutting-edge cultural commentator, a bold and brilliant challenge to cherished notions of the Internet as the great leveler of our age

The Internet has been hailed as an unprecedented democratizing force, a place where all can be heard and everyone can participate equally. But how true is this claim? In a seminal dismantling of techno-utopian visions, “The People’s Platform” argues that for all that we “tweet” and “like” and “share,” the Internet in fact reflects and amplifies real-world inequities at least as much as it ameliorates them. Online, just as off-line, attention and influence largely accrue to those who already have plenty of both.

What we have seen so far, Astra Taylor says, has been not a revolution but a rearrangement. Although Silicon Valley tycoons have eclipsed Hollywood moguls, a handful of giants like Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook remain the gatekeepers. And the worst habits of the old media model–the pressure to seek easy celebrity, to be quick and sensational above all–have proliferated online, where “aggregating” the work of others is the surest way to attract eyeballs and ad revenue. When culture is “free,” creative work has diminishing value, and advertising fuels the system. The new order looks suspiciously like the old one.

We can do better, Taylor insists. The online world does offer a unique opportunity, but a democratic culture that supports diverse voices and work of lasting value will not spring up from technology alone. If we want the Internet to truly be a people’s platform, we will have to make it so.

27. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Business, Informational Book, NonFiction, Rachel, Science

Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier, 396 pages, read by Rachel, on 04/27/2014

THE DAZZLING NEW MASTERWORK FROM THE PROPHET OF SILICON VALLEY

Jaron Lanier is the bestselling author of You Are Not a Gadget, the father of virtual reality, and one of the most influential thinkers of our time. For decades, Lanier has drawn on his expertise and experience as a computer scientist, musician, and digital media pioneer to predict the revolutionary ways in which technology is transforming our culture.

Who Owns the Future? is a visionary reckoning with the effects network technologies have had on our economy. Lanier asserts that the rise of digital networks led our economy into recession and decimated the middle class. Now, as technology flattens more and more industries-from media to medicine to manufacturing-we are facing even greater challenges to employment and personal wealth.

But there is an alternative to allowing technology to own our future. In this ambitious and deeply humane book, Lanier charts the path toward a new information economy that will stabilize the middle class and allow it to grow. It is time for ordinary people to be rewarded for what they do and share on the web.

Insightful, original, and provocative, Who Owns the Future? is necessary reading for everyone who lives a part of their lives online.

11. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Business, Helen, NonFiction

Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best... and Learn from the Worst by Robert I. Sutton, 308 pages, read by Helen, on 02/28/2012

Now with a new chapter that focuses on what great bosses really do. Dr. Sutton reveals new insights that he’s learned since the writing of Good Boss, Bad Boss. Sutton adds revelatory thoughts about such legendary bosses as Ed Catmull, Steve Jobs, A.G. Lafley, and many more, and how you can implement their techniques.
If you are a boss who wants to do great work, what can you do about it?Good Boss, Bad Boss is devoted to answering that question. Stanford Professor Robert Sutton weaves together the best psychological and management research with compelling stories and cases to reveal the mindset and moves of the best (and worst) bosses. This book was inspired by the deluge of emails, research, phone calls, and conversations that Dr. Sutton experienced after publishing his blockbuster bestseller The No Asshole Rule. He realized that most of these stories and studies swirled around a central figure in every workplace: THE BOSS. These heart-breaking, inspiring, and sometimes funny stories taught Sutton that most bosses – and their followers – wanted a lot more than just a jerk-free workplace. They aspired to become (or work for) an all-around great boss, somebody with the skill and grit to inspire superior work, commitment, and dignity among their charges.
As Dr. Sutton digs into the nitty-gritty of what the best (and worst) bosses do, a theme runs throughout Good Boss, Bad Boss – which brings together the diverse lessons and is a hallmark of great bosses: They work doggedly to “stay in tune” with how their followers (and superiors, peers, and customers too) react to what they say and do. The best bosses are acutely aware that their success depends on having the self-awareness to control their moods and moves, to accurately interpret their impact on others, and to make adjustments on the fly that continuously spark effort, dignity, and pride among their people.

Now-You-See-It-Davidson-Cathy-Davidson’s book is about a mismatch of our education system and what people need in order to succeed in today’s world.  She argues that the 4th great Information Technology Revolution requires us to change our educational institutions as well as our workplaces.  One example she tackles is the use of multi-choice questions on tests, do they really make sense anymore, given the ease with which so much information is available at our finger-tips on the internet.

Our schools and educational system were designed for the last century, reflecting the values and needs of the Industrial Age in which they were created not for a world in which technology has reshaped the way we think and learn.  Therefore the emphasis on standardized tests of reading, writing, and arithmetic is a sentimental reaction a longing for the past.

She points to a magnet school in Durham NC, that is on the failing list, everyone is trying really hard, but with 30% of the students being non-native English speakers those standardized tests may flunk a school out of existence.

She makes the point that we ought to see people as differently abled, instead of disabled.  For example, there’s this company SonyaLista who trains certain people to check for computer-code mistakes, “Normals” are bad at this task, however, people with Autism-Spectrum, make superb checkers of computer-code mistakes.

One problem I had with her book is that she stretched her evidence to make her points.  For example, she points to the fact that computer games can help seniors with visual-spatial field perception.  While this is true, the very best thing you can do to help brain functioning at any age, bnow you see itut particularly at older ages, is to perform physical exercise.  She fails to mention this fact.

21. June 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Business, NonFiction, Tammy · Tags:

Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin, 145 pages, read by Tammy, on 06/02/2012

I’ll admit it I picked this book up because of the purple Holstein pattern on the book and then checked it out for the title.

It’s an interesting read for those concerned with business, marketing and reaching new customers. I think it could give you some good ideas for a business or for a non-profit and even a library. I think it’s main message is we can’t just keep doing everything the same and still stay vital and important to our community and customer base. We need to keep striving to improve, be memorable and provide excellent service.