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Tales From Both Sides Of The Brain: A Life In Neuroscience
Tales From Both Sides Of The Brain: A Life In Neuroscience
by Michael S Gazzaniga
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 22.56
35 used & new from CDN$ 22.56

5.0 étoiles sur 5 "His wit and joie de vivre showed generations of students and colleagues the human face of science." Steven Pinker, March 27 2015
Most of the great works of non-fiction are evidence- and/or experience-driven and usually involve a journal of personal discovery. That is certainly true of this book in which Michael Gazzaniga shares dozens of "tales" from his life and career in neuroscience, thus far. Gazzaniga is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he heads the new SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind. His primary focus in this book is on six patients whose treatment -- varying somewhat in nature and extent -- involved experiments in split-brain research that generated revelations of historic significance. As Gazzaniga explains, these were founding cases from CalTech (identified as W.J, N.G., and L.B.) and the East Coast series (P.S., J.W., and V.P.).

"While some have died, others live and remain very special people. They are the story and in many ways give the story its structure. Even with their brains divided for medical reasons, they conquered life with singular purpose and will. How they did this reveals secrets about how those of us without the operation accomplish this as well."

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me (in Parts 1 and 2), also listed to suggest the scope of Gazzaniga's coverage:

o Discovering Caltech (Pages 17-26)
o Science Then and Now, and, Origin of Split-Brain Research (40-46)
o Dr. Sperry, and, Discovery and Credit (46-54)
o Establishing the Basics (of scientific exploration), Pages 55-58
o Wait: How Does Sensory-Motor Integration Work? (67-75)
o Brain Cueing Is Everywhere (79-83)
o Leaving the Nest (91-96)
o Sharing Resources: The Art of Science (104-109)
o The New York Lunch (119-125)
o First Steps into the Neurologic Clinic (127-131)
o Challenging the Idea of Two Minds (131-135)
o Don't Quit Your Day Job (144-153)
o The Joys of Mentoring and Friendship (161-169)
o George A. Miller and the Birth of Cognitive Neuroscience (179-186)
o The Two Posners, One of a Kind (190-197)
o Simplifying Our Lives (216-225)
o Brain Mechanisms of Attention (225-232)
o Only Partial Disconnections: The Semi-Split Mind (239-244)
o The Allure of a Research University (246-248)

Those who read this brilliant book will also experience a personal journey of their own. I, for one, felt as if I were tagging along with Gazzaniga as he proceeds through his formal education and subsequent involvement in a series of breakthrough experiments. He confides, "As I look back on those early days, it may have been good for human split-brain research to begin coming of age in the hands of the simplest researcher: me. I didn't know anything [except that]. I was simply trying to figure it out using my own vocabulary and my own simple logic. That is all I had, along with bundles of energy."

Over time, of course, Gazzaniga gained international renown for his achievements that also include important advances in our understanding of functional lateralization in the brain and how the cerebral hemispheres communicate with one another. So, what we have is personal/professional memoir of a pioneer in neuroscience research but also a wealth of information and insights provided by the treatment of six very special people "who taught the world so much." Gazzaniga dedicates this volume to them. He duly acknowledges each breakthrough as "a task made possible over the years by the generous cooperation of the patients themselves" as well as countless associates with whom he collaborated, notably Roger W. Sperry to whom he reported at CalTech. "It is no secret that Roger Sperry and I had some difficulties later in my career...While sharing credit was not his long suit, it also should be no secret that I never gad anything but the highest regard for him. When he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1981 for split-brain work, it was well-deserved."

Thank you, Michael Gazzaniga, for all that I have learned from what you have learned and so generously shared. There is so much more for me to learn as my own "journey" continues. You conclude with a key point: "Humans may have discovered some of the constraints on the thought processes, but we have not been able to tell the complete story." No doubt you have several more "chapters" to contribute. Bon voyage!

Marketing Above the Noise: Achieve Strategic Advantage with Marketing that Matters
Marketing Above the Noise: Achieve Strategic Advantage with Marketing that Matters
Prix : CDN$ 12.51

5.0 étoiles sur 5 “Price is what you charge. Value is what people think it’s worth.” Warren Buffett, March 26 2015
I selected the Buffett statement because it correctly affirms the importance of perceived value and the primacy of the consumer’s perspective

Since the marketplaces in ancient Greece and then Rome, marketing’s purpose has been – and continues to be – creating or increasing demand for whatever is offered, be it a smartphone or a magazine subscription, a light beer or a children’s toy. Competition for consumer attention now is much greater than it was at any prior time that I can remember. The difficulty of that exacerbated by the fact that – mostly because of the Web – consumers are better informed today than ever before. They control the purchase decision process.

I agree with Linda Popky that marketers should focus on “developing those long-term strategies that build customer loyalty and convince prospects to buy. Yes, businesses need to be aware of new media and new approaches and be prepared to integrate them. But they need to do this in a way that makes sense for their business. They need to maintain a clear focus above the din of the roaring crowd – above the marketing noise.”

How to do that? Popky recommends using the Dynamic Marketing Leverage Assessment Model which examines eight marketing principles “that have been at the core of good marketing initiatives for a long, long time.” More specifi9c ally, she refers to strategy, products and/ort services, customers, brand, communication, operations, sales channels, and market analysis. Interaction between and among them must be carefully coordinated at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise.

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

o How Do You Get Above the Noise?, and, Figure 1-2: The Dynamic Market Leverage Model (Pages 10-12)
o Change Is the New Constant (15-18)
o The Five Stages of the Purchase Process (27-30)
o Demand Generation (40-41)
o Conversations, Content, and Communities (43-48)
o Go to Market Means Go to Consumers (65-66)
o What Does the Ideal Bank Look Like (81-84)
o Five Ways to Generate Demand (86-98)
o Are We Harmonizing or Shouting at Each Other? (104-107)
o Channeling a New Force (110-112)
o Data, Data Everywhere (116-117)
o Sharing Data Insights to Assist Customers (122-124)
o Which Comes First: Customers or Employees? (132-133)
o Setting the Table (137-138)
o Context Counts (144-145)
o Using Social Sharing to Save Lives (146-148)
o The Five Momentum Factors (158-170)

Once again, I agree with Linda Popky: "Now, more than ever before, we need marketing stewardship. Just as a good orchestra needs a good conductor [and a great orchestra has a great conductor], we need strong marketing leaders who understand both the business and the craft of marketing. We need these people to be well integrated into the organization so they can tie marketing to the overall objectives of the business. Only then can we help our organization find their true voice and be heard above the noise."

In fact, I am among those who believe that [begin italics] everyone [end italics] within an organization should be actively and continuously involved in efforts to create or increase demand, not only for products and services but also for employment, career opportunities, and joint ventures. Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba wrote a book in which they explain how to create what they characterize as "customer evangelists." Companies annually ranked among those that are most highly regarded and best to work for are also annually ranked among those that are most profitable and have the greatest cap value in their competitive marketplace. Yes, they all have customers who are "evangelists" as well as employees (or associates, if you prefer) who are also evangelists. Marketing is a constant sport and in the most successful companies, everyone is a player

The Membership Economy: Find Your Super Users, Master the Forever Transaction, and Build Recurring Revenue
The Membership Economy: Find Your Super Users, Master the Forever Transaction, and Build Recurring Revenue
by Robbie Kellman Baxter
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 21.28
21 used & new from CDN$ 19.45

5.0 étoiles sur 5 How to create a community of “customer evangelists” who thrive in the Membership Economy, March 23 2015
The term “customer evangelist” was introduced by Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba in their eponymous classic in 2002. I cannot recall a prior time when it was more difficult to create and retain them than it is today and competition is certain to become even more intense in months and years to come. That said, to what does the title of Robbie Kellman Baxter’s book refer?

She defines membership "as the state of being formally engaged with a organization or group on an ongoing basis. Members are part of the whole -- although they don't always contribute to the experience of other members. An organization able to build relationships with [begin italics] members [end italics] -- as opposed to plain customers [end italics] -- has a powerful competitive edge. It's not just changing the words you use; it's about changing the way you think about the people you serve and how you treat them."

Companies that thrive in what Baxter characterizes as the Membership Economy are annually ranked among those that are the best to work for and held in highest regard. They are also annually ranked among those that are most profitable with the greatest cap value in their competitive marketplace.

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me (through Chapter 16), also listed to suggest the scope of Baxter’s coverage:

o What Is the Membership Economy? (Pages 2-3)
o The Membership Economy Matters to Its Members (21-22)
o Membership Organizations Come in a Variety of Flavors, and, The Darker Side of the Membership Economy (27-29)
o Promote a Culture of Marketing Innovation (34-38)
o Why Marketing Loves Membership (41-42)
o The Steps in a Typical Sales Acquisition Funnel (46-52)

o What Defines an Organization's Superusers, Increasing the Number of Your Organization's Superusers, and Why Superusers Are Important to an Organization (58-63)
Note: These three separate but related passages need to be re-read frequently as reminders of key points.

o Seven Potential Revenue Streams (68-73)
o Common Pricing Mistakes (76-78)
o When Free Isn't Really Free: The Napster's Story (87-77)
o Technology Matters -- Especially in the Membership Economy (92-94)
o Key Technologies of the Membership Economy (94-95)
o Increase Engagement Over Time (102-104)
o SurveyMonkey: Going Upmarket While Staying True ton Early Customers (118-123)
o LinkedIn: Using Freemium to Avoid the Chicken-and-Egg Problem (130-132)
o Pinterest: Driving a New Way to Search by the Power of Community (132-135)
o Starbucks: Build Something Uniquely Tied to the Brand (139-141)
o American Express: Give Membership Its Privileges (148-151)
o How Mom and Pop Can Embrace the Membership Economy (158-159)
o What You Can Learn from Small Businesses and Consultancies (163-164)

As I worked my way through Baxter's eloquent as well as lively narrative, it seemed to me that her concept of a community within a membership economy bears stunning resemblance to Seth Godin's concept of a tribe. The members are devoted to each other, of course, but especially to the cause, mission, values, and indeed vision they share. Residents of what I call the Apple Orchard have no desire to be elsewhere. (I am now wearing out my sixth and seventh Apple computers. To paraphrase Charlton Heston, "I will give up my Apple when they peel my cold dead fingers from around it.") Harley owners have the same strong sense of ownership pride. More relevant to the Experience Economy is the community that my friends Bo Burlington and Paul Spiegelman co-founded, Inc. Small Giants Community, dedicated to "inspiring the next generation of business changemakers and values-driven entrepreneurs from across the land." Presumably Baxter agrees with Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

Baxter makes skill use of several reader-friendly devices that include dozens of "Tables" (e.g. 6.1 "The Onboarding Process" and 10.1 "Secrets to Increase Loyalty: What the Pros Know") as well as a "Remember" section at the conclusion of Chapters 1-21 and her Conclusion. These devices facilitate, indeed expedite frequent review of key material later.

Before concluding her book, Robbie Kellman Baxter expresses her desire to "be there" for all of her readers, if she can. Here's her offer: "If after reading this book, you want to incorporate the Membership Economy into your organization, let me know. I'm building an online community to support the Membership Economy, but in the meanwhile, just send me an email to rbaxter@peninsulastrategies.com with your specific question, and I'll do my best to answer it. Best of luck, and keep in touch!"

I presume to stress the importance of collaboration because it really is essential to what "a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens" can accomplish in the Experience Economy. In this context, I am again reminded of my favorite 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."

The Engaged Leader: A Strategy for Your Digital Transformation
The Engaged Leader: A Strategy for Your Digital Transformation
Prix : CDN$ 9.99

5.0 étoiles sur 5 How and why engaged leaders transform themselves so that they can transform their organizations, March 23 2015
Recent research by highly reputable firms such as Gallup and Towers Watson indicates that, on average, less than 30% who comprise the workforce in a U.S. company are actively and positively engaged; the others are either passively engaged (“mailing it in”) or actively disengaged, doing whatever they can to undermine the success of their company.

Whatever their size and nature may be, all organizations need effective leadership at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise. According to Charlene Li, the challenges for leaders today are daunting. “First, power and influence have decoupled from title and pay grade, and many people are at a loss as to how to proceed. The hierarchies developed at the dawn of the industrial age, and which are still common today, were done so to create efficiency and scale…But in our modern, digitally connected world, the need for efficiency pales compared with the need for speed, innovation, and change.”

The situation is exacerbated by traditional middle managers who are resistant to change, demonstrating what James O’Toole so aptly characterizes as “the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom.” Because middle managers are located below the C-suite and the front lines, “they abhor the new openness. They see top executives going around them to talk with their direct reports. They feel they are losing control, so many fight these changes tooth and nail.”

More often than not, those who defend an organization’s status quo are the same people who challenged the previous status quo and replaced those who defended it. Li then suggests a third challenge, a daunting one indeed: A lack of ownership among leaders struggling to see the upside of the digital landscape. So, “why are so many CEOs and business leaders still trying to figure it out and find the upside? Because many still believe it’s someone else’s job. They don’t think they have the skills or expertise to tap into the digital and social tools. So they back off,” as do their organizations.

Li wrote this book in response to these challenges. Her primary objective is to suggest and explain a strategy for digital transformation that almost any organization can adopt. These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of her coverage:

o Backing Off -- It's Not an Option (Pages 9-13)
o Becoming an Engaged Leader -- Strategy Begins with a Plan (18-20)
o A New Mind-Set for Listening, and The Art of Listening (23-28)
o Share to Shape (36-39)
o The Sharing Shift -- From Scarcity to Abundance (39-42)
o The Art of Sharing (42-47)
o The Science of Sharing (47-52)
o Why Engagement Transforms Leaders -- and Their Organizations (57-59)
o Changing Minds About Engagement (59-61)
o Digital Engagement Strategy: Art and Science Overlap 62-79)
o Change Is a Process (83-92)

To repeat, whatever their size and nature may be, all organizations need effective leadership at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise. In other words, leaders who are positively and productively engaged in a never-ending process of transforming their organization so that it can respond much more effectively to challenges such as those Charlene Li identifies.

When asked to explain the extraordinary success of Southwest Airlines, its then chairman and CEO, Herb Kelleher replied, “We take great care of our people, they take great care of our customers, and our customers take great care of our shareholders.”

In a comparable manner, engaged leaders energize a workforce by listening at scale, sharing to shape, and engaging to transform. Then together, in collaboration, they transform their organization. In this context, I am again reminded of my favorite 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."

The High-Speed Company: Creating Urgency and Growth in a Nanosecond Culture
The High-Speed Company: Creating Urgency and Growth in a Nanosecond Culture
by Jason Jennings
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 20.65
30 used & new from CDN$ 7.03

5.0 étoiles sur 5 How to accelerate personal growth and professional development in almost any organization, whatever its size or nature, March 22 2015
In one of his previous evidence-driven books, Think Big, Act Small: How America's Best Performing Companies Keep the Start-up Spirit Alive, Jason Jennings shares the results of his efforts to identify what became ten building blocks, each of which is examined in depth in that book. They are:

1. Down to Earth (i.e. leaders who are accessible, providing leadership that is transparent)
2. Keep Your Hands Dirty (e.g. SAS Institute at which leaders have "dirt under their nails")
3. Make Short-Term Goals and Long-Term Horizons (e.g. Sonic Drive-In)
4. Let Go of the Status Quo, "business as usual" (e.g. Cabela’s)
5. Have Everyone Think and Act Like an Owner (e.g. Koch Industries)
6. Invent New Businesses (e.g. Dot Foods)
7. Create Win-Win Solutions for Everyone (e.g. Medline Industries)
8. Choose Your Competitors: decide where and when to compete (e.g. PETCO Animal Supplies)
9. Build Communities, not only organi9zations (e.g. Strayer Education)
10. Grow Future Leaders at all levels and in all areas (e.g. O’Reilly Automotive)

Each of these building blocks suggests inherent values that should guide and inform an organization's hiring, onboarding, and development of people who embrace these values.

As I read Jennings' most recent book, The High-Speed Company, I was again reminded of Jack Welch's response at a GE annual meeting when its then chairman and CEO was asked why he admired small companies and wanted GE to function like one:

“For one, they communicate better. Without the din and prattle of bureaucracy, people listen as well as talk; and since there are fewer of them they generally know and understand each other. Second, small companies move faster. They know the penalties for hesitation in the marketplace. Third, in small companies, with fewer layers and less camouflage, the leaders show up very clearly on the screen. Their performance and its impact are clear to everyone. And, finally, smaller companies waste less. They spend less time in endless reviews and approvals and politics and paper drills. They have fewer people; therefore they can only do the important things. Their people are free to direct their energy and attention toward the marketplace rather than fighting bureaucracy.”

With the substantial assistance of Larry Haughton, also a renowned business thinker, Jennings' latest book draws upon 11,000 interviews of leaders in all manner of organizations. He responds to a critically important question: "How to create a sense of urgency among the workforce while achieving and then sustaining profitable growth?" The pace of this book's narrative correctly suggests the velocity at which changes occur in which has become a global marketplace, and, the velocity at which leaders must respond effectively to those changes.

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

o Stay in the Fast Lane, and, Be Fast or Die Slow (Pages 3-6)
o Four Words That Made a High-Speed Company (11-13)
o Purpose Attracts and Excites Everyone (14-16)
o Finding Your Purpose (19-22)
o Creating and Cascading Purpose: Keep It Brief and Make It Memorable (23-25)
o Faster, Smarter Decisions (37-40)
o The Value of Guiding Principles (40-46)
o A High-Speed Company Really Knows Its Customers (63-67)
o Creating and Cascading "Consumer First" (70-79)
o Creating and Cascading Transparency (85-100)
o Creating and Cascading Systemization (109-120)
o A Master Class in Connection (125-130)
o Creating and Cascading Better Communication (134-142)
o Creating and Cascading Accountability (150-163)
o Consistent Growth (168-172)
o Creating and Cascading Prosperity (179-184)
o he Final Piece of the Puzzle (186-189)
o Creating and Cascading Stewardship (192-205)

In the final chapter, Jennings cites a conversation in one of Kurt Vonnegut’s novels, Bluebeard, when the painter Rabo Kazrabekian listens to his neighbor, Paul Slazinger, who tells him about his latest concept, “The Only Way to Have a Successful Revolution in Any Field of Human Activity.” He recommends a team of three specialists:

First, an authentic genius — a person capable of having seemingly good ideas not in general circulation. “A genius working alone is invariably ignored as a lunatic.”

The next is a specialist…a highly intelligent citizen in good standing who understands and admires the fresh ideas of the genius and who testifies that the genius is far from mad. “A person like that…can only yearn out loud for changes but fail to say what their shapes should be.”

Finally, a person who can explain anything, no matter how complicated, to the satisfaction of most people no matter how stupid or pig-headed they may be. “He will say almost anything to be interesting and exciting…Working alone…he would be regarded as being as full of shit as a Christmas turkey.”

“If you can’t get as cast like that together, you can forget about anything in a great big way,” he [Slazinger] says.

To a significant extent, Jason Jennings combines the strengths of a visionary who recognizes or imagines what others don’t with those of an authority who validates and sanctions those breakthrough insights, and those of a raconteur of compelling stories that attract and engage others whose support is essential to the success of the given enterprise.

Slazinger's concept may not be wholly relevant to all teams but does correctly stress the importance of combining a diversity of talents, experience, skills, and points of view in order to answer especially important questions or solve especially serious problems. All that said, the key to organizational success often depends on the nature and extent of a special kind of leadership that Jennings examined in previous works: stewardship. That is, leadership by women and men who go through life feeling "it's mostly about others." Robert Greenleaf characterizes them as servant leaders. Dan Goleman would say they have highly developed emotional intelligence. Jim O'Toole would say that their values and behavior are guided by a moral compass. Bill George suggests that the great leaders are authentic and follow what he characterizes as their True North: an internal compass that guides them as a human being at their deepest level. "It is your orienting point - your fixed point in a spinning world - that helps you stay on track as a leader. Your True North is based on what is most important to you, your most cherished values, your passions and motivations, the sources of satisfaction in your life. Just as a compass points toward a magnetic field, your True North pulls you toward the purpose of your leadership."

According to Jennings, the people who lead the fastest and best-performing companies don't see the world's problems, opportunities, rewards, and costs through the lens of what they mean to them. "They understand that true happiness and satisfaction come when we focus on others. They are, at heart, caregivers who see their purposes as being the best stewards of the resources, both tangible and intangible, that have been entrusted to them and making sure that all assets are used efficiently, effectively, and profitably.

"The single shared trait that I'd been looking for was [begin italics] stewardship [end italics]. It was also the essential last piece of the puzzle for creating urgency and growth in a nanosecond culture."

I conclude this review with my favorite passage in a work believed to have been written around 6th century BC, 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."

Taking the Stage: How Women Can Speak Up, Stand Out, and Succeed
Taking the Stage: How Women Can Speak Up, Stand Out, and Succeed
by Judith Humphrey
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 22.53
25 used & new from CDN$ 18.71

5.0 étoiles sur 5 How almost anyone "can find their own strong voice, seize new opportunities to lead, and advance their career", March 16 2015
The title refers to any situation (at work or elsewhere) in which there is an opportunity speak up, stand out, and achieve whatever the given objective(s) may be. As Judith Humphrey explains, "Every time you walk up to that podium, or stand in front of an audience, or meet with a client or a boss, there are expectations that you will influence and inspire your listeners." Although written primarily to help women who are reluctant to "take the stage," whatever the circumstances may be, the information, insights and counsel she provides can be of incalculable to almost [begin italics] anyone [end italics] who yearn to be much more effective when interacting with others. Countless men as well as women are wholly unprepared for situations in which they are unexpectedly called upon to address an especially serious issue or to suggest how to respond to a crisis or to evaluate a major change in the competitive marketplace. It's not enough to know what to say or even how to say it. You also need to develop a self-image based on that knowledge that becomes what Humphrey characterizes as a "center stage mindset": (a) You are worthy of the limelight, you've earned it on merit; (b) Seize every appropriate opportunity to shine, not show off; and (c) refuse surrender to opposition or resistance.

There is one other component that I wish to add to this mindset: principled dissent. In her brilliant book, Quiet, Susan Cain has much of value to say about the immensely difficult task of examining the advantages and disadvantages of being primarily an introvert as well as those of being primarily an extrovert. I use the term "primarily" in the context of culture as well as one's temperament, personality, preferences, tendencies, and (yes) volition. "If given a choice..." is a helpful phrase. Some people dread being the center of attention whereas the behavior of others indicates a pathological need for it. Not all introverts are shy and reluctant, however, and not all extroverts are bombastic and impulsive. Moreover, expediency can also come into play. As Walt Whitman affirms in "Song of Myself," each person is "large"...and contains "multitudes."

Humphrey can help both introverts and extroverts to develop the mindset as well as the skills and self-confidence they need to "take the stage" effectively.

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me (in Parts One and Two), also listed to suggest the scope of Humphrey's coverage:

o How Women Will Advance (Pages 7-9)
o [Why] Women Are Reluctant to Stand Out (16-18)
o Three steps to develop a "center stage" career (29-33)
o [How to] Develop a Political "Sixth Sense" (38-40)
o Avoid Aggressiveness: It Doesn't Work for Women or Men (44-46)
Note: I presume to add that all of the hundreds of CEOs with whom I have worked closely with over the years have been ladies and gentlemen.
o [The Mindset Needed for] Promoting Yourself in Every Situation (53-57)
o Five domains in which courage may be needed (60-64)
o [How to] Hold Your ground when challenged (67-74)
Note: My own opinion is that Humphrey's advice will also help those who feel ambushed in the workplace.
o Self-defeating behaviors (80-86)
o Self-defeating verbal and body language 89-92)
o Self-assertion script (96-101)
o Master interaction script (103-107)
o How to craft career-advancing conversation (109-115)
o How to elevate an elevator script" (117-122)

When concluding here book, Humphrey observes, "Life can be a great performance if you think of yourself as being on stage and seeing every situation as an opportunity to inspire your audience." I agree while again suggesting that the material in this book can be of incalculable value to men as well as to women, especially to men who supervise women. But with all due respect to the extended metaphor (i.e. stage, performers, "lines" of a play or script, audience, etc.), all of us every day have dozens (if not hundreds) of interactions with other people during which we can shine by sharing knowledge, by helping to answer questions, by helping to solve problems, and by in every other possible way to serve their needs, to nourish their personal growth and/or professional development.

All organizations need people to do that. So do communities. It is also in our own best interests to speak up when something needs to be said, take action when something needs to be done, and to stand out when a proper example needs to be set. In this context, I am again reminded of what Margaret Mead once suggested: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." That is the "success" which Judith Humphrey envisions and it requires a best effort by everyone involved.

The Brain's Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity
The Brain's Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity
by Norman Doidge
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 21.91
42 used & new from CDN$ 18.81

5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 How to strengthen our neuroplastic abilities so that our mind "can direct its own unique restorative process of growth", March 16 2015
I am not a neuroscientist or even a scientist so I need to rely on an appropriate dictionary when reading a book such as this. Here is what I learned about neuroplasticity. Briefly, it is the brain's ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. Neuroplasticity allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment. Brain reorganization takes place by mechanisms such as "axonal sprouting" in which undamaged axons grow new nerve endings to reconnect neurons whose links were injured or severed. Undamaged axons can also sprout nerve endings and connect with other undamaged nerve cells, forming new neural pathways to accomplish a needed function.

According to Norman Doige, the body and mind can become partners in the healing of the injured brain. And because these approaches are so noninvasive, side effects are exceedingly rare. "Neuroplastic approaches require the active involvement of the whole patient in [a high tech physician's] own care: mind, brain, and body...In this approach, the health professional not only focuses on the patient's deficits, important as they may be, but also searches for healthy brain areas that may be dormant, and of existing capacities that may aid recovery."

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

o A Lesson in Pain -- The Kill Switch (Pages 3-6)
o A Neuroplastic Competition (11-16)
o The MIRROR Acronym: Motivation, Intention, Relentlessness, Reliability, Opportunity, and Restoration (18-21)
o "How Exercise Helps to Fend Off Degenerative Disorders and Can Deter Dementia (33-36)
o Exercise and Neurogenerative Disease (41-43)
o The Science Behind the Conscious Technique (59-61)
o The Controversy (65-69)
o The Science Behind the Walking (78-85)
o Deferring Dementia (95-100)
o The Stages of Healing (108-113)
o Light Enters Our Bodies [and Our Brains] Without Our Knowledge (116-121)
o How Lasers Heal Tissue (139-143)
o Using Lasers for Other Brain Problems (153-157)
o Origins of the Feldenkrais Method, and, Core Principles of New Methods (162-178)
o Putting It All Together (208-214)
o Why the Tongue Is the Royal Road to the Brain (231-233)
o The Early History of the Device That Resets the Brain (237-240)
o Three Resets Parkinson's, Stroke, and Multiple Sclerosis (244-249)
o Four Types of Plastic Change, and, New Frontiers (272-279)
o Autism, Attention Deficits, and Sensory Processing Disorder (317-337)
o The Disorder That Isn't: Sensory Processing Disorder (340-343)

I appreciate the fact that, for non-scientists such as I, Doidge does not dumb down the presentation of recent research on neuroscience and sharing what it suggests about what the potential benefits and significant consequences of neuroplasticity. Consider, for example, the "explosion" of understanding about the subcortical brain. Obviously, there is so much more yet to be learned about what he characterizes as "the invisible art," one that somehow reaches places in the mind and heart that nothing else can touch.

Here are Norman Doidge's concluding remarks: Regardless of the culture we are born into, "we all begin life in darkness, and we do our most substantial growth within it. Our first contact with existence is enclosed within the vibrations of our mother's heartbeat, the tide of her breathing, and the music of her voice, its melody and rhythm, even without our knowing the meaning of her words. Such longing as this engenders remains with us forever.

This is by no means an "easy read." However, I think it will generously reward those who read and then re-read it (as I did with appropriate care and, yes, patience) when proceeding through the narrative and sharing the experiences of real people who have "transformed their brains, rediscovered lost parts of themselves, or discovered capacities within that they never knew they had."

So can those of us who read this book, nourishing and strengthening our neuroplastic abilities so that our mind "can direct its own unique restorative process of growth." That is indeed a "marvel."

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
Prix : CDN$ 37.62
31 used & new from CDN$ 35.83

5.0 étoiles sur 5 "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
Prix : CDN$ 21.32
39 used & new from CDN$ 21.32

5.0 étoiles sur 5 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
Prix : CDN$ 13.36
43 used & new from CDN$ 7.93

5.0 étoiles sur 5 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.

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