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Deeper Weekend 2014

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Book Review

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    Adrian Simmons
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    Bryan Coleman
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    Greg Kyte
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    Jason Blumer
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    Jennifer Blumer
  • Scott Kregel
    Scott Kregel

Scott KregelSo, if any of you are like me, inspiration is a source of fuel and motivation. Leading a small firm is hard. Meeting the increasing needs of growing customers is challenging. Intentionally developing individual skills takes focus and precious time. And inspiring a group of smart people to work together toward a common goal is a lofty pursuit.

 

As we look to close another year and lean into the start of 2015, I found myself looking for an inspirational book to help shape my mind for the New Year ahead. I found Make Your Mark: The Creative’s Guide to Building a Business with Impact, published by 99U.com. Many of us have felt that tug in our hearts and minds that our businesses are more than a paycheck and a job. In fact, that kind of thinking alone is not even found in today’s creative businesses. We are driven by our commitment to our craftsmanship, beautiful service experiences, giving back and paying it forward. However, a commitment to all of those things can be lost without the attention to creating a sustainable business. A sustainable business is one that pays attention to execution, distribution, packaging, marketing, messaging, strategy, and leadership. A sustainable business is one that acts out its inspiration. Read more

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Book Review
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Jason BlumerI’m reading Peter Thiel‘s new book, Zero to One. Wow. He is truly a contrarian as most of his ideas fly in the face of doing business in any type of traditional way. Some would even say his ideas are scary. One overarching idea I’m noticing in the book is about his focus on building the future. He is dead set on investing in things now that have far reaching future-focused results. I’m glad he has made this his focus. This sums up the struggle in our profession – we do things for immediate results instead of investing in the future. Truly, creating a future-focused firm is hard for a number of reasons:

 

-You have to commit to a future that you think you can create. The future is not here yet. Peter Thiel believes the future will be here when we create it. Many people avoid thinking about the future, as it brings uncertainty and fear. What if we don’t like the future that we create?

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Book Review, Business, Innovation
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Scott KregelIf we look back on our lives (the older we are the farther we may look), I would venture to say that at some point in our life we were influenced by an individual in ways that have marked us today. Maybe that individual challenged you, maybe they taught you, or maybe they simply encouraged you in your own personal growth.

 

As leaders in our firms, we have the distinct opportunity of shaping a leadership culture with those in our areas of influence. Leadership, to me, is something that is shaped in the context of relationships. We don’t lead a faceless team; we lead a collection of individuals with unique ideas, insights and perspectives. How we choose to lead often leaves a mark on the individuals in much the same way that we were marked by others before us. Multipliers, by Liz Wiseman, came out of this former Oracle executive’s experience as a key leader in a major software company. She worked for a successful corporation that recruited the best talent and she was intrigued by the intelligence of those around her. Through that experience she was a genius watcher. She experienced a clear dichotomy in how she saw leaders use their “genius.” Her theory led her on a path to see what leadership looked like from these geniuses:

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Book Review, Leadership
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Scott KregelIn Thriveal we talk about many key tenants as we are building our practices… value pricing, results only work environments, business models and system design, and knowledge work. Part of knowledge work requires understanding how our brains function and how we build disciplines into our daily, weekly, monthly schedules so that when called upon, we are doing our best work. A concept or state of mind that might be new to some of us is the idea of Flow. Many of us have experienced this… working on a project late into the night where heavy concentration and fresh insights seemed to ‘flow.’ We finished our project exhausted yet exhilarated with a glow of satisfaction and confidence that stayed with us.

Research on the various states of consciousness have taught us about the complexity of our minds and how much this influences our decision making, our motivation, and our performance over time. Flow is an optimal state of consciousness. Mihayl Csikszentmihalyi is sort of the godfather of flow. He saw ten core components of flow:
• Clear goals
• Concentration
• A loss of the feeling of self-consciousness
• Distorted sense of time
• Direct and immediate feedback
• Balance between ability and level and challenge
• Sense of personal control over the situation
• Activity is intrinsically rewarding, so action is effortless
• A lack of awareness of bodily needs
• Absorption: narrowing of awareness down to the activity itself Read more

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Book Review
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Scott KregelWho doesn’t like a good David versus Goliath story? You know, the nerdy kid at school who has the last laugh at the expense of the most popular kid. Or the low seeded team defeating a high seed in a key game. Or what about the current Xero versus QuickBooks drama that is being played out in the accounting software space? These are all David versus Goliath stories; metaphors for nearly impossible victories and overcoming obstacles in our lives.

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Book Review
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Scott KregelSeveral years ago, two highly respected friends of mine shared book reviews with me. My initial reaction was confusion in finding grown professionals essentially writing book reports… and they didn’t even have to turn them in for a grade. It clicked for me after reading the book reviews that this was a brilliant and key strategy in learning and helped to retain insights from other great minds. I have been using this strategy now for over two years. Not every book gets a review, but for the ones that strike me in imaginative ways I have found this to be a valuable tool. I encourage you to consider strategies to turn those dog earned, highlighted book insights into a ready reference.

 

For those of us that appreciated The Accidental Creative by Todd Henry, we were interested to read his new book in 2013 titled Die Empty. Amazon has labeled Die Empty (Henry) as one of the best books of 2013 (o.k., well it follows “Diary of a Wimpy Kid – book 8” and “The Autobiography of Mark Twain: Volume 2”). In all fairness, Henry delivered an excellent follow up resource. This book is about choosing and implementing the disciplines necessary in your life to keep you on a steady course so you won’t go to your grave with your best work inside of you… you will have died empty. Read more
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Book Review
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