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Too Big to Ignore: The Business Case for Big Data
Too Big to Ignore: The Business Case for Big Data
by Phil Simon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 43.32
34 used & new from CDN$ 35.93

5.0 out of 5 stars "Before we demand more of our data, we need to demand more of ourselves." Nate Silver, March 13 2015
First of all, I commend Phil Simon on his skillful use of reader-friendly devices that include 4 Tables, 16 Figures, and dozens of relevant quotations strategically located throughout his lively and eloquent narrative as well as "Summary" and "Notes" sections at the conclusion of Chapters 1-8. These devices will facilitate, indeed expedite frequent review of key material later.

As Simon explains, "This book is about an unassailably important trend: Big Data, the massive amounts, new types, and multifaceted sources of information streaming at us faster than ever. Never before have we seen data with the volume, velocity, and variety of today. Big Data is no temporary blip or fad. In fact, it is only going to intensify in the coming years, and its ramifications for the future of business are impossible to overstate." I wholly agree that "Big Data is becoming too big to ignore. And that sentence, in a nutshell, summarizes the book."

Personal digression: I have read several dozen books about Big Data in recent years and these are among what I consider to be the key points, listed in no particular order of importance:

1. There are no Big Data or IT issues, only [begin italics] business [end italics] issues.
2. The value of "Big" should not be measured in terms of quantity; rather, relevance and sufficiency as well as effective use thereof.
3. Moreover, data should be frequently evaluated in terms of relative relevance to priorities of the given strategic objectives.
4. Data needs must be in proper alignment with the Technology Adoption Life Cycle (TALC).
5. I agree with Nate Silver, in The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail--but Some Don't: "Data-driven predictions [and data-driven decisions] can succeed -- and they can fail. It is when we deny our role in the process that the odds of failure rise. Before we demand more of our data, we need to demand more of ourselves."

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me (in Chapters 1-5), also listed to suggest the scope of Simon's coverage:

o How Big Is Big? The Size of Big Data, and, Why Now? Explaining the Big Data Revolution (Pages 10-13)
o Central Thesis of This Book, and, Plan of Attack (22-25)
o The Beginnings: Structured Data, and Structure This! Web 2.0 and the Arrival of Big Data (30-39)
o The Composition of Data: Then and Now, and, The Current State of the Data Union (39-43)
o Characteristics of Big Data (50-71)
o Statistical Techniques and Methods (80-84)
o Predictive Analytics (100-105)
o Projects, Applications, and Platforms (114-121)
o Hardware Considerations (133-136)

Note: Simon next provides three mini-case studies in which he explores "how they have successfully deployed Big Data tools and seen amazing results." In fact, the material for each is organized within this format: Approach or Background, Steps, Results, and Lessons

o Quantcast: A Small Big Data Company (141-146)
o Explorys: The Human Case for Big Data (147-152)
o NASA: How Contests, Amplification, and Open Innovation Enable Big Data (152-158)

When sharing his Final Thoughts, Phil Simon observes, "Organizations should be asking new and penetrating questions and letting those answers inform new ways of thinking. The uninitiated, the skeptics, and the laggards who refuse to integrate data into their decision-making -- and Big Data in particular -- will only be left further and further behind." I agree and with Simon: It is very, very hard work to establish and then sustain data-driven success because it is even more difficult to get the right people incorporating the right data in their predictions and decisions...at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise. The negative consequences of being unwilling and/or unable to do so are also "too big to ignore."

Mind Change: How Digital Technologies Are Leaving Their Mark on Our Brains
Mind Change: How Digital Technologies Are Leaving Their Mark on Our Brains
by Susan Greenfield
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 21.96
37 used & new from CDN$ 18.44

5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant examination of "what is surely the most far reaching and exciting challenge of our time", March 10 2015
If the mind is what the brain does, then the ever-accelerating increase of data to be processed creates new challenges for our cognition skills and their support resources. In this context, I am again reminded of an observation by Charles Darwin: "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change."

I hope that Susan Greenfield is right: "The human mind will adapt to whatever environment in which it is placed. The cyberworld of the twenty-first century is offering a new type of environment. Therefore, the brain could be changing in parallel, in corresponding new ways. To the extent to which we can begin to understand and anticipate these changes, positive or negative, we will be better able to navigate this new world. So let's probe further into how Mind Change, just like climate change, is not only global [begin italics] global [end it italics] but also [begin italics] unprecedented [end it italics], [begin italics] controversial [end it italics], and [begin italics] multifaceted [end it italics]."

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

o Digital services as causes of distraction (Pages 28-30)
o Videogames and recklessness (42-43)
o Consciousness (72-75)
o Attention (107-110)
o Cyberbullying (144-147)
o Having fun (151-152 & 225-226)
o Identity (163-165)
o ADHD (176-181)
o Increase of violent aggression (184-189)
o Digital services as learning tools (226-233)
o Enhanced perception of reality (253-256)
o Benefits of gaming (257-258)
o Living in the moment (258-259 & 267-268)

In the final chapter, Greenfield focuses on the importance of making connections, an initiative for which the Internet and then the Web offer almost unlimited opportunities. Connections between and among electronic devices can now be made almost anywhere and at any time. Given the abundance of information already available, and given the rapidly increasing critical mass of data, predicting the future now seems easier to do than it was at any prior timer that I can recall. Detailed scenarios proliferate and Greenfield discusses several. All manner of connections are suggested. In essence, she poses a critically important question: Are the technologies examined in her book part of the problem, part of the solution to the problem, or both? She recalls an observation by H.L. Mencken: "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." The answer to her question is for each of us to answer, determined by the nature and extent of our emotional as well as intellectual connections with various technologies. Mind Change "depends o0n what each of us wants and where we want to go as individuals."

Susan Greenfield suggests that the theme of connectivity might provide an appropriate ending point for her book. "Our experiences over time give each and every one of us meaningful episodes that in turn contribute to a linear narrative, a personal story whose very unfolding echoes the thought process itself. But as we become increasingly hyperconnected in cyberspace, might not our global environment begin to reflect and mirror the networking in our individual physical brain? Just as neuronal connectivity allows for the generation and evolving expression of a unique human mind, the hyperconnectivity of cyberspace could become a powerful agent for changing that mind, both for good ands for ill. Working out what this connectivity may mean, and what we decide to do about it, is surely the most far reaching and exciting challenge of our time." How we respond to that challenge may well determine the nature and extent of the human condition for generations to come.
A brilliant examination of "what is surely the most far reaching and exciting challenge of our time.", March 10, 2015
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This review is from: Mind Change: How Digital Technologies Are Leaving Their Mark on Our Brains (Hardcover)
A brilliant examination of "what is surely the most far reaching and exciting challenge of our time."

If the mind is what the brain does, then the ever-accelerating increase of data to be processed creates new challenges for our cognition skills and their support resources. In this context, I am again reminded of an observation by Charles Darwin: "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change."

I hope that Susan Greenfield is right: "The human mind will adapt to whatever environment in which it is placed. The cyberworld of the twenty-first century is offering a new type of environment. Therefore, the brain could be changing in parallel, in corresponding new ways. To the extent to which we can begin to understand and anticipate these changes, positive or negative, we will be better able to navigate this new world. So let's probe further into how Mind Change, just like climate change, is not only global [begin italics] global [end it italics] but also [begin italics] unprecedented [end it italics], [begin italics] controversial [end it italics], and [begin italics] multifaceted [end it italics]."

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

o Digital services as causes of distraction (Pages 28-30)
o Videogames and recklessness (42-43)
o Consciousness (72-75)
o Attention (107-110)
o Cyberbullying (144-147)
o Having fun (151-152 & 225-226)
o Identity (163-165)
o ADHD (176-181)
o Increase of violent aggression (184-189)
o Digital services as learning tools (226-233)
o Enhanced perception of reality (253-256)
o Benefits of gaming (257-258)
o Living in the moment (258-259 & 267-268)

In the final chapter, Greenfield focuses on the importance of making connections, an initiative for which the Internet and then the Web offer almost unlimited opportunities. Connections between and among electronic devices can now be made almost anywhere and at any time. Given the abundance of information already available, and given the rapidly increasing critical mass of data, predicting the future now seems easier to do than it was at any prior timer that I can recall. Detailed scenarios proliferate and Greenfield discusses several. All manner of connections are suggested. In essence, she poses a critically important question: Are the technologies examined in her book part of the problem, part of the solution to the problem, or both? She recalls an observation by H.L. Mencken: "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." The answer to her question is for each of us to answer, determined by the nature and extent of our emotional as well as intellectual connections with various technologies. Mind Change "depends o0n what each of us wants and where we want to go as individuals."

Susan Greenfield suggests that the theme of connectivity might provide an appropriate ending point for her book. "Our experiences over time give each and every one of us meaningful episodes that in turn contribute to a linear narrative, a personal story whose very unfolding echoes the thought process itself. But as we become increasingly hyperconnected in cyberspace, might not our global environment begin to reflect and mirror the networking in our individual physical brain? Just as neuronal connectivity allows for the generation and evolving expression of a unique human mind, the hyperconnectivity of cyberspace could become a powerful agent for changing that mind, both for good ands for ill. Working out what this connectivity may mean, and what we decide to do about it, is surely the most far reaching and exciting challenge of our time." How we respond to that challenge may well determine the nature and extent of the human condition for generations to come.

Mindfulness, 25th anniversary edition
Mindfulness, 25th anniversary edition
by Ellen J. Langer
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.36
42 used & new from CDN$ 9.35

5.0 out of 5 stars How and why almost anyone can achieve mindfulness that will accelerate personal growth and professional development, March 10 2015
Note: This review is of the 25th Anniversary Edition.

No doubt because this is a second edition, of a book published 25 years ago, some may incorrectly assume that much (if not most) of its insights and counsel are dated, hence obsolete. No so. In fact, in my opinion, the material is more relevant now than ever before as Ellen Langer shares her thoughts about how ever-alert mindfulness can help to facilitate, indeed expedite personal growth and professional development.

As she observes, "A vast literature about mindfulness has filled scholarly and popular journals since I began this work. Much of the recent research [as of autumn 2014 when she wrote the Preface from which this passage is excerpted] is actually on various forms of meditation, and the focus is on preventing stress and negative emotions. Meditation is a [begin italics] tool [end italics] to achieve post meditative mindfulness. regardless of how we get there, either through meditation or more directly by paying attention to novelty and questioning assumptions, to be mindful is to be in the present, noticing all the wonders that we didn't realize were right in font of us."

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

o Trapped by [Self-Limiting] Categories (Pages 12-14)
o Acting from a Single Perspective (18-19)
o The Mindless "Expert" (22-24)
o Entropy and Linear Time as Limiting Mindsets (32-35)
o The Power of Context (37-43)
o A Narrow Self-Image (46-50)
o Learned Helplessness (55-56)
o Creating New Categories (65-68)
o Control over Context: The Birdman of Alcatraz (74-76)
o Mindfulness East and West (79-80)
o Outgrowing Mindsets (89-92)
o Growth in Age (94-99)
o Mindfulness and Intuition (114-117)
o Creativity and Conditional Learning (117-127)
o Innovation (136-140)
o The Power of Uncertainty for Managers (140-146)
o Mindfully Different (158-162)
o Disabling Mindsets (162-164)
o Dualism: A Dangerous Mindset (171-174)
o Addiction in Context (180-185)

Long ago, I realized that most limits are self-imposed. (That was perhaps when Pogo the Possum announced, "We have met the enemy and he is us!") Naively, I concluded, if I set the limits, then I could change them. And I did. I set specific goals that, at that time and in those circumstances, must have seemed audacious.

While I read this book when it was first published and then again recently when I re-read it, I had the feeling that it was written specifically for me, that Langer was doing all she could to help me understand what mindfulness is...and isn't. Also, helping me to be much more aware on each situation in which I find myself and, especially, to be much more attentive to others.

Now can the information, insights, and counsel that Ellen Langer shares be of greatest value? That will vary from one reader to the next. However, my own experience may be of interest. I have found mindfulness most helpful in situations that involve (a) answering an especially important question, (b) solving an especially serious problem, and (c) resisting the appeal of what James O'Toole so aptly characterizes as "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom."

One final point that I think is critically important: Mindfulness is not a technique or even a state of mind; rather, it is a way of life. Nourishing it is - or at least should be -- a never-ending process. Here's an appropriate metaphor: mindfulness is a personal journey of discovery that is sustained by curiosity, humility, awareness, and (yes) appreciation.

The Upside of Your Dark Side: Why Being Your Whole Self--Not Just Your "Good" Self--Drives Success and Fulfillment
The Upside of Your Dark Side: Why Being Your Whole Self--Not Just Your "Good" Self--Drives Success and Fulfillment
by Todd Kashdan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 20.90
34 used & new from CDN$ 19.78

5.0 out of 5 stars "Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself: I am large. I contain multitudes." Walt Whitman, March 10 2015
The Whitman observation reminds me of the lyrics Joni Mitchell composed for one of her most popular songs:

"I've looked at life from both sides now,
from win and lose, and still somehow
it's life's illusions I recall.
I really don't know life at all."

I wish had a dollar for every time I have heard the comment, "What you see is what you get." Møre often than not, what we see is what others allow to be seen and it is also true that many (most?) people are unwilling and/or unable to examine what is in what Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener characterize as a "human psychological knapsack" and then integrating into their lives what has been "previously ignored and underappreciated parts of who [they] are." They wrote this book to help as many people as possible to bring wholeness within reach, "perhaps for the first time."

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Kashdan and Biswas-Diener's coverage:

o Why the Way We've Been Pursuing Happiness Won't Make Us Happy (Pages 2-10)
o What Wholeness Looks Like, Beyond the Impostor Syndrome, and The Virtues of Throwing in the Towel (13-17)
o The Benefits of Fantasy (17-18)
o The Origins of Comfort Addiction (29-37)
o What's the Alternative? and Psychology's Holy Grail (44-51)
o Why Bad Can Be More Powerful Than Good (54-59)
o A Tour of Three Dreaded Emotions: Anger, Guilt, and Shame (66-84)
o Effectively Harnessing and Using Anxiety (92-93)
o Has Happiness Been Taken Too Far? (100-116)
o Three Mindless Paths to Success and Well-Being (128-147)
o Understanding the Three Parts of the Teddy Effect(159-163)
o All the World's a Stage (177-181)
o Recognizing Your Positivity Bias (192-200)
o Broad Strokes or Fine-Toothed Comb (214-220)
o Beyond Happiness (220-221)

I agree with Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener: "To progress on your journey of personal growth, love, and meaning and purpose in life, you need to become aware of all aspects of yourself, including your darker tendencies, and be agile enough to integrate them into your behavioral repertoire as needed. Do not repress, ignore, or hide the darker gifts [and they really are gifts]. Be aware of them, appreciate them, and then you're ready harness them. When you do this, you'll find you've gained greater access to well-being. To do otherwise is to be enslaved by fear, to set an artificial limit on what you experience and accomplish in this, the one and only life we know for sure that you'll have. Make the most of it. Become whole."

Easier said then done? Of course. Will reading and then perhaps re-reading this book make anyone whole? Perhaps less incomplete, somewhat more fulfilled, but hardly whole. Each of us really is a "work in progress." However, I am certain that the information, insights, and counsel provided in this book will help many of those who read it to gain access to everything or at least much of what they are hauling in their "psychological knapsack [by] unpacking and integrating previously ignored and underappreciated parts of who [they] are."

Wiser: Getting Beyond Groupthink to Make Groups Smarter
Wiser: Getting Beyond Groupthink to Make Groups Smarter
by Cass R. Sunstein
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 19.57
50 used & new from CDN$ 19.56

5.0 out of 5 stars How to separate, implement, and optimize the divergent and convergent stages of every problem-solving process, March 9 2015
As I began to read this book, I was reminded of a passage 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." Whenever asked if two heads are better than one, however, I reply, "Which heads?"

Organizational judgment can often be substantially better than the judgment of any one person but as Cass Sunstein and Reid Hastie correctly point out, "in the real world, discussion often leads people in the wrong directions. Many groups fail to correct the mistakes of their members. On the contrary, groups often amplify those mistakes. If groups are unrealistically optimistic, groups may be more unrealistic still. If people within a firm are paying too little attention to the long term, the firm will probably suffer from a horrible case of myopia. There is no evidence that the judgment mistakes uncovered by behavioral scientists are corrected as the result of group discussion."

Sunstein and Hastie organize and present their material within four Parts: In Chapters 1-5, they explore the sources of group failure. They explain how to avoid or correct (a) members' errors, (b) embracing a herd mentality, (c) becoming more extreme, and (d) valuing shared information at expense of unshared information. Re the latter point, Carla O'Dell and Jackson Grayson have much of value to say about that in their classic work, If Only We Knew What We know. Then in Chapters 6-13, Sunstein and Hastie shift their attention ton to the sources of group success. For example, in Chapter 7, they explain the immense importance of distinguishing between two quite different processes when attempting to solve a specific problem: identification of a list of potential solutions, and, selection of what seems to be the best solution. With regard to solving problems, I am again reminded of an observation by Peter Drucker in 1993: "There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all."

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Sunstein and Hastie's coverage:

o Group Failures (Pages 19-99)
o Amplification impact: nature and extent (43-46)
o Group biases (53-55)
o Cascades of positive and negative momentum (57-75)
o Risk-taking (78-80)
o Group Successes (101-212)
o Eight ways to reduce failures(103-124)
o Devil's Advocates and leaders (115-118)
o Identifying and selecting solutions (125-142)
o Using bias reduction (138-140)
o When crowds are wise (143-156)
o "Experts" (157-164)
o Tournaments to generate good ideas and spark creativity (165-180)
o Friedrich Hayek and prediction markets (181-194)
o Problem-solving(208-210)

One of Cass Sunstein and Reid Hastie's primary objectives is to help teams make better decisions. In my opinion, these are the most valuable lessons to be learned about all that from the abundance of information, insights, and counsel they provide.

o Make absolutely certain that the team's focus in on answering the right question, solving the right problem, etc.
o When in group discussion, team leaders should devote at least 80% of their time listening and observing; no more than 20% speaking.
o They should strongly encourage a diversity of perspectives, especially principled dissent.
o When obtaining the information required by the given process of decision-making, all relevant sources should be consulted.
o In terms of division of labor, tasks should be assigned to those best-qualified in terms of knowledge, experience, and judgment.
o Implementation of a decision should be sufficiently flexible to accommodate unexpected changes.
o Use a "devil's advocate" approach when subjecting each option to rigorous scrutiny.
o Then consider using a "red team" approach to challenge the primary team during its implementation of the given decision.

Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out two others: Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow and Judgment: How Winning Leaders Make Great Calls, co-authored by Noel Tichy and Warren Bennis.

The Ten Golden Rules of Leadership: Classical Wisdom for Modern Leaders
The Ten Golden Rules of Leadership: Classical Wisdom for Modern Leaders
by M. A. Soupios
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 15.99
22 used & new from CDN$ 10.38

4.0 out of 5 stars "Everything changes, nothing changes." Heraclitus, March 7 2015
Although M.A. Soupios and Panos Mourdoukoutas selected the term "rules," I think "defining characteristics" or "core principles" are more accurate when explaining the achievements and consequent eminence of those whom they discuss in this book. (Another of their terms, "ancient insights," is also preferable.) It is noteworthy that Soupio and Mourdoukoutas take a philosophical approach to their selections of (let's call them) "rules" with an emphasis on character rather than conquest. For example, here are three key points within what they characterize as "The Golden Leadership Grid":

o The "fate" of organizations is not based on the stars. The character of an organization's leadership determines a company's destiny.
o The character of a real leader is the result of a carefully crafted philosophy of life.
o A leader's philosophy is constantly informed by moral consideration.

Think of this book as a primer of fundamentals on leadership from a classical, traditional perspective. With regard to Rule #1, "Know Thyself," they credit Thales with introducing the concept, identify four impediments to knowing one's self, suggest how to follow the dictum, and contribute the first set of key points (admonitions, really) to the aforementioned "Grid." The narrative serves as a framework: more than an outline but less, much less than a series of insightful analyses.

Who will derive the greatest benefit from this book? First, those such as I who welcome any and all discussions of leadership that are thoughtful and thought-provoking. Also, those who are now in school or college and preparing for a career in business or who have only recently embarked upon one. Finally, I recommend this book to those who aspire to become leaders or who are in a supervisory position and need a values-driven framework or one that will increase their effectiveness.

Although M.A. Soupios and Panos Mourdoukoutas selected the term "rules," I think "defining characteristics" or "core principles" are more accurate when explaining the achievements and consequent eminence of those whom they discuss in this book. (Another of their terms, "ancient insights," is also preferable.) It is noteworthy that Soupios and Mourdoukoutas take a philosophical approach to their selections of (let's call them) "rules" with an emphasis on character rather than conquest. For example, here are three points of emphasis within what they characterize as "The Golden Leadership Grid":

o The "fate" of organizations is not based on the stars. The character of an organization's leadership determines a company's destiny.
o The character of a real leader is the result of a carefully crafted philosophy of life.
o A leader's philosophy is constantly informed by moral consideration.

Think of this book as a primer of fundamentals on leadership from a classical, traditional perspective. With regard to Rule #1, Know Thyself," they credit Thales with introducing the concept, identify four impediments to knowing one's self, suggest how to follow the dictum, and contribute the first set of key points (admonitions, really) to the aforementioned "Grid." The narrative serves as a framework: more than an outline but less, much less than a series of insightful analyses.

Who will derive the greatest benefit from this book? First, those such as I who welcome any and all discussions of leadership that are thoughtful and thought-provoking. Also, those who are now in school or college and preparing for a career in business or who have only recently embarked upon one. Finally, I recommend this book to those who aspire to become leaders or who are in a supervisory position and need a values-driven framework or one that will increase their effectiveness.

Leading From the Front: No-Excuse Leadership Tactics for Women
Leading From the Front: No-Excuse Leadership Tactics for Women
by Angie Morgan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 19.79
68 used & new from CDN$ 0.27

4.0 out of 5 stars Valuable lessons for men as well as women that can help accelerate personal growth and professional development, March 2 2015
Long ago, I realized that most limits are self-imposed and therefore, I was pleased and (yes) relieved to know that if I set the limits, I could modify or even eliminate them. Later, I came upon Henry Ford's observation, "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're probably right." I was reminded of all this when I began to read this book in which two former Marine Corps officers, Angie Morgan and Courtney Lynch, take turns telling their stories, sharing what they've learned that has worked for them, and showing how it can work for their readers in all areas of their lives, on the job and elsewhere.

I agree with Morgan and Murphy that "few women understand how their behavior can help or hurt their career"...indeed, how their behavior can help or hurt their relationships at work and elsewhere. Morgan and Murphy's stated purpose is to focus on leadership, providing an abundance of information, insights, lessons, tools, and counsel that will help women to think more clearly, make better decisions, and behave more effectively. As I indicate in the subject of this review, I think the material in this book could also be of substantial, perhaps invaluable assistance to men, especially those whose direct reports include women whose attitude and behavior may be self-defeating.

After their Introduction, Morgan and Lynch take an unorthodox approach in the ten chapter-narrative that follows: Following a brief introduction to individual chapters, they take turns sharing their thoughts about a variety of topics. They then provide a "Chapter Summary Points" section for each. These are among the passages of greatest interest to me.

o Leadership Lessons (Pages 3-5)
o Lead Star's 10 Leadership Principles (5-6)
o Applying Marine Lessons to Life After the Corps (11-14)
o Ensuring That You Meet the Standards Means That You Can Pass Any Test, Any Time (23-26)
o A good Decision Today Is Better Than a Great Decision Tomorrow (37-42)
o Trust our Gut When It's Decision Time (45-50)
o Accepting Responsibility Is the First Step Toward Success (55-60)
o Take Care of Those to the Left and Right of You (74-76)
o Look for Unspoken Needs (85-86)
o Overreacting Puts Others On the Defensive (99-101)
o Keep Taking Action Until the Situation Is Resolved (110-115)
o Some Crises Call for Creativity (115-120)
o Keep the End Result in Mind at All Times (128-132)
o Success Stories Have a Common Theme (138)
o Unnecessary Apologies Lead to Misplaced Blame (161-164)
o You Can't Help People Who Won't Help Themselves

Before concluding this brief commentary, I would to acknowledge - and commend -- Morgan and Murphy on their clever use of boxed insights (identified with a USMC logo) that are inserted strategically throughout their lively and elo9quent narrative. Here are three examples:

"Good decisions can be made with limited information, and perfect decisions are unrealistic. Practi8ce making timely decisions when the stakes are low, and by the time you have to make a tough call, you'll be prepared to handle the pressure and make a decision quickly." (Page 42)

"Failing to take care of those you lead can have damaging consequences. In addition to losing the loyalty, dedication, and motivation of your team [as well as their trust and respect], you may ultimately lose your team members. Strong teams have leaders who constantly look for ways to serve and assist others, especially during times of personal crisis." (81)

"When you're in a crisis, don't panic and freeze - that won't solve anything. If you feel you're in over your head and don't know how to handle the crisis, seek counsel from someone with experience who can help you deal with the situation at hand." (115)

These are hardly head-snapping revelations, nor do Angie Morgan and Courtney Murphy make any such claim. However, for those with limited experience as a leader who need practical advice, the observations and suggestions enclosed in the dozens of boxes will identify leadership basics that can have wide application and deep impact for end-users as well as for supervisors who share them with those for those for whom they are responsible. Those who read this book will also appreciate the provision of a "Summary Points" section at the conclusion of each of the ten chapters. This material will facilitate, indeed expedite frequent review of key points later.

Creative Anarchy: How to Break the Rules of Graphic Design for Creative Success
Creative Anarchy: How to Break the Rules of Graphic Design for Creative Success
by Denise Bosler
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 23.88
34 used & new from CDN$ 23.88

5.0 out of 5 stars How and why the best design is "barely noticeable because it works seamlessly into its environment and for its audience", March 1 2015
Some human activities require that the given rules be strictly followed or there could be serious, perhaps fatal consequences. For example, driving at a high rate of speed on the wrong side of a limited access highway. When engaged in other activities, rules are actually guidelines: whether or not they are followed depends on the given circumstances. This is especially true of the creative and performing arts.

After demonstrating his mastery of fundamentals in less than an hour, during an interview process that normally lasts several days, Pablo Picasso was accepted as a student by Madrid's Royal Academy of San Fernando, at that time the foremost art school in Spain. He was 15 years-old. Later, he observed, "You must learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist."

The highly unorthodox, genuinely exciting design of this book demonstrates the truth of Denise Bosler observation that serves as the subject of this review. The material is presented within two Parts: Learn the Rules, and, Break the Rules. I was surprised to find, when reaching the conclusion of Part 1, that Part 2 is upside down. Later, when I finished Part 2, I found that Part 1 was....

No doubt its format breaks several traditional rules but so what? It got my attention. In fact, when I discovered it, I let out a whoop! The production values of the book are superior, comparable with the classic volumes published Abrams from 1959 until the firm was purchased by La Martinière Groupe in 1997.

Credit designer Claudean Wheeler and production coordinator Greg Nock for this book's superior production values. In fact, the coordination and correlation of text with design/illustration are seamless. In fact, they are interdependent. Also, I commend Bosler on her brilliant presentation of material with a writing style that has snap, crackle, and pop as well as grace. Bravo!

These are among the passages of greatest interest to me:

Introduction

o Why Design Matters, Why Design Rules Matter, & Why Creative Anarchy? (Pages 1-4)

Part 1: Learn the Rules

o Idea generation (Pages 13-16)
o Design basics (17-26)
o Contrast (25-26)
o Typography (27-43)
o Colors (44-49)
o Gestalt principles of design (67-72)
o Ego-free designer (73-77)
o Moderate-safe design (78-79)

Part 2: Break the Rules

o Gallery of advertising and advertisements (Pages 16-17)
o Branding (23-29)
o Examples of branding (30-40)
o Gallery of posters (51-58)
o Gallery of publication design (68-79)
o Gallery of packaging (107-115)
o Interactive design (120-123)

Obviously, no brief commentary such as mind can possibly do full justice to the abundance of information, insights, and counsel that Denise Bosler provides. However, I hope I have at least indicated why I think so highly of this book. If you agree with me after you read it, I commend to your attention another volume, Rotman on Design: The Best on Design Thinking from Rotman Magazine, co-edited by Roger Martin and Karen Christensen.

The Responsible Leader: Developing a Culture of Responsibility in an Uncertain World
The Responsible Leader: Developing a Culture of Responsibility in an Uncertain World
by Tim Richardson
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 33.95
28 used & new from CDN$ 18.32

5.0 out of 5 stars Without personal as well as shared accountability, little (if anything) of enduring value can be accomplished, Feb. 28 2015
As I began to read Tim Richardson's book, I was again reminded of another book, True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership, in which Bill George observes that authentic leaders are first and foremost authentic human beings. For me, this is his key point and because it seems so obvious, it may also seem simplistic. On the contrary, he has cut through all the rhetoric and urges his reader to examine her or his own core values. For most of us, that is an immensely difficult, perhaps painful experience.

It is noteworthy that, in The Inferno, Dante reserves the last and worst ring in hell for those who, in a moral crisis, preserve their neutrality. Throughout all manner of organizations, there are women and men who are authentic leaders and should be commended. The reality is, their respective organizations need more of them. Indeed, all of us in our global community need more of them. In his subsequent book, Authentic Leadership, George challenges us to join their number, as does Richardson.

I agree with him: a definition of leadership is one “that each of us can weigh in our contexts. What it does and will include how we as leaders are more considerate, trustworthy, inspiring, interconnected, selfless, and properly courageous…For ours is the task of influence and counsel, which itself carries great responsibility, perhaps without the overt recognition that comes with being the main man or women.” Responsible leaders are defined at least as much by who they are as human beings as by the impact of what they do, what they achieve, as difference-makers.

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Richardson’s coverage:

o Forming our mental models of leadership (Pages 5-6)
o Leadership through the ages (7-10)
0 Changes in sources of power: a 21st century revolution (10-20)
o Internal assuredness and attractiveness (28-33)
o Adaptability and learning orientation (34-38)
o Thinking and operating relationally (39-44
o Purpose and focus (44-48)
o The organizational dimension (63-73)
o The wider global and local connection (73-80)
o Listening to hear through the noise -- cultivate serenity (84-88)
o Redefining success (93-102)
o Enhanced learning cycle (109-123)
o Creating impactful and lasting development opportunities (124-131)
o Responsibility from commitment, not compliance: it starts with out view of the world (136-144)
o Impacting culture intentionally (145-159)
o Restructuring alone will not yield results (168-171)
o Measurement alone will not change behavior (173-176)
o A new way of being -- stepping forward for the greater good (182-190)

The information, insights, and counsel that Richardson provide in these and other passages help the reader to gain an almost 3D perspective on what responsible leadership is…and isn’t. There are practical issues to be addressed (how to obtain sufficient resources to achieve the given objectives) but also emotional issues (how to enlist and engage others with a compelling vision) and spiritual issues (how to serve higher purposes) that responsible leaders must address. In Chapter 4, "Living with paradox as a responsible leader," Richard shares his thoughts about "looking for and seeing beyond while dealing with the immediate." Throughout history, the greatest leaders demonstrate their ability to do so but it is important to keep in mind that great leaders -- viewed as gardeners -- have a "green thumb" for "growing" leaders among those with whom they are associated. They create and sustain what Richardson characterizes as a "culture of responsibility."

This is precisely what Lao-tse has in mind in this passage from the Tao Te Ching:

"Learn from the people
Plan with the people
Begin with what they have
Build on what they know
Of the best leaders
When the task is accomplished
The people will remark
We have done it ourselves."

Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out Bill George's aforementioned True North, written with Peter Sims, as well as James O’Toole’s The Executive’s Compass and Norman Pickavance's The Reconnected Leader: An Executive's Guide to Creating Responsible, Purposeful and Valuable Organizations.

The Reconnected Leader: An Executive's Guide to Creating Responsible, Purposeful and Valuable Organizations
The Reconnected Leader: An Executive's Guide to Creating Responsible, Purposeful and Valuable Organizations
by Norman Pickavance
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 51.50
35 used & new from CDN$ 34.75

5.0 out of 5 stars "Get real or you're toast." Lancelot Fahrquart, Feb. 27 2015
Thinking about reconnection presupposes a previous connection. That is the approach by which Norman Pickavance frames his thoughts and feelings about how to create "responsible, purposeful and valuable organizations" by reconnecting those who lead them with new, unprecedented realities in what has become a volatile global marketplace. Executives and organizations can indeed "lose their way," forgetting or replacing values, behaviors, and alliances that once helped them to achieve success.

I agree with Pickavance: "The tide has turned. Changes in our economic, technological and environment ecosystems have unleashed unprecedented forces, dragging society by invisible rip tides into a great sea of uncertainty. Leaders of our largest institutions increasingly cut off from what is going on around them. We are witnessing a sea change. When eras change, the choreography of events no longer follows the narrative we are accustomed to. Everything seems disjointed as we are bombarded by conflicting signals."

What to do? How to do it? To paraphrase Buffalo Springfield:

"There's something happening here
What it is ain't exactly clear
There's a book by Pickavance there
Telling me I got to beware
I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down"

As I began to read his book, I was again reminded of another, True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership, in which Bill George observes that authentic leaders are first and foremost authentic human beings. For me, this is his key point and because it seems so obvious, it may also seem simplistic. On the contrary, he has cut through all the rhetoric and urges his reader to examine her or his own core values. For most of us, that is an immensely difficult, sometimes painful experience.

It is noteworthy that, in The Inferno, Dante reserves the last and worst ring in hell for those who, in a moral crisis, preserve their neutrality. Throughout all manner of organizations, there are women and men who are authentic leaders and should be commended. The reality is, their own organizations need more of them. Indeed, all of us in our global community need more of them. In his subsequent book, Authentic Leadership, George challenges us to join their number as does Pickavance.

I agree with Pickavance that "the trust that once oiled the wheels of commerce - the trust that is the key for risks to be taken - is being drained out of the system, like oil from a gearbox. Gears that once moved smoothly now grind and grate upon each other. When trust has gone, business runs on a less efficient basis; customers never become loyal [much less 'evangelistic']; employees never fully commit; organizations continue to function but the creativity, passion, and joy of working together with people in a join endeavor disappear."

As William Butler Yeats once observed in his poem, The Second Coming,

"Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
"Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity."

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Pickavance's coverage through Chapter 06:

o Re-imagining leadership: A recurring phenomenon (Pages 8-14)
o A framework for "reconnected leadership" (16-19)
o Are we learning the right lessons?: Banks (28-30)
o Why competitive pressure crowds out ethical policies (33-35)
o Engineering out human connections Fragmenting performance (45-47)
o Fragmenting performance (48-53)
o The downsides of a digitally enhanced corporation (55-57)
o Introduction: The arrival of the connected era (65-67)
o The power of purpose: Are you a Mode 1 or Mode 2 organization (70-72)
o The five principles of a purpose-driven business (89-90)
o Eight steps to reconnected leadership: Purpose (95-97)
o Positioning: The six leadership practices (99-100)
o Speaking truth to power (113-116)
o Eight steps to reconnected leadership: Governance (119-121)
o Step 3: Creating reconnected cultures (125-133)
Note: This passage includes mini-case studies:

- Create: A social enterprise to help people get their lives back
- Gore-Tex
- Morning Star
- Zappos

o Connected talent environment: The power of many (136-138)
o Eight steps to reconnected leadership: workplace environment (145-149)

In this volume, Norman Pickavance provides an abundance of information, insights, and counsel that can help leaders in almost any organization - whatever its size and nature may be - to develop reconnected leadership at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise. The eight-step process he proposes will meanwhile help to establish a workplace culture within which personal growth and professional development are most likely to thrive. This book is a brilliant achievement. Bravo!

Those who share my high regard for it are urged to check out Bill George's aforementioned True North, written with Peter Sims, as well as James O'Toole's The Executive's Compass and Tim Richardson's The Responsible Leader: Developing a Culture of Responsibility in an Uncertain World.

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