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Book Reviews

Navigating Integrity: Transforming Business as Usual into Business at its Best – Book Review

by Al Watts. (2010). Minneapolis, MN: BRIO Press. 170 pages.

Reviewed by Diane Byington, Ph.D.

Reading this small book is like snuggling up with a friend next to a fire on a winter evening, sipping a glass of your favorite wine, and listening to him tell you the accumulated wisdom of his life. Al Watts is a veteran consultant who focuses on organizational integrity and also provides dynamite team-building lessons on board his sailboat. He combines these two passions in his new book.

Good Boss, Bad Boss – Book Review

by Robert I. Sutton. 2010. New York: Business Plus. 252 pages.

Reviewed by Diane Byington, Ph.D.

If you’re a boss, you’ll probably want to have this book on your bookshelf, along with its predecessor, the best-seller The No Asshole Rule. After achieving success with the first book, Sutton decided to research and write about what distinguishes good bosses from bad bosses. He does an excellent job combining research, personal experience, and common knowledge into a readable and helpful set of suggestions for how to be a good boss.

Accordingly, the book is filled with lists telling you, in specific terms, how to succeed as a boss. Casually flipping through the pages, I see lists that include: The 11 Commandments for Wise Bosses, How to Lead a Good Fight, Tricks for Taking Charge, and A Recipe for an Effective Apology. I especially liked that one.

Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back If You Lose It – Book Review

by Marshall Goldsmith. New York: Hyperion. 184 pages.
Reviewed by Diane Byington, Ph.D.

Are you burned out at work? Or, have you lost some enthusiasm and wish you could get it back? If so, check out this book. Marshall Goldsmith brings his long experience as an executive coach to the concept he describes as Mojo: that positive spirit toward what we are doing now that starts from the inside and radiates to the outside. In other words, we’ve got to feel enthusiastic toward what we are doing before we can send enthusiasm out for others to see. This book details how to increase your Mojo.

The most useful part of the book, for me, was his scorecard for measuring your Mojo. Goldsmith says we need to bring five qualities to an activity in order to do it well. These are: motivation, knowledge, ability, confidence, and authenticity. Likewise, five benefits we may receive from an activity include: happiness, reward, meaning, learning, and gratitude.

Making Ideas Happen – Book Review

By Scott Belsky, Making Ideas Happen. (2010). New York: Penguin. 231 pages.

Reviewed by Diane Byington, Ph.D.

This book might be for you if:

You have lots of ideas but have trouble getting them to actually happen
You tend to be disorganized and need help organizing your projects
You are excited and full of energy at the beginning of a project but get bored and distracted as time goes by, or you love starting projects but rarely complete them
Your job is to manage creative professionals
Scott Belsky, CEO and Founder of the online creative network, Behance, has spent his professional life working with creative people and helping them to make their ideas “happen.” His thesis is that great ideas abound, but getting them to completion is extraordinarily difficult and requires a different skill set than what is used to generate the idea. This book presents his ideas for what it takes to actualize an idea.

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us – Book Review

Daniel Pink, following up on his bestseller A Whole New Mind, picks up on another social trend that is growing in importance – a new way of motivating people. Here is his “cocktail party summary” of the book:

“When it comes to motivation, there’s a gap between what science knows and what business does. Our current business operating system – which is built around external, carrot-and-stick motivators – doesn’t work and often does harm. We need an upgrade. And the science shows the way. This new approach has three essential elements: (1) Autonomy – the desire to direct our own lives; (2) Mastery – the urge to get better and better at something that matters; and (3) Purpose – the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.”

Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter – Book Review

Everyone I’ve spoken with about this book relates an experience working for the two types of leaders discussed in these pages. Around some leaders (the Multipliers) they feel confident about their abilities and are willing to work their hardest, whereas around other leaders (the Diminishers) they feel inept and are unwilling to contribute more than the minimum required to keep the job. Unfortunately, I heard many more stories about the problems of working for a Diminisher than the joys of working for a Multiplier. The focus of this book is understanding the difference between these two leadership styles and learning how to move from being a Diminisher to a Multiplier.

A Multiplier is defined as a leader who is able to understand and solve hard problems rapidly, achieve goals, and adapt and increase the team’s capacity over time. A Diminisher is a leader whose team operates in silos, finds it hard to get things done, and despite having smart people, seems to not be able to do what is needed to reach goals.