Review – Didn’t See It Coming – Carey Nieuwhof

In “Didn’t See it Coming” Carey Nieuwhof outlines seven challenges that can catch a pastor or leader by surprise even though they are ubiquitous. The seven challenges are Cynicism, Compromise, Disconnection, Irrelevance, Pride, Burnout, and Emptiness.  Carey calls these seven challenges “epidemics of our age.” While these things have a tendency to catch us off guard, they don’t need to if we see the warning signs.

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Michael Hyatt’s Leaderbox – First Impressions

If you want to see what a Leaderbox looks like, here’s my unboxing and first impressions:

I told myself I wasn’t going to do it. I told myself it was too much money. But then, I received a 10% off coupon for Michael Hyatt’s Leaderbox and I thought I’d revisit my initial decision.

After thinking about Leaderbox some more, I ended up joining.

What caused me to take the jump? Basically, the coupon came at the right time.

In a previous blog post, I wrote about reassessing how I read. I realized that if I was going to learn deeply, I had to read differently. So, fewer books.

I also realized physical books would help in my quest. I am able to make notes in a physical book. I can highlight and underline. At the end of each chapter, I can give feedback or write out a summary. For learning, I decided I would focus on physical rather than electronic books.

Leaderbox provides the tools I feel I need. Each month Leaderbox provides two (physical) books, a 21-day reading guide, a facebook group, and some quote cards. The Reading Guide asks questions about the day’s reading and provides a place for notes. The Facebook group provides an opportunity to learn from others. My hope and expectation are that my learning will be deepened and my thinking will be challenged and expanded.

The other aspect of Leaderbox that will be helpful is Hyatt’s team choosing the book. If I want to learn deeply and think differently, my reading must challenge me. I tend to gravitate toward the same type of books. I’ll browse through Amazon, see something that looks good, and then purchase.

Having someone else choose the book means I may end up reading a book I would normally avoid, which is good. If I am going to expand my thinking, I need to be challenged in areas I tend to ignore.

I could have decided to purchase a similar product from other companies, but I felt the books (at least the ones I knew about) Hyatt’s team provided were of higher quality. For instance, one of the books for March,The CEO Next Door: The 4 Behaviors That Transform Ordinary People into World-Class Leaders, as of this posting, hasn’t even been released. I received the book two weeks before the release. The authors expand on their Harvard Business Review cover story.

 

Review – Acer R11 4 Gig Real Life Review

What this Review Is And Is Not

I thought I’d do a review of the Acer R11 Chromebook focusing on how it fits within my daily workflow. This review will not address the technical specifics of the Chromebook, but more day to day usability. If you are interested in specifications, octane speeds, etc., there are great reviews such as:

CNet R11 Review
Laptop Magazine R11 Review
Computer World R11 review
The Verge

Instead of the technical merits, I will focus on my experience with the Acer R11 (4Gig 16meg SD model). I plan on updating this review as I used the machine especially once the Google Play Store is available bring all the Android apps.

My Case Use

I am a pastor so my work varies and includes quite a bit of writing as I prepare sermons, lessons and newsletters, along with talking with people, facilitating training events, leading meetings, creating strategic leadership and organizational plans, and various other activities. Currently I am working on a second book which I plan to self-publish through Amazon’s Createspace service.
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Review – Quiet by Susan Cain

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Susan Cain’s book on introversion is, in my estimation, an indispensable resource on challenges introverts face in an extroverted world. The book is well researched and written. The five years it Cain took to write is evident. I was surprised by the amount of research Quiet contained, and the extensive research serves as a testimony to a self-avowed introvert.

Cain organized the book around four main sections. Part One, the Extrovert Ideal, covers the cultural propensity toward extroversion. Part Two, Your Biology, Your Self! covers biological factors of introversion. Part Three, Do All Cultures have an Extrovert Ideal, explores other cultures and whether there are cultures that are more introverted. Part Four, How to Love, How To Work, gives guidance on how to live as an introvert in an extrovert’s world.

One of the main points Cain made was that introversion is not something to be cured or fixed. It is a temperament. She points out not only the contribution introverts have made, but how their temperament is essential to society. Introvert’s quiet contributions have literally changed the world. Through many encouraging chapters she helps introverts to embrace their temperament, find their voice, and contribute. The book addresses how extroverted cultures create challenges that Introverts must understand and adapt to if they are going to reach their potential.

The book was comprehensive, covering everything from biological factors to how to succeed in an extroverted world. She also addresses raising a child who may be an introvert. A wonderful take away was her suggestions on public speaking.

The book is well researched, however, I wish the references to the endnotes were in the text. While not having references in the text, does make the book easier to read, it makes further research more difficult. Also, not having references in the text makes it difficult to know which statements had research and which ones didn’t. That is my only critique however.

This is an excellent book and resource for both introverts and extroverts. I recommend this book to those who know they are introverted because it gives suggestions and guidance on how to embrace one’s introversion while living in an extroverted world. I recommend this book to those who work, or live, with introverts, and anyone who has to lead or manage people. Extroverted leaders and managers have much to gain through this book. By understanding more about the introverts, and their potential contributions, both introverts and extroverts will find their world enriched.

Review – The Deeper Path by Kary Oberbrunner

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I received a pre-release electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I just finished Kary Oberbrunner’s book and I’m conflicted. I’m giving the book three stars. Overall the book was a good positive book. There were many helpful points, and thoughts. Following the exercises to create one’s OPUS and Six Pack would be powerful and could serve to clarifies one’s life purpose. However, I did have some reservations as well. I will outline those after I comment on what I found helpful.

Kary’s story is powerful and insightful. Through his story, he points to the reality of pain, the reality of God, and the reality of living past the pain. I found the second section, The How, especially helpful, challenging, and redeeming. As Kary demonstrates, it is possible to embrace one’s pain and find hope, joy, and life. I loved his stress on silence versus noise and how we tend to drown out our pain. Instead of ignoring our pain, Oberbrunner encourages us to embrace it and move through it to healing..
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