Archives for April 10, 2015

Books on my nightstand: The Business Edition

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It’s time for another round-up of books. I haven’t read as much as I’d like recently, but I plan to remedy this over spring break between breaking up fights and indulging the extreme sloth that sets in when we lack a fixed schedule. If you have any must-read suggestions, drop me a line in the comments.

I’m currently working on a writing project with a friend which promises to stretch me into new writing directions. It’s a book on leadership, a topic on which I know the sum total of nothing. Consequently, my friend recommended a few books on business and leadership to get me going. I think I dozed off when he began to read me the titles, confirming my belief that the business world and I are not what I would call simpatico.

However, I ordered the books, read the books, and now I’m writing about the books.

Who Moved My Cheese: This book focuses on learning how to “deal with change in your work and in your life”. I understand the author’s point regarding change and learning how to embrace it, but it left me feeling a bit sad. I’ve learned to accept change fairly well, but I also have a deep appreciation for history and tradition. If everyone spent all of their time chasing the latest “cheese”, who would preserve¬†our past? How can we take the best of our past and integrate it into¬†our future? The book came across as the classic American viewpoint that newer is always better and in order to embrace the new, you must fully and immediately abandon the old. I don’t agree, and I don’t think too many people outside of North America would either.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: Well written, but a total snooze if you’re not interested in business or teams or dysfunction. Seeing as the only team I lead is a motley crew of little people who think I’m an idiot, I didn’t find it particularly helpful. If we define puberty as a dysfunction, then you have my attention. Also, complaining, lack of motivation to complete one’s chore list, and general sassiness should appear somewhere on the dysfunctional list. That’s the kind of team I lead on a daily basis.

Death by Meeting: You may have already guessed this, but I would indeed die if forced to attend meetings day in and day out. May I suggest this title is misleading? I have never considered myself well suited for business, but this book proves it. If a meeting included a cup of tea and sharing our innermost feelings, then you might convince me. If we meet to talk about books or art, even better. I’m certain there’s an audience for this book out there, but it’s not for artsy types who feel the blood drain from their heads when faced with a pie chart or corporate speak or financial statements.

There you have it folks. My take-away from a week reading business books? In the words of William Shakespeare, to thine own self be true. Time to return to a classic novel and a book of poetry. Have you read anything recently that feels like a departure from your usual bookish fare?