When I recently took inventory of my to-read list, I was surprised to find that I haven’t ordered a physical book since August. Meanwhile, my e-reader is getting a little overwhelmed. Here’s what is loaded up—we’ll see how much progress I make while on vacation this week. The titles below all have links to their Kindle versions.
Design Thinking: Business Innovation by MJV Press
143 Visuals To Inspire You to Take Action by Scott Torrance and Mirka Volakova
Leadership BS: Fixing Workplaces and Careers One Truth at a Time by Jeffrey Pfeffer
24 Hour Mindfulness: How to be calmer and kinder in the midst of it all by Rohan Gunatillake
Leading Continuous Change: Navigating Churn in the Real World by Bill Pasmore
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
Team Genius: The New Science of High-Performing Organizations by Rich Karlgaard and Michael S. Malone
Since I last reported on my reading habits, my pending pile—or what I affectionately call the guilt pile— is growing. Here’s a sampling.
The Road to Reinvention: How to Drive Disruption and Accelerate Transformation by Josh Linkner delves in the pitfalls of failing to change and provides strategies for reinvention.
Six Simple Rules: How to Manage Complexity without Getting Complicated by Yves Morieux and Peter Tollman gets into the intricacies of dealing with complex situations and offers a solution for companies that is based on leveraging the potential of their human resources.
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande shows how one’s end of life can be managed with more compassion and dignity than currently provided with today’s standards of care. His powerfully delivered message results in three important questions about your mortality: What is your biggest fear? What is your greatest hope? What trade-offs are you willing to make (or not make)?
A veritable cornucopia of new devices has recently been released (e.g. Microsoft Surface Book, Surface Pro 4, IPad Pro), as well as new phones, other tablets and updated laptops. I contend that their value is not in the device itself, but in the use case. Said another way, the magic is in how YOU use it, not about the nuanced technology features. Here are a few examples from my work life that show various devices in action in ways that meet my unique needs.
Capturing notes in a conference keynote setting
- Setting: Usual setup is rows of chairs with no tables.
- Devices: A tablet with stylus is ideal for electronic handwritten notes. I use my phone camera to take pictures of relevant slides or the speaker to help aid my memory.
- Process: Take rough notes, publish to PDF and place in electronic folder along with any pictures, handouts and a scan/copy of the conference agenda.
- Output: Summary document in electronic folder consisting of: a list of takeaways, further ideas to explore and/or additional resources (link to speaker’s website).
Facilitating a business meeting
- Setting: Conference room, in the office or offsite. I need access to multiple pieces of information and don’t want it to get in the way of the discussion. A laptop screen can be intrusive.
- Devices: Pen and paper in the form of a notepad or journal, plus tablet with OneNote app.
- Output: Notes and follow-up items. Additional documents are created or a summary of the meeting is created from handwritten notes, scans of any whiteboard or flip chart work. All items are placed in a electronic folder or in OneNote shared notebook.
Writing a monthly summary report
- Setting: Office.
- Devices: Laptop with multiple computer displays and three or four applications running.
- Output: A one-page word document. Ability to reference calendar, various emails, last month’s report and various other documents.
Two easy traps to fall into are: 1) thinking that one device will meet all of your needs and 2) the lure of the latest and greatest new shiny object in the marketplace. Before investing, consider this:
Being productive is about using multiple tools at hand in a way that works for you. Work process, collaboration and tools will continue to evolve. Devices will continue to proliferate and improve. There will never be a singular device for all situations and individuals.
The use cases dictate a combination of different features (technology and otherwise). My work situations are perhaps a bit more diverse than many. But the same rules likely apply to everyone—there are many tools and applications within your environments that can help personal productivity. Trying to make them all fit into once device is not practical, in my opinion.