Book Review: Go Put Your Strengths To Work

January 30, 2009

Go Put Your Strengths to Work

By: Marcus Buckingham

 

Table of Contents

 

Introduction: LEAD THIS MOVEMENT

-The First Stage: How to Label

-The Second Stage: How to Take Action

-You Are Here

-And You’re Closer Than You Think

-The 6-Step Discipline

-Trombone Player Wanter

 

Step 1: BUST THE MYTHS

“So, What’s Stopping You?”

-Meet Heidi

-Myth 1: As Your Grow, Your Personality Changes

-Myth 2: You Will Grow the Most in Your Areas of Greatest Weakness

-Myth 3: A Good Team Member Does Whatever It Takes to Help the Team

 

Step 2: GET CLEAR

“Do You Know What Your Strengths Are?”

-The Four Signs of a Stength

-Who Is the Best Judge of Your Strengths?

-Capture, Clarify, and Confirm Your Strengths

-Will Your Strengths Stay the Same Year after Year?

-Heidi Gets Clear

 

Step 3: FREE YOUR STRENGTHS

“How Can You Make the Most of What Strengthens You?”

-How Heidi Got Weak

-How Heidi Got Strong

-Your Strong Week Plan

-Four Strategies to Put Your Strengths to Work

-Your FREE Interview

 

Step 4: STOP YOUR WEAKNESSES

“How Can You Cut Out What Weakens You?”

-What Are Your Most Dominant Weakness?

-Capture, Clarify, and Confirm Your Weaknesses

-Quit “Should-ing”

-Four Strategies to Stop Your Weaknesses

-Heidi Stops Calling

-Your STOP Interview

 

Step 5: SPEAK UP

“How Can You Create Strong Teams?”

-“Your Strengths Weaken Me”

-Conversation 1: The Strengths Chat

-Conversation 2: “How I Can Help You”

-Conversation 3: The Weakness Chat

-Conversation 4: “How You Can Help Me”

-Tips for Strengths-Based Managers

-Team Georgia

 

Step 6: Build Strong Habits

“How Can You Make This Last Forever?”

-The End of the Beginning

-The Strongest Habits

-“And What Happens If…”

            1. “…I don’t know if I should take this job.”

            2. “…I don’t think I should have taken this job.”

            3. “…I’m new to the job.”

            4. “…I’m overworked.”

            5. “…my manager doesn’t understand me.”

            6. “…my manager is an idiot.”

            7. “…I’m burned out.”

            8. “…in the grand scheme of things, my job’s just not that important.”

            9. “…deep down, I don’t think I’m as good as everyone says I am.”

 

Coda: TAKE YOUR STAND

 

Acknowledgments

 

My Review:

 

I listened to this book for free as an e-book through sfpl.org.  I didn’t enjoy it, and listening to it felt like a chore.  Oprah was sure to promote Buckingham’s book “Go!” last year on one of her shows.

 

I might have better enjoyed this book were I traditionally employed or were I to read it instead of listening to it.  It was also a 21st Century e-book in that any free editions lacked crucial materials and logins for additional quizzes, tracking, and online videos.

 

Career progression requires active involvement.  By the very fact that someone purchases this book and uses any of the details to improve their career, is in it of itself enough to improve a career in my opinion.  There are myriad of ways to improve and develop your career, and this book should be one tool in your career improvement toolbox.

 

I have a copy of an abridged sixty minute recording of Stephen Covey’s the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  I thought I was missing out because I only had the abridged version, but after the lengthy 6 hour (plus) commitment to “GO!”, I highly recommend abridged recordings.

 

I might have better enjoyed this e-book along with any other e-book “on loan” from the library if I could actually download it onto my ipod and listen while I work out and drive.  Clearly, this book can be helpful as it includes specific ways to improve your career, debunk career myths, and help you feel empowered about your career decisions.  However, this book doesn’t shine as an “be all, end all authority” on career improvement.

 

Nevertheless, I am still eager to read more of Buckingham’s other books like “First: Break all the Rules.”  I will commit to read his books and all books rather than listening to the free e-book library loans.


The new White House website: DUH!

January 29, 2009

2009_01_28What a refreshing change!  The new Whitehouse.gov is amazing; what an amazing interactive website between users and the President.  As a savvy internet professional, I can’t believe I didn’t think of it myself.

 

What are some other internet advances, real or imagined that would help the relationship between governors and governed?

 

  1. Adequately updated, user-friendly websites
  2. Blogs!
  3. Cross marketing: in voting manuals, I LOVE when candidates use 25 out of the 250 characters they can use to list their website.
  4. Voting online?  Will this ever happen?
  5. Real time public opinion polling—imagine that, a congressional call to vote, with a “poll the audience” feature too.

 

What are some of the advantages and disadvantages technology could provide for our government?


Book Review: 10 days to faster reading…

January 28, 2009

10 Days to Faster Reading

By: Abby Marks-Beale, The Princeton Language Institute

 

Table of Contents

 

Day 1

            Putting the Key in the Ignition

Day 2

            Rebuilding Your Speed Reading Engine

Day 3

            Revving Up Your Concentration

Day 4

            Getting Up to Speed

Day 5

            Reading the Road Map

Day 6

            Hanging Out the Caution Flag

Day 7

            Reducing the Pileup

Day 8

            Fine-Tuning Your Reading Speed

Day 9

            Reading on a Technical Track

Day 10

            The Final Lap

 

My Review

 

Take a few hours and skim through this book.  The book teaches you how to learn new skimming methods.  Through the active tests, the reader is able to track reading progress, and the bonus is that the book includes a method to track comprehension as well as speed.

 

The biggest take away from the lessons in this book: Why are you reading what you are reading and how will reading what you are reading help you after you finish it?

 

There are numerous ways to invest/spend on faster reading methods.  I found this title from the Personal MBA list of Business School books.  I was fortunate to find a copy in the library; note: you will want to use additional paper/writing utensil to track your progress outside of a library book so that others may enjoy it without additional writings.

 

I truly notice a difference in my reading speed, I read faster, and my increased comprehension level, I’m internalizing more of what I read even though I’m reading faster than I’ve previously read.  I also TRUST my ability to comprehend reading materials fast, which is a big change from before having read this book.

 

Why is this important?  Because I love reading, and this book proves that there are only so many pieces of material that we can reasonably read in a lifetime.  So if you must read, read on purpose, for comprehension and growth.  Be sure to be selective for the quality of your reading material will have a direct impact on the quality of your ideas and skills.


Looking for a roommate?

January 27, 2009

2009_01_26Trashcan JENGA and other tales of roommate living

 

I love my roommate…BUT [insert conditional phrase here]…

 

I love my roommate, but I am eager for my own space.  I’ve been cost cutting from my budget and negotiating pretty hard for my new job salary just so I can find a one bedroom apartment all to myself.

 

Having a roommate has its blessings: companionship, extended friend network, cheaper rent, cheaper utilities, available groceries, and someone to share in the mind numbing labor that is keeping a home furnished and tidy.  But sometimes, no matter how well you get along, having a roommate can present some very funny aspects of the human psyche!

 

Some funny times in roommate living:

 

  1. TRASH CAN JENGA
    1. If you’ve ever balanced ANOTHER banana peel on the trash heap instead of taking the trash out, you’ve played trashcan Jenga.  Loser: the person who’s piece of trash causes the entire pile to collapse on the floor.  Get it?
  2. Dirty Dishes
    1. This will always, always be a point of contention.  People either do the dishes too often or not often enough.  And god bless dishwashers, but I don’t know about you, but I HATE pre-rinsing my dishes before placing them in the dishwasher…seems redundant!  My roommate will always give me the “disapproving mom” look whenever something comes out of the dishwasher still dirty…and I hate that look!  I do in fact, rinse my dishes, but come on, it’s not going to change about me!
  3. A culture of asking
    1. Some roommates use now, ask later, and others ask now and use later.  I prefer just using my goods and replacing, upgrading, etc.
  4. Thin walls = not so private intimacy
    1. Fortunately, my roommate and I lead very traditional lifestyles, so this is not an issue.  However, I am particularly annoyed to hear my underage neighbor upstairs and his GF.  Totally possibly, I’m just jealous.
  5. TV Rules
    1. I don’t watch TV and I loathe having to pay cable bill.  I acquiesce to a DVR + Sports package because at least with a DVR, I have some control over TV.  I also remind myself that there are specific privileges to living with a roommate such as better pricing be square foot of space and shared utilities.  For the economic savings, I’m willing to make a concession for a cable package.

 

I’ve been lucky as I haven’t had to deal with too many roommate stories.

 

What sorts of roommate stories do you have?


I have no post for today.

January 27, 2009

This is the first day I haven’t had a post ready on time.  More this week, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

If you’ve never checked these sites out before, give em a shot:

www.newegg.com

bensbargains.net


What to do with all that available Commercial Real Estate

January 23, 2009

2009_01_23As the market and the economy change, especially in the negative direction, brick and mortar stores are increasingly closing up shop!  But, what to do with all of the available commercial real estate open for lease?

 

Well, before addressing that question, let’s think for a moment about public schools.  When populations increase, property taxes increase as the properties increase in value.  Schools become beneficiaries of this increase in property tax revenue.  Now, public schools must expand in order to accommodate for the increase in enrollment.  Funding to expand schools, which in effect are brick and mortar institutions, increases as the property tax revenue increase.  But what happens when population and property values decrease?  The schools must still maintain their expanded size, but how do schools contract with the economy and population changes?

 

The solution: host public school courses in open commercial real estate leases!

 

Thoughts?


I’m a republican and I like Obama

January 22, 2009

Technically I’m registered non-party, but for most of my life the Republican Party has played an active role in my political decision making process.

 

Being a republican in San Francisco certainly comes with its challenges.  On many occasions during Bush II administration, many republicans went into diplomatic hiding rather than discussing politics with San Franciscans.  Yes, read that once again, San Franciscans are considered by default extremely liberal and almost entirely statically belonging to the Democrat Party.  The reason for Republicans in San Francisco to refrain from political discourse with folks from the other side of the aisle is natural; it is too difficult to discern whether a San Franciscan is actually a Democrat or just a Bush-basher.  Oftentimes, it seems as if Democrats stand for nothing except hating George W. Bush.

 

Democrats like to argue using feelings and quotations from non-factual based, biased non-academic works such as Michael Moore films.

 

I like that the majority of Americans support Obama.  I like that the nation feels united under an Obama administration.  But I like that my form of Republicanism is factually based.  But factually speaking, Obama is but ONE man.  In his inaugural address, Obama tasked the nation to step up and do the right thing.  Pardon my feelings for a moment, but I really feel that this is the exact thing Americans need to hear.  It’s far too easy to mask your misdeeds and wrong-doings under an administration like GW’s which was simply adept at doing the wrong things.

 

America, let’s wake up, let’s do the right thing.  Doing the right thing means taking action.

 

One right thing on the table is “Universal Health Care.”  But what does that even mean?  How many Americans even know about their policies or what choices they have for health insurance?  How many Americans have educated themselves about their own critical insurance policies?  Initially, post New Deal, corporations were tasked with securing employee retirement and group insurance.

 

But in our technology and information age in which careers span many more years than previously and as many companies for each decade of work, should it not be the responsibility of the individual to educate himself about retirement plans and individual health insurance?  Why don’t we privately insure all Americans first and then see how government can fix any remaining health care problems?

 

I have an individual health plan which I personally research and chose for myself and it’s a far less expensive option than COBRA and a less expensive option than any full time employment can secure me.  I have a plan that rewards my youth and healthy lifestyle, and I like that.  I specifically choose plans which include my GP in-network because my GP and his medical facility is the best option for my health.

 

Secondarily, I contribute to my own Roth IRA for retirement, and had I remained self-employed, I have at least two additional retirement vehicles totally up to $17,500 in contributions each year.

 

I live in the second most expensive city in America and I make less than the average income for this city.  And I’m proud, I’m proud that I took control of my finances and insurance.  I’m proud that my full time employment to begin in February will offer me additional 401K, stock options, and health insurance should I choose to accept those offers.  I would really feel cheated if my health care quality drops or my income tax increases to subsidize many other people’s health care and retirement costs.  Retirement and insurance are neither new concepts nor too difficult to understand for any and all Americans.  It requires maybe a week of sacrificing TV to figure everything out and start contributing, and can cost less than $100/month for full coverage and retirement contributions.

 

Writing this, I’m angry even thinking that I am working hard to insure myself, protect my health, protect my assets, and volunteer in my community, yet I will be punished, I will have to forgo my own security so that others don’t have to and soon won’t be able to research their own life plans.  But I am hopeful.  I’m hopeful that if Obama tells the nation to educate itself and take action, then the nation will respond.  And if the nation doesn’t respond, how will Obama hold the nation accountable?  Obama, just like all Presidents, is accountable to the nation, and not the other way around.  Lastly, I’m hopeful that Obama will inspire the nation to remember that we have options, even if you live paycheck to paycheck, you have options to create the life you want.  Hopefully, that life is driven to secure your own future without jeopardizing others’ futures.