Book Reviews: Individual Psychology and Growth

50 Success Classics: Winning Wisdom for Work & Life from 50 Landmark Books, by Tom Butler-Bowdon. Nicholas Brealey Publishing (London).
This book highlights the key points of such leaders, writers and thinkers as Horatio Alger, Warren Bennis, Warren Buffett, Andrew Carnegie, Jim Collins, Stephen R. Covey, Henry Ford, John Paul Getty, Muriel James and Dorothy Jongeward (Born to Win), Abraham Lincoln, J. W. Marriott Jr., Brian Tracy, Sun Tzu, Jack Welch, and many others. Excellent for those looking for the key ideas. 311 pp. 2004.

The Art of Waking People Up: Cultivating Awareness and Authenticity, by Kenneth Cloke and Joan Goldsmith, Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.
Waking people up is about revitalizing organization through increasing people's consciousness of their environment and relationships to see what is dysfunctional about them; it is about helping people overcome destructive patterns, negative attitudes, injured feelings, and more which keep them tied to the past. It is also about getting them to take responsibility, transform their lives, and create more satisfying, sustainable, and supportive work environments. The book concerns feedback, coaching, mentoring, assessment, listening, problem solving, supportive confrontation, and conflict resolution. It is about both individual and organizational change. It is filled with insights, techniques and approaches. 300 pp. 2003.

Aspirations of Greatness: Mapping the Midlife Leader's Reconnection to Self and Soul, by Jim Warner. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Building on personal experience and research, the author provides guiding ideas and insights to help people stuck in the quagmire of self-doubt, career second-guessing, and tenuous relationships. Based on case studies of 500 young, high-profile leaders, the book maps a journey from disillusionment and indifference to finding new purpose and fulfillment through self-exploration. Warner uses these profiles to reveal some basic themes, pointing out underlying causal patterns, models for understanding these patterns, and an outline of action steps for reconnecting with yourself, others, God, and reality. Highly absorbing and enlightening. Includes a profile of the author's research instrument. Highly absorbing and enlightening. Recommended. 335 pp. 2002.

Awakening the Leader Within: A Story of Transformation, by Kevin Cashman, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
The book is primarily a story. Stories are the language of leadership and questions are the language of coaching writes Cashman. The author employs both. A story awakens us to the possibility of being more of the person we know we can be and doing what we've never done before. Questions are used in the book to enable the reader to look deeper within at one's self and life. The book ends with a guide to structure a personalized plan based on six seeds of growth. The book's aim is to get as close as possible to a coaching experience. Reflections and brief exercises, along with the story and questions, make the book highly interactive. Absorbing and inspirational. 323 pp. 2003.

The Big Difference: Life Works When You Choose It, by Nicole Phillips. Perseus Books.
Concerns self-discovery and explores the need for self-autonomy, creativity, and growth. Excellent for those seeking self-motivation and meaningfulness in their career. The writing style is unconventional and energizing; contents are engaging, instructive and insightful. Part of a twelve book series. 195 pp. 2002.

Born to Succeed: Releasing Your Business Potential, by Colin Turner. Texere.
One of a trilogy of self-development books, intended to provide a practical and inspirational road-map to harness the reader's potential in career and everyday life. This book helps the reader realize success through self-understanding, developing, self-confidence, and self-direction. Numerous great quotations. Recommended. 250 pp. 2002.

Business Lunchatations: How an Everyday Guy Became One of America's Most Colorful CEOs...and How You Can, Too!, by Richard Bo Dietl. Chamberlain Bros., Penguin Group.
Dietl, a highly successful, self-made entrepreneur, shares his experiences and insights about achieving success through smart networking, making the most of personal connections, the art of self-promotion (involving the cultivation of a unique personality and style), and doing many other things right. The book is witty, to-the-point, and tells plenty of personal stories--but its prime value lies in such lists as "20 Rules for Self-Promotion," "6 Ways to Improve Your Listening Skills," "14 Networking Tips," and many more such in-a-nutshell take-aways. Dietl loves checklists, but advises that "the best" are those "you create yourself" for they are tailored to your problems. The underlying theme appears to be "You can change yourself and your life" and "you can do more than you do now." (p. 31) The CD includes conversations with Jack Welch, Warren Buffett, Bill O'Reilly and others. It's a fast read, that tells much in few words. 187 pp. 2005.

Change Activist: Make Big Things Happen Fast, by Carmel McConnell. by Carmel McConnell.
Explores the nature and advantages of being socially committed to your work...to believe passionately in the ultimate goal. Excellent for those seeking self-motivation and meaningfulness in their career. The presentation of ideas is unconventional and energizing; contents are engaging, instructive and insightful. Part of a twelve book series. 200 pp. 2002.

Emotions Revealed: Recognizing Faces and Feelings to Improve Communication and Emotional Life, by Paul Ekman. Times Books, Random House.
Ekman explains the nature of emotions, how they influence us, and their signs in ourselves and others. Based on the research on the expression and physiology of emotions across cultures, the book delves into such fundamental questions as: Why do we become emotional when we do? What triggers each of our emotions? Can specific triggers be removed? Can we change how we emotionally respond? Ekman explains how and when we can change what we become emotional about, as well as how emotional responses (expressions, actions, thoughts) are organized. Separate chapters explore particular emotions. Includes a test to assess how well you're able to recognize facial expressions. This is an in-depth, engrossing, informative work, that can add enormously to understanding yourself and others, with insights for self-development. 267 pp. 2003.

Executive Coaching: Practices and Perspectives, by Catherine Fitzgerald and Jennifer Garvey Berger. Davies-Black Publishing.
The sixteen chapters of this books were written by seasoned executive coaches. Topics include: the role of the executive coach; a framework for constructing a model of coaching; understanding the midlife process; in-depth coaching beyond work life; a seven step process for establishing executive coaching, developed by an HR manger; the alignment of executive coaching and business strategy; common errors and their implications for managing the coaching process; questioning the assumption that it is better to use outsiders for coaching; guideposts for coaches interested in learning more about business strategy; and more. This is a top-notch collection of insights and ideas; an excellent contribution to the subject area. Highly recommended. 368 pp. 2002.

Freedom and Accountability at Work: Applying Philosophic Insight to the Real World, by Peter Koestenbaum and Peter Block, Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.
This book is a collaborative work by a philosophy professor (Koestenbaum) and a management consultant (Block) that examines an array of philosophical and psychological subjects and ties them to leadership and the nature of work. The purpose of the book is to explore the ideas of existential philosophy, and associated ideas in psychology, in the context of everyday life, particularly at work. It covers such topics as freedom, anxiety, death and evil, and links these to how we think and act. The main theme is what it means to be free and the linkage to accountability. It is about the way each of us encounters the world, experiences living, and defines ourselves. It has deep implications for personal transformation and our interaction with reality. The book is intellectually challenging, mind-expanding, and very thought-provoking, providing fundamental implications for managing people, guidance, and counseling. 439 pp. 2001.

FutureThink: How to Think Clearly in a Time of Change, by Edie Weiner and Arnold Brown. Prentice-Hall/Financial Times.
Presents 16 techniques for seeing patterns, weighing alternatives, understanding trends, gaining insights on future trends, making effective decisions about the future, and influencing future events. The ideas are presented with clarity and numerous examples, making each technique readily understandable. The book is an excellent resource to help you put the past, present and future into context, make the future more easily knowable and controllable, and make more effective decisions. 230 pp. 2005.

Goals! How to Get Everything You Want Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible, by Brian Tracy, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
This book is about how to set and achieve goals. It presents 21 approaches applicable to every area of life. A central subject is achieving financial independence. The book provides a lot of food for thought regarding personal ambition, goal-setting, and psychological techniques for self-motivation. 295 pp. 2003.

Happy Mondays: Putting the Pleasure Back Into Work, by Richard Reeves. Perseus Books.
Argues that you can't be good at your job unless you love what you do. The author recharacterizes work and provides a blueprint for adjusting your work life to make it enjoyable. Excellent for those seeking self-motivation and meaningfulness in their career. The writing style is unconventional and energizing; contents are engaging, instructive and insightful. Part of a twelve book series. 195 pp. 2002.

The Hypomanic Edge: The Link Between (A Little) Craziness and (A Lot) of Success in America, by John D. Gartner. Simon & Schuster.
This nation gives unusual opportunities and celebrates the success of the hypomanic personality—one marked by an elevated mood state that may be, but is not necessarily, subject to depression. Hypomania is not an illness. The irrational confidence, ambition, vision, and zeal of these individuals has had an enormously positive impact on this nation's rise to economic prosperity. The book spotlights nine hypomanics through our history, and devotes a chapter to each of them, which is both a small biography and a clinical case history. The author concludes by offering evidence that the genetic roots of hypomania trace back to our primate ancestors. A totally absorbing and enlightening book. 354 pp. 2005..

Intuition at Work: Why Developing Your Gut Instincts Will Make You Better at What You Do, by Gary Klein. A Currency Book, Doubleday, Division of Random House.
Intuition, according to Klein, is the way we translate our experiences into action. The book presents an intuition skills training program with the overall aim of helping readers strengthen their decision-making skills. The key goals of the book are: show people how to build skills in intuition decision-making; apply these skills; and safeguard them against the obstacles that interfere with their use. The book is aimed at practicality but also provides a theoretical framework, and uses exercises and decision games to aid the reader. Numerous examples help illuminate the discussion and key points are highlighted. This is a pragmatic, well written, and very valuable work. 352 pp. 2003.

Intuition @ Work: & at Home and at Play, by James Wanless. Red Wheel/Weiser.
This small book of personal insights explores intuition and reveals how it is present throughout life, examines its importance, and discusses how easily it is accessed. An intriguing work with thoughtful insights. 134 pp. 2002.

Lead Yourself: Be Where Others Will Follow, by Mick Cope. Perseus Books.
Presents a personal leadership framework. Provides guidance and tools for mapping your own career path and liberating yourself. Excellent for those seeking self-motivation and meaningfulness in their career. The writing style is unconventional and energizing; contents are engaging, instructive and insightful. Part of a twelve book series. 200 pp. 2002.

NLP at Work: The Difference That Makes the Difference in Business, by Sue Knight. Nicholas Brealey Publishing (London).
This work presents a highly detailed examination of the modeling process involved in Neurolingustic programming and a discussion of its applications to business. Key new sections in this edition address modeling yourself and leading with NLP, and conflict resolution. An excellent resource for anyone engaged in training or for those seeking self development. The book is filled with examples, questionnaires, and each chapter ends with some thought-provoking questions. Includes a glossary. 400 pp. 2002.

Paths to Succeed: Developing Your Entrepreneurial Thinking, by Colin Turner. Texere.
One of a trilogy of self-development books, intended to provide a practical and inspirational road-map to harness the reader's potential in career and everyday life. This book's underlying philosophy is be yourself: to the degree that you are and that you align yourself with natural principles, you become increasing receptive to insights, recognizing that the security and strength we seek outside ourselves is available internally—the essence of entrepreneurial thinking. Recommended. 250 pp. 2002.

Procrastination: Why You Do It, What You Can Do About It, by Jane B. Burka and Lenora M. Yuen. Da Capo Press.
Drawing from professional and personal experience, the authors explore the vicious "Cycle of Procrastination," and delve into the underlying roots (environmental causes and deeper psychological dynamics). But primarily, the aim of the book is to help give the reader some freedom of choice about procrastinating so that he/she will worry less and feel more in control of his/her life. 227 pp. 2004.

The Simplicity Survival Handbook: 32 Ways to Do Less and Accomplish More, by Bill Jensen. Basic Books (Perseus).
To-the-point advice and specific how-to's for making your life easier and more productive, and advancing your career. Lots of interesting ideas offering loads of potential value. 311 pp. 2004.

The Solution Path: A Step-by-Step Guide to Turning Your Workplace Problems Into Opportunities, by Tasos Sioukas Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.
Presents methods for problem solving, emphasizing creativity and positive thinking. Provides the basic outline of problem-solving methodology; examines fear as a key impediment; delves into the dynamics of working with people; and shows how to begin with a vision of an ideal outcome, generate ways to achieve the vision, and formulate and execute an action plan. Leading a team in problem-solving is a primary theme. An excellent guide. 208 pp. 2003.

Start With No: The Negotiating Tools that the Pros Don't Want You to Know, by Jim Camp. Crown Publishers, Random House.
The author, who has coached people through thousands of negotiations, argues that compromise is sometimes essential, if done on the right terms. His basic aim is to alert business people to the dangers inherent in a win-win approach. Camp's negotiating system is presented; each chapter is devoted to a principle or practice of the system. The approach is contrarian and highly interesting. Filled with good insights. Recommended. 270 pp. 2002.

Take Back Your Time: Fighting Overwork and Time Poverty in America, by John de Graff, ed., Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
The contributions in this book cover a wide range of views regarding time poverty and our social and individual values. The authors write about the issue of time and Americans' lack of it, despite our wealth as a nation. The chapters cover the impact of overwork and over-scheduling on the individual, families, children, communities, citizen participation, and the environment. The book is also about solutions starting with personal choices and responsibility. Anyone who is interested in the ways we sacrifice ourselves and are captives of traditional thinking will find this an stimulating and useful book. 270 pp. 2003.

Ten Secrets of Successful Men That Women Want to Know, by Donna L. Brooks and Lynn M. Brooks. McGraw-Hill, Inc.
Based on interviews with top executives in major corporations to identify their strategies for success, the authors identified ten major themes; each of these is explored in depth in a chapter-length discussion. Additionally, the authors share their findings about perceptions of men and women at work. Their research found little if any differences between men and women in skill but specific differences in style. They explore what may work best in a variety of situations for the reader in skills, behaviors and leadership style. Among the ten key subjects, the authors examine: developing a personal brand; creating an appropriate image and style for you; defining your role as a team leader and participant; building effective networks; and developing winning communication skills. Filled with keen observations and statements of interviewees that bring key points to life. A terrific career-building resource. 188 pp. 2002.

True Partnership: Revolutionary Thinking About Relating to Others, by Carl Zaiss. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
Provides an understanding of developing relationships that move away from a person-centered perspective and zero-sum thinking, to interpersonal connection. Zaiss affirms that the quality of such relationships is the key to "true partnership." This book explores four principles of true partners and gives brief guidelines for developing authentic relationships. Recommended. 144 pp. 2002.

We Are All Self-Employed: How to Take Control of Your Career, by Cliff Hakim. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
An excellent guide for everyone to learn how to achieve a self-employed attitude, express your authentic self, and succeed. Key topics include personal growth, overcoming fear, linking independence and interdependence, work relationships built on equality and competence, continuous learning, and meaningful work. Includes numerous guidelines and checklists. 263 pp. 2003.

Why Don't You Want What I Want?: How to Win Support for Your Ideas Without Hard Sell, Manipulation, or Power Plays, by Rick Maurer. Bard Books, Inc.
Unlike most of the other books on change and influence, this book doesn't focus on making a compelling case for one's cause. While not jettisoning the sales pitch, Maurer concentrates on building solid relationships with the people you want to influence. Drawing on several disciplines, Maurer explores 1) why people offer their support and 2) why they resist ideas. Maurer built this book around six principles that he believes will increase your ability to reach your goals while building strong relationships: 1) know what you want to achieve before engaging people, 2) consider the importance o relationship's context, 3) avoid knee-jerk reactions to rejection, 4) pay attention to others' responses, 5) deeply explore the underlying causes of rejection, and 6) find ways to achieve win/win relationships. This book offers penetrating insights and discusses many subtle facets of persuasion. We highly recommend it! 220 pp.

Work to Live: The Guide to Getting a Life, by Joe Robinson, Perigee, Penguin Putnam, Inc.
The author has written a marvelous guide for those who are caught in the wheels of work and enslaved by guilt and many wrong assumptions about what counts and what is of value. The book opens up the reader's mind to realities about living life in a healthy, balanced way. Robinson has a lot of insightful points to show how to take charge of your life, which he conveys in a highly readable style. 304 pp. 2003.