Book Review: Conversational Design

Conversational Design by Erika Hall

Conversational Design by Erika Hall (New York: A Book Apart, 2018. 134 pp) Erika Hall has been working in web design and development since the late twentieth century. In 2001, she cofounded Mule Design Studio, where she leads the strategy consulting practice. Her enthusiasm for evidence-based decision-making led her to write Just Enough Research. She speaks frequently to international audiences on topics ranging from collaboration and design research to effective interface language. Her current talks explore the limits of using quantitative data to make design decisions. Computer Talk It feels like a couple of years ago society hit a fulcrum, and conversation shifted dramatically. Where communication between people often occurred verbally, communication with machines happened largely through code or writing…. Read More →

Book Review: Practice What You Preach

Practice What Your Preach

Practice What You Preach: What Managers Must Do to Create a High Achievement Culture by David H. Maister (New York: Free Press, 2001. 272 pp) David Maister is a former Harvard Business School professor, writer, and expert in business management. Maister earned his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Birmingham, his Master’s degree from the London School of Economics, and his doctorate from Harvard Business School. After an acclaimed career in the academy, Maister consulted full-time until his retirement in 2009. Good Idea The world is full of good ideas. And yet, how often do we see a business, artist, or leader execute on that idea? Stated differently, discussions over a beer include many “what ifs.” This could be a… Read More →

Book Review: Institutional Intelligence

Institutional Intelligence

Institutional Intelligence: How to Build an Effective Organization by Gordon T. Smith (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2017. 224 pp) Gordon T. Smith is the president of Ambrose University and Seminary in Calgary, Alberta, where he also serves as professor of systematic and spiritual theology. He is an ordained minister with the Christian and Missionary Alliance and a teaching fellow at Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia. He is the author of many books, including Courage and Calling, Called to Be Saints, Spiritual Direction, and The Voice of Jesus. Where Have You Gone, Institutional? As the 2017 roller coaster comes to a complete stop, a variety of circumstances fight for the label of a year’s defining moment. The world feels miles different… Read More →

Book Review: The (Honest) Truth about Dishonesty

The Honest Truth about Dishonesty by Dan Ariely

The (Honest) Truth about Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone—Especially Ourselves by Dan Ariely (New York: Harper Perennial, 2012. 318 pp) Dan Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University. He is the founder and director of the Center for Advanced Hindsight. His work has been featured in many outlets, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and others. He lives in Durham, North Carolina, with his wife, Sumi, and their two children, Amit and Neta. We’ve All Stolen Something Who among us hasn’t stolen a pen from work? The writing instrument, ball-point gliding against paper, emitting tones of black or blue, has a cost…. Read More →

Book Review: The Real Madrid Way

The Real Madrid Way

The Real Madrid Way: How Values Created the Most Successful Sports Team on the Planet by Steven G. Mandis (Dallas: BenBella Books, 2016. 344 pp) Steven G. Mandis is an adjunct professor at Columbia Business School and chairman and senior partner of Kalamata Capital. He earned his AB from the University of Chicago and his MA, MPhil, and PhD from Columbia University. Thinking about My Life’s Work A life’s work. The phrase means less than it used to mean. For most people. A life’s work will be a series of stops, likely at companies with high variance of deliverables. The daily tasks of the worker may be the same but the overarching goals or the building of something bigger than… Read More →

Book Review: You Are What You Love

You Are What You Love by James K. A. Smith

You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit by James K. A. Smith (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2016. 224 pp) James K. A. Smith is the Gary and Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology and Worldview at Calvin College. With a background in philosophy focused on French thought, Smith engages as a public intellectual and cultural critic. In addition to his published books, Smith has contributed to the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Slate, Christianity Today, and The Hedgehog Review. A Divided World We live in a divided world. The obvious unpacking of this statement surrounds divisive politics or schisms between worldviews. But, our experiences are divided even at a metaphysical level. In other words,… Read More →

Book Review: The Art of War

The Art of War by Sun-tzu

The Art of War by Sun-tzu; translated by Ralph D. Sawyer (New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1994. 375 pp) Sun-tzu was a Chinese general, military strategist, and philosopher who lived in the Spring and Autumn period of ancient China, traditionally believed to have lived from 544 BC to 496 BC. It’s Not All About Warfare Even though I must admit I was the typical teenager playing the standard first-person shooter games, the older I get, the less inspired I become with the war metaphor. While Tom Clancy can scratch that puerile itch for action and black-and-white narratives, the world’s complexity makes it difficult to sit within the us-versus-them mindset. From a business perspective, the warfare metaphor runs deep. We… Read More →

Television Show Review: Silicon Valley: Season 3

Silicon Valley Season 3

Silicon Valley: Season 3 created by John Altschuler, Mike Judge, and Dave Krinsky (3 Arts Entertainment, Altschuler Krinsky Works, Judgemental Films, Inc.) Starring Thomas Middleditch, T.J. Miller, Josh Brener, Martin Starr, Kumail Nanjiani, Amanda Crew, Zach Woods, Matt Ross, Suzanne Cryer, and Stephen Tobolowsky. *SPOILER ALERT FOR PREVIOUS SEASONS* Business Got Problems While not every job requires similar levels of commitment, skill, and knowledge, I would venture a guess that any job with career-focus includes a high level of stress and multiple problems to solve. For every stride of progress, a new challenge emerges. A multi-national corporation wants to sell your product. On the one hand, hooray! That’s money, money, money. On the other hand, your company needs to scale,… Read More →

Book Review: The Accidental Executive

The Accidental Executive by Al Erisman

The Accidental Executive: Lessons on Business, Faith, and Calling from the Life of Joseph by Albert M. Erisman (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 2015. 202 pp) Albert M. Erisman is executive in residence and past director for the Center for Integrity in Business in the School of Business, Government, and Economics at Seattle Pacific University. Since 2011, he has been co-teaching classes on workplace theology and ethics at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He is cofounder and executive editors of Ethix magazine, coauthor of several books in technology and mathematics, and co-chair of the Theology of Work Project. He was Director of Technology at the Boeing Company when he retired in 2001 after a career of thirty-two years. My Reading Policy As a policy,… Read More →

Book Review: Rust

Rust by Jonathan Waldman

Rust: The Longest War by Jonathan Waldman (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2015. 304 pp) Jonathan Waldman has written for Outside, The Washington Post, and McSweeney’s. He has worked as a forklift driver, arborist, summer camp director, sticker salesman, and cook. He grew up in Washington, D.C., studied writing at Dartmouth and Boston University’s Knight Center for Science Journalism, and was recently a Ted Scripps Fellow in environmental journalism at the University of Colorado. Let’s Make Non-Fiction Interesting My reading life exists in a pre E.O.A.M period and a post E.O.A.M. period. This crazy acronym of which I speak represents the book, Emperor of All Maladies. This groundbreaking book narrates the history of cancer. It takes a complicated topic rife… Read More →