Calm Is A Big Word

October 21, 2017

“We skip over too much when we rely too much on language” — Dr Stuart Shanker

For example here is his definition of Calm.

More — A few years back I was introduced to the “Self Regulation” work of Dr Stuart Shankar. I really like how he explores the complexities of regulating oneself versus controlling oneself. Recently his book came out in paperback.

Thank You -— tip to West Van Schools Sandra-Lynn Shortall @SLShortall

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Refreshing View of the Working World – Managing Humans by Michael Lopp

September 21, 2016

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I like that chapter 1 is titled “Don’t Be a Prick” «smile»

I’ve enjoyed Michael Lopp’s Rands in Repose blog for many years. Having read his blog I felt that there was no need to buy the book Managing Humans. I was wrong. I needed the book. The book introduced me to many blog posts that I hadn’t read before. Also reading a physical book is “different” than reading online, especially when I’m going to take actions based on it.

If you’re a manager, or mentor, then this is a great resource. Even if you’re not a software development leader, like Lopp, I highly recommend it.

Getting Started with Reading Lopp (aka Rands)

Here are two favourites

  • Stable and Volatiles — If you’ve ever built something then you’ve seen yourself in each role — stable and volatile. The excitement of getting into technical debt and the desire to never be in technical debt again.
  • A Nerd in a Cave — I got ideas from this «laughing»

Leadership & Working (by Iain)

May 6, 2016

This was first posted January 26, 2016


Last week I attended an excellent workshop on “Compassionate Leadership”. The whole point of the workshop was to have a discussion on what “Compassionate Leadership” meant to us. It was very interesting as we started with compassion being all “soft, nice, and comfortable” and finished up with compassion being “a dance between soft/nice/comfortable and hard/powerful/uncomfortable”.

Those discussions reminded me of leaderships books I’ve read, and found useful, in the last few years. These books all speak to the dance between “soft/nice/comfortable and hard/powerful/uncomfortable”.

Leadership BS (by Jeffrey Pfeffer)

This is a great book because Pfeffer lays out a very realistic description of the workplace. It is not a “pretty” description and this is why it is so useful. There is a lot of discussion around the interest of an individual versus the interest of the group. He notes empirical evidence that modern day leaders always focus on the individual first (i.e. themselves).

I wrote more here — https://hnorth.wordpress.com/2015/11/16/thank-you-jeffrey-pfeffer-leadership-bs-is-awesome/

The Hard Thing About Hard Things (by Ben Horowitz)

This is a book written around Ben Horowitz’s blog. He was an early Netscape employee and is a Silicon Valley legend.

The reason I’ve loved this blog is that Ben talks about really hard things like “Demoting Your Friend”, “Firing An Executive”, “Managing Yourself”, etc. In most cases he describes the problem as — we got to this place because you ( the CEO ) messed up and not the employee.

He talks a lot about why CEOs make mistakes. For example, one of my favourite blog posts from Ben Horowitz notes that if CEOs were tested for CEO skills the average score would be 22%. That is “CEOs suck” and then he goes on to discuss why that is.

What’s The Most Difficult CEO Skill? Managing Your Own Psychology (Ben Horowitz)

If CEOs were graded on a curve, the mean on the test would be 22 out of a 100. This kind of mean can be psychologically challenging for a straight A student. It is particularly challenging, because nobody tells you that the mean is 22.

More here — http://www.bhorowitz.com/what_s_the_most_difficult_ceo_skill_managing_your_own_psychology

So Far from Home: Lost and Found in Our Brave New World ( by Margaret J. Wheatley)

This book describes how we can do our good work with dedication, energy, discipline, and joy by consciously choosing a new role for ourselves, that of warriors for the human spirit.

It is quite a “dark read” in that Marg Wheatley really digs into the dark corners of our working lives to set the tone for the challenge. Her picture of working is even darker than Jeffrey Pfeffer’s. (Whew) Again she speaks the truth of our working day challenges. That really helps. I’ve found the concept of a “Warrior For The Human Spirit” to be very useful.

The “good-reads” reviews are very good too. – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13590007-so-far-from-home

This book was recommended to me by Bonni. Thank You.

IMPACT: SIX PATTERNS TO SPREAD YOUR SOCIAL INNOVATION (by Al Etmanski)

This is a very easy read for “Social Innovation” leaning people and a very hard book to read for “Entrepreneurship” leaning people ( like myself ). I’ve persevered and have come to understand him. I went to a talk by him, read the book, then mind-mapped the book, and took immense pressure from my daughter to understand him.

I really like that he talks about “acting like a group movement”. It is fascinating. I think all of you would like this book.

Here is the first chapter [link]


Fun With Freakonomics *Think Like a Freak*

November 24, 2015

Think Like A Freak is highly entertaining and informative like the earlier Freakonmics books.

It contains some very useful GEMS.

I especially liked the Incentives 101 summary on page 135.

Number 5 is so ….

5. Never, ever think that people will do something just because it is the “right” thing to do.

Incentives 101

ThinkLikeAFreakIncentives101

More

I had the pleasure of attending a talk by Steven Levitt at UBC a few years back when “Think Like A Freak” came out. I’m glad I’ve finally read the book.


So Much Fun — The Secrets of The Immortal Nicholas Flamel

November 18, 2015

My current “book crush” in the teen fantasy genre is Michael Scott’s “The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series.

This is so much fun. I’ve been mixing the audio and print. Both are great.

Almost as much fun as 39 Clues and Charlie Bone – Children of the Red King.


Lifting Your Spirit – Readings Inspired By This Summers Workshops

November 15, 2015

I’ve had some very interesting reads which were inspired by this summers spiritual workshops at the SCRH.

Interconnectedness of All Things

The first is a reminder of a great kids book on the inter-connected-ness of all things titled You Are Stardust.

* The water in your sink once quenched the thirst of dinosaurs;
* with every sneeze, wind blasts out of your nose faster than a cheetah’s sprint;
* the electricity that powers every thought in your brain is stronger than lightning.

It’s at my local library. Guessing it’s at yours too.

Young Tibetans

That is — they’re much younger than the Dalai Lama. «smile»

The “young” Tibetan Monks Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche (YMR) and Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche (DJKR) have both written “Introductory Buddhist” books.

The new thing they bring to these topics is that they’ve travelled in the “West” for a long time and know us, the English language, and Western Science better than their elders. Their choices of words and examples are very good. These books are “readable”.

If you’re wanting to get a better view of Tibetan Buddhism then I highly recommend the following introductory books.

  • DJKR’s “What Makes You Not a Buddhist”
  • YMR’s “The Joy of Living” & “Joyful Wisdom”

If you’re looking for a practical book about dealing with your anxiety then “YMR’s — Joyful Wisdom” is the one for you.

DJK WhatMakesYouNotBuddhist

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For The Curious – “What Makes You a Buddhist?”

Here is the answer via an excerpt from DJKR’s “What Makes You Not a Buddhist”

DJK FourViews


“Book Crush” – The Spiritual Universe by Alan Lightman

February 15, 2015

2015 01 16 Accidental Universe  Iain

I loved the “The Accidental Universe” by Alan Lightman. I found it in a list of The Best Science Books of 2014 by Brain Pickings and it is available at my local library.

My favorite essay is “The Spiritual Universe — Does God Exist?”. For some reason this essay made me feel very happy. You can read the first half of this essay here.

In the last essay “The Disembodied Universe” he talks about how science has helped us dig deeper into nature and then talks about how we have become dependent on machines for our experience of nature. Very interesting. It’s not all bad, and it’s not all good. Here are some excerpts from this essay

page 128 Since Foucault, more and more, of what we know about the universe is undetected and undetectable by our bodies. What we see with our eyes, what we hear with our ears, what we feel with our fingertips, is only a sliver of reality. Little by little, using artificial devices, we have uncovered a hidden reality. It is often a reality that violates common sense. Is is often a reality strange to our bodies. It is a reality that forces us to re-examine our most basic concepts of how the world works. And it is a reality that discounts the present moment and our immediate experience of the world.

page 136 It is an irony to me that the same science and technology that have brought us closer to nature by revealing these invisible worlds have also separated us from nature and ourselves. Much of our contact with the world today is not an immediate, direct experience, but is instead mediated by various artificial devices such as televisions, cell phones, iPads, chat rooms, and mind-altering drugs.

page 137 But the psychological change accompanying these technologies is more subtle, and perhaps more important. Consciously and unconsciously, we ahve gradually grown accustomed to experiencing the world through disembodied machines and instruments.

More – Links

There is a lot written about this great book. Here are a few places to explore. /enjoy