Thursday, June 7, 2012

New Books and New Chairs

I just transported nearly a hundred books from my moms house this week. Boxes and boxes of books that I had collected in high school, college, and while traveling. I need two new bookcases to store these all. I think I should open up a library in my house with the hundreds and hundreds that I have collected over the years.

I read a new one while in Montreal called The Power of Habit. It breaks down habits into the parts of the brain that control them and the individual pieces that create and sustain them. It was amazing! And a relative easy read as I finished it in two days.

Here are a couple interesting sections:

(page 175)

"Sometimes, one priority - or one department or one person or one goal - needs to overshadow everything else, though it might be unpopular or threaten the balance of power that keeps trains running on time. Sometimes, a truce can create daners that outweigh any peace.

There's a paradox in this observation, of course. How can an organization implement habits that balance authority and, at the same time, choose a person or goal that rises above everyone else? How do nurses and doctors share authority while still making it clear who is in charge? How does a subway system avoid becoming bogged down in turf battles while making sure safety is still a priority, even if that means lines of authority must be redrawn?

The answer lies in seizing the same advantage that Tony Dungy encountered when he took over the woeful Bucs and Paul O'Neill discovered when he became CEO of flailing Alcoa. it's the same opportunity Howard Shultz exploited when he returned to a flagging Starbucks in 2007. All those leaders seized the possibilities created by a crisis. During turmoil, organizational habits become malleable enough to both assign responsibility and create a more equitable balance of power. Crisis are so vaulable, in fact, that sometimes it's worth stirring up a sense of looming catastrophe rather than letting it die down."

I've worked with several organizations who live this daily and that is why I run all the time. . . I mean actual running, like for exercise and with expensive running shoes and crappy old campaign t-shirts.

I finished Wild late last week. It was a great novel, but lacked an ending that didn't draw on cliches. I almost wanted it to end in some non life lesson with her getting to her new Portland apartment and chowing down on a pizza. I feel as though the journey was enough, I don't need the story to get sappy. Of course she found something bigger than herself and her lost on the trail. But it's worth the read regardless. Also turns out Oprah reignited her book club after reading this book (and terrible OWN ratings) and Reese Witherspoon's production company is making it into a movie. Opal and Harv are so ahead of the times! 

I'm on to a new book called "A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar" about a sister team that travels to the middle east during the early 1920's, not a time known for its adventurous independent women travelers, though "Out of Africa" is also about the same time frame and continues to be one of my go to movies when I want to see a woman kick some ass, which Kill Bill also fits. Anyways, the new book is interesting, though has a slow start so far. I think maybe the last two books were so easily drunk that anything less is proving a little more difficult. Good thing I just create two new sitting nooks in my house for extra comfy reading and writing time. Maybe I'll grab a copy of the book "Out of Africa" was based on for my next read.

ReneƩ Claire

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