Books titles from the business library of Michael VanDervort
I read a lot. I consume information on a lot of different topics. I am a packrat when it comes to books. Therefore, I have a lot of books sitting around, collecting dust until I need them for some research, or to share with someone.
Today’s post is the launch of an occassional feature – 10 titles from Michael VanDervort’s business library.
The premise is simple. I’m going to take you on a tour of my dusty library shelves, ten books at a time. There will be no topical listings, no lists by author name, no Dewey Decimal system. We’re just going to wander randomly down the shelves until I run out of books. Maybe you will see something useful here that you haven’t seen before. If so, be sure to let me know!
10 titles from Michael VanDervort’s business library for 9/21/2012
The Little, Brown Compact Handbook by Jane Aaron – answers questions about writing, technology, style, grammar, punctuation, research, and documentation.
The truth about getting the best from people by Martha Finney – covers employee engagement and building self-motivated, innovative passionate teams. I’ve blurbed for MArtha.
The CIGNA Healthcare Little Teal Book of Health, Fitness & Well-Being by Gary Savage, Terry Jarvis, and Sara J. Henry – title is self-explanatory.
Leadership and Self Deception: Getting out of the Box by The Arbinger Institute – How self deception can kill performance.
Here are a couple of general observations about this list. I have met and even worked with a couple of these authors directly as a result of writing this blog. I also seem to like book titles that have the word “fable” in the title.
I was up early this and went over to the local Starbucks for a Venti dark roast as I do most mornings. I owed Buzz Rooney a blog post, so I took my iPad and sat down to write that, instead of getting a to-go cup like I usually do. This led me into an interesting experience.
About 7:15 am, all these people rolled up into the Starbucks and started pulling chairs together. It became quickly obvious that I was sitting about 3 feet from a gathering of Starbucks baristas about to engage in some sort of meeting.
Turns out it was a meeting related to the introduction of a new product, and a tasting. The person conducting the training had glasses, and samples, and some very interesting notes to share about the products. I found it fascinating to eavesdrop on the training process, as they shared tastes of the drink, provided information on the caloric content, the sugar content, and even details on how caffeine was in the drink. (More than you would get from a soda, but not as much as you would get in a regular Starbucks coffee). He solicited questions and comments on the taste, and asked the baristas to discuss ways to suggest the drink to customers.
It’s very clear that people slinging cups of coffee at Starbucks are expected to be more than just coffee makers and smiley faces. They are product experts and product marketers as well. That’s how great companies get it done today. Marketing begins on the floor, or behind the coffee counter!
I was at a conference earlier this week. At dinner, I was part of a conversation whether golf was still important as a business networking opportunity. The consensus seemed that it was, but for just slightly more than half the people in the room.
I haven’t played golf in nearly a decade. So naturally I was a little surprised to receive a box of Max-Fli golf balls via Klout. I’ll give them to someone who can use them, and spread my largesse and influence.
The last time I played golf, I going to Hilton Head for a week of business meetings and boondogglery at Hilton Head Island, which has some of the most beautiful and challenging golf courses in the world.
If you really want to play there, you should be a good golfer, with the right equipment – PING clubs and the like.
I was schlepping a set of mash-up set of clubs, assembled in pieces from garage sales, hand me downs, and a new putter purchased K-Mart after the head fell off the old one a few years before. If they had their own brand, it would have be something like PONG.
I didn’t travel to golf, and I didn’t have one of those plastic travel cases for schlepping clubs around the globe by air.
I took my luggage and my clubs to the airport, where Delta employees sold me a cardboard shipping box for my clubs for something like $10.
I can’t begin to describe the looks of bemusement on the faces of my colleagues when I showed up at the shuttle to the hotel/resort with a set of junky clubs stored in a cardboard box.
It was a priceless moment, but it wasn’t the best business impression. It was more the kind of moment that leads to work stories that never die. Like they say in those commercials, if you lose in Vegas, you sell your hair to a wig shop. Don’t sell your hair to a wig shop.
In my case, the “don’t be that guy” rule is don’t schlep your clubs to Hilton Head in a golf box.
I had lunch at Ling’s Chinese Buffet yesterday, and finished the meal in the traditional way you end meals at most Chinese restaurants, with a fortune cookie delivered with my bill. Everyone loves cracking those bland cookies open to see what the enclosed slip of paper will say.
Personal Leadership insights
You know, profound leadership insights like:
“You were born with the skill to communicate with people easily.”
“Keep in close touch with what your competition is doing.”
“Your talents will be recognized and suitably rewarded.”
“Your skill will accomplish what the force of many cannot.”
My personal leadership epiphany
My own personal fortune was just as profound as those above:
“The one rowing the boat doesn’t have time to rock it.”
In other words, if you are busy engaged in doing the work required to get something done, you won’t have time to think about how the work is being accomplished. The fortune cookie implies that you can’t provide leadership and do things at the same time.
Obviously, I am not meant to multi-task.
Thanks fortune cookie for simplifying my life!
What was your favorite fortune cookie saying? Share it in the comments!
I am flying to Detroit to hug my children and grand-children, and my ex-wife, Ali. I am also going to say goodbye to a woman that I knew before any of them.
I first met her when I was working as a short-order cook at a restaurant in Detroit called the Clock. It was a 24/7 get breakfast anytime sort of coffee shop. A new waitress started working the third shift.
She smoked a lot, cursed more than most of the other help, and it wasn’t long before some of her kids started working at the place as well. They all called her “Gert”.
She worked circles around everybody in the place, because she supporting a family of 12 people o the tips she made. I was 16 at the time. I found out later that she and my own mother had worked together several years before at another Clock restaurant in Clawson, Michigan, which is where I am going to see her today for the last time.
I wound up marrying her daughter in 1979, and adopting her grandchild, the first of so many that I can’t even count that high.
The last time I saw this woman was in May 2009, when we watched my son Eric get his diploma from Indiana University.
Over the last thirty seven years, I have spent a lot of my life around this woman.
Just so you know, Florida is not dead yet, despite all the rumors of our impending demise. I went over to Clearwater Beach this morning, and hung out. The water was still gorgeous, the sand white and newly cleaned. Crews were putting out the big beach chairs, and the essential beach umbrellas, not a luxury in the Florida sun in June. What IS a luxury is to live somewhere with such wonderful natural treasures in your back yard. It is an awful waste to take these resources for granted, which I often do in my busy life.
I am glad I didn’t do that today.
We have been banged around by the economy, and the oil is slowly floating our way, but today was a great day to sit in the sun and sand, just read a book. I shot some video too. check it out below.
Well, I went home with the waitress
The way I always do
How was I to know
She was with the Russians, too
I was gambling in Havana
I took a little risk
Send lawyers, guns and money
Dad, get me out of this
I’m the innocent bystander
Somehow I got stuck
Between the rock and the hard place
And I’m down on my luck
And I’m down on my luck
And I’m down on my luck
Now I’m hiding in Honduras
I’m a desperate man
Send lawyers, guns and money
The shit has hit the fan