Books on a shelf with picture frames

Culture by Design by David Friedman

With so much disruption in every industry during COVID times and the post-COVID resignation wave, it’s important for leaders at all levels to focus on culture. Friedman’s book is a good practical “how to” when it comes to understanding and building a culture, step by step. He stresses the necessity of the organization’s leader set and drive culture, and I agree. I’ll also add that a leader at any level can, and should, foster a team culture when the broader culture is weak or unhealthy. Culture is about clarity of expectations reinforced regularly and personally through behaviors, information, skill development, and meaningful conversations (proactively and reactively through feedback). He also stressed that when a culture remains unaddressed or toxic that self-preservation is warranted, and to leave.

Taste by Stanley Tucci

I enjoyed this on Audible as Stanley’s voice gave it an added personal feel. Listening to him recount food – especially Italian – in his life made me think of how southern food is a centerpiece of mine. I’m fortunate to have a mom who loves to give love, sympathy, and encouragement through food. So many yummy traditions passed down through handwritten recipe cards. Stanley did a great job intertwining personal stories, with recipes… much like how a musician tells you the story behind a lyric. While the recipes he shared sounded delicious, not sure I’ll go back and try to make them due to my lack of patience in the kitchen. But I was intrigued with a recipe that called for a “fuck ton of butter.”

I Wish I’d Known This: 6 Career-Accelerating Secrets for Women Leaders by Brenda Wensil and Kathryn Heath

A former boss and leadership mentor recommended this book having heard and met author Brenda over the years. I think this book has solid foundational information for emerging leaders, especially women. The book, written by seasoned leadership coaches, covered 6 blind spots many executives have such as career drift, self-awareness, and operating on autopilot—and how to address them. I appreciated their chapter on “reputationality” or as they explain, “The combination of your unique personality and your reputation. It’s how you stand out—how you leave your mark.” They also stressed the importance of building your posse, which I talk about regularly to those I mentor and do personally. In and out of your office, it’s important to have an intimate group of candid, supportive, probing, smart, passionate, and fun supporters who champion your success.

Negative Space by Lilly Dancyger

I found this book in an Audible search, and it reminds me a bit of Crying in H Mart. The author set out to learn about her father Joe Schactman, an artist, who died young after years of heroin addiction. The author weaves memories together from her life to build a story of loss, artistry, family, and growth. While the book tries to put the author’s detective story on her father front and center, it’s her own story that that fascinates me most, especially her journey from a 16-year-old high school dropout to an ivy league Master’s degree holder.

It Worked for Me by Colin Powell

I took some time to reset just before I started at a new company due to an acquisition and listened to this book, read by the author himself. I was surprised by how much this book resonated with me, and how many of the things in it I do or strive to. Perhaps I picked up more than I realized during the six years I consulted with the Army. The book was basically 44 mini podcasts, each lasting 5-10 minutes with a leadership standard, story, and rationale. Powell covered his 13 rules for how to lead, taking care of the people on your team, working in a digital world and with the media, reaching full impact, and a few reflections based on memorable relationships. He offers advice that is still relevant and needed today. 

Happy reading.

Books – December 2022

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