Ron’s #7: What’s Best Next by Matt Perlman

March 19, 2015 // 0 Comments

  I am not a guy who enjoys business books. I’ve read three in six months, and they all have far too many overlapping ideas. This is one of those three, but somehow it felt different than the others. The subtitle is “How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done.” At first, I thought it was an odd focus, but now that I’ve read it, I see that it makes perfect sense. We are limited in time, so let’s make time count for bigger things. The main principle I’ve gleaned is this: We are to be productive in order to free up time to serve God and others. I should find ways to improve job performance not to be faster, but to serve better. This is a great distinction to make, and one that Perlman explains quite clearly throughout the book. This is a great how-to book, but it is more importantly a great why-to book. I want to work smarter, delegate better, include others broader, and think deeper so that I can bring glory to God and to love those around me. I want to focus on the task in front of me without distractions so that […]

Mark’s #2: Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull

January 16, 2015 // 1 Comment

For a book titled Creativity Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration from the CEO of perhaps the most creative film studio (Pixar) in existence, Ed Catmull, one would hope that the book itself would creatively tell its story and apply its principles. Unfortunately, I found this book to be rather boring, another run-of-the-mill business book recounting the companies success and strategy. Occasionally there were some interesting insights regarding how Pixar managed to create an environment of creativity, or how certain company visions and values could be applied to the reader. For example, Pixar has always put an emphasis on having a team (they call the ‘brain trust) of leaders to use candor and honesty to help push a good story into a great story. Through various ways, this emphasis on candor runs through all levels of the company, giving a voice and opportunity for anyone to suggest something that would be good for the whole company. Additionally, though Pixar’s technology is cutting-edge, they have always believed and maintain that story trumps all. When you think about Pixar films, they almost always have a compelling story to tell. Finally, I appreciated the emphasis on […]

JRF’s #51 – Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky

December 31, 2011 // 2 Comments

One of my goals in reading this year was to force myself to read a business/organization/leadership type book. Having a B.A. in history and an M.Div means among other things that I have absolutely no business administration acumen.  This is definitely an area where I need to grow, especially if I want to be a tent-making missionary in the future. The author, Scott Belsky, is the founder of Behance, a company that seeks to find and foster creative ideas and transform them into real completed projects.  He writes in a style accessible to people like me that hate books like this but need to read them. The basic premise is that making ideas happen doesn’t require genious.  It requires hard work and determination.  Did I already know that?  Yes.  Where Belsky helps is by giving some bit-sized, realistic ways in which to keep that hard work on track and efficient while not suffocating creativity.  I have already tried some of these suggestions in my work place as well as with my own personal projects and with some tweaking have been greatly helped. I recommend this book to you if you are seeking to improve your organizational skills, business management, or […]

Ron’s #15: Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

May 29, 2011 // 0 Comments

When I told people that I was currently reading a book on the start of, the response was always the same: “Why?” I’m not exactly sure what interested me in this book, but I found it in the thrift store, and I was eager to read it. Aside from theology, my favorite topic to read is the history and evolution of the computer industry. Reading a book on how an online shoe store became a powerhouse retailer seemed to be perfect. This book is part autobiography of Tony Hsieh and part how-to-be-a-leader book (a genre that I usually try to avoid). I enjoyed reading the start of young Tony with his entrepreneurial endeavors and accidental encounters that led him to Nick Swinmurn, the owner of a business called, which then transformed into what we now know as Tony’s dedication to Zappos (even when business logic told him it is a losing proposition) was inspiring. It made me want to buy shoes at Zappos. Before you readers get too inspired and leave this review to buy the new Nike Frees, I want to give what annoyed me most about this book: Tony Hsieh himself. He is an arrogant, […]

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