Book Reviews

I read, well listen to, a lot of leadership books.  Most of the leadership books I read are either very theoretical, with little practical advise, but very good theory, or very practical, with steps you can take, but not much on the “why” those steps really work.  This book, Herding Tigers, by Todd Henry is the best of both worlds.  I was telling Todd the other day that his writing seems to follow my career.  His first book, Accidental Creative, is about what to do when you find that you’re accidentally in a creative field, when no one taught you how to creatively solve problems and be brilliant at a moments notice.  He talks about getting in your creative rhythm and  F.R.E.S.H. (focus relationships energy stimuli hours). In his second book, Die Empty (which is a lot like a continuation of Accidental Creative, Todd talks about how to empty yourself everyday to create your best work. He talks about leaving a legacy and how empty yourself, because tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. Todd’s 3rd book, Louder than Words, is all about the steps needed to harness your authentic voice…not find your voice, but mold and create it.  To learn more about this book, check out an earlier interview I had with Todd about it just after it came out.

So all of that brings us to Herding Tigers. This book is about leading creative teams.  In IT, our teams are creative whether we like it or not.  We create solutions everyday, whether it involves writing code, tweaking systems or designing networks.  We must be creative, and our leaders must know how to lead creative teams. This is the book that I wish I had when I made the transition from developer to manager.  This book focuses heavily on going from “Maker to Manager.”  Many things in the book may seem common sense when you read it, but there are things that you don’t think about unless you’ve had good leaders teach you those skills in the past. There are many favorite passages from this book, and I find it to be one of the most highlighted books in my office. The chapters are very story based and theoretical at first, but they end it with “Actions,” “Conversations“, “Rituals” which give you actionable and practical things you can and should be doing as a good leader.

This book covers making the shift from Maker to Manager better than any other leadership book that I have read.  It goes through very practical things that leaders forget about after they’ve been in the a leadership role for a few years, but would be very helpful for those making the shift.  This includes how do deal with confidentiality now that you’re a manager, changing terminology of “my stuff” to “our stuff,” building and keeping trust, creating a stable, yet challenging work environment, how to encourage your team to “fight fair” and much, much more!

One of my favorite parts of the book is actually after the book is finished.  Todd lists out all of the rituals he mentions in the books and puts them in order of things a leader should do weekly, monthly, and quarterly.  This checklist format is very helpful for geeks like me.

I’m not going to summarize the book here, you need to get it and read (or listen to it on Audible) for yourself.  Click here to get Herding Tigers from Amazon.

 

 

 


 

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August 1, 2018
herding tigers

AGL 049: Herding Tigers Book Review

I read, well listen to, a lot of leadership books.  Most of the leadership books I read are either very theoretical, with little practical advise, but very good theory, or very practical, with steps you can take, but not much on the “why” those steps really work.  This book, Herding Tigers, by Todd Henry is the best of both worlds.  I was telling Todd the other day that his writing seems to follow my career.  His first book, Accidental Creative, is about what to do when you find that you’re accidentally in a creative field, when no one taught you […]
July 26, 2018
jim holmes

AGL 047: The Leadership Journey with Jim Holmes

The Leadership Journey is a book by Jim Holmes.  Jim joins me today for a great talk about his journey through leadership, his book, and some struggles and adversity he’s been through and how he’s working to overcome them. You can read about Jim and his writings on his blog Frazziled Dad. Jim’s beginnings start from a farming background, then a time in the Air Force learning technology and leadership while in the service.  While in the service, he met his wife, who was an officer at the time, while he was enlisted.  Having a relationship was against the rules, […]
April 27, 2016

AGL 027: Unqualified by Pastor Steven Furtick | Book Review

We all have feelings of inadequacy. Many times I have this fear, that someone is going to show up at my door and shut it all down.  They will tell me that I’m not qualified to write about leadership, or to host a podcast, or to build websites or mobile apps, or to teach.  And it will all be over.  Everyday, at some point in that day, I suffer from feelings of being unqualified to do the work that I know I’m meant to do. Sometimes I let mistakes that I make, thoughts that I have, and my feelings get […]
January 7, 2016

AGL 020: Richard Branson’s ‘The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership’ Book Summary and Review

I loved this book (click here to pick it up for yourself).  It took me a few weeks to read through it all, but I really enjoyed the wonderful stories that Richard Branson tells about his experiences in Entrepreneurship and leading the Virgin Group. He breaks down the book into four main categories: Listen, Learn, Laugh, Lead and then gives a nice recap of his top tips.  Many of his insights and stories are from the Virgin group of companies and can seem a little like marketing or promotional material, or better yet, highlight reel for the companies he’s founded.  […]
October 22, 2015

AGL 010: Book Review: Daniel Pink, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Dan Pink gave what might be one of my favorite TED talks of all time as he explained the puzzle of motivation (It’s also one of the most viewed with over 14 million views at the time of this posting).  This talk made me want to read his book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. This book changed the way I motivate my employees and teams.  It also inspired me to use the information in the book to motivate not only the people that reported to me, but others above me, and to the right and to the […]
September 30, 2015

AGL 005: Book Review: Simon Sinek – Leaders Eat Last

I listen to a lot of audiobooks.  About a year ago, I listened to Simon Sinek’s Leaders Eat Last audiobook.  I loved this book.  In my opinion its better than his first best seller, Start With Why. In this book, Simon Sinek tells the story of Johnny Bravo, a military pilot and how he risked his life to defend ground troops in battle. He uses this story to illustrate the idea of the “Circle of Safety.” Circle of Safety Simon tells us that we should focus on helping those around us and under us instead of one-upping them. He uses […]