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Summer Vacation Reading

As I resume writing my column following my family vacation, I thought it might be nice to lead off with a recap of the great books I read over my break. One has inspired me to re-think my column and its timing. So for the summer months. I am going to experiment with a twice monthly publication cycle and see how I like it. Of course, I welcome your comments and thoughts on this.

In addition to the reading selections and recommendations below, I am also including a link to an interview I did recently on the Unlabeled Leadership podcast. For you fans of NPR’s This American Life, the Unlabeled Leadership podcast is modeled on that format. You can find it here: Unlabeled Leadership, May 27, 2021, 062: Kevin Jordan Discovers Gifts in Situations

As always, happy reading and listening!

“Simplify, slow down, be kind. And don’t forget to have art in your life — music, paintings, theater, dance and sunsets.” – Eric Carle

[When asked, why do you write essays?]: “To change my own mind. I try to create a new vocabulary or terrain for myself, so that I open out — I always think of the Dutch claiming land from the sea — or open up something that would have been closed to me before. That’s the point and the pleasure of it. I continuously scrutinize my own thinking. I write something and think, How do I know that that’s true? If I wrote what I thought I knew from the outset, then I wouldn’t be learning anything new.” – Marilynne Robinson, The Paris Review Interviews: Volume IV

“Convincing someone to change their mind is really the process of convincing someone to change their tribe. If they abandon their beliefs, they run the risk of losing social ties. You can’t expect someone to change their mind if you take away their community too. You have to give them somewhere to go. Nobody wants their worldview torn apart if loneliness is the outcome.” – James Clear

Wild Geese
by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place in the family of things.

Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know by Adam Grant

“Think Again is a book about the benefit of doubt, and about how we can get better at embracing the unknown and the joy of being wrong. Evidence has shown that creative geniuses are not attached to one identity, but constantly willing to rethink their stances and that leaders who admit they don’t know something and seek critical feedback lead more productive and innovative teams…In the end, learning to rethink may be the secret skill to give you the edge in a world changing faster than ever.” [I intentionally read this book in tandem with The Culture Code (below) as I suspected they (and they did!) would reinforce each other and collectively provide an array of great ideas re: culture, teams, approaches to perspectives, etc.]

The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle
“An essential book that unlocks the secrets of highly successful groups and provides readers with a toolkit for building a cohesive, innovative culture.”

Dedicated: The Case for Commitment in an Age of Infinite Browsing by Pete Davis
“A profoundly inspiring and transformative argument that purposeful commitment can be a powerful force in our age of restlessness and indecision.”

Your Music and People: creative and considerate fame by Derek Sivers
“A philosophy of getting your work to the world by being creative, considerate, resourceful, and connected.” [An excellent sliver of a book – clear, concise and cogent, with a universal message as well as specific insights into the world of music.]

The Likeness: Dublin Murder Squad #2 by Tana French
“Still traumatised by her brush with a psychopath, Detective Cassie Maddox transfers out of the Murder squad and starts a relationship with fellow detective Sam O’Neill. When he calls her to the scene of his new case, she is shocked to find that the murdered girl is her double. What’s more, her ID shows she is Lexie Madison – the identity Cassie used, years ago, as an undercover detective. With no leads, no suspects and no clues to Lexie’s real identity, Cassie’s old boss spots the opportunity of a lifetime: send Cassie undercover in her place, to tempt the killer out of hiding to finish the job.”

New and Selected Poems, Volume One by Mary Oliver
“Features previously published and new poems that explore the natural world and how it is connected to human beings and spirituality.”

I will be back in two weeks with our regularly scheduled content and programming.

Kevin Jordan

Kevin Jordan is an International Coach Federation-certified executive coach who serves as a strategic advisor, mentor and facilitator to executive leadership teams and private clients to achieve peak performance and agility resulting in sustained engagement and value. Drawing upon a career as a leader and consultant, Kevin is able to work with clients on personal and professional development, relationship optimization and team and leader dynamics. He has deep expertise and experience developing and realizing strategic vision through a relentless focus on optimized business operations. He is also skilled at building sustainable culture and workforce engagement through the power of people and organizational partnership, as well as delivering results and value with high performing teams during periods of intense change.

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