Successful basketball coach Bob Knight seems to think so. His new book, The Power of Negative Thinking: An Unconventional Approach to Achieving Positive Results, was recently reviewed on the Success.com website. Of the tidbits they share, this is my favorite:
Demand results. To win, you have to demand action and expect the upmost productivity out of your employees. “Successful leadership is [about] being hard to please.”
I also saw a preview of Knight being interviewed on the David Feherty show on the Golf Channel and saying, “A pat on the back gets some things done. A kick in the ass gets more things done.”
I’m not sure Knight’s approach would work as well today as it did in the past. I don’t think people, especially younger generations, are willing to be disciplined and critiqued to this extent. Success Magazine contributor Jason Dorsey writes about how Generation Y needs constant affirmation that they are super, duper. Could a Gen Y player stand the pressure of a Bob Knight-like coach? I suspect the answer is no.
What do you think about the Knight approach of going negative to get to the positive?
Power Friending is really targeted more to large corporations than to the solopreneur or small business owner. However, the basic information is valid for any business; the solopreneur just won’t have a staff member to designate as the “community manager.” This quote from the introduction sets the stage:
Power friending is a social media approach built around authenticity. The goal is to build a network of real friends around your brand, developing a relationship based on mutual respect and support.
Amber gives real life examples of companies that have gotten social media right (Zappos) and those that have not (Motrin). Her chapter on strategies is useful for helping a businessperson decide where and how to invest their social networking time. The bottom line in this book is to be authentic and consistent.
Success Secrets of Social Media Marketing Superstars (could that title be any longer?) is a collection of chapters by different authors, each of whom is a success in the world of social marketing. This book is more approachable to the solopreneur or small business owner since many of the writers fall into one of those categories themselves. What makes this book a good tool is that each chapter outlines specific things we can do to start and expand our social media presence. I especially liked Meyerson’s simple and easy-to-use Social Media Marketing Calendar found on page 39. Again, the recurring theme throughout the book is the need to be authentic and consistent while social networking.
I recommend both of these books to businesspersons looking to maximize their effectiveness in using social media for business. I learned a lot: I’m really, really authentic, but I need to be more consistent!
I was looking forward to reading Ferenc Máté’s new book, The Wisdom of Tuscany: Simplicity, Security & the Good Life–Making the Tuscan lifestyle you own. I have had a copy of his A Reasonable Life: Toward a Simpler, Secure, More Humane Existence on my bookshelf for many years. I had hoped that Wisdom of Tuscany would be an updated commentary, reflective of the current state of the world. Máté does try to make the book current; however, it is flawed on several fronts.
First, I’m not sure if W.W. Norton does not employ editors at its Albatross imprint or if the editors simply failed to do their jobs. Perhaps, in an attempt to write and include material that reflected events current at the time of the book’s publishing, editing was simply skipped. I don’t know, but I almost didn’t get past the first two chapters. The errors are numerous. For example, this begins the first paragraph on page 19:
Siena’s municipal hall. has a delicate tower that surveys the countryside.
Yes, there is a stray period between hall and has. I don’t expect a book to be 100% error free. But this kind of problem is rampant throughout the entire text.
Second, Máté has lived in Tuscany for 20 years. I fully expect him to tell me about Tuscan life and what it has to teach us about a simpler, more fulfilling way to live. Unfortunately, he often refers to “we” when talking about those of us living in North America. This strikes me as presumptuous. If you haven’t lived here in 20 years, then you cannot make comments about the culture in the first person. You can make comments based on your observations, but not as if you are here living it alongside us. I, for example, grew up in South Carolina, but I have not lived there in 20 years. I can no longer say “we” when referring to anything that happens in South Carolina. I may comment on what I see in the news or what friends or family tell me, but I cannot relate firsthand, first person experience of the culture.
Third, although the book sets out to tell us about making the Tuscan lifestyle our own, it never quite gets there. Máté relates many stories from his life in Tuscany, these are informative and instructive. However, not until the end of the book does he begin to address how to incorporate these ideas into our American lifestyles. The one ten-page-long chapter simply fails to provide any useful details.
Fourth, Máté fails to acknowledge that few people have the resources to pick up and move to the country and start a new life. In addition, plenty of folks, myself included, have no desire to live in the country. That doesn’t mean I can’t find a way to live a good, simple life.
Fifth, it’s true that North Americans could stand to put down their electronic gadgets and spend a bit more time actually talking with family and friends. But if you listen to Máté, every family on the continent is totally fractured. This is too great a generality and certainly does not reflect my own experience of family.
Finally, while Reasonable Life often referred to research and data that helped Máté make his points, Wisdom of Tuscany is filled with too many of Máté’s opinions without the data to back them up. He has a feeling something is wrong and a Tuscan-inspired lifestyle could right that wrong. Unfortunately, his hunches alone don’t provide us with the details we need to adopt that lifestyle.
I still heartily recommend Reasonable Life to anyone seeking a more authentic way to live. I cannot recommend Wisdom of Tuscany. Instead, read Stephanie Mill’s Epicurean Simplicity for a much more inspiring, North American take on simple living.
I’ve been reading Longing for God: Seven Paths of Christian Devotion by Richard J. Foster and Gayle D. Beebe. I was a little concerned that the book might get bogged down in the theories and theologies of the many theologians, thinkers and scholars upon which the book’s ideas revolve. However, Foster and Beebe do an excellent job of conveying the heart of the message of each of these great men and women of faith. In fact, they do such a good job that I recommend this book to any Christian who would like to learn more about how Christian thinking has developed over the centuries.
The authors break the book down into seven sections representing the seven paths of devotion:
- The right ordering of our love for God
- The spiritual life as journey
- The recovery of knowledge of God lost in the fall
- Intimacy with Jesus Christ
- The right ordering of our experiences of God
- Action and contemplation
- Divine ascent
Each of these sections contains the biographies, ideas and contributions of four significant Christians. Each chapter provides an overview of the ideas, a reflection on those ideas and a short prayer. The persons chosen cover the wide range of theological and philosophical viewpoints of Christians over the centuries. Included are some of my favorites: George Fox, John Wesley, Francis of Assisi, Thomas a Kempis, Thomas Merton and Gregory the Great. Some, such as Evagrius of Ponticus and Friedrich Schleiermacher, might be unfamiliar to many 21st century Christians.
This book is written to help Christians grow closer to God and it certainly lives up to that aim. However, I believe in a time when few Christians have any sense of the history of the faith this book also serves as a primer on the depth of the contributions of the men and women who have gone before us.
You’ll notice to the right I’ve added links to bookstores I’ve set up through Amazon.com. Yes, I will receive a small commission if you order through my links. It’s another way for me to fund my work-at-home life and my writing ministry.
Speaking of writing ministry, my Virtual Hermitary Web site is almost complete and should be up by the end of the month!