The Checklist Manifesto

If creating efficiencies, improving work systems and reducing significant errors is part of your job, or the way you think, this book is for you!  It is a fascinating read, well written and full of practical and interesting stories.

Atul Gawande, who is a surgeon, uses examples from medicine, finance, construction and aviation to build a strong case for the importance of short, helpful checklists to standardize operations and eliminate crucial errors that can have life and death consequences.

Eat that Frog!

Reading this book will save you reading any other time management book!  For solid and practical ways to make better use of your time, Brian Tracy's 108 page book 'Eat that Frog!' is easy to read and a great summary of key time and life management principles.  It includes helpful tips on the wise use of technology too.

The key principle of the book is the ability to concentrate on the most important task, to do it well and finish it completely.  How does the frog come into this?    To quote Brian, "Your frog is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don't do something about it.  It is also the one task that can have the greatest positive impact on your life and results at the moment".

The rest of the book contains 21 short and practical chapters on how to achieve this.

Deep Work

Cal Newport's book, 'Deep Work' is another to add to your 'must read' list.  Our addiction to distraction, constant availability and 24/7 connectivity from internet tools is significantly affecting our ability to concentrate and focus.   Newport argues that "the ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy".  It is deep work that optimizes our learning and performance -  distraction destroys depth!

Time to Think

Time to Think by Nancy Kline is on my 'must read' book list for leaders.  These profound but practical philosophies around listening well and raising the level of thinking for your team will be a game changer in the way you lead.  A few quotes to wet your appetite...

"The quality of a person's attention determines the quality of other people's thinking."

"We were fascinated to discover that when someone in your presence is trying to think, much of what you are hearing or seeing is your effect on them."

"Create a particular environment and people will think for themselves.  It is that simple."

"The quality of our attention and of the incisive questions we ask can become just the way life is."

A Lesson from China

The Great Wall of China was built as a protection from the barbaric hordes of Mongolia.  It was 1,500 miles long, 12-40 feet thick and 20-50 feet high - too high to climb, too thick to break through and too long to go around.  In the first 100 years of the Wall's existence, China was invaded 3 times.  Not once did the hordes break the wall.  Each time they bribed the gatekeeper and marched through.  The fatal flaw in their defense lay in spending too much money in building the wall and too little money in building the character of gatekeepers

The Heart of Godly Leadership - Allan Webb

Wisdom from Leighton Ford

The ultimate goal of leadership is to reproduce ourselves int the lives of our followers.  Leighton Ford writes, "Leaders are those who are able to divest themselves of their power and invest it in the lives of their followers, in such a way that their followers are empowered and the leaders themselves end with the greatest power of all, the power of seeing themselves reproduced in others."

The Heart of Godly Leadership - Allan Webb