Jennifer Recommends

April 11th, 2012 Jennifer Selby Long Posted in Books No Comments »

Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think

Two enthusiastic thumbs-up for Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think by Steven Kotler and Peter Diamandis. I particularly recommend the book for those of us who work in information technology, biotechnology, healthcare, and nanotechnology sectors.

The authors integrate developments in these and other disciplines with reliable data and thought-provoking hypotheses about large-scale trends to paint a vision of the not-so-distant future.

 

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Dr. Aaron Anderson’s new book

May 17th, 2011 Jennifer Selby Long Posted in Books, News No Comments »

Engaging Resistance: How Ordinary People Successfully Champion ChangeO.k., this is the last reminder (for now): Dr. Aaron Anderson’s new book from Stanford Press, Engaging Resistance: How Ordinary People Successfully Champion Change has been published, and while he does provide a robust and in-depth meta-model, this book is not just for academics.

Dr. Anderson has tackled the challenge of providing an empirically based explanation of resistance to organizational change and why some change agents succeed while others fail. He tracks two organizations in great detail to determine what made these significant changes stick. Hint: it’s not about having a detailed, thorough, and well-thought-out change management plan.

You’ll have to buy the book to find out the answer, though. I’m remaining tight-lipped with the secret.

I’m quoted in the book (page 54), which is quite an honor. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time I’ve been cited by a scholar.

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April 15th, 2011 Jennifer Selby Long Posted in Books No Comments »



Engaging Resistance: How Ordinary People Successfully Champion Chang

Just a reminder: Dr. Aaron Anderson’s new book from Stanford Press, Engaging Resistance: How Ordinary People Successfully Champion Change is now available. Dr. Anderson has tackled the challenge of providing an empirically based explanation of resistance to organizational change and why some change agents succeed while others fail. Hurray!

I’m quoted in the book (page 54), which is quite an honor. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time I’ve been cited by a scholar.

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Dr. Aaron Anderson’s new book

February 24th, 2011 Jennifer Selby Long Posted in Books, News No Comments »

After a slight delay, Dr. Aaron Anderson’s new book from Stanford Press, Engaging Resistance: How Ordinary People Successfully Champion Change is now available. Dr. Anderson has tackled the challenge of providing an empirically based explanation of resistance to organizational change and why some change agents succeed while others fail. Hurray!

I’m quoted in the book, which is quite an honor. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time I’ve been cited by a scholar.

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The Best (Bleep) Book on Leadership and Personality Period

November 24th, 2009 Jennifer Selby Long Posted in Books, Business, Communication, Management, Professional Development, Psychological Type No Comments »

Maybe you’re familiar with the Fox Sports show, The Best (Bleep) Sports Show Period, or as they call it at Fox Sports, “Best D%*m.” I had a little trouble following the conversations around there until I figured this out. I thought they were always excited about something, but wondered what it was since they never seemed to add a noun after the adjectives. However, that’s a story for another day.

I also thought it would be neat if there were a “Best D%*m Business Book Period” show for leaders and consultants. How handy would it be to have all of the latest business books scaled down to a handful of winners, with color commentary by, I don’t know, maybe a former CEO, Dr. Phil, and a reporter from the Financial Times?

The only problem with my idea is that the show would be a cure for insomnia, given how incredibly dull, vague, and repetitive business books tend to be. I admit without guilt that I’ve started more than I’ve finished, since most of the key points have already been made in the first 10 pages.

So imagine the tremendous pride I felt when my colleague, friend, and Selby Group affiliate Sharon Richmond wrote Introduction to Type and Leadership, a focused, tight, insightful, and research-backed book on how your personality type affects your leadership. It’s the Best D%*m Leadership and Personality Book Period. Buy it. Read it. Do what she tells you to do. Go be wildly successful. Simple. Ahhhh….

Give me 10 more authors like Sharon, a retired CEO, Dr. Phil, and a Financial Times reporter, and I just might make that show work after all.

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Books, Inc. and the Financial Literacy Project

July 15th, 2009 Jennifer Selby Long Posted in Books, Business, Management, Professional Development No Comments »

A special thanks to Books, Inc. and the Financial Literacy Project for inviting me to speak on July 12.

My topic: Never Waste a Good Crisis. I shared the opportunity presented by the Great Recession as a springboard to tackle the task of taking on your own financial planning.

CFP Peter Johnson and money coach Denise Hughes shared their research and insights as well. This shot shows us after the event, which proved to be such a hit that the store manager had to scramble to add an additional row of chairs! People braved the heat of the afternoon to better their financial lives.

There will be two more presentations July 19 and 26. For more info, visit http://www.thefinancialliteracyproject.org/?p=25.

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Jennifer Recommends

February 22nd, 2009 Jennifer Selby Long Posted in Books, Business No Comments »

With the number of lay-offs and reorganizations underway this quarter, you may find yourself heading a different organization altogether. There’s no better time to pick up Michael Watkins’ The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels.

If you’re especially pressed for time, cut right to Chapter 3 which focuses on matching your strategy to the situation. He spells out, in no uncertain terms, what he sees as the best strategy for each of four key phases of an organization: start-up, turnaround, realignment, and sustaining success.

Where I think the going gets interesting (although Watkins doesn’t delve into it much), are situations in which key constituencies see the situation differently and each has ample evidence to back up their opinions.

Watkins also warns against the key tactical errors that everyone has made at some time or another, such as focusing so much on achieving wins that thrill your team that you neglect to get wins that matter to your boss. This is the subject matter that some people dismiss as “politics” but in truth, balancing the needs of multiple constituencies with differing demands is essential to good leadership.

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Jennifer’s Holiday Reading

December 22nd, 2008 Jennifer Selby Long Posted in Books No Comments »

I’m reading eight books, but haven’t finished them, so expect a slew of book reviews in 2009! However, people have been asking me for good holiday reads, so I am happy to oblige.

My first recommendation is to give your brain a break by skipping all business reading until January 6. However, I know some of you can not resist the temptation, so my first recommendation is Kerry Patterson’s Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High.

I am crazy about their hard-hitting advice and fun-loving tone. Their advice is quite similar to mine, so if you’ve worked with me, you will recognize a few things. Even so, it’s well worth reviewing.

The beauty of how they approached this book was that, while the book is based on a long-term project for a large corporation, their advice applies in both personal and professional settings, which makes it the perfect business read during the holidays. You might find you have a few opportunities to use the tools with some of your relatives…

My second recommendation, without hesitation, is the entire No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith.

The plot lines follow self-employed Precious Ramostwe and, in an unusual twist, the story takes place in peaceful Botswana, providing a glimpse into a culture that is far from the Africa that we see on the news.

This series is a must-read for any entrepreneur as you will recognize yourself in Precious.

Smith continues to write the series and has committed to at least four more books. He is in active conversations with his many fans, all of whom seem to have an opinion on what should happen to each character.

In a world in which war and economic stress are daily realities, I find Smith’s fundamentally peaceful, gentle tone to be refreshing and much needed. I saw him speak at UC-Berkeley this year and can say he is as funny in person as his writing suggests.

Lastly, I will add my first ever movie review, as I envision you will have some time for movies during this holiday break. My recommended movie is Blame It On Fidel, a portrayal of the process of change and transformation, when the change is not one we create, but one that is imposed on us.

The genius of the movie is that the story is told through the eyes of a nine-year-old girl trying to make sense of the changes she experiences in her life during a time a great civic unrest. As adults watching the film, we understand what she doesn’t quite get, and at the same time, we experience her confusion.

This is a fantastic film for anyone wanting to better understand change and transformation through a story.

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Jennifer’s Book Corner

August 12th, 2008 Jennifer Selby Long Posted in Books No Comments »

Since the first book corner was such a hit, I’ll do it again. This week I’m reviewing The Four-Hour Workweek, by Tim Ferris.

This young man has a very different set of assumptions about work than do the Boomers, and this is what makes his writing so intriguing. I believe it took a young person to write this book, to question assumptions made by the previous generation, and to ruffle a few feathers, and Ferris has no fear of ruffling those feathers.

Many Boomers (and those of us on the cusp between the generations) place a high value on work and seek a sense of purpose and meaning in our professions. In my experience, I see many Boomers become absolutely distraught if their work loses its sense of meaning and purpose. The two are tied very closely together for this generation.

By contrast, Ferris makes the assertion that the best job for most people is just the one that takes the least time, so you can get out and experience the rest of your life.

Pro’s:

  • Those of us who happen to enjoy our professions (and yes, find meaning and purpose in them) can still broaden our perspectives and pick up useful tips from this book.
  • Ferris explains in great detail his methods for maintaining his lifestyle by working very few hours in a specific manner.
  • His methods clearly would work for self-employed individuals who sell products (not services – sorry to all the consultants who read this eZine!), for individual contributors whose jobs are truly independent of other employees, and for those with talent and passion for marketing or product creation.
  • His stories provide an interesting and useful primer in product creation and internet marketing.
  • For those of you interested in the lexicon of Psychological Type, I believe Ferris may be that rare author of the ISTP variety, or perhaps of the ESTP variety. Excitement and freedom are his key themes. I rarely come across books written in such a concrete and energetic manner, so this alone gives me a different perspective. It’s a business book that’s actually fun to read.

Con’s:

  • Some of Ferris’ business methods, while legal, do push the envelope a bit too far for my comfort level.
  • I am not entirely comfortable with the idea that I would outsource all headaches to a hard-working, low-paid team while I dink around in Buenos Aries, sipping coffee and taking tango lessons.
  • It is very difficult for me to imagine how his approach could apply to someone whose talents lie in operations. In fact, the complete outsourcing of these functions is a key part of his strategy, because they are impossible to streamline into a very short workweek.
  • Likewise, leaders need to be visible, and that takes more than four hours a week.
  • Many people get great personal satisfaction from working with their team mates. Working for a company satisfies personal needs for belonging, inclusion, and connection. For those considering a very short workweek, it would be essential to face up to how much interpersonal satisfaction you get from your current work and have an alternative way to meet these needs, or you will find yourself feeling lonely and isolated instead of excited and joyful.
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