Recommended Books

I am always on the lookout for fresh, provocative or just plain “Yes!” resources that might be of interest and help to you. Please read our brief Point-of-View and Key Insight summaries.

Please keep me posted on your favourite resources, and I’ll add them to the list to share with others.

buford Half Time – Changing Your Game Plan from Success to Significance, by Bob Buford, 1994

Mike’s POV: Buford comes at this topic from a deeply personal and spiritual perspective. Readers may or may not share a similar view. If this happens not to be “your thing” (e.g., you have different beliefs), I wouldn’t let that dissuade from exploring the various approaches and models Buford shares. I have personally found his content to be unique, thought provoking and valuable … and have had numerous clients/peers share similar feedback.

KeyInsight48Key Insight: “For the second half of life to be better than the first, you must make the choice to step outside the safety of living on autopilot. You must wrestle with who you are, why you believe what you profess to believe about your life, and what you do to provide meaning and structure to your daily activities and relationships. In tossing aside the security blanket that keeps you warm in your cautiously controlled comfort zone … you may feel at least at first, that you are losing control of your life. To which I say: Good for you.”

inTransitionIn Transition, by Burton and Wedemeyer, 1991

Mike’s POV: A true classic, as relevant today as when first written. Full of self-guided, reflection-based exercises. While originally introduced from a “career transition” perspective, I have found it resonates with those considering significant mid-life transitions that incorporate complex career, relationship, family, and self-actualization decisions. 

KeyInsight48Key Insight – To See Ourselves As Others See Us (Chapter 9): “Confront your unfinished business … Improving your ability to see yourself as others see you is a worthwhile endeavour.”

ArtofPossibilityThe Art of Possibility – Transforming Professional and Personal Life, by Zander and Zander, 2000

Mike’s POV: This will appeal to those looking for leadership and team engagement insights and experiences from non-traditional / non-business sources, in this case from the world of music and a world-class symphony conductor. Co-authors Ben and Roz Zander offer their own experiences, stories and “practices”.

KeyInsight48Key Insight – Giving an A: “The practice of giving an A transports your relationship from the world of measurement into the universe of possibility … Your eye is on the statue within the roughness of the uncut stone. This A is not an expectation to live up to, but a possibility to live into.”

fierceconversationsFierce Conversations – Achieving Success at Work and in Life, Once Conversation at a Time, by Susan Scott, 2002

Mike’s POV: Author Susan Scott was among the first to launch the “conversation” movement. The book and Scott’s “Seven Principles” model is a must-have tool for all of us seeking genuine connection in our most important commercial and personal relationships. It is full of real life conversation case studies, tips and frameworks. Sometimes the most important conversation to initiate is the one we have with ourselves.

KeyInsight48Key Insight: “While no single conversation is guaranteed to change the trajectory of a career, a business, a marriage, or a life, any single conversation can. The conversation is the relationship. When you think of a fierce conversation, think passion, integrity, authenticity and collaboration. Think cultural transformation. Think of leadership.”

necessaryendingsNecessary Endings – The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up In Order to Move Forward, by Henry Cloud, 2010

Mike’s POV: After the first chapter this book became an immediate “go-to” with many of my clients – particularly organizational leaders committed to getting unstuck, in their business, careers, or other major life priorities. Cloud helps us to realize that endings are as natural as beginnings. He clearly illustrates the risk and downfall of hanging on tool long, and offers compelling strategies for ending things well.

KeyInsight48Key Insight – the concept of continually “pruning”: “When pruning a rosebush, the first step is to ask: What does a rose look like? In other words, you have to know the standard you are pruning toward. The gardener knows what a healthy bud, branch or bloom looks like and prunes with that standard [or vision] in mind … The pruning moment is that clarity of enlightenment when we become responsible for making the decision to either own the vision or not. If we own it, we have to prune. If we don’t we have decided to own the other vision, the one we called average.”

humbleinquirtHumble Inquiry – The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling, by Edgar Schein, 2013

Mike’s POV: I have found Schein’s latest book to be an important read and resource for leaders committed to unlocking talent and building more connected relationships based on genuine interest and curiosity in others. Too often, leaders create cultures of “do and tell” by unconsciously overusing use their authority or organizational hierarchy. I’ve recently Humble Inquiry with several CEO clients, and is now part of my recommended reading list for team leaders and Forum moderators.

KeyInsight48Key Insight – Three Kinds of Humility: Basic Humility, Optional Humility and Here-and-now Humility.

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