My Read of the Month:

Title: Winning Intl: The Ultimate Business How-To Book –2005 publication.
Author: Jack Welch with Suzy Welch
Published: 2005
Genre: Business/People Management
Ratings: 4.6 out of 5 stars

Jack Welch needs no introduction. He is the former chairman and CEO of General Electric (GE), a global conglomerate corporation. He spent his entire 40-year career since graduating with GE before retiring in 2001.

In this book, Welch taps on his years of corporate wisdom and experiences in addressing some of the most common issues or questions that professionals face everyday. Organised and presented in a systematic fashion, this book is well-paced and addictive with a mix of easy-to-relate and interesting insights and stories.

I like that Welch was equally honest about some of his mistakes as he is with his successes. Much of his views provides us with useful tips on how to be a better employee in contributing to the organisational’s growth. And in the same token, it also empowers one to be a better corporate leader in managing people and resources effectively.

One important trait or way of doing business which Welch’s emphasises is candor. This refers to communicating with frankness or straightforwardness. According to him, the lack of candor is damaging and do not build an environment where ideas, comments or criticism can be expressed to stimulate real debate. I agree.

He explains that in an organisation with a lack of candor, its people are usually remain silent in order to feel better or to avoid conflict. They sugarcoat bad news in order to maintain appearances. They keep things to themselves, hoarding information. And when an organisation has a high degree of candor, everything operates faster and better.

However, Welch’s business management philosophy is not without controversies. One of them is differentiation where he distinctively categories employees by their performance: the top 20%, middle 70% and bottom 10%. But understanding the industrial era that he emerged from which formed most of his corporate beliefs, it should not be surprising that the bottom line or profits is always the main priority.

That said, in today’s era, there’s a new business approach emerging and that’s the 3’p bottom line- profits, people and planet. And I believe that’s understandably lacking in his book. Nonetheless, this remains an excellent book about winning and delivering results in the marketplace from one of corporate America’s savviest minds.

Who should read it: For working professionals- leaders and managers. Also applicable to church or ministry leaders.

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My Read of the Month:

Title: The God Delusion
Author: Richard Dawkins
Published: 2006
Genre: Philosophy/Spirituality
Ratings: 3.7 out of 5 stars

Dawkins is one of today’s most vocal advocates for atheism. And he is not the least apologetic for his cause against religion that promotes creationism and the concept of intelligent design.

Right from the onset, he boldly spells his intention to convert believers in God or religious readers to atheism with his book; making it sound like a declaration of war upon mainstream religion.

Reading Dawkins’s convincing case against religion was both refreshing and sad. He argues how religion leads to a laziness and defeated faculty of the human’s reasoning where “any lack of data, or by lack of understanding are automatically assumed to belong, by default to God.”

To him, this represents a failure in a human’s imagination and critical thinking. Other bad affects he cited are how religion teaches one that an unquestioning faith is a virtue and is undoubtedly a divisive force in society. These were just some of the impressionable points he had raised that were backed with widely-known past incidents and cases.

It is sad that some of his argumentative points do carry an element of truth and highlights the sort of negative perception we (Christians) give to non-believers of God. Somehow being a people of the book has locked our mind rigidly and easily blocked or readily dismissed anything that doesn’t fit into the book; only “black and white” (but no grey areas).

Nothing can be further from the truth that the bible which contains the principles and precepts of God is intended to liberate our minds and free our spirits to become who we were created to be- genuine loving and highly intelligent people just as God is Agape and Elohim. But on the contrary, what we seemingly interpret from bible turns us into sheltered, hypocritical and judgemental people.

It is sad because most of Dawkins’ encounters with Christianity that he shares in this book has been nothing short of appalling. It is little wonder that he has not been convinced of an existence of a God since little or nothing of God could be drawn from his experiences with believers.

Having said that, knowing God is not achieved solely with the mind or intellect. Relating with God has to be engaged with spirit to spirit. One without the other would not allow one to fully experience Him or to manifest His existence.

Who should read it: All Christians and especially those who are interested in apologetics.

My Read of the Month:

Title: The Book that Transforms Nations- Asia Edition
Author: Loren Cunningham
Published: 2006
Genre: Missions/Church history
Ratings: 4.6 out of 5 stars

In this awe-inspiring book, Loren Cunningham succinctly presents his readers with short stories of past reformers and various interesting case studies of transformed countries to induce readers that the bible is powerful and all capable of building a nation from scratch.

Notable nation builders such as William Carey, John Wesley, Martin Luther, John Calvin and Dr. David Yonggi Cho were some of the few names mentioned. One common trait of these mighty men of God was how they recaptured spiritual leadership in influential areas of society namely: family, religion, education, entertainment, mass media, commerce, government.

Mr. Cunningham goes to explain how these nation builders taught and discipled others and “when a critical mass of people have the Bible and apply what it teaches in their lives, a nation is transformed…whenever a critical number of people abandon the Bible and stop applying it in their personal lives, that nation begins to destroy itself.”

A case in point would be the current upheaval spiritual state of Europe that has led to economical instability. Sadly, most of the people in these nations have departed from their Christian heritage and have turned away from God. According to Loren, their (Europeans’) view of the church and belief in God have been reduced to that of being an outdated and irrelevant faith that impedes progress.

The only shortcoming of this book is that it doesn’t delve deep enough into the autobiography of these nation builders. It merely presents a summary of their highlights and accomplishments. Other than that, this book is a soul-satisfying read that never fails to stir my spirit and faith in becoming like one of His “nation builders”.

Who should read it: Mostly suitable for Christians of all stages of maturity as it presents an informative snapshots of the history and milestones of the new testament church. And highly recommended for aspiring missionaries.

My Read of the Month:

Title: Think and Grow Rich
Author: Napoleon Hill
Published: 1960
Genre: Self-development/motivational
Ratings: 5.0 out of 5 stars

How to get money is the main message of this book after observing that millions of people are paralysed with the fear of
poverty.

Though published some 50 years ago, the concepts and principles presented in this book are timeless; a product of two decades of research conducted by Napoleon Hill. Mr. Hill draws on stories of Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and other millionaires of his generation to illustrate his principles.

Some of them debunked conventional financial wisdom, and were thought-provoking such as ‘knowledge is not power, but only potential power’; ‘hard work and honesty alone will not bring riches’; ‘money does not make more money’; ‘money is “shy and timid” and need to be attracted’.

However, the most priceless truth I learned from this book which was surprisingly related to achieving riches was about sex! According to Napoleon, the driving force of sex when appropriately harnessed and transmuted “is capable of lifting men into a higher sphere of thought which enables them to master the sources of worry and petty annoyance which beset their pathway on the lower plane.”

And he further added that because of this misunderstanding and misuse of sex (this great force), majority of men had lowered themselves to the status of the lower animals. Don’t you just agree?

Believe it or not, this fascinating and in-depth book is built on biblical principles and truth. That is why I found this book explosive! It really expanded my horizon to receive more from this Infinite Intelligence (a term made in this book in reference to God). And it has to be read with an objective and opened mind.

And whether the principles work or not, give me some time to test them out okay? When I reach my financial goals, I will update here in my blog. Haha…

Who should read it: Everyone should especially for those who desire (and not merely wishing) to get rich- this could also be used in its general sense of financially, spiritually, mentally and materially.

My Read of the Month:

Title: Confessions of a Radical Industrialist: Profits, People, Purpose–Doing Business by Respecting the Earth
Author: Ray C. Anderson with Robin White
Published: 2009
Genre: Environmental leadership/Business strategy
Ratings: 3.0 out of 5 stars

This book is a personal account of Ray Anderson, founder and chairman of InterfaceFlor who led his organisation and industry towards Mission Zero- a goal to use zero natural resources to manufacture and to aim for zero carbon offset in its process.

Interface is a global carpet tile manufacturer and this book depicts their trailblazing green journey from where it begun to where it is at present. At this moment, Interface has been able to cut it’s net greenhouse gas emissions by 71 percent since 1996. Achieving that while their sales increased by two-thirds and doubling their earnings.

Definitely a worthy example of business and environmental sustainability marrying together towards progress where both wins.

I like how Ray was able to integrate his Christian values into his business in regards in being environmentally responsible and sustainable. He shares how he views the Bible as an environmental handbook that commands us to conservatorship- a God-given mandate to be stewards of the environment.

Though I found the book a tat draggy at times and peppered with a little too much technical jargons that only engineers could understand, but I still enjoyed it. Truly an inspiration.

Read this book and be challenge in our linear mindset of “take-make-waste” that has been adopted from our industrial revolution to one that is “close-looped”- taking nothing new from earth to make and recycling waste to make instead!

Who should read it: Business owners and higher management. Inclusive of church leaders.

My Read of the Month:

Title: , Outliers: The Story of Success
Author: Malcom Gladwell
Published: 2008
Genre: Social Psychology/Business
Ratings: 4.0 out of 5 stars

After reading Malcom’s earlier book- The Tipping Point, I thought I would grabbed my hands on this latest title. And I’m not disappointed that I did.

In Outliers, Malcom reveals secret patterns behind everyday phenomena of success. Using several case studies, Malcom goes against conventional thinking that ambition, talent and IQ are the only contributing factors to success.

These outliers (meaning something or someone who is markedly different in value from the others in sample) are outliers more because of a convergence of events entirely out of their control that have created extraordinary opportunities. And had it not been for those opportunities, they may never have become outliers.

Living in a meritocracy society, it is obvious that those who do better would be given more attention to cultivate the talent. So he investigates the possibility that success that could be a result of a random advantage. Like the month we were born in comparison to our peers?

For example, in school, a few months of maturity will likely translate to quicker comprehension, better behavior, and more likely to stand out as “brighter” than the rest, when really they’re merely older.  But the proof is in the numbers, and Gladwell presents plenty of them.

Apart from the age factor, Malcom goes on explain the factor of 10,000 hours. This means getting the chances to practice a skill for at least 10,000 hours which for instance, path the way for the Beatles and Bill Gates towards success during their time. He also includes the idea that cultural legacy as an integral part of the success formula.

In essence, Malcom concludes that outliers are products of history and community, of opportunity and legacy. Their success is not exceptional or mysterious and are grounded in a web of advantages and inheritances. All these are critical to making them who they are.

Reading this has inspired me to think beyond my lifetime and to be determined in living a solid legacy for my children and the next generation.

This is a highly entertaining and enlightening book. Go read it. You won’t regret getting your hands on this one.

Who should read it: For anyone and everyone.

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My Read of the Month:

Title: Put Your Dream to the Test: 10 Questions that Will Help You See It and Seize It
Author
: John C. Maxwell
Published: 2009
Genre: Leadership/Personal development
Ratings: 5.0 out of 5 stars

Believe it or not, this is my first Maxwell’s book that I’ve read. And through reading this useful book, I found a role model in Maxwell.

I like that I had started this book at the beginning of 2010 as it had helped in clarifying my vision which in turn helped as I penned my goals for this year.

Maxwell does an exceptional job in no only shares principles and tips towards achieving our dreams, but he also shares his life experiences. That is invaluable.

What makes this book a must-read is that it inspires readers to evaluate their lives and to re-discover that dream that might be tucked away in some corner. The 10 steps or questions really do help as I was able to redefine my personal dream/vision.

I particularly enjoyed the anecdotes, quotes and life lessons which he drew and dissected from the success stories of famous people both living and dead. This book is close to flawless and truly an enjoyable read!

In closing, I leave you with this quote from the author: “It is your responsibility to become everything that you are, not only for your benefit but also for everyone else’s”.

Who should read it: For those who are in pursuit or in discovery of their vision/dream in life.