Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Living Beyond Rich

Jen has prepared a compelling story with a powerful message. The story itself is worth the read, describing how her family faced a painful reality, made changes in their thoughts about money, which changed their actions, which gave them a whole new financial destiny. For those who think that only people with lots of advantages and no challenges can make it, read this and have your mind changed. And, more than just the story, Jen has included tons of practical advice, things you can put into practice right away to make different choices and change your financial destiny.

Check Jen out at www.theironjen.com and get her book on Amazon here.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Four Week Financial Turnaround by Derek Olsen

The Four Week Financial Turnaround (here on Amazon) is not just another book full of money smarts.  There are lots of books that can tell you to spend less, save more, and define a few financial terms.  This isn't just a book you read.  It is something you put to work to change your life.  Week by week, step by step, Derek has you put pen to paper so that you find out where you really are, and what you can really do to change where you are going financially.  You won't just read this book.  You will find yourself making different choices, the results of those "A HA!" moments Derek has seeded for you to reap.  You'll finally "get it", understanding something new about how you (yes YOU!) have tremendous power to affect your life.  Think you can't do it?  Read Derek's book.  I think once you do, you'll know you can.

Check out Derek at www.beatnikbudget.com or on Twitter at @DerekCOlsen.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My kids can't wait.

I’m woken up every morning by a two-year old who wants food.  And he wants it now.  That isn't the only thing my two-year old or my three-year old want right now.  Anything they want, they want it now.  Right now.  A few days ago while I was cooking dinner, they were fussing about how long it was taking.  I admonished them by saying, “You’re acting like children”.  Of course, this didn't have much impact on them, since they are children.  What exactly was I expecting?

(Creative Commons)

But, beyond that they simply don’t have patience, there are two lessons I take from this.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The opportunity to pass on today. To quit.

You will have a million opportunities to do this today. This isn't unusual. It's probably a day like any other. Every day will present these same opportunities. And while it is important to take advantage of the day's opportunities, this is one of the exceptions. Don't take advantage of this one.

Today will give you millions of opportunities to quit. Don't take them.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Thinking Life by P. M. Forni

Title:  The Thinking Life

Author:  P. M. Forni

Rating:  Good

Reason for Reading:  This book was recommended by my friend Mark Sanborn, author of The Fred Factor and Up, Down, or Sideways.

Format:  Hardback, borrowed from my local library.

Summary:  This book is Dr. Forni’s treatise on the importance of intentional thinking to improve every aspect of your life.  As a professor of romance literatures, Dr. Forni includes throughout the book lessons from classic Greek and Roman philosophy and mythology where the value of clear thinking is demonstrated.  The book also has numerous contemporary stories as well, and Dr. Forni includes specific tasks that the reader can do to harness the potential power of intentional thinking in their life.

Review:  This book is a wonderful read for anyone interested in exploring the power of their own thinking habits.  I’m reminded of Susan Cain’s comment in her book Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking when she says that there is a word for people who live in their heads too much, they are called thinkers.  For anyone more on the introverted side of the spectrum, who enjoys thinking deeply, I would recommend spending the brief time to read The Thinking Life by Dr. Forni.

Other resources: http://krieger.jhu.edu/civility

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

You Don’t Need A Title To Be A Leader by Mark Sanborn

Title:  You Don’t Need A Title To Be A Leader

Author:  Mark Sanborn

Rating:  Good

Reason for Reading:  I’ve read some of Mark’s other work, including his latest Up, Down, or Sideways (reviewed here), his blog, and his regular newsletter.

Format:  Hardback, borrowed from my local library.

Summary:  The book is short at just 100 pages, and very easy to read.  Mark shares his insight from years of consulting with companies across the country, and his own experiences as a customer, traveler, and parent.  Mark’s thesis in the book is that leadership is often found without association to a position.  He provides numerous examples of how the critical difference in the performance of a company or an organization is in the performance of an individual who embraced their power as a leader.  And he specifies this as leadership with a small l, as they often do not have a formal role that puts them in a leadership position on an organization chart.

Review:  I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  I will recommend it to my team members interested in being more effective in our workplace, especially those with a leadership title.  Mark’s examples of where an employee was intentional and thoughtful about their actions, making an enormous difference to the customer’s experience, are the kind of stories I’d like to hear about my own organization.  This book deserves a place on many “must read lists” for companies and organizations.

I may need to purchase a copy I can keep on my bookshelf.

Other resources: www.marksanborn.com

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Truth and Power of Incremental Change

You’ve probably heard the story.  A frog dropped in boiling water immediately jumps out and saves its life.  But, a frog dropped in room temperature water which is gradually heated to boiling will stay in it and be cooked.  This story is often told as a warning against the dangers of incremental change.  The abrupt, life threatening change of the environment gets the first frog’s attention, and his reflexes save his life.   But the second frog doesn't notice the slow, steady change of its environment and loses its opportunity to escape.

It isn't true.  At least, not for frogs.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth

Title:  The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential

Author:  John C. Maxwell

Rating:  Excellent

Reason for Reading: I am a big fan of John C. Maxwell’s material,and personal growth is a passion of mine. Therefore, this is an ideal read for me.

Format:  I read this on my nook SimpleTouch

Summary:  As the title suggests, John C. Maxwelldescribes the principles behind personal growth, detailing what it takes to bemore and do more, and how to leverage those principles to work for you.  This is the final book for John’s Lawsseries, which includes The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership and The 17Indisputable Laws of Teamwork.  John’smantra is that everything rises and falls of leadership, and that it iscritical that leaders keep learning.
The 15 Laws include the Law ofIntentionality, which is that growth happens by choice rather than by chance,and the Law of the Rubber Band, which is that you need enough tension to keepyou moving through the growth process. John describes each with stories from his own past, from when he didn’tunderstand the importance of disciplined investment in personal growth, to nowwhen he has embraced growing leaders who then grow other leaders.

Review:  I have found the book to be another excellentwork by John.  I thoroughly enjoyed theway that John has of taking serious material and making it fun to read.  John illuminates the principles behindpersonal growth with stories from his own life, which makes them relatable andunderstandable.  Yet the truths withinthe examples are as solid as if they were the results of an extensive academicstudy.
If you are seriously interested inpersonal growth, what it is and how to do it, then The 15 Invaluable Laws ofGrowth is a must read.  Even if you onlycasually read for the purpose of learning, I’d still put 15 Laws on yourreading list, because it is enjoyable and encouraging to anyone on a journey tobe more and do more.

Joseph Iliff
Seek Out Wisdom
Twitter:  @SeekOutWisdom

Other resources: http://www.johnmaxwell.com/

Monday, July 23, 2012

SEAL of God by Chad Williams

Title:  SEAL of GOD
Author:  Chad Williams and David Thomas
Rating:  Right for you if you are looking for inspiration
Reason for Reading I saw this book on the Tyndale Blog Network, and the title and blurb got me right away.
Format:  Softcover
Summary:  The book is Chad's description of his journey from a capable but undisciplined youth, to a US Navy SEAL, to ultimately an evangelist.  Chad's story is one of how he found himself, and that he was not who he always thought he was.  Chad was often getting into trouble, or perhaps should have found himself in trouble as a consequence of his actions, but he was fast enough and smart enough to stay one step ahead, though often just barely.  But he found a focus for his seemingly limitless energy and drive with the goal of becoming a US Navy SEAL, the best special forces military personnel in the world.  But even after the hard training, including something called Hell Week, and graduation to SEAL status, he still found something missing.  Learning about his need for Christ in his life changed everything about him, including his relationships with his fellow SEALs, and his on-again, off-again girlfriend.  I won't spoil how it all turns out for Chad, because his story is definitely worth the read.
Review:  I found this book to be a wonderful read.  I've read a little about the training special forces personnel like Navy SEALs go through, but not a personal account such as this.  Chad is very open about so many experiences in his life I'd probably be uncomfortable sharing about mine.  The way he bares his heart, and lets you see things through his eyes is quite compelling.  Even if you are not interested in the military, but just want to see the difference Christ can make in someone's life, SEAL of God would be well worth the read.

Friday, July 6, 2012

La Opportunidad Perdida de Andy Andrews

Titulo:  La Opportunidad Perdida
Autor:  Andy Andrews
Clasificación:  Bueno
Razon para leer:  He disfrutado de la lectura de muchos de los libros de Andy Andrews, incluyendo tal vez mi favorite, El Regalo Del Viajero.
Formato:  Lei’ en mi Nook SimpleTouch
Sumario:  La Opportunidad Perdida es una novela de descubrimiento personal. Dentro de la narración, los personajes exploran la historia de un misterioso objeto. A medida que aprenden acerca de su pasado, sino que también aprenden acerca de las personas que hayan estado en contacto con él. De esas personas, algunos famosos y otros no, pero no menos interesante, aprenden acerca del poder todos y cada uno tiene que tomar decisiones que afectan su destino y el destino de los demás.
Opinar:  La historia es atractiva y agradable. Como los personajes de seguir las pistas y resolver el misterio, el lector es arrastrado por sus acciones. Dentro de la historia, no son perlas de sabiduría, enseñanzas sobre la vida que el lector consume casi sin saber que están aprendiendo algo.  La Opportunidad Perdida es una buen ejemplo de Andy Andrew’s abilidad para comunicar fueza ideas de vida en una forma muy fun para leer.
Otros recsursos: www.andyandrews.com

Wisdom Meets Passion by Dan Miller and Jared Angaza

Title:  Wisdom Meets Passion

Author:  Dan Miller and Jared Angaza

Rating:  Right for you if you are looking for inspiration

Reason for Reading:  I have enjoyed reading many of Dan Miller’s previous books, including 48 Days To The Work You Love and No More Mondays.

Format:  I read this on my Nook SimpleTouch

Summary:  The book is a description of a less common point of view about work, both the ways in which people work and the purpose of their work.  Written in parallel, with both Dan and his son Jared writing something for each chapter, the book challenges conventional notions of working for a steady reliable paycheck and benefits.
Dan and Jared attempt to expand the reader’s understanding of the various methods for working, as well as the reasons why someone works.  Also given significant attention is the powerful results one can obtain when they, as the title describes, combine wisdom and passion.  When someone is using both what they know and what they care about, they can unlock tremendous opportunities and reap rich rewards.

Review:  The book provides several examples of different and less conventional work opportunities, many of which are inspiring.  If you enjoy meeting different people, people who live a different life from most of the population, these stories will connect you to them.  Wisdom Meets Passion is short on practical advice for job searches or small business start up, but just might inspire you to find something off the beaten path you might otherwise have missed.

Other resources: www.48days.com

Monday, June 4, 2012

All Pro Dad

Title:  All Pro Dad
Author:  Mark Merrill
Rating:  Good
Reason for Reading:  As a father to three children, I am particularly interested in books on intentional fatherhood.
Format:  e-book
Summary:  All Pro Dad is Mark Merrill’s description of the 7 qualities of quality fatherhood.  Mark is the founder of All Pro Dad, a non-profit organization that seeks to encourage intentional fatherhood for men.  Mark describes the lessons he’s learned from his own service to his family as a father, and what he’s learned from working with other fathers and families.
Review:  I found All Pro Dad to be an enjoyable read full of meaningful content.  Mark has described practical and powerful ways to grow as a father and connect to one’s children.  I plan on referring to this book as my children age and what they need from me change.  This book is recommended for any father wanting to improve their relationship with their children.
Other resources:
FTC Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://booksneeze®.com/> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, April 26, 2012

“I want to stir my milk”:  Fathers are role models, like it or not.
I made myself a cup of coffee this morning, putting probably too much sugar and milk in it.  As I’m stirring my concoction, my three-year old daughter says, “Dada, I want coffee.”.  My response is, “No, you can’t have coffee.  You can have milk.”  Then I hear, “Dada, I want to stir my milk.”
The logical part of my mind quickly points out how silly it is for her to stir her milk.  Since she’s not mixing two things together as she stirs, she’s really just wasting the energy she’s expending.  The milk isn’t going to be any different.  But, I just a quickly realize that three-year olds aren’t exactly known for being logical.
I happily provide her with milk and a spoon with which to stir it.  Of course, changing the taste of the milk is not the point at all.  She wants to stir her drink because I am stirring mine.
All fathers are role models.  Everything a father is doing or not doing is being noticed by his children.  They see what he eats, they hear what he says, they pay attention to how he treats others, and they notice where he goes.  His children want to know who he is and who they are.  A father teaches both by his actions.
The good news is that by embracing this principle, a father has a powerful tool with which to influence his children.   He does not need to put the rest of his life on hold or go through some formal training.  This tool is already working, but to often, fathers need to use it more intentionally.
The bad news is that it isn’t easy.  It means  a father intentionally being what he wants his children to be, and doing things he wants them to do also.  It means exhibiting calm in response to tumult, empathy in the presence of conflict, and contrition following poor choices.
That last one is tough.  No father is the perfect role model, but putting on a front for his children is impossible.  In his book All Pro Dad, Mark Merrill says, “by and large, our children can see right through us.  They know if we are the real deal or not.”  When a father makes poor choices, it is an opportunity to display courage and honesty by apologizing to his children.
It is easy to find persons we would probably not want our children to imitate.  Those people seem to occupy much of the media’s attention, some deservedly so and some not.  But is equally easy to find those who have the most opportunity to serve as a child's role model.  They are called fathers.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Barefoot Executive

Title:  The Barefoot Executive

Author:  Carrie Wilkerson

Rating:  Good

Reason for Reading:  I was selected to receive a free a copy of The Barefoot Executive based on a comment I posted on Michael Hyatt’s blog (http://michaelhyatt.com/), with no expectation that would post a review of it on my blog.

Format:  Hardback

Summary:  As the subtitle of the book says, this is the ultimate guide for being your own boss and achieving financial freedom.  Carrie breaks down the myths behind why someone can’t operate their own business, and why she thinks that it is a must that you do so.  The freedom she talks about isn’t a life without work, but a life where your ability to monetize your skills is more dependent on you than your employer.
Carrie walks the reader through the big mistakes to avoid, and the methods of the independent business person.  She helps the reader understand that as a business owner, they’ve got more responsibilities to handle, but also can fulfill them in ways that better match their own unique life.
Carrie describes the different kinds of businesses, such as service based or expertise based, and how any or all of them might work for the reader, depending on what they have to offer the marketplace.  Also, she equips the reader with how to find and develop the market for their products and services.
Throughout the book, Carrie has inserted case studies from her clients that made working for themselves work, and short videos where Carrie shares her story.  Her enthusiasm for the topic and love for her readers bursts off the screen.  Though she’s casual and comfortable, the reader and viewer will walk away with no doubts that she’s got the experience and wisdom to back up her words.

Review:  I thoroughly enjoyed The Barefoot Executive.  Carrie has written a book about business and life that is empowering emotionally and intellectually.  Not only do I know more about the subject, I’ve developed a better understanding of my feelings about it.  This isn’t just a book about the techniques of starting your own business.  This isn’t just a shallow encouragement that the reader can do the overly vague “anything” or lazily live off some passive income for the rest of their life.  The Barefoot Executive will improve any reader’s understanding of the true nature of self-employment.  Carrie’s passion about you taking what you have and making it valuable to others will stir your emotions and fire your imagination.

Other resources:
·        http://carriewilkerson.com/
·        http://blogbarefoot.com/
·        @barefoot_exec on Twitter

Monday, January 9, 2012

The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge

Author:  Tony Dungy and Nathan Whitaker

Rating:  Good

Reason for Reading:  Coach Tony Dungy has been an inspiration to me, not only as the former head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, but as a leader and mentor promoting responsible living and the importance of fatherhood since his retirement.

Format:  Softcover

Video:  http://www.coachdungy.com/index.php/the-one-year-uncommon-life-daily-challenge/

Summary:  The book is a devotional with 365 readings, one for each day of the year.  The readings are assigned by date, but not day of the week, so they can be used for any year.  Also, if you are taking the Uncommon Life Daily Challenge with an accountability partner, you will always be reading the same item each day.
Each reading includes a bible verse, a story and commentary by the authors, and a challenge for how to practice the principles of an uncommon life that day. Within each week, there is one reading on each of seven relevant topics to the uncommon life:  core, family, friends, potential, mission, influence, and faith. 

Review:  I very much like this devotional.  It is very easy to read, with just one page per day, but provides valuable content each day.  I enjoyed how the topic rotate through the seven overall themes each week, emphasizing how important keeping a balanced outlook on life is.  And, each challenge for that day is small enough to encourage the reader to try it, but described with enough vision to see how all those small changes add up over time.
If you are looking for a devotional that you’ll look forward to picking up every day, I would recommend The One Year Uncommon Life Challenge.

Giveaway:  I have a certificate for a complementary copy of The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge to give away to one reader of my blog.  Please leave a comment on this post about what is something that you find common among successful people that is uncommon among the unsuccessful.  I will select a winner and request their contact information.


Other resources:
·        http://www.coachdungy.com/
·        http://www.tyndale.com/