I read… a lot.
I’m constantly reading, and it’s not unusual for me to have several books going at the same time. I read to learn something new that I didn’t know before; I consider continued learning as critical to being a good leader, a good husband and father, and a good person. I like to read professional development-related books, from which I seek new ideas that I can incorporate into my leadership view and use in my ongoing work to build and lead high performance teams. I also read for relaxation at home. Finally, I listen to audiobooks during my daily commute, since we all know radio stinks, right?
Here is the list of books I’ve read or listened to this year.
First, the professional development category:
- Powered by Instinct and Pure Instinct by Kathy Kolbe
- Beyond Crisis by Gill Ringland, Oliver Sparrow, and Patricia Lustig
- The Recipe by Amilya Antonetti
- The 12 Factors of Business Success by Kevin Hogan, Dave Lakhani, and Mollie Marti
- How NASA Builds Teams by Charlie Pellerin
- Good to Great and the accompanying monograph Good to Great and the Social Sectors by Jim Collins
From each of these, I’ve taken anything from a snippet to wholesale ideas and have incorporated it into my mental leadership and organizational model. I would do an injustice by contrasting the contributions of any one of these works; each has made a special and unique contribution, without which I’d be all the lesser for it. I will make a few special mentions: to Kathy Kolbe, with whom I connected initially though social media, and whom I’ve now met in real life; and to Tricia Lustig, Amilya Antonetti, and Mollie Marti, all of whom I’ve conversed with through social media and hope to meet in real life one day. Thanks to all of you for your unique contributions!
Next, in the entertainment category:
- Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson
- In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
- I’m a Stranger Here Myself by Bill Bryson
- Shakespeare – The World as Stage by Bill Bryson
- The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson
- All eleven books in the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind
- The Law of Nines by Terry Goodkind
- His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman
- The first four books in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
I really enjoy Bill Bryson’s works. Besides giving me exposure to places I’ve never been (England, Australia, and the northeast US), I find his way of writing very entertaining. Terry Goodkind’s writings have embedded within them a series of rules called “Wizard’s Rules”, one of each is revealed in every book. (It seems I run into one or more of the rules each day. But I digress.) Finally, I read Pullman’s and Rowling’s works since they are listed near the top of the BCC Top 100 works, and I hadn’t read them previously.
At this moment I have three books going.
- More Than a Minute by Holly Green
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (the fifth in the Harry Potter series) by J.K. Rowling
- A Man on the Moon by Andy Chaikin
I became acquainted with Holly Green through social media, and I’m a regular reader of her blog. I find it interesting that Holly’s writings are so topical for me; it seems that when I’m encountering a situation or question, Holly magically blogs about it within a few days. It’s as if she has a pipeline into my office, or something.
I’m still working through the rest of the Harry Potter series on audiobooks during my daily commute. Did I mention that radio stinks?
Finally, I’m reading Andy Chaikin’s book for two reasons. First, he visited JSC a few weeks ago to teach a three-day class on the history of the US manned space program, which I enjoyed thoroughly. Second, I’m finding his book provides insights into historical space policy decisions that help provide context to the space policy decisions being made today.
Here is my near-term future reading list:
- Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras
- The Next Level by Scott Eblin
- Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneu
I met Dr. Jerry Porras a few weeks ago, thanks to Kathy Kolbe, and was very intrigued by his introduction as to why certain companies have succeeded for so long. Perhaps there is something there to help illustrate why my own organization has persisted for 50 years, yet is facing some of its greatest challenges to its future to date.
Scott Eblin is another person with whom I’ve connected because of social media. Scott’s blogs are also timely with my current work events, and I’ve incorporated many of his ideas into my leadership model, as well as touching upon them in several of my own blog entries.
Business Model Generation is a recommendation from a fabulous entrepreneur and “brother from another mother” Matt Williams. He suggested I read it to gain ideas that I likely will find helpful as I continue to develop strategic plans for my organization.
Finally, for entertainment reading, I’ll continue to work my way down the BBC Top 100 list to read those remaining books I haven’t read yet.
What are you reading?