Book Reviews

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 01-10-2008

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Over break I had the opportunity to sit right here for 6 days and do not much more than read books as the waves crashed into my feet. Serene. Here are the books I read, and here’s what I thought.

1.Our Iceberg is Melting – John Kotter

At 18 pt. font, 150 pages, and pictures, you will read this one in a few hours easily. This book is essentially a story about leading change in your work environment, and the types of resistance you will encounter from different members of staff (i.e. ‘the old penguin’, ‘the junior penguin’, etc. I actually got it for my 23rd birthday and had read it before, but it’s a book that you’ll want to re-read and you don’t have to devote a lot of time to do so. Worth a look.

2. The Nature of Leadership – B. Joseph White

Written by the University of Illinois president, this book entered my reading list shortly after it came out, and I just never finished it. One Amazon reviewer says “The Nature of Leadership by B. Joseph White is a must read for all future leaders and it belongs on your bookshelf right next to Good to Great”, but I wouldn’t go that far. Good to Great was amazing. This book is good. President White uses reptilian and mammalian behaviors to model different types of leadership character, and breaks down a triangle to show what requirements are needed to become a ‘Great Leader’, the top of the triangle. I had a hard time following the examples at times, but it could be due to the fact I picked up 1/2 way through the book, where I left off 9 months ago. Nonetheless, a good leadership book coming from someone in Higher Ed, who is personal friends with the likes of Steve Jobs, Herb Kelleher, Madeline Albright, and more. Wait on it.

3. The Big Moo – The Group of 33 (Author), Seth Godin (Contributor/Compiler)

My mom got this for me for Christmas, and she said that after reading the subtitle (Stop Trying to Be Perfect and Start Being Remarkable), she said I needed it. Not sure what she’s trying to say. :) This was another shorter book, but a great read. I am a huge fan of Seth Godin and the style of his books. Quick, short quips that you can continuously go back to. This book took 33 people, including the likes of Guy Kawasaki, Mark Cuban, Malcolm Gladwell, Robyn Waters, and more, and had them each write a small story for the book. It’s a follow up to Purple Cow, and I’d put this on your purchase list. Buy Today.

4. The Long Tail – Chris Anderson

This book is almost a “duh” after you read it, and is a very interesting look into the future of business (and the revenue monster the Internet has created). After hearing this book mentioned several times at the Stamats conference, I figured it’d be worth reading, and everyone was right. You need to read this book and understand it. It was a little harder to pull out the “higher ed implications”, but if you’re in to marketing or want to have a great conversation piece, get this book. What impressed me more was the fact that he had a blog going before, during, and after production of the book for collaboration and feedback. Nice move! Buy Today.

5. Small is the New Big – Seth Godin

Don’t be fooled by the title.  That subject is 2 pages of 300.  There are another 180 or so stories (in true Godin format) relating to everything from Bon Jovi to JetBlue to Gmail to Prostitution.  Seriously.   Go ahead and pick this one up on Amazon along with The Big Moo for a discount, and enjoy them both.  Quick Fact: This is Godin’s only book on Amazon with 5 stars, and for good reason.  Buy Today.

6.  Leadership Secrets from the Executive Office – George Hathaway

Just another smaller read to fill between the big books.  There are 10 different sections with about 180 total small quotes/thoughts, all on one page.  You’re going to pay more in shipping than for the book, but it was still a decent read.  Worth a look.

Any other books out there that you suggest for me?  Now that these are gone, I need to update my Amazon Wishlist!

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