The Prophet

the-prophet

The Prophet

by Kahlil Gibran

The Prophet offers wisdom on 26 topics—about three pages on each. Gibran writes in poetic prose with a liberal use of archaic words, presumably to sound biblical. Some of the meaning is immediately clear, while other parts require some reflection to decipher the deeper meaning.

On Work. The author stresses the importance of finding work you enjoy. “For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man’s hunger. And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your grudge distils a poison in the wine.”

On Marriage. Gibran observes that marriage is a union between individuals, not a merger. “Let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you… The oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.” Continue reading “The Prophet”

The Tao of Pooh

the-tao-of-pooh

The Tao of Pooh

by Benjamin Hoff

The Tao of Pooh is about “how to stay happy and calm in all circumstances.” Benjamin Hoff uses the characters and stories from Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner to explain basic concepts of Taoism. He also brilliantly integrates his own brief dialogue with the characters as segues into explanations of Taoist principles. Tao (pronounced DAO) means “the way.” Continue reading “The Tao of Pooh”

Be Nobody

be-nobody

Be Nobody

by Lama Marut

Lama Marut, aka Brian K. Smith, was a professor of comparative religion, he studied Hinduism and Sanskrit in India, he was a Buddhist monk, and he is the son of a Baptist preacher. So he presents a well-informed viewpoint rather than a myopic dogma. Fortunately, you don’t need to climb a mountain to be enlightened by this wise man; he imparts wisdom in his book, Be Nobody.

Marut writes about living in the iEra. “Our contemporary culture of consumerism, materialism, narcissism, and the worship of fame encourages the idea that we will be happy only when we become exceptional. But maybe we’ve got it wrong—exactly wrong. Maybe our deepest and most authentic happiness will be found only when we finally lay down this heavy burden of trying to be a somebody… Maybe true fulfillment in life requires an emptying, not a filling.” Continue reading “Be Nobody”

Taking the Leap

taking-the-leap-pema-chodron

Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears

by Pema Chӧdrӧn

Pema Chӧdrӧn is a Buddhist nun. She writes about “unhooking” ourselves from negative thoughts and emotions.

She tells a story about a Native American grandfather who explains to his grandson the catalyst for violence and cruelty in the world. “He said it was as if two wolves were fighting in his heart. One wolf was vengeful and angry, and the other wolf was understanding and kind. The young man asked his grandfather which wolf would win the fight in his heart. And the grandfather answered, ‘The one that wins will be the one I choose to feed.’” The author explains that emotions have very short natural lifespan, but we extend that “by feeding it with an internal conversation about how another person is the source of our discomfort… This is a very ancient habit.” Continue reading “Taking the Leap”

Good Business

good-business-mihaly-csikszentmihalyi

Good Business: Leadership, Flow, and the Making of Meaning
by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Good Business is about enjoyment of work and productivity. It is based on the author’s research on flow, the psychology of optimal experience.

Flow is “a deep sense of enjoyment.” To be fully engaged in a state of flow, one must be skilled and challenged. “Basically, the more a person feels skilled, the more her moods will improve; while the more challenges that are present, the more her attention will become focused and concentrated.” Continue reading “Good Business”

Six Thinking Hats

six-thinking-hats-edward-de-bono

Six Thinking Hats

by Edward de Bono, M.D.

The Six Thinking Hats offers “an alternative to the argument system, which was never intended to be constructive or creative.” The emphasis is on “how we design a way forward—not on who is right and who is wrong.”

A major benefit is time savings. De Bono claims that ABB reduced their multinational project team discussions from 21 days to two days using the Six Hats method. “In the United States, managers spend nearly 40 percent of their time in meetings… Instead of rambling, ego-driven meetings, meetings are now constructive, productive, and much faster.” Continue reading “Six Thinking Hats”

Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value

priceless-poundstone

Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It)

by William Poundstone

Traditional economics assumes people engage in rational transactions. Not surprisingly, people make irrational decisions all the time.  In Priceless, William Poundstone draws from research in psychophysics (the study of sensory perceptions) and behavioral economics to explore the subject of pricing. Concepts such as anchoring, priming, and prospect theory (adaptation, loss aversion, certainty effect) are explained. Continue reading “Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value”

Real Influence

real-influence

Real Influence – Persuade Without Pushing and Gain Without Giving In

by Mark Goulston and John Ullmen

This book is about the “connected influence model.”  Disconnected influence is about “getting what I want.”  It’s adversarial and focused on the short-term.  Connected influence is oriented around understanding the other party’s situation and “viewing your current actions as a springboard for future relationships, reputation, and results… In the real world, interactions are never isolated. Anything you do might affect your relationships, as well as your reputation, for a long time to come.” Continue reading “Real Influence”