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One Second Ahead: Enhance Your Performance at Work with Mindfulness
One Second Ahead: Enhance Your Performance at Work with Mindfulness
by Rasmus Hougaard
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 33.03
17 used & new from CDN$ 33.03

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How and why being constantly mindful can help accelerate personal growth and professional development, Nov. 3 2015
With Jacqueline Carter and Gillian Coutts, Rasmus Hougaard introduces a thought-provoking concept, PAID, an acronym for Pressure, Always on Information Overload, and Distracted. This is a harsh but subtle reality as most of us struggle to cope with severe stress, whatever the nature and extent of our workplace environment may be. Are we doomed to remain under such stress, relentless distractions, and an ever-increasing abundance of information often characterized as a tsunami or blizzard?

"Thankfully, the answer is no. It is actually possible to train the brain to respond differently to today's constant interruptions through the practice of mindfulness. Simply put, at its introductory level, mindfulness means trained attention. Based on thousands of practice, mindfulness techniques enable people to manage their attention, improve their awareness, and sharpen their focus and clarity."

In essence, here's the challenge and (yes) the opportunity: bridge mindfulness and every day tasks at work. Whatever the tasks, there is a process to their completion. This is what Mihály Csíkszentmihályi has in mind when explaining what he calls "flow," a state in which one is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does. Athletes call it "the zone." Tiger Woods sinks every putt, Michael Jordan makes every shot, Nadia Elena Com'neci is awarded a score of "10" on every gymnastic exercise in Olympic competition. According to Csikszentmihalyi, flow is completely focused motivation. It is a single-minded immersion and represents perhaps the ultimate experience in harnessing the emotions in the service of performing and learning.

However, experiencing flow or being in a zone does not last forever whereas what Hougaard is talking about can be sustained. Mindfulness is highly developed awareness. He introduces 16 techniques, eight mental strategies, and several foundational practices that will guide and inform as well as nourish that development. I view the mind as being what the brain does so I think of mindfulness as a muscle that requires constant and rigorous exercise.

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me in Part I, also listed to suggest the scope of Hougaard's coverage:

o Welcome to the Attention Economy (Pages 6-9)
o The Well-Trained Mind (9-12)
o The Foundation of Mindfulness, and, Two Rules of Mental Effectiveness (12-15)
o Seven Guidelines to Overcoming E-mail Addiction (19-26)
o Mindful Meetings (26-31)
o Action Addiction (41-46)
o Mindful Planning in the Present (47-49)
o Empathy and External Awareness (56-58)
o Two Sides to Effective communication (58-61)
o What Stops Us from Thinking Creatively? (63-65)
o Activating the Subconscious, and, Creativity in the Matrix (65-69)
o Understanding Resistance, and, Embracing Resistance (72-74)
o Optimizing the Change Management Process (74-76)
o Four Mindful Ways to Conserve Mental Energy (81)
o Three "Simple" Guidelines to Sleeping Better (86-89)
o Eating and Energy (93-97)
o Mindful Performance Breaks (103-105)
o The "How" of Mindful Commuting (108-109)
o Maintaining Emotional Balance (113-115)
o Understanding Work-Life Imbalance, and, Managing Imbalance (117-120)
o Work-Life Balance Strategies (121-122)

As I re-read this book prior to getting to work on this brief commentary, I was again reminded of how important it is to be mindful about mindfulness. The process of development to which I referred earlier must be taken seriously. In fact, mindfulness is itself an on-going process, not a destination. Hence the importance of the 16 techniques, eight mental strategies, and several foundational practices that will guide and inform as well as nourish the development of a source of joy and a sense of purpose as well as serenity and even fulfillment.

This is what Rasmus Hougaard has in mind when sharing these concluding thoughts: 'Mindfulness is within you ' if only you invite it. And if on your mindfulness journey, you have a story ton share, please let me know. Perhaps your story, like many in this book, will serve to inspire and motivate others on their mindfulness journey." He wishes each reader "all the best,' as do I.

The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge
The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge
by Matt Ridley
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 22.56
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why 'evolution is far more common, and far more influential, than most people realize' Matt Ridley, Oct. 30 2015
I agreed with Ridley's comment previously quoted and regret that so many misconceptions remain concerning Charles Darwin's General Theory of Evolution is'and isn't. If evolution is a process, who can say with certainty that a divinity did or did not create it? Over centuries, the concept of creationism has evolved. In fact, all concepts evolve including articles of faith embraced by each of the world's largest religions. Moreover, the process of natural selection doers not preclude faith in a divinity. I am among those who believe it confirms such faith.

According to Ridley, 'evolution is happening all around us. It is the best way of understanding how the human world changes, as well as the natural world. Change in human instructions, artifacts and habits is incremental, inexorable, and inevitable. It follows a narrative, going from one stage to the next; it creeps rather than jumps; it has its own spontaneous momentum, rather than being driven from ouytsi8de; it has no goal or end in mind; and it largely happens by trial and error -- a version of natural selection."

Ridley then adds: "This truth continues to elude most intellectuals on the left as well as on the right, who remain in effect 'creationists.' The obsession with which those on the right resist Charles Darwin's insight -- that the complexity of nature does not imply a designer -- matches the obsession with which those on the left resist Adam Smith's insight -- that the complexity of society does not imply a planner. In the pages that follow, I shall take on this creationism in all its forms." And indeed he does.

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Ridley's coverage in the first six of 16 chapters:

o The Lucretian heresy (Pages 10-11)
o The puddle that fits its pothole, and, Thinking for ourselves (18-20)
o How morality emerges (25-27)
o Better angels (28-33)
o The evolution of law (33-36)
o The evolution of Darwin's ideas (37-39)
o Hume's swerve (39-42)
o Darwin on the eye (42-45)
o Astronomical improbability? (46-48)
o Doubting Darwin still (49-52)
o The lure of Lamarck (55-57)
o Culture-driven genetic evolution (57-58)
o All crane and no skyhook (62-64)
o On whose behalf? (65-68)
o Red Queen races (72-75)
o The evolution of language (79-82)
o The human revolution was actually an evolution (82-85)
o The evolution of cities (91-93)
o The evolution of institutions (94-95)

Whenever I encounter a staunch advocate of creationism, I am again reminded of a press conference in 1925 when the newly elected governor of Texas. Miriam Amanda Wallace ("Ma") Ferguson, was asked for her opinion about bilingual education. "If English is good enough for Jesus Christ, it's good enough for me." Apparently there are still people out and about who, when referring to the King James version of the Bible to support their faith in creationism, believe that Jesus spoke Elizabethan English.

I agree with Ridley that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection as outlined in 1859 should really be called the "special theory" of evolution to differentiate it from his "general theory." Why? Matt Ridley agrees with Richard Webb that "the flywheel of history is incremental change through trial and error, with innovation driven by recombination, and that this pertains in far more kinds of things than merely those that have genes. This is also the main way that change comes about" in all other areas of human initiative. "For far too long we have underestimated the power of spontaneous, organic and constructive change from above. Embrace the general theory of evolution. Admit that everything evolves."

Amen.

The Brain: The Story of You
The Brain: The Story of You
by David Eagleman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 23.79
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How and why our lives shape our brains and our brains shape our lives, Oct. 27 2015
Those of us who watched the six-part PBS series based on this companion book are especially grateful to have it available so that we can continue to increase our understanding of what the human brain is and does'as well as of what it can do if properly nourished. With all due respect to the value of space exploration, it is also important to explore -- with David Eagleman's assistance --the "inner cosmos" where we learn "how we decide, how we perceive reality, who we are, how our lives are steered, why we need other people, and where we're headed as a species that's just beginning to grab its own reins."

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me in Chapters 1-4, also listed to suggest the scope of Eagleman's coverage:

o Livewiring (Page 7)
o Plasticity in adulthood (16-19)
o The fallibility of memory (24-26)
o I am sentient (30-33)
o The illusion of reality, and, Your experience of reality (37-40)
o Seeing requires more than eyes (43-44)
o Synchronizing the senses (47-49)
o Seeing our expectations (53-55)
o Believing what our brains tell us (60-61)
o Timewarp (61-66)
o Consciousness, and, The unconscious brain in action (69-76)
o Running on autopilot (81-84)
o The deep caverns of the unconscious (85-90)
o The feeling of free will (94-97)
o The sound of a decision (101-103)
o The brain is a machine built from conflict (104-110)
o States of the body help you decide (110-114)
o Traveling to the future (114-118)
o The power of now (118-120)
o Overcoming the power of now: the Ulysses contract 120-121)
o The invisible mechanisms of decision making (121-124)
o Decisions and society (124-129)

I want to praise the production values of this volume. They are outstanding. Most of the images are from the PBS series -- "The Brain with David Eagleman" -- and supplement the lively and eloquent narrative. The generously annotated "Endnotes" are also enlightening as is the "Glossary." Credit Blink Entertainment for much of the artwork. This is a visually stunning volume in which Eagleman provides an abundance of information, insights, and counsel with regard to what the brain is and does. (A case can be made that the mind is what the brain does. I am unqualified to agree or disagree.) Key concepts are illustrated (with photographs or reproductions) to the extent that scientific accuracy allows and a mini-commentary accompanies most of them.

Here is a brief excerpt from David Eagleman's concluding remarks: 'In the coming years we will discover more about the human brain than we can describe with our current theories and frameworks. At the moment we're surrounded by mysteries: many that we recognize and many we haven't yet registered. As a field, we have vast uncharted waters ahead of us. As always in science, the important thing is to run the experiments and assess the results. Mother Nature will then tell which approaches are blind alleys, and which move us further down the road of understanding the blueprints of our own mind.

The last time I checked, Amazon offers 112,150 books that discuss the human brain. Over the last two decades, I have probably read about 35-40 and reviewed many of them. Duly acknowledging that I am a tourist in the field of neuroscience, I know of no other book that offers more and better information than does this one [begin italics] in layman's terms [end italics], with its value enhanced even more by the aforementioned illustrations. This is a stunning achievement. Bravo!

The Elephant in the Boardroom: How Leaders Use and Manage Conflict to Reach Greater Levels of Success
The Elephant in the Boardroom: How Leaders Use and Manage Conflict to Reach Greater Levels of Success
by Edgar Papke
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 18.95
22 used & new from CDN$ 12.45

5.0 out of 5 stars How and why great leaders embrace conflict as an opportunity rather than view it as a peril, Oct. 27 2015
In a previously published book, True Alignment: Linking Company Culture with Customer Needs for Extraordinary Results, Edgar Papke offers a measurable and observable approach to achieving and then sustaining alignment of customer needs with an organization's leadership, culture, and brand intention. This is indeed a major challenge to business leaders.

Papke agrees: "To confront this challenge, leaders need a systemic framework for understanding, assessing, and creating alignment. They and their teams and organizations require an approach that cuts through the complexity and eliminates the noise from multiple priorities, numerous initiatives, and the confusion of choices and options; an approach that provides a clear and simple roadmap to success." I agree with all that except the word "simple." If the process really were simple, there would be no need for this book, or for any of the other 3,623 books on business alignment that Amazon now offers for sale.

Contrary to what some people may think, conflict is not necessarily undesirable. Throughout history, great leaders have created situations in which conflict in the form of principled dissent is needed to find the right solution to an especially serious problem, to find the right answer to an especially important question. This is probably what Papke has in mind in The Elephant in the Room when observing, "Regardless of which approach to leadership you may subscribe to, the primary challenge to becoming a great leader is to confront and constructively manage the conflict that is at the heart of how our institutions, organizations, and teams function; conflict that is the result of the innate desire of human beings to compete and fulfill our wants and needs, and that reveals differing views, values, beliefs, and ideas; conflict that also too easily manifests into dysfunctional, unproductive, and destructive behavior" when there is an absence of effective leadership to prevent that behavior.

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me in Chapters 1-10, also listed to suggest the scope of Papke's coverage:

o Creating Change (Pages 29-31)
o Confronting Conflict (31-34)
o Stepping Into Reality (36-37)
o Is It Always About Winning? (49-52)
o The Source of Innovation and Creativity (52-54)
o The Highest Level of Responsibility (57-60)
o Dysfunctions That Are Common "Elephants" (65-69)
o Linking Conflict to Innovation (74-77)
o Cultures Follow Leaders (77-81)
o Every Culture Has Its Way (84-87)
o The Competitive Advantage of Listening (88-90)
o The Confidence to Lead (98-100)
o Self-Invention (107-114)
o The Ultimate Skill (121-122)
o The Four Beliefs (122-126)
o The Power of Choice (126-127)

Here are Papke's concluding remarks and they speak for me as well: "The world is yearning for greater trust in its leaders. From top to bottom, and all across our organizations, communities, and businesses, there is a hunger for leaders with integrity and courage. I hope that through my work you will become more intimate with your unique relationship to conflict and how to build the trust that others look for. By becoming more intimate with your relationship to conflict and by developing the capabilities to more effectively and constructively manage life's conflicts, I believe you will succeed in learning how to be a leader and will accomplish the fulfillment you deserve. Rather than finding yourself in the role of the elephant, you will become the truly great leader you intend to be."

The value of the material, insights, and counsel that Edgar Papke provides is incalculable. The key to resolving a conflict is to approach it as an opportunity rather than as a peril. Those who read this book will be much better prepared to do that when resolving conflicts, forging a consensus, and alleviating tensions more quickly and more thoroughly than they otherwise could.

All organizations need effective leadership at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise. They are stewards and viewed as authentic, guided by what Jim O'Toole characterizes as a "moral compass" and by what Bill George characterizes as their "True North." They see themselves as being what Robert Greenleaf calls servant leaders. It is no coincidence that most of the companies annually ranked among those that are most highly admired and best to work for are also annually ranked among those that are most profitable and have the greatest cap value in their industry. They have developed such leadership because they know that, with all due respect to vision, presence, and emotional intelligence, they also need leaders whose skills and temperament enable them to leverage conflict whenever and wherever it occurs.

The Optimistic Workplace: Creating an Environment That Energizes Everyone
The Optimistic Workplace: Creating an Environment That Energizes Everyone
by Shawn Murphy
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 23.81
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5.0 out of 5 stars How and why optimism energizes a workplace culture so that personal growth and professional development can thrive, Oct. 27 2015
Long ago, Henry Ford suggested, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re probably right.” With all due respect to a positive attitude, however, the fact remains we all need to renew our mental, physical, and emotional energy and that is especially true in today’s highly competitive and increasingly more stressful business world.

I was again reminded of that the other day when I parked in an underground garage of the NorthPark mall near my home and noticed about a dozen Tesla sedans nearby, lined up and plugged into the wall. They were being recharged. How wonderful it would be if people could also be recharged by their workplace environment. Shawn Murphy believes that is possible. As the title of his book suggests, he wrote it to share what he has learned about how to create "an environment that energizes everyone." Those who work there would indeed be optimistic about who they are, what they do, why they do it, how they could do it better, the results their efforts produce, and -- perhaps most important of all -- they would be optimistic about the people they are with every day and the meaningful work they -- together -- can accomplish. This is what Emily Esfahani Smith and Jennifer Aacker have in mind (in their New York Times article) when suggesting that one of the defining features of such work "is connection to something bigger than the self. People who lead meaningful lives feel connected to others, to work, to a life purpose, and to the world itself."

In other words, in an optimistic workplace, people are energized by each other.

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me in Chapters 1-7, also listed to suggest the scope of Murphy’s coverage:

o The Evolution of Management (Pages 3-5)
o Forget About the Culture. How's the Climate? (7-10)
o Workplace Optimism (11-13)
o The Optimism Beliefs (14-20)
o Origins of Optimism (20-24)
o Symptoms of Destructive Management (28-32)
o Outdated Beliefs of the Workplace (32-37)
o Mindset (37-39)
o Destructive Management Impacts (39-40)
o Creating Positive Outcomes (41-43)
o Contagious Positive Emotions (50-54)
o The Common Missteps (58-63)
o Too Much of a Good Thing?: Signs of Excess Optimism (65-72)
o A Sense of Identity (85-87)
o IKIGAI ("joy and a sense of well-being from being alive") Pages 89-93
o Define Your Purpose (93-95)
o Purpose and Resilience (96-101)
o Meaning and Meaningful Work (104-114)
o The Hard Work of Meaning Makers (115)
o Reaping the Benefits of Doing Good (116-117)

It is no coincidence that most of the companies annually ranked among those that are most highly admired and best to work for are also annually ranked among those that are most profitable and have the greatest cap value in their industry. I agree with Murphy that companies such as these have workplace optimism. He observes, "The proliferation of optimistic workplaces is undoubtedly linked to the talents and willingness who supplant the beliefs of management for those of stewardship." All organizations need effective leadership at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise. Leaders who are stewards are viewed as authentic, guided by what Jim O'Toole characterizes as a "moral compass" and by what Bill George characterizes as their "True North." They see themselves as being what Robert Greenleaf calls servant leaders.

Murphy suggests that stewards share seven defining characteristics: humility, honesty, reflection, grit, resilience, sense making, and vulnerability. There is no gap between their values and their behavior. They realize and appreciate how important optimism can be. "The optimistic workplace -- whether it be underground, at a coworking space, in a not-for-profit, a high-rise, or even a start-up -- is a reflection of human possibility and good business. It's a mutually satisfying pairing of the two whose time has come. You only need to decide to take the first step."

Those who share my high regard for Shawn Murphy's brilliant book are urged to check out two others: Michael Lee Stallard's Connection Culture: The Competitive Advantage of Shared Identity, Empathy, and Understanding at Work, written with Jason Pankau and Katharine Stallard, and, Freedom, Inc.: Free Your Employees and Let Them Lead Your Business to Higher Productivity, Profits, and Growth, co-authored by Brian M. Carney and Isaac Getz.

Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family
Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family
by Anne-Marie Slaughter
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 28.48
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5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant exploration of “the world as it is, not as many of us would like it to be”...but one it could yet become, Oct. 26 2015
There will always be 'unfinished business' in a world inhabited by imperfect people. However, the Serpent observes in George Bernard Shaw's play, Back to Methuselah (1921), 'I hear you say 'Why?' Always 'Why?' You see things; and you say 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say 'Why not?'"

We need people such as Anne-Marie Slaughter who see what needs to be improved in the human condition and asks, "Why not?" In 2012, She wrote an article that appeared in The Atlantic and it immediately created a firestorm of discussion of its subject, "Why Women Still Can't Have It All." Slaughter has since expressed regret about that title, preferring one that is more accurate such as this: "Why Working Mothers Need Better Chances to Be Able to Stay in the Pool and Make It to the Top." Yes, that's a mouthful and I would prefer "Working Parents" because many single parents are male. In a perfect world, employers will also be able to accommodate the needs of those who are primary caregivers to family members with basic needs who depend on them. She wants "a society that opens the possibility for every one of us to have a fulfilling career, or simply a good job with good wages if that's what we choose, along with a personal life that allows for the deep satisfactions of loving and caring for others. I hope this book can help move us in that direction." She then adds, "But one step at a time. To get there, let's start with the world as it is, not as many of us would like it to be."

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me in Parts I and II, also listed to suggest the scope of Slaughter's coverage:

o Three Half-Truths Women Hold Dear (Pages 9-12, 24-25, and 30-32)
o Whole Truths (235-36)
o Three Half-Truths About Men (38-39, 44-47, and 48-50)
o Half-Truths Pattern (82-87)
o Paid Care (98-100
o Caregiving (103-107)
o Care-Getting (107-110)
o Care Growing (110-115)
o The Competitive Mystique (119-125)
o What Men Want (130-134)
o Expanding Choices for All Men (134-139)
o The Courage to Care (143-146)
o Turning the Spotlight on Ourselves (148-154)
o Fifty Shades of Confusion (158-160)
o Leave Superwoman Behind (161-162)
o Back to The Future (166-168)

Then in Part III, "Getting to Equal" (Chapters 8-11), Slaughter shares her thoughts about changing the way men and women talk about key issues, planning a career (although it rarely works out as planned), "the perfect workplace," and citizens who care.

One of Slaughter's most important points is made in response to the background from which the workplace realities in the 21st century have evolved. She believes 'the majority of Americans are mired in a 1950s mindset when it comes to assumptions about when and how we work, what an ideal worker looks like, and when to expect that ideal worker to peak in his career. Men who came up through the old system and succeeded in it simply find it very hard to believe that their businesses could flourish any other way.'

They should know better. They have raised daughters and sons to achieve success in a world they remember rather than one they observe today. So many students in schools, colleges, and universities are being prepared for jobs that no longer exist or will soon be gone. Many of those who seek meaningful work are frustrated and, in some instances, defeated because so many terms and conditions of traditional employment have been replaced or redefined. So many people yearn for what they describe as "meaningful work."

Anne-Marie Slaughter agrees with Jennifer Aacker that a defining feature of such work "is connection to something bigger than the self. People who lead meaningful lives feel connected to others, to work, to a life purpose, and to the world itself," adding her own belief that nourishing human connection is the essence of care. "We can, all of us, stand up for care. We can change how we think, how we talk, how we plan and work and vote. We can come together as women and men. We can finish the business that our mothers and grandmothers began, and begin a new revolution of our own."

Indeed, why not?

Talking to Crazy: How to Deal with the Irrational and Impossible People in Your Life
Talking to Crazy: How to Deal with the Irrational and Impossible People in Your Life
by Mark Goulston
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 24.45
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to manage 'everyday craziness' whenever and wherever you encounter it, Oct. 24 2015
As Mark Goulston explains, he experienced an epiphany years ago when he went to a meeting for estate planners who needed advice about helping families in crisis. "I expected the event to be a little dry, but instead, I was mesmerized. I found out that just like me, these people have to 'talk to crazy' every day. In fact, nearly every issue they discussed involved clients acting completely nuts...That's when it dawned on me that everyone -- including you -- has this problem. I'm betting that nearly every day, you deal with at least one irrational person...And that's what this book is all about: talking to crazy." That is, interacting with what he characterizes as "everyday crazy."

More specifically:

o They can't see the world clearly.
o They say or think things that make no sense.
o They make decisions and take actions that aren't in their best interests.
o They become downright impossible when you try to guide them back to the side of reason.

As I began to work my way through Goulston's lively as well as eloquent narrative, I was again reminded of a scene in the Cheers television series when Frasier Crane, psychiatrist, patiently listens to Cliff Clavin, a mailman, babble on incoherently about the first Thanksgiving. "It took place between the ancient Egyptians and aliens from a distant galaxy." Eventually, Crane asks, "Cliff, what color is the sky in your world?" More recently, during the last holiday season at a party my wife and I attended, the host pointed out to several of us that very few penguins are left-handed. He was sober'and quite serious.

Goulston shares what he has learned about how to handle much more serious situations, situations that have potentially significant consequences if not resolved. "Maybe it's a boss who wants the impossible. Maybe it's a demanding parent or a hostile teen or a manipulative coworker or a neighbor who's always in your face." At one time or another, most people have encountered -- in an everyday situation -- a spouse or friend who screams at them, a child who says "I hate you" or "I hate myself," an aging parent who says "You don't care about me," someone at work who has a meltdown, and/or a supervisor who is a bully. These really are difficult situations that can be made even worse by an inappropriate response.

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Goulston's coverage:

o The Secret: Leaning into the Crazy (Pages 5-7)
o The Sanity Cycle (9-10)
o The Science Behind Crazy, and, Three Pathways to Crazy People (26-28)
o A Warning About Personality Disorders (37-41)
o Triangle/Silo/Triangle (58-59)
o The Eight-Step Pause (63-65)
o The "Oh F#@& to OK" Speed Drill (68-69)

In Sections 3-5 (Chapters 8-33), Goulston then focuses on

o Fourteen Tactics for Talking to Crazy (75-163)
o Eight Ways to Deal with Crazy in Your Personal Life (165-210)
o What to Do When Crazy Is Actually Mental Illness (211-252)

One of Goulston's most valuable insights stresses the importance of following a process that is easy to chart but for most of us, very difficult to follow: 'The Sanity Cycle':

1. Recognize that the person you're dealing with is unwilling and/or unable to think rationally/be reasonable in the current situation.

2. Identify that person's modus operandi ' the specific ways(s) that person acts out their craziness.

3. Don't take the craziness personally. Realize that it isn't about you. Rather, it's all about the person who is obviously very upset and probably angry.

4. Talk with the irrational person, leaning into the craziness by entering the other person’s world calmly and with an intention to be helpful.

NOTE: All of the major research studies (at least of which I am aware) indicate that during a face-to-face interaction, about 80% of impact is determined by tone o0f voice and body language; only about 20% (if that) is determined by what is said. Also, talking [begin italics] with [end italics] someone will always be far more effective than talking at them or to them.

5. Demonstrate your good will, that you are an ally rather than a threat, by listening calmly and empathetically but NOT, I presume to add, in a way that could be taken as condescendingly as the person vents. Make eye contact and listen with attention and (yes) patience as well as purpose.

6. Help to guide the person to a more rational way of thinking. By letting off steam, they may calm down and appreciate the fact that you care and want to be helpful. These are the WHATs of the cycle. Goulston thoroughly explains HOW to master each of them.

'The majority of the techniques I teach in this book follow these steps (although there are variations, and you'll sometimes veer completely off this path when you're dealing with bullies, manipulators, or sociopaths). That's because the Sanity Cycle is powerful magic.'

Mark Goulston is determined to do all he can to "heal the world one conversation at a time" and hopes that everyone who reads this book will be well-prepared as well as sufficiently courageous to "help make that dream come true."

Millennials Who Manage: How to Overcome Workplace Perceptions and Become a Great Leader
Millennials Who Manage: How to Overcome Workplace Perceptions and Become a Great Leader
by Chip Espinoza
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 41.10
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5.0 out of 5 stars These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me, Oct. 22 2015
As Chip Espinoza and Joel Schwarzbart explain, 'The challenges of leading in today's world have caused, if not demanded, a shift in how we approach leader development. The primary focus of the leader is now on the self because it is the nature and presence of the leader that most impacts an organization. Technical skills serve as the price of admission in leadership, but leading effectively depends on how well you negotiate the emotional and relational processes of what many refer to as both science and art."

I agree with them as does Frances Hesselbein who suggests that CEOs in this century will face challenges "that have everything to do with monitoring the quality of leadership [at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise], the work force, and relationships." Espinoza and Schwarzbart wrote this book primarily for Millennials (those born within the 1980-2000 timeframe) who have been or will soon be entrusted with management responsibilities. (Be sure to check out Espinoza and Schwarzbart's discussion of "Generational Differences: Fact or Fiction" in Chapter 6.) I was fascinated to read FORTUNE magazine's latest "40 Under 40" list (October 1, 2015 issue). These 40 now serve as role models for countless young men and women who are preparing for or have only recently embarked on a career in business and aspire to achieve comparable (if not greater) success.

I also think this book will be of substantial value to those who supervise Millennials. When Espinoza and Schwarzbart surveyed older workers and asked them "What is the downside of being managed by a Millennial?", the second most frequent response was "dealing with their immaturity." Of course, however defined, "immaturity" is in the eyes of those who allege it. My own experience is that many of those perceived as being immature tend to view many of their elders as "over the hill." I agree with Espinoza and Schwarzbart: "Overcoming negative perceptions has more to do with you learning about you than with others changing their opinion of you." I presume to add that, with rare exception, those who are most effective in managing perceptions (theirs and others') are also most effective in other dimensions of management.

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Espinoza and Schwartzbart's coverage:

o Learning as a Way of Being, and, Managerial Leadership (Pages 4-6)
o Stereotypes and Generalizations (6-8)
o What Do You See as Positive About Being Managed by Someone Under 35, and, as Downside? (13-15)
o The Concept of Dignity as a Mind-Set (21-24)
o The Desire to Please Your Boss (28-30)
o Organizations by Nature Exert a Powerful Force Against Self-Differentiation (34-35)
o What Does It Mean to Be Authentic? (38-39)
o The Challenges of Being Authentic When Transitioning into a New Role (43-45)
o The Maturational Perspective (47-48)
o The Life Course Perspective (48-51)
o Defining the Generations (52-59)
o Identifying Biases in the Conference Board Results (71-72)
o Something Else Going on Besides Just Overconfidence (73-75)
o Millennial Manager Survey (80-87)
o Managerial Leader Competencies Needed for Managing Millennials (95-98)
o The Biggest Challenges Millennials Report Facing in the Workplace (98-101)
o Challenges Created by Perception (101-104)
o Managing Millennial Teams (106-108)

I agree with Chip Espinoza and Joel Schwarzbart: "Whether you are leading people who are older than you, younger than you, or peers, it is important to understand that people are emotional beings. In all of our research, whether in talking to young or older employees, the theme of respect surfaced -- the need for respect and the need to be respected. We would like to extend the conversation beyond respect to the concept of dignity." For me, the key point is that, whether Millennials are managers or being managed, leaders or followers, they have fundamental human needs and dignity is among the most important to them but they must others' respect and trust. In Leadership Without Easy Answers, Ronald Heifetz observes, " A leader earns influence by adjusting to the expectations of others." Many of the Millennials I have observed don't even know what those expectations are.

Millennials who manage others and aspire to become a great leader must first manage themselves by developing self-regulation so they can act in their own long-term best interest, consistent with their deepest values. As quoted earlier, "Overcoming negative perceptions has more to do with you learning about you than with others changing their opinion of you." In essence then, self-awareness leads to self-regulation that, in turn, nourishes personal growth and professional development. For them as well as for those to whom they report, this is a "must read."

Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
by Philip E. Tetlock
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 21.91
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to blend computer-based forecasting and subjective judgment to gain a better sense of what will likely occur, Oct. 21 2015
Obviously, computers can process, organize, and access more data faster than can human beings. However, at least for now, human beings can outperform computers when other tasks are involved. In an MIT Urban Planning Report, Dancing with Robots, for example, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane observe: "The human mind’s strength is its flexibility—the ability to process and integrate many kinds of information to perform a complex task. The computer’s strengths are speed and accuracy, not flexibility, and computers are best at performing tasks for which logical rules or a statistical model lay out a path to a solution. Much of computerized work involves complicated tasks that have been simplified by imposing structure."

Note: This insight goes back at least as far as Herbert Simon’s 1960 essay, “The Corporation, Will it be Managed by Machines?,” in Management and the Corporations, M. L. Anshen and G. L. Bach, eds., 1985, New York: McGraw-Hill, pp. 17–55, Print.

As I began to read Superforecasting, I was again reminded of the fact that so-called "experts" working with a computer tend to make better predictions that can either a computer or another human being (or group) working without one. As was the case with Philip Tetlock's previously published book, Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is It? How Can We Know?, he and Dan Gardner have collaborated on a book that is evidence-driven rather than theory-driven. That's a key point. (Please see pages 291-328.) I agree with another reviewer, Dr. Frank Stechon, who suggests that Tetlock shows conclusively two key points: First, the best experts in making political estimates and forecasts are no more accurate than fairly simple mathematical models of their estimative processes. This is yet another confirmation of what Robyn Dawes termed "the robust beauty of simple linear models." The inability of human experts to out-perform models based on their expertise has been demonstrated in over one hundred fields of expertise over fifty years of research; one of the most robust findings in social science.

Tetlock and Gardner are convinced -- and I agree -- that "we will need to blend computer-based forecasting and subjective judgment in the future. So it's time to get serious about both." Obviously superior judgment by an individual or group blended with superior technology is the ideal combination. In one of Tom Davenport’s recent books, Judgment Calls, he and co-author Brooke Manville offer “an antidote for the Great Man theory of decision making and organizational performance”: [begin italics] organizational judgment [end italics]. That is, “the collective capacity to make good calls and wise moves when the need for them exceeds the scope of any single leader's direct control."

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me in Chapters 1-7, also listed to suggest the scope of Tetlock and Gardner’s coverage:

o The Skeptic (Pages 6-10)
o The Optimist (10-20)
o Blind Men Arguing (25-30)
o Thinking About Thinking (33-39)
o Blinking and Thinking (41-45)
o Judging Judgments (52-65)
o Expert Political Judgment, and, And the Results... (66-72)
o Resisting Gravity -- But for How Long? (96-104
o Fermi-Ize (110-114)
o Outside First (117-120)
o Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis (121-124)
o Where's Osama? (130-134)
o Probability for the Stone Age (137-140)
o Probability for the Information Age (140-143)
o But What Does It All Mean? (147-152)
o The Over-Under (156-158)
o Under, and, Over (159-166)

As indicated, the information, insights, and counsel that Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner provide in this volume are based on rigorous and extensive research with regard to the art and science of forecasting. While re-reading the book prior to setting to work on this brief commentary, I first re-read the Appendix, "Ten Commandments for Aspiring Superforecasters," and presume to suggest that those about to read the book for the first time do the same (I wish I had) because this material provides a superb framework, a context and frame of reference, for the lively and eloquent narrative developed within twelve substantial chapters. Here are the concluding remarks: "Guidelines [not predictions] are the best we can do in a world where nothing is certain or exactly repeatable. Superforecasting requires constant mindfulness, even when -- perhaps especially when -- you are dutifully trying to follow these commandments."

In this context, I am again reminded of these words of caution expressed by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable: “It has been more profitable for us to bind together in the wrong direction than to be alone in the right one. Those who have followed the assertive idiot rather than the introspective wise person have passed us some of their genes. This is apparent from a social pathology: psychopaths rally followers.”

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Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out the aforementioned MIT Urban Planning Report, Dancing with Robots, as well as these additional sources: Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow; Taleb's aforementioned work, The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable: With a new section: "On Robustness and Fragility" (Incerto); and Nate Silver's The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail - But Some Don't.

Leaper Causal Style Lightweight Canvas Cute Backpacks School Backpack (Medium, Water Blue+Flower)
Leaper Causal Style Lightweight Canvas Cute Backpacks School Backpack (Medium, Water Blue+Flower)
Offered by FifthSeason
Price: CDN$ 33.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A 'totally excellent' back pack., Oct. 21 2015
I have no need of this product but I do have ten grandchildren and one of them was in great need of a back pack such as this when she returned to school (6th grade) last month. Other reviewers have made most of the same points I make now.

o It is quite lovely in appearance
o Very sturdy
o Well-designed in terms of what can be put where
o The zippers don't snag
o So far, no problems.

Her rating is 'totally excellent' and I'll take her word for it.

Color: Water Blue + Deer

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Disclaimer: I was offered this product at no cost in exchange for an 'honest' review. I assume full responsibility for all my reviews, including this one.

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