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People Tools for Business
People Tools for Business
by Alan Fox
Edition: Paperback
Prix : CDN$ 14.32
17 used & new from CDN$ 10.65

5.0 étoiles sur 5 "In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is." Yogi Berra, Dec 19 2014
Here are 50 strategies ("hammers") that can drive initiatives ("tactics") to help individuals as well as organizations to "build success, create wealth, and find happiness," however defined. Each of the 50 is anchored in a real-world context involving real people coping with real issues. None of the strategies is a head-snapper, nor does Alan Fox make any such claim. However, all of them stress one or more core values that are essential to personal growth and professional development as well as organizational health and prosperity.

I agree with Warren Buffett: "Somebody once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if you don't have the first, the other two will kill you. You think about it; it's true. If you hire somebody without [integrity], you really want them to be dumb and lazy."

My own take on the material in People Skills for Business is that the 50 strategies can be condensed in the form of five essentials:

1. Being respected and trusted as well as liked always trumps being brilliant, always being right."

2. No one and nothing is insignificant but in almost any situation, degree of relevance must be carefully considered.

3. Set your priorities or someone else will.

4. Always tell the truth and you'll never contradict yourself.

5. It's not what you say, it's what you do to convince others how much you care about them.

Were I younger and more flexible in my current situation, I would jump at the opportunity to found and then build a company with Alan Fox. He comes across in this book as a thoughtful, caring, shrewd, wise, prudent, passionate, and perhaps most important of all, her seems to possess highly developed emotional intelligent.

His thoughts about leadership again remind me of a passage in Lao-tse's 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."

With all due respect to the importance of "people tools," I presume to suggest that they will be of little (if any) value to any leader unless the use of them is motivated by a sincere and tenacious commitment to help others to achieve personal growth and professional development. Only then will leaders prove worthy of those entrusted to their care.

An American in London: Whistler and the Thames
An American in London: Whistler and the Thames
by Margaret F. MacDonald
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 43.26
11 used & new from CDN$ 43.26

5.0 étoiles sur 5 A brilliant examination of a great artist, his major works, and his unique relationships with London and the Thames, Dec 19 2014
Until recently, I knew very little about James McNeil Whistler (1834-1903) and a younger contemporary painter, Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (1863-1923). Then I attended an exhibition of Sorolla's magnificent works at the Meadows Museum in Dallas and purchased a copy of Sorolla and America, compiled by Blanca Pons Sorolla and Mark A. Roglán. Later, I obtained a copy of An American in London: Whistler and the Thames, compiled by Margaret MacDonald and Patricia de Montfort. Frankly, given the aesthetic and contextual quality of both volumes, the term "compiler" seems wholly inadequate. For me at least, the two men and their art have been brought to life by those entrusted with that challenge. Bravo!

I am grateful to history.com for this biographical information: James Abbott McNeill Whistler was born on July 11, 1834, in Lowell, Massachusetts. He was educated in St. Petersburg, Russia, then attended the United States Military Academy at West Point. Establishing himself as a painter in Paris and London, Whistler developed his distinctive style, utilizing muted colors and simple forms. His masterpiece is largely credited as "Whistler's Mother" ("Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1"). Whistler died in 1903. His work later provided the inspiration for Oscar Wilde's novel The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890).

Visitors to the Amazon website learn that, in the 1860s and 1870s, Whistler produced a body of work based on Battersea Bridge, London. Pivotal to his career, this beautiful group of paintings permits a detailed examination of his approach to composition, subject and technique. The earliest pieces, notably Brown and Silver: Old Battersea Bridge, produced soon after his arrival in London, mark one of his most profound and successful challenges to the art establishment of the time and his influence on the aesthetics of the day. This comprehensive and handsomely illustrated study presents the definitive examples of Whistler's radical new approach to the time-honored subject of the city and river. The works reveal to us Whistler's world – the exhibitions, personalities, buildings, style and atmosphere which inform his art and root this American cosmopolitan securely in the ranks of noted artists inspired by London and the Thames.

With regard to this volume, there are several reasons why I think so highly of what MacDonald and de Montfort provide. Here are three. First, the book’s production values are outstanding. The reproductions of Whistler’s works come about as close as possible to suggesting (not duplicating) the visual impact when seeing them in person. I also greatly appreciate the inclusion of photographs, etchings, and works by other artists that expand and enrich even more the sequence of my favorites among Whistler's major works, including "The Last of Old Westminster" (1862), "Wapping" (1860-64), "Symphony in White No. 2: The Little White Girl" (1864), "Caprice in Purple and Gold: The olden Screen" (1864), "Noctunre: Grey and Gold -- Westminster Bridge" (1874/75), and "Nocturne: Blue and Gold -- Old Battersea Bridge" (1872/73).

My second reason has to do with the high quality of the text. For those such as I who previously knew little (if anything) about Whistler and especially his years in London, the Introduction, MacDonald's "Whistler and the Thames," de Montfort's "'Painting river pictures': Whistler's Chelsea subjects," and the narrative within the sequence of chapters provide a superb introduction to and a remarkably lucid explanation of the life and work of one of the greatest artists during the past 100 years.

Also, Margaret MacDonald and Patricia de Montfort display highly developed skills of world-class anthropologists as they create a context, a frame-of-reference, for a major artist and his work during one of the most exciting periods in a great city's cultural life. For non-scholars such as I, An American in London offers a combination of biographical and historical material with a generous selection of illustrations that bring to life both an artist and his art. Bravo!

The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism
The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism
by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 45.00
22 used & new from CDN$ 9.20

5.0 étoiles sur 5 To borrow a phrase from Carl Sandburg, here are U.S. politics during the golden age "with the lid off", Dec 19 2014
I agree with Bill Keller and his observation, in a review of this book for The New York Times, that Doris Kearns Goodwin's latest book, as did her previous Team of Rivals, serves as a time machine in which a reader can travel back to the turn of the 20th century, to a time when this country had politicians of stature and conscience, when the public believed that government could right great wrongs, when, before truncated attention spans, a 50,000-word exposé of corruption could sell out magazines and galvanize a reluctant Congress. The villains seemed bigger, too, or at least more brazen -- industrial barons and political bosses who monopolized entire industries, strangled entire cities. And "change" was not just a slogan. "There are but a handful of times in the history of our country," Goodwin writes in her introduction, "when there occurs a transformation so remarkable that a molt seems to take place, and an altered country begins to emerge."

Actually, although she set out to write only one book, about the rise and fall of the Progressive Party, she ended up writing several: her discussion of that period but an analysis of what is frequently referred to as the "Golden Age of Journalism" and of the two figures that dominated that period, Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.

Goodwin does indeed have an ambitious undertaking. Besides the two principals, her cast includes their adored wives -- Edith Roosevelt (literary and reclusive, a brake on her impetuous husband) and Nellie Taft (politically aware and astute, a goad to her chronically circumspect husband); they are treated not just as first ladies but as essential partners in and insightful commentators on the careers of their mates. There is also a colorful cast of industrialists, labor leaders, political rivals, cabinet members and, especially, fired-up journalists. Goodwin directs her characters with precision and affection, and the story comes together like a well-wrought novel.

In the 1890s, as now, there was a growing preoccupation with economic inequality. Then, as now, the liveliest political drama played out within a bitterly divided Republican Party. But back then the Republican insurgents were progressives, among them Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, challenging the party's long defense of laissez-faire and building a federal regulatory apparatus. Now, as William Howard Taft's great-grandson pointed out in a recent Op-Ed lament, the Republican insurgents champion "bomb-throwing obstructionism" and "empty nihilism" in an effort to dismantle the regulatory machinery the progressives constructed. I am reminded of one of Heraclitus' observations that everything changes, nothing changes.

The golden age Goodwin describes was, probably inevitably, short-lived. The success of McClure's and Collier's and the other premier investigative publications inspired many imitators who were more strident and less conscientious about their reporting. A "national fatigue with the ubiquitous literature of exposure" set in.

And the crusading journalists gradually became disillusioned by their hero. The disenchantment was mutual. "His exasperation with the proliferation of increasingly sensational and shoddily investigated exposure journalism had been slowly building," Goodwin writes. In 1906 Roosevelt vented his anger in a speech at the annual Gridiron Dinner, castigating the new journalists for ignoring success and inflaming public passions. (It was this speech that popularized the term "muckrakers," which the journalists later adopted as a badge of honor.) The next morning Steffens called on the president. "Well," he said, "you have put an end to all these journalistic investigations that have made you."

Judge for yourself whether or not that is true. In fact, read the book and then formulate your own opinions about a cast of compelling characters and their complicated interrelationships during one of the most turbulent - and exciting - periods in U.S. history.

A Year With Peter Drucker: 52 Weeks Of Coaching For Leadership Effectiveness
A Year With Peter Drucker: 52 Weeks Of Coaching For Leadership Effectiveness
by Joseph A Maciariello
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 23.30
7 used & new from CDN$ 22.80

5.0 étoiles sur 5 How would you like to have Peter Drucker as your personal advisor for the next twelve months?, Dec 18 2014
What we have in this remarkable volume are 52 entries -- one per week during the thematic framework of a calendar year -- subdivided into 13 major business topic categories. As Joseph Maciariello explains, "Each topic has important contributions to make in helping you become an effective [or more effective] leader. Some entries are unexpected examples and applications from organizations that may surprise you, but they are all important to Drucker's worldview, and to his principles of management." Readers will cherish his provision of "Summary of Drucker's Principles" (Pages 414-433). I agree with him: "Effective leadership is a practice, and like every other practice is mastered through an iterative process of learning and doing and learning more." Obviously, both Drucker and Maciariello agree with Aristotle: "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit."

I have read all of Drucker's books and reviewed most of them as well as dozens of his articles. I cannot think of another person who is better qualified than Maciariello is to produce a book such as this. With all due respect to his close and lengthy relationship with Drucker, he is an eminent thought leader and educator in his own right. In my opinion, the best way to view this book -- and derive greatest benefit from it -- is to view it as the equivalent of having Drucker as a personal advisor for twelve months. My guess (only a guess) is that most readers will first check out the table of contents, "Lessons Learned" (Pages 401-413) and then the Appendix before proceeding to whatever material that is of most relevant to their current or imminent needs, interests, concerns, etc. Maciariello is best viewed as a personal "tour guide" to that material. The order in which the material is presented -- Weeks 1-52 -- is much less important than the information, insights, and counsel to which Maciariello provides access.

Let's say, a reader needs to sharpen focus on what is most important rather than on what is urgent. Drucker's advice is provided in Weeks (Chapters) Six and Seven. Here's a sample:

o "Effective leaders I have met...did not start off with the question, 'What do I want?' They started off with the question, '[begin italics] What needs to be done? [end italics]'"

o The best proof that the danger of overpruning [eliminating urgent activities] is a bugaboo is the extraordinary effectiveness so often attained by severely ill or severely handicapped people."

o "So we start always with the long range, and then we feed back and say, What do we [begin italics] do today [end italics]?"

I commend Maciariello on his skillful use of an organizing principle for each of the 13 major business topic categories: Introduction, Read, Reflect, and Practicum-Prompts, with relevant observations by Drucker and others strategically inserted within the narrative. Throughout all of the Drucker books and articles that I have read, the emphasis is always on determining through real-world experience what works, what does, and why. He also insists on the importance of maintaining two perspectives: One on objectives to be achieved, and meanwhile, another on what be done now, today, this moment. "A manager must, so to speak, keep his nose to the grindstone while lifting his eyes to the hills -- quite an acrobatic feat." It is indeed.

With the imminent arrival of another New Year, I think many executives will welcome Peter Drucker's companionship as they proceed into an uncertain future, one during which disruptive change will occur faster and with greater frequency than at any prior time that I can remember. They will keep this book near at hand and in active use. And they will be grateful to Joseph Maciariello for enabling them, with Drucker's guidance, to embrace the challenges that await.

Succession: Mastering the Make-or-Break Process of Leadership Transition
Succession: Mastering the Make-or-Break Process of Leadership Transition
by Noel M. Tichy
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 21.91
21 used & new from CDN$ 18.53

5.0 étoiles sur 5 How and why leadership succession at all levels and in all areas is a continuous process to sustain organizational regeneration,, Dec 12 2014
I know of no one else who has made more - and more valuable - contributions to a subject that has generated, the last time I checked Amazon's offerings, more than 129,000 volumes in the general category of leadership and more than 53,000 of them focus on business leadership. Several of his previous books explain what effective leadership development requires. His latest book focuses on leadership succession at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise.

As he explains, "At the most basic level, leadership succession and transition is a continuous process of organizational transformation: a people decision, an organizational decision, and a strategy decision all rolled into one, with not infrequently [i.e. frequently] a crisis call thrown in for good measure...leadership succession And transition is simply [?] the most politically and culturally charged, technically challenged, and critical leadership assignment of all the many judgments that business leaders are obliged to make in the course of doing their jobs. And, for that very reason, it is at least as easy to get wrong as it is tough to get it right."

Tichy provides in this single volume just about all any company needs to "get it right." More specifically, a wealth of info0rmation, insights, and counsel based on several decades of his experience, research, and analysis of hundreds of quite different companies. He devotes the first 345 pages to a cohesive, comprehensive, and cost-effect system within which to sustain the aforementioned process of organizational transformation. Then he adds a book-within-a-book, Succession Planning: A Process Handbook, co-authored by Chris DeRose and Tichy with Don Pryzgodski. This "Handbook" (Pages 349-385), all by itself, is worth far more than the total cost of the entire book as is the material that follows: Appendix 1 (Teaching Instructions) and another treasure, Action Learning: Simultaneous Development and Succession Planning Handbook, co-authored with DeRose.

In the mid 1980s, Tichy was head of GE's Leadership Center; later, the author of more than a dozen books and a hundred articles about all aspects of leadership development. Currently, he is a Professor of Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. He is also the director of the Global Business Partnership, which for over a decade ran the Global Leadership Program, a 36-company consortium of Japanese, European and North American companies who partnered to develop senior executives and conduct action research on globalization in China, India, Russia and Brazil. He now heads up the Global Leadership in Healthcare Program working with CEOs and their senior teams from major medical centers in the U.S. along with teams in Europe and India.

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Tichy's coverage in this, his latest book:

o Defining Leadership Success (Pages 28-30)
o Seven Factors of Leadership Failure (32-51)
o Getting It Right at DuPont (73-82)
o Getting It Right at Steelcase (86-96)
o Getting It Right at Ameritech (96-102)
o Six CEO Succession Rules (105-114)
o Getting It Right at P&G (Twice): A.G. Lafley, the "Accidental CEO" (115-121)
o Getting HR Right: The Key Building Blocks (131-134)
o Getting HR Right: Strategic Human Resources at IBM (146-153)
o Getting It Wrong at Royal Dutch Shell (161-168)
o Seven Board Succession Best Practices (183-186)
o Ten Principles for Finding the Right CEO (187)
o Getting It Wrong at JCPenney (200-207)
o Getting It Right at Ford (Finally!) Pages 218-221
o Getting It Right at Boeing (224-229)
o Getting It Right at Allied Signal (230-232)
o Getting It Right at Honeywell (232-234)

Note: The "getting it right" mini-case studies, actually what I call "snapshots," are based on immensely complicated situations. With consummate skill, Tichy focuses on the key point or take-away. This is a brilliant device I wish more business authors employed.

o The Meritocratic Solution (249-252)
o S.C. Johnson & Son: The Gold Standard for Family Businesses (263-269)
o The Four Trends to Which All Future CEOs Will Need to Adapt (318-328)
o Learning from Best Practices (333-338)

Obviously, no brief commentary such as mine can do full justice to the scope and depth of material provided in this (believe it or not) single source. However, I hope I have indicated why I think so highly of Noel Tichy and his work. Bravo!

Lead Like it Matters...Because it Does: Practical Leadership Tools to Inspire and Engage Your People and Create Great Results: Practical Leadership Tools ... Engage Your People and Create Great Results
Lead Like it Matters...Because it Does: Practical Leadership Tools to Inspire and Engage Your People and Create Great Results: Practical Leadership Tools ... Engage Your People and Create Great Results
Prix : CDN$ 13.89

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Every organizations needs effective leadership at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise., Dec 12 2014
The last time I checked, Amazon offers 129, 319 volumes in the general category of leadership and 53,713 of them focus on business leadership. Why another? Just as in residential real estate whose mantra suggests that for every house there is a buyer, it can also be said that for every book there is a reader. I think that many readers will welcome the abundance of information and counsel that Roxi Behar Hewertson provides in Lead Like It Matters...Because It Does. Her primary focus is on eight insights, none of which is a head-snapper, nor does she make any such claim. Here they are, accompanied by a few brief annotations of mine.

1. "Knowing is the easy part. Doing is the hard part."

True, but beware of the perils that Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton discuss in their business classic, The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge into Action.

2."Leading people is messy!"

In Song of Myself, Walt Whitman observes, "Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself: I am large, I contain multitudes." All human beings are complicated, sometimes contradictory creatures, and yes, lives are often messy. That said, I agree with Hewertson: messiness need not be a permanent condition.

3. "Leadership is a [begin italics] discipline [end italics], not an accident."

This insight reminds me of an observation by Aristotle: "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." The same can be said of effective leadership. Its foundation consists of several essential, carefully developed habits.

4. "Leading and Individual Contribution require opposite skills and motivations."

Please see my comments about #2. Also, the healthiest human communities are those in which principled dissent is not encouraged; rather, it is [begin italics] required [end italics].

5. "Leading is all about relationships!"

The most important relationship is the one that each of us has with our self. The health of all other relationships depends on the health of that one. Years ago, Carl Rogers suggested that people without an identity crisis are those who are comfortable living in their own bodies.

6. "Learning the 'soft skills' is hard!"

Practicing each of them diligently each day, day after day, is even more difficult. In fact, I resent anyone's characterization of empathy and decency, for example, as "soft skills" and presumably Hewertson agrees. Moreover, empathy and decency are not skills; rather, qualities of character.

7. "Most change efforts fail, and they don't have to."

I do not wholly agree. Many change initiatives are doomed to failure because of what Peter Drucker had in mind in 1963: "There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all." Let's assume the given initiative is eminently worthy, indeed urgent. In that event, it is imperative to keep in mind that the strongest resistance to change tends to be cultural in nature, the result of what James O'Toole so aptly characterizes as "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom."

8. "Leaders create and destroy cultures."

In Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (1942), Joseph Schumpeter speaks to this when he introduces his concept of creative destruction. When he became chairman and CEO of GE, Reggie Jones led the company to global dominance in more than a dozen industrial product areas. Then, when he selected his successor, he told Jack Welch to "blow up GE."

The title of this review expresses one of my core convictions about organizational health. Whatever their size and nature mazy be, all need effective leadership at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise. I commend Roxi Behar Hewertson on the wealth of information, insights, and counsel that she provides in this volume. Those who read it and then (hopefully) re-read will be well-prepared to help their organization to establish or strengthen a workplace culture within which personal growth and professional development are most likely to thrive. Bravo!

Inateck 13.3 Inch MacBook Air/ MacBook Pro with Retina Display Ultrabook Netbook Sleeve Envelope Case Cover Carrying Protector Sleeve Bag with Card Slot for Apple MacBook Air/ Macbook Pro Retina, Compatible with Most 11-Inch Ultrabook Netbook, Grey
Inateck 13.3 Inch MacBook Air/ MacBook Pro with Retina Display Ultrabook Netbook Sleeve Envelope Case Cover Carrying Protector Sleeve Bag with Card Slot for Apple MacBook Air/ Macbook Pro Retina, Compatible with Most 11-Inch Ultrabook Netbook, Grey
Offered by InateckOfficial
Prix : CDN$ 21.99
2 used & new from CDN$ 20.29

5.0 étoiles sur 5 More, much more than I expected, Dec 10 2014
I waited a few months before reviewing this product in order to give it an extended and rigorous test. I rate it Five Stars in all respects, including price as well as design and durability. If you have a MacBook Air or Pro and don't have this product, give it to yourself as a gift. Happy Holidays!

Driven to Distraction at Work: How to Focus and Be More Productive
Driven to Distraction at Work: How to Focus and Be More Productive
by Ned Hallowell
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 18.18
16 used & new from CDN$ 15.12

5.0 étoiles sur 5 How to "modulate distraction and overload while becoming happier, healthier, and more productive in the process", Dec 9 2014
I have reviewed most of Ned Hallowell's previously published books -- notably Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder (2005) and Answers to Distraction (Paperback), co-authored with John J. Ratey (2010), and Shine: Using Brain Science to Get the Best from Your People (2011) -- and I am by now thoroughly convinced that his mission in life is to help as many people (of all ages) as possible to accelerate their personal growth and professional development. I include Shine in this brief commentary because much of its material correlates very nicely with material in his latest book, Driven to Distraction at Work. In it, he focuses on a major problem: attention deficit trait. He devised the term -- ADT -- in 1994 to describe an increasingly more common problem in the workplace then, twenty years ago. It is much worse now, probably because of the rapid and extensive adoption of electronic communication devices. Today, many people seem to have the attention of a Strobe light blink. They have lost their ability to focus on anything, while "always in a rush, bouncing from task to task like boats against the current, worried that they're falling behind even as they strive to get ahead."

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

o Symptoms of ADT (Pages 5-7)
o The Six Most Common Distractions at Work -- and How to Overcome Them (10-13)
o Table 1-1: Beneficial and problematic aspects of electronic devices (28)
o Symptoms of Internet gaming disorder (30-31)
o 10 tips for reducing screen sucking (37-38)
o 10 tips for multitaskers and people who can't say no (53-55)
o The despair of infinite possibility (61-64)
o 10 tips for idea hoppers (75-77)
o 10 tips for dealing with toxic worry (95-96)
o Altruism and the curse of the toxic handler (101-107)
o 10 tips for helping you take care of yourself, not just everyone else (115-117)
o 10 tips for adults who have ADHD (131-133)
o Creating the optimal state for excellence (137-140)
o What is flexible focus (140-144)
o How to Achieve Focus Three Words at a Time (145-146)
o The essential ingredients of a self-improvement plan: energy, emotion, engagement, structure, control (152-154)
o Preparation's "sensational six": sleep, nutrition, exercise, meditation, stimulation, and positive human connection (157-170)
o The myriad benefits of meditation (172-174)
o The forgotten key to health and success, however defined (193-195)
o Quick Tips for Managing Psychology (221-222)

Oliver Wendell Holmes once expressed his high regard for what he characterized as “simplicity on the other side of complexity.” Few books published in which their authors explain how to achieve personal growth and professional development reach the other side of that process’ complexity. Edward (“Ned”) Hallowell is among the precious few and I congratulate him heartily on this latest brilliant achievement. The wealth of invaluable information, insights, and counsel he provides is unsurpassed. Bravo!

Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World
Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World
by Mark Miodownik
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 24.13
21 used & new from CDN$ 18.43

1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 How and why we need to find out "where materials came from, how they work, and what they say about us.", Dec 3 2014
The title of this book caught my eye, perhaps because of my fondness for one of George Carlin''s routines. As for the subtitle, I was curious to know more about the "marvelous materials" that shape my every-day world. Then as I began to work my way through Mark Miodownik's lively and eloquent narrative, I compiled a list of products with which I begin my day: alarm clock, pillows and covers, slippers, overhead light, toilet, shower, shampoo, towel, robe, sink, faucets, shave cream, razor, lotion, and brush. Mind you, all this is before I start a pot of coffee and fetch the newspapers from my front door.

Miodownik explores subjects in which I had no prior interest: In alpha order, aerogels, ACL repairs, bone china, celluloid, steel-reinfofrced concrete, graphene and graphite, meteors, polymers, and silicon dioxide. Miodownik explains, "The central idea behind materials science is that changes at these invisibly small [i.e. atomic] scales impact a material's behavior at the human scale. It is this process that pour ancestors stumbled upon to make new materials such as bronze and steel, even though they did not have the microscopes to see what they were doing -- an amazing achievement."

Frankly, I never gave any of this much thought until I read this book the first time. Afterward, I began to reflect back on all the major changes in farm equipment, based on trial-and-error as well as research to improve it. The same can be said of major changes ("breakthrough innovations"?) throughout the history of warfare, again based on trial-and-error as well as research to improve weapons as well as vehicles and aircraft. The stirrup revolutionized warfare when first introduced as did the first McCormick reaper, eventually, after it was introduced in 1840 when Cyrus McCormick sold one. Without the "marvelous materials" to which Miodownik refers, I would have none of the items listed earlier, nor would anyone have much 0f anything except soil, water, vegetation, wood, and if clever enough, fish and wildlife.

Here in Dallas near the downto0wn area, there is a Farmer's Market at which merchants offer slices of fresh fruit as samples. In that same spirit, I now offer these brief excerpts that are representative of the thrust and flavor of Miodownik's analysis:

"The central idea behind materials science is that changes of these invisibly small scales impact a material's behavior at the human scale. It is this process that our ancestors stumbled upon to make new materials such as bronze and steel, even thought they did not have the microscopes to see what they were doing -- an amazing achievement." (Page xvii)

o "It is easy to underestimate the importance of note paper: it is a two-thousand-year-old technology, the sophistication of which is necessarily hidden from us so that, rather than being intimidated by its microscopic genius, we see only a blank page, allowing us to record on its surface whatever we choose." (24)

o "It's possible that, because of environmental considerations, our energy costs will get higher and higher. In a sufficiently high-cost energy future, it is conceivable that the monolithic double glazing we are all used to will be replaced with a much more sophisticated glass material based on aerogel technology." (108)

o "We are all sensitive to the meanings of materials, whether consciously or unconsciously. And since everything is made from something, these meanings pervade our minds. We are being bombarded with them constantly in our environment. Whether we are out on a farm or in a city, or ion a train nor plane, in a library or a shopping mall, they affect us...In a very real way, then, materials are a reflection of who we are, a multi-scale expression of our human needs and desires."(226)

Miodownik has helped me to understand -- and appreciate -- that the materials around us "might seem like blobs of differently colored matter, they are in fact much more than that: they are complex expressions of human needs and desires." He has helped me to become much more fluent in the "language" of materials science, a language that offers "a unifying concept that encompasses all materials, not just the ones we have considered in detail in this book."

Obviously, no brief commentary such as mine can possibly do full justice to the scope and depth of material that Mark Miodownik provides. However, I hope I have at least indicated why I think so highly of his rigorous' lively, and eloquent exploration and analysis of the "marvelous materials that shape our-man made world."

The Future of Work: Attract New Talent, Build Better Leaders, and Create a Competitive Organization
The Future of Work: Attract New Talent, Build Better Leaders, and Create a Competitive Organization
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 The future workplace environment: one within which personal growth and professional development are most likely to flourish, Dec 3 2014
Years ago, Peter Drucker asserted, “The best way to predict the future is to create it." I agree but there are always forces that are beyond any one leader’s or company's control. Hence the importance of recognizing emerging trends, especially those that may indicate a paradigm shift. For example, after Henry Ford introduced the Model T in 1908, the owner of the #2 buggy whip manufacturer recognized its potential implications and began to prepare to manufacture and market automotive products. Within a year, four of the other top five went bankrupt. To a significant extent, the future of work is determined or significantly influenced by the impact of disruptive innovations, with the Internet and Web only the latest examples.

I agree with Jacob Morgan: “Many organizations around the world today are in trouble. The world of work is changing around them as they remain stagnant. The larger the gap grows, the greater the chance becomes that these organizations will not survive.“ This is what Marshall Goldsmith has in mind in one of his latest books, What Got You Here Won’t Get Your There. Presumably Morgan as well as Goldsmith agree with me that what got you here won’t even enable you to remain here, much less get there.

Morgan cites “The Five Trends Shaping the Future of Work” in the first chapter, any one of which – all by itself – poses significant challenges to organizational leaders. New behaviors, for example, will be shaped by social media and the Web whereas ever-expanding globalization initiatives will eliminate all traditional boundaries. The “there” to which Goldsmith refers becomes more difficult each day to define.

Morgan is spot-on: “Employees are bringing new approaches, attitudes, expectations, and ways of working into organizations. Managers must adapt to this new way of working by changing the way they lead, which then forces the organization as a whole to adapt to employees and managers.”

The Millennial Workforce (13-16)
Engagement Is Important but Lacking (24-27)
The “Fabulous Five” Generations (27-30)
FIGURE 3.1 Seven Principles of the Future Employee (32)
The Three Components of Flexible Work (33-35)
The End of the Traditional Work Schedule (41-47)
Sharing and Stack Ranking (49-55)
New Crucial Employee Behaviors (59-62)
FIGURE 3.3 The Evolution of the Employee (67)
Companies Using Freelancers (73-76)
Manager of the Past/Today (77-84)
Outdated Management (85-89)
Ten Principles of the Future Manager (91-92)
Embrace Vulnerability, and, Belief in Sharing and Collective Intelligence (101-106)
Bed a Fire Starter (106-108)
What Makes These [Managerless] Companies Work? (126-129)
The Benefits of a Managerless Company, and, Issues with Managerless Companies (129-133)
14 Principles of the future Company (146)
Operate Like a Small Company (154-157)
Innovation from Anywhere, All the Time, and Creating Ecosystems (160-168)
The Four Roadblocks of the Future Organization (189-191)
The 12 Habits of Highly Collaborative Organizations (194-201)

Long ago, Charles Darwin observed, "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." In Chapter 11, Morgan presents a six-step process for adapting to the future of work:

1. Challenge assumptions.
2. Create a team to help lead the effort.
3. Define your "future of work."
4. Communicate your "future of work."
5. Experiment and empower employees to take action.
6. Implement broad-based change.

For each of these, Morgan carefully explains how to complete it. He urges his reader to make certain that the right questions are being asked. Obtaining correct answers to the wrong questions can destroy an organization faster than almost any other activity I can imagine. I suspect this is what Drucker had in mind when insisting, "There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all." Almost all of the information, insights, and counsel provided in this book -- as well as the six trends examined -- are relevant to almost any organization, whatever its size and nature may be. Successful companies will be those that attract new talent, build better leaders, and create a competitive organization. Those that don't will have no future. What has always been true in the past will be even more true in months and years to come: The most valuable workers insist on a culture within which personal growth and professional development are most likely to flourish. I commend Jacob Morgan on a brilliant achievement. Bravo!

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