Monday, June 7, 2010

The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, Who Killed Change? Solving the Mystery of Leading People Through Change

Book Club... And Then Some!

The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything    

by Ken Robinson with Lou Aronica

Book Review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

This book is truly motivating, and it is because of a combination of reasons.  It is like “the perfect storm” of stimulus packages.  First, the writers offer an engaging, friendly, compelling writing style that makes reading easy and comfortable.  Second, their choices for examples are wonderful.  Whether you know the people or not—and you will know most of them—they describe each experience so well that you quickly identify with them.  

The third reason in this motivational “perfect storm” is their selection of “elements” to discuss.  For example, they discuss “thinking differently,” “creativity,” being “in the zone,” “connecting with people who share your passion and desire, and “developing the proper attitude,” among the elements offered.  And they discus the challenges, too, such as those that come from within, from a lack of confidence, or from fear of failure.  

There is no step-by-step procedure or “formula for success,” but serious readers do not need these pop psyche crutches or aids.  (Of course, some do!)  

What you get from Robinson and Aronica are a wide and broad variety of examples, and their examples offer the same wide and broad level of application or experience.  You read, identify, absorb, and learn—then you apply the ideas creatively and independently on your own in the contexts with which you are most familiar.  This is both the beauty and the force of this book.  It’s the power of example and then, “we need to aim high and be determined to succeed” (p. 21). 

Who Killed Change?  Solving the Mystery of Leading People Through Change

by Ken Blanchard, John Britt, Judd Hoekstra, and Pat Zigarmi

Book Review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

This is another book in the long line of fables used to identify and solve important and complex real-world business problems.  It is, like Blanchard’s many other books, well-written, brief, and easy-to-read (like a children’s story).  

From the many positive reviews of the book, it is clear that it accurately and precisely, as one reviewer put it, “focuses on the key information that one needs to consider when planning or salvaging a change initiative.”  

It seems to prove—once again—that the quick, practical, personal, and memorable read is likely the most important way to focus on major business issues.  More than just getting readers to think about managing change, there are many ideas here, too, that thrust effective managing to the fore in readers’ minds.  

The book is about a murder mystery with thirteen suspects, and the authors lead readers through an interview with each of the suspects.  Why each of them is a culprit is carefully explained.  How companies can attack the various issues is well presented, too.  If you’re interested in how to change organizational environments—and you are looking for a very simplified explanation—this is a good place to start.  There is no doubt it! 

These books are both available from The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything and  Who Killed Change?  Solving the Mystery of Leading People Through Change. 

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