Book Reviews

  • Book Review – MINDSET – The New Psychology of Success

    Joelle K Marquis recommends this book and offers this excerpt:


    “Many people think of the brain as a mystery.  They don’t know much about intelligence and how it works.  When they do think about what intelligence is, many people believe that a person is born smart, average, or dumb—and stays that way for life.  But new research shows the brain is more like a muscle— it changes and gets stronger when you use it.  And scientists have been able to show just how the brain grows and gets stronger when you learn.

    When you learn new things, these tiny connections in the brain actually multiply and get stronger.  The more that you challenge your mind to learn, the more your brain cells grow.  Then, things that you once found very hard or even impossible — like speaking a foreign language or doing algebra– seem to become easy.  The result is a stronger, smarter brain.”

    Mindset – The New Psychology of Success

    by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.

  • The Seed: Finding Purpose and Happiness in Life and Work

    The Seed: Finding Purpose and Happiness in Life and Work by Jon Gordon

    Following is an excerpt from Jon Gordon’s new book.  These four stages are an excellent path to follow, as individuals and leaders.

    The 4 Stages of Greatness

    When I ask people if they want to be great or do great things everyone says, “Yes.” I’ve never had anyone say I want to be mediocre. I’m convinced that inside each one of us is a desire for greatness because we were never meant to be average. God planted this desire in our soul. It’s why we are always striving to improve. Inventors and engineers are always trying to make better phones, cars, machines, planes and products. A director makes a movie and wants to make an even better movie. A sales person has a great year and they want to top it. An athlete wants to get stronger and faster. A musician has a hit song and then they want to create another hit. It’s part of our path as human beings to innovate, evolve, grow, improve and push the boundaries of what’s possible. I’ve discovered there are 4 stages that everyone who pursues greatness will go through on their journey.

    1. The Preparation Stage – This is where you prepare to be great—where your actions meet your desire – where you show up each day and do the work that greatness requires. While speaking to a MLB baseball team I asked them, “Do you believe you can work harder than you already are?” Everyone raised their hand. “So why aren’t you,” I asked? We discussed it and decided to work harder you have to care more. You have to care to prepare and embrace the process that leads to improvement and growth. See yourself as an artist dedicated to your craft and over time you will create a masterpiece.
    2. The Planting Stage – This is where you plant yourself where you are and allow yourself and your gifts to be used for a greater purpose beyond yourself. This is where you decided to serve WE instead of ME. Just as the seed must surrender to the ground you must surrender your ego and put your team and others first. You have to have an ego to want to be great but you must give up your ego and serve others in order to be truly great. Years ago I was unhappy and miserable with my life. I was trying to serve me and it wasn’t doing me any good. Finally I broke down and made my life about others. I started this newsletter in 2002 with no plan. I just shared messages to hopefully inspire and in the process I’ve grown others and myself.
    3. The Growth Stage – When you plant yourself and allow yourself to be used for a greater purpose you grow into the leader you are meant to be. Part of this process is the growth stage where you will experience triumphs and success to let you know you are on the right path. However, you will also experience pruning during this stage. When you are being pruned it looks like you have been destroyed but you haven’t. Like a bush that’s been pruned, the pruning is meant to help you grow more fully. When I spoke to the West Point football team a few years ago they had just lost a tough game during another challenging season and things looked bleak. I told them they were just being pruned and a harvest was coming. Your perspective during the growth stage is so important. So many give up during this stage because they think when they have been pruned they’re finished. They think it’s the end so they never reach the final stage. Don’t stop. Keep going and you’ll keep growing.
    4. The Harvest Stage – This is where you reap the benefits of all your hard work, planting and growing. It’s where you produce fruit in your life and fruit in others and leave a legacy. It’s when it all becomes clear. The reason why we go through these 4 stages and strive for greatness is because through the process we become someone who can bring out the greatness in others. We show others what greatness looks like and inspire others to aspire to greatness themselves. I was at the Army Navy game this past year, when after 14 years of defeats, Army finally beat Navy. I congratulated Coach Jeff Monken and he said, “We experienced a harvest today.” You may not have experienced a harvest yet but don’t let that stop you from preparing and planting the seed. Go through the process. Don’t give up when you are being pruned. It may take a while but a harvest is coming. I don’t know when but I know it’s coming!

    – Jon.


    “In this book, Archie Brown presents a strong argument:  ‘that the leaders who make the biggest difference in office, and change millions of lives for the better, are the ones who collaborate, delegate, and negotiate—the ones who recognize that no one person can or should have all the answers.’ ”

    -Bill Gates

    [Editor’s note:  The closing paragraph regarding global health space issues is worthy of note, particularly as it relates to “collaboration, humility and a willingness to listen.”]



    “Shoe Dog, Phil Knight’s memoir about creating Nike, is a refreshingly honest reminder of what the path to business success really looks like. It’s a messy, perilous, and chaotic journey riddled with mistakes, endless struggles, and sacrifice. In fact, the only thing that seems inevitable in page after page of Knight’s story is that his company will end in failure.”

    -Bill Gates



    “The subtitle ‘Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness’ perfectly sums up Jeff Olson’s new book The Slight Edge. I’ve now bought this book for several close friends because it is practical and powerful. The concepts Olson discusses are simple but not ‘easy.’ He shows the reader why they have been getting the results they’ve been getting (good and bad) and ways to commit to attaining your goals without being another ‘self-help’ book. The keys to his concepts apply to business and life and have helped me in my quest to be my best self and I hope they will do the same for you.”

    -Tad Dwyer, Tad Dwyer, Inc.