Book Review: On Art, Leadership Impact and Leadership

Note: The titles in this book review were provided to be as review copies by their publishers. I wrote these reviews because I they mean something to me, and I think you might like them as well.

The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick

I’ve been working in (and with) social media for several years now. Despite all the emerging services, there’s been very little that’s actually new in approaching it. Guy Kawasaki is someone I respect, and it’s the reason for looking at this book more deeply. Its stated purpose “is to enable you to rock social media.” Much of what’s here, you’ve likely heard before, scattered across thousands of social media posts over the last few years. The charm of this book is that is distills this conventional wisdom into a concise handbook on social media process and strategy. From planning to writing to SEO and graphics—it covers exactly what you need to keep in mind. A good primer for the newbie, and a good reminder for the veteran.

The Impact Equation by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith

What is the impact equation? No worries, you won’t have to be good in math to understand it. Instead, this book is a reflection of the concepts that shape today’s social media-focused values. I have to admit that one statement in the first chapter really hooked me: “If you’re in a small town in central Louisiana, your needs will be different from those of someone in New York City.” I was “that guy” in a small town in central Louisiana when I discovered my digital heritage legs. I’ve now lived in Philadelphia and Miami, and can say the principles described in this book review will be applicable to any time and place or stage of learning. It provides insight on establishing your platform, and then demonstrating the bravery to be different, even as you attract an audience. The book is full of simple, yet profound, truths. A philosophical complement to Kawasali’s “Art of Social Media.”

The Art of Work by Jeff Goins

Admittedly, some of my interest in writing a book review about “The Art of Work” came from the author’s name being so similar to mine. Having read it now, I can say that it’s a good, concise distillation of methods for keeping perspective on work situations.  Like many books, it’s often allegorical or filled with stories from the lives of famous people (e.g. Walt Disney, Steve Jobs). The quote that introduces part two pretty much sums up the purpose of this work “Every single that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come.” The book has a balance of practical and philosophical  advice. It calls on the reader to consider their situation and, with intention, employ “deliberate practice” so that they are able to live their best lives, which is often the result of repeated failures. The author’s story about becoming a writer is particularly inspirational. Goins sums it up by saying “…finding your calling, as mysterious as it seems, is not only a mystical process; it is intensely practical. You either act of what you know, or you miss your moment.”  All-in-all, this book is a quick read that encompasses profound life lessons.

The Leadership Handbook by John C. Maxwell

book reviewOne of the first business books I ever bought was authored by John C. Maxwell. Billed as “the leadership expert,” John’s relationship-centered approach is good for introverts like me to remember now and again. This book review explains why this title is a keeper. It distills many of his leadership concepts into brief and actionable instructions. It goes beyond handbook to function as a devotional, and a course in positive habit development. Application Exercises and a Mentoring Moment end each chapter to ensure each lesson is taken to heart. One of the most valuable pieces of advice Maxwell offers is in the chapter “Keep Your Mind on the Main Thing.” There are times in life that you have to step back and ask three critical questions: 1. What gives me the greatest return? 2.What is most rewarding? 3. What is required of me? He adds to that a closing chapter on the importance of establishing a legacy by picking NOW how people should summarize your life. What’s your legacy? The stylistic elegance Maxwell has honed over his decades of writing has produced a volume of simple truths that you’ll want to continually come back to throughout your career to refocus your life, and savor.

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