Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work

Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work

by Matthew B. Crawford

This book is primarily about restoring honor to the manual trades. Crawford writes about the “rich cognitive challenges and psychic nourishment” that come with “the experience of making things and fixing things.”

It makes sense to start with some context about the author’s career path. “I started working as an electrician’s helper shortly before I turned fourteen… When I couldn’t get a job with my college degree in physics, I was glad to have something to fall back on, and went into business for myself.” Later, Crawford went back to school and earned a Ph.D. in political philosophy. He took a job as executive director of a think tank, but he found the work dispiriting. “Despite the beautiful ties I wore, it turned out to be a more proletarian existence than I had known as a manual worker.” After only five months, he quit and opened a motorcycle repair shop. “Perhaps most surprising, I often find manual work more engaging intellectually.” Continue reading “Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work”

Primary Greatness: The 12 Levers of Success

Primary Greatness: The 12 Levers of Success

by Stephen R. Covey

This is a book about integrity and character. It is about leadership as well as personal development. “There’s no such thing as organizational behavior, only individual behavior… Leadership is communicating to another person their worth and potential so clearly they are inspired to see it in themselves… The common thread in the best thinking on management and leadership is this: People both want and need to feel that their lives and work have meaning.”

“Primary greatness is who you really are—your character, your integrity, your deepest motives and desires. Secondary greatness is popularity, title, position, fame, fortune, and honors… Going for secondary greatness without primary greatness doesn’t work. People don’t build successful lives on the unstable sands of what is outwardly or temporarily popular, but they do build successful lives on the bedrock of principles that do not change.”

“Character is foundational. All else builds on this cornerstone. Even the very best structure, system, style, and skills can’t compensate completely for deficiencies in character… People get lost when they use a local norm or internal standard to justify covert or corrupt business practices… Universal principles like respect, empathy, honesty, and trust ultimately govern.”  Continue reading “Primary Greatness: The 12 Levers of Success”

One Little Spark

one-little-spark

One Little Spark! Mickey’s Ten Commandments and The Road to Imagineering

by Marty Sklar with introductions by Richard M. Sherman and Glen Keane

Marty Sklar was hired by Walt Disney in 1955, prior to the opening of Disneyland. He rose through the ranks to president of Imagineering, the group responsible for Disney’s theme parks worldwide. He retired in 2009 after a 54-year career with the company.

The first part of the book explains Mickey’s Ten Commandments, guiding principles developed by Sklar in 1983. The second half of the book consists of career advice from 75 Imagineers. The most prominent recurring theme in this book is storytelling. Continue reading “One Little Spark”

Disrupt Yourself

disrupt-yourself

Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovative to Work

by Whitney Johnson

Clayton Christensen introduced the concept of disruptive innovation in The Innovator’s Dilemma, his seminal book which focused on the computer industry. His successive books applied the concept to health care and education. Now, Whitney Johnson writes about disrupting your own career. Continue reading “Disrupt Yourself”

People Tools For Business

people-tools-for-business

People Tools For Business: 50 Strategies for Building Success, Creating Wealth, and Finding Happiness

by Alan C. Fox

Alan C. Fox writes with the tone of a grandfather sharing lessons learned “in business and in life,” drawing from more than forty-five years of experience as a lawyer and commercial real estate investor. There are 50 brief chapters.

Fox shares a great metaphor explaining the difference between a short-term transactional attitude and a long-term relationship building approach. “Not every sales call, or every contact, results in a sale. And each sale does not always produce a profit. I read an article in the Wall Street Journal that compared the American style of business to the Asian model. Americans were described as hunters, with the goal of making as much profit as possible from a single kill. The Asian model was more like farming—cultivating the fields of their business relationships.” Continue reading “People Tools For Business”

What You’re Really Meant to Do

what-youre-really-meant-to-do

What You’re Really Meant to Do: A Roadmap for Reaching Your Unique Potential

by Robert Steven Kaplan

“The key to achieving your aspirations lies not in ‘being a success’ but rather in working to reach your unique potential… Remember, lots of people will tell you what you should do and what you should want, but they don’t have to live your life. Chances are, moreover, that they’re not very happy with their own lives.” Continue reading “What You’re Really Meant to Do”

Strengths Finder 2.0

strengths-finder-2-0

Strengths Finder 2.0

by Tom Rath

The premise of this book is that people are happiest and most productive when their work is well suited to their strengths. Conversely, many people pursue the “path of most resistance.” The book includes a code to access an online assessment which will identify your top five strengths.

“Gallup has surveyed more than 10 million people worldwide on the topic of employee engagement… People who do have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general.” Continue reading “Strengths Finder 2.0”