Books

SOME BOOKS I RECOMMEND

Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School – Multitasking is the great buzz word in business today, but as developmental molecular biologist Medina tells readers in a chapter on attention, the brain can really only focus on one thing at a time. This alone is the best argument for not talking on your cellphone while driving. Medina (The Genetic Inferno) presents readers with a basket containing an even dozen good principles on how the brain works and how we can use them to our benefit at home and work. The author says our visual sense trumps all other senses, so pump up those PowerPoint presentations with graphics. The author says that we don’t sleep to give our brain a rest—studies show our neurons firing furiously away while the rest of the body is catching a few z’s. While our brain indeed loses cells as we age, it compensates so that we continue to be able to learn well into our golden years. Many of these findings and minutiae will be familiar to science buffs, but the author employs an appealing style, with suggestions on how to apply his principles, which should engage all readers. DVD not seen by PW.(Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything – Robinson (Out of Our Minds), renowned in the areas of creativity development, innovation and human resources, tackles the challenge of determining and pursuing work that is aligned with individual talents and passions to achieve well-being and success. The element is what he identifies as the point where the activities individuals enjoy and are naturally good at come together. Offering a wide range of stories about the creative journeys of different people with diverse paths to the element—including Paul McCartney, The Alchemist author Paulo Coelho, and Vidal Sassoon as well as lesser-known examples—he demonstrates a rich vision of human ability and creativity. Covering such topics as the power of creativity, circles of influence, and attitude and aptitude, the author emphasizes the importance of nurturing talent along with developing an understanding of how talent expresses itself differently in every individual. Robinson emphasizes the importance of mentors and reforming and transforming education, making a convincing argument bolstered by solid strategies for honing creativity. Motivating and persuasive, this entertaining and inspiring book will appeal to a wide audience. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us – Short on pages but long on repetition, this newest book by Godin (Purple Cow) argues that lasting and substantive change can be best effected by a tribe: a group of people connected to each other, to a leader and to an idea. Smart innovators find or assemble a movement of similarly minded individuals and get the tribe excited by a new product, service or message, often via the Internet (consider, for example, the popularity of the Obama campaign, Facebook or Twitter). Tribes, Godin says, can be within or outside a corporation, and almost everyone can be a leader; most are kept from realizing their potential by fear of criticism and fear of being wrong. The book’s helpful nuggets are buried beneath esoteric case studies and multiple reiterations: we can be leaders if we want, tribes are the way of the future and change is good. On that last note, the advice found in this book should be used with caution. Change isn’t made by asking permission, Godin says. Change is made by asking forgiveness, later. That may be true, but in this economy and in certain corporations, it may also be a good way to lose a job. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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