Archive for the Books Category

The processes and incentives that companies use to keep focused on their main customers work so well that they blind those companies to important new technologies in emerging markets, and this leaves established companies vulnerable to new entrants who start by using the new technologies to target the low end of the market and gradually work their way upward to squeeze out incumbents in the profitable part of the market. That is the process of digital disruption for which Clayton Christensen is best known, and which is described in several articles in The Clayton M Christensen Reader.

My full review of the book is available at my business book reviews website.

While bullying says more about the bully than it does about you, you are the one who has to learn to stand up for yourself, according to Lynne Curry in her book Beating the Workplace Bully: A Tactical Guide to Taking Charge. Those who do not stand up to the bully’s initial attack signal they are easy prey and inadvertently encourage continued bullying. Even if what is happening is not your fault, you are the one who must fix it, because you cannot expect the bully to change.

My full review of the book is available at my business book reviews website.

It is important to understand how the US government has repeatedly and intelligently redesigned the economy in the past, because the market does not undergo an intelligent redesign by itself, according to Stephen Cohen and Bradford DeLong in their book Concrete Economics: The Hamilton Approach to Economic Growth and Policy. There are things that matter immensely for an economy that only government can do. If it hesitates, refuses, or botches the job, the problem does not just go away and the economy does not advance as it should.

My full review of the book is available at my business book reviews website.

Most companies fail to create a compelling strategy, or if they do have such a strategy they fail to put it into practice; however, a small number of companies naturally combine strategy and execution in everything they do. According to Paul Leinwand and Cesare Mainardi in their bookStrategy That Works: How Winning Companies Close the Strategy-to-Execution Gap, the products and services of these companies have an enviable position in the markets they care about, and the firms reliably deliver on their promises. They each have their own unique way of competing, but they all have one thing in common: their success is clearly related to the distinctive way they do things: their capabilities.

My full review of the book is available at my business book reviews website.

Most churches have a generic sense of their vision rather than a clearly defined and contextually crafted vision, according to Will Mancini and Warren Bird in their book God Dreams: 12 Vision Templates for Finding and Focusing Your Church’s Future. In the world of vision, generic is an enemy; specific is your friend. Settling for generic will suck the life out of a church, and the people won’t even know it.

But how exactly do you go about finding God’s specific vision for your church? There are limitless directions in which a church could go, and it seems impossible to know where to start and who should be involved in the process. This book answers these problems by providing clear directions about using your leadership team in the discernment process and how you can use templates to get you started.

Starting with the templates, the discernment team seeks to discover which templates represent both their deepest longing as leaders and the future toward which their people will respond most heroically. The top templates are fused to create a single idea for a long-term vision, which is then focused and sharpened. The most important building blocks for the next 3 years are then identified, followed by the single most important focus for the coming year and the key immediate initiatives required over the next 90 days. What you end up with is a compelling long-term vision and a basic outline of strategies to get there.

In my opinion this is an outstanding book, the most helpful book on church vision that I have read. Most church leaders believe in the importance of painting an attractive vision of the future which motivates people to high levels of generosity and kingdom service, but their efforts so far have not achieved the desired results. This book might provide the spark that sets the compelling vision on fire.

Left to our well-honed, pattern-seeking tendencies, we will begin paying attention to those parts of our environment that fit our frames. Just as significant, we will ignore or downplay those parts of our environment that do not fit our frame. Not only is our brilliance unquestioned, it is inappropriately reinforced by our search for evidence, according to John Austin in his book Unquestioned Brilliance: Navigating a Fundamental Leadership Trap.

My full review of the book is available at my business book reviews website.

There is skepticism among educators about character formation in online education. Many cannot imagine that real transformation can be achieved in any format other than in the traditional model of residential education with in-class face time. Profound spiritual formation, however, can and has happened through quality and effective learning in online education, according to Joanne Jung in her book Character Formation in Online Education: A Guide for Instructors, Administrators and Accrediting Agencies.

In Part One of the book, the author describes learning management systems, the characteristics of an online course and the characteristics of a successful online course teacher, recommending that online courses are best created in partnership with a skilled course designer who can ensure that the course takes advantage of an appropriate range of interactive technology while keeping the focus on the learning. Part Two discusses ways in which character formation can be integrated into the online learning experience, and Part Three considers ways of assessing and improving the effectiveness of online courses.

The book is fairly short, but easy to read. It is particularly suited for people who currently teach face-to-face Christian courses but are considering whether it is possible to offer those courses in an online format in a manner which does not compromise the quality of the learning experience, particularly those elements of character formation which are caught rather than taught. There are other books which give a more detailed description of the different things you can do with online courses, but this book gives a very carefully considered idea of how Christian spiritual formation can occur during such courses.

If you’re a good trainer and people are learning, you are fundamentally changing people’s brains, so it is worth understanding enough about the hardware and software that you’re working with to get the best results, according to Stella Collins in her book Neuroscience for Learning and Development: How to Apply Neuroscience and Psychology for Improved Learning and Training.

My full review of the book is available at my business book reviews website.

Fifteen short years after he became Lakewood Church’s senior minister, Joel Osteen had become the embodiment and achieved the fulfillment of his own message—positive thinking, self-encouragement, and belief that God’s consequential blessings inevitably bring progress and advancement—the story of salvation with a smile, according to Phillip Sinitiere in his book Salvation with a Smile: Joel Osteen, Lakewood Church, and American Christianity.

The book starts with the story of John Osteen’s background, his transition from Southern Baptist into neopentecostalism, and his philosophy of ministry at Lakewood. It then goes on to describe how Joel stepped into the senior pastor position upon his father’s death in 1999, and his own distinctive philosophy of ministry.

Based on analysis of Joel’s sermons, the author says that Joel’s prosperity gospel has four parts: positive thinking, positive confession, positive providence, and the promotion of the Christian body as a site of improvement. It seems to me that there are parts of the Bible which can be used to support each of those themes, but those themes are not an accurate representation of the message of the Bible.

The author did not have access to Joel Osteen or other key people while writing the book, and as a result the book often feels like an academic analysis of writings and sermons rather than a lively personal story. Nonetheless, it does provide some interesting insights into the senior pastor of the largest church in North America.

Faced with the emergence and speed of growth in the information economy, organizations have an urgent need to adopt IT governance best practice, according to Alan Calder and Steve Watkins in their book IT Governance: An International Guide to Data Security and ISO27001/ISO27002. The authors define IT governance as ‘the framework for the leadership, organizational structures and business processes, standards and compliance to these standards, which ensures that the organization’s information systems support and enable the achievement of its strategies and objectives’.

My full review of the book is available at my business book reviews website.