BOOK REVIEW : Take the Lead by Betsy Myers


GOODREADS: “Why is it that some people challenge us and motivate us to rise to our best abilities, while others seem to drain our energy and spirit? What is that particular quality certain people have that causes those around them to engage fully and feel connected?”

SEVEN CORE IDEAS

  • We all skin our knees. What count is how we pick ourselves up, learn from our mistakes and move forward.

  1. AUTHENTICITY
  • People who are authentic don’t feel the need to exaggerate their story to make themselves look better, or treat others poorly so they come out in top. People begin to be leaders at that moment when decide for themselves how to be.
  • Genuine leadership is what emerges when we are fully and freely ourselves.
  • People trust us when we are genuine – when we show up, not as who we think we should be, not who our parents and teachers, colleagues and bosses say we should be, but as who we really are.
  • We are each born with our own internal compass, an innate sense that tells us if the direction we’re heading feels right. The most important feedback is that which comes from ourselves. Part of living an authentic life is learning to trust that internal compass.
  • It is the duty of a leader to ensure that people are in the right seats – and on the right bus.
  • We continue discovering new things about ourselves throughout our lives and careers, and sometimes a situation that felt right for us at one point starts feeling like it’s no longer a fit. Sometimes we need to be open to a change in plans and give ourselves permission to change direction.
  • We each have the power to determine or change our roles in both our personal and professional lives.

2. CONNECTION

  • Sometimes when people are unhappy at work, it’s because they are in an environment where they don’t feel connected. They don’t feel they belong there, that their contribution matters or that they are valued as part of the team.
  • No matter how good you are at your work, if you don’t have good relationships with your colleagues, it may not have the impact or support it should.
  • Conversations are opportunities to learn more about the person, share something about yourselves and discover things we may have in common.
  • A shared sense of story brings about a shared sense of purpose, and it is from there that the force for a true movement is born.
  • We walk through so many other people’s lives and often don’t know the lasting impact we have.
  • The two keys for genuine conversation are the curiosity to ask questions about the other person and the generosity to share something about yourself.
  • Look for opportunities for people to meet informally, share personal stories and build relationships.

3. RESPECT

  • Making the effort to notice – opening your eyes and seeing the people around you, taking the time to talk with them and become conscious of what’s going on in their lives.
  • People want to feel that their voice matters. Effective leadership takes the time and care to listen and make sure people feel truly heard.
  • Respect means being willing to listen and let others have their voice, even when it might be inconvenient, difficult or painful to do so. This doesn’t mean we have to agree with another’s decision. It simply means being willing to listen & appreciate people for their unique perspective.
  • You have to listen and gain their trust before you can even have a conversation. You can disagree honorably once you have trust in the relationship.
  • Sometimes sharing an observation or a bit of feedback can be tremendously helpful.
  • The way we communicate and frame an issue and our awareness of the timing and context, can make all the difference in how we are heard and what results we get.
  • It’s not about ego and it’s not about who had the idea in the first place, it’s thinking strategically about who is the best person to get the job done.

4. CLARITY

  • Every organization must have a larger purpose and part of any leader’s success is the ability to communicate that purpose with vivid clarity so that it can be passed from person to person within the organization.
  • As important as what we did were the things we chose not to do
  • Less is more: instead of trying to do a bunch of different things everyday, do one thing at a time.
  • What makes a leader effective is the ability to help people become clear about which tasks are essential to the goal.
  • Informed people feel secure. People will pull together, if they all understand what’s going on and what’s at stake.
  • The key to developing people is to catch them doing something right.
  • It is easy to make assumptions about other people’s expectations, about what matters to them or what makes them feel appreciated. The only reliable way to gain that clarity is to ask.
  • Leadership is not about having all the answers, it is about asking the questions. The clarity comes from listening to the people in the field.

5. COLLABORATION

  • Effective leadership is about inclusion. People feel they are integral part of the larger process.
  • An effective leader then clearly communicates that decision is out to the troops, including what the decision is, why it was made, and what it means to the organization and to each individual involved.
  • A key ingredient in creating true collaboration is becoming aware of our assumptions and learning to challenge them.
  • If you aren’t willing to hear another point of view, how do you grow?

6. LEARNING

  • My curiosity fueled my life long learning.
  • The capacity to engage others – which is all about listening. Second, hard work and discipline and determination to keep at it and keep showing up.
  • Leaders learn is to get outside the bubble of their own experience or comfort zone and discover what is happening in the lives of people around them.
  • Effective leaders believe that their people have valuable perspective, insights and information.
  • Every leader should be willing to sit down with his team and ask them, what are we doing right? what are we doing wrong? what behaviors need to change?

7. COURAGE

  • Leaders are not necessarily fearless, but they are people who have learned how to confront and push through their fears.
  • Courage is about pushing through our fears.
  • We gain strength, and courage and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face. We must do that which we think we cannot.
  • It is when we push through our fear t stretch and grow that we gain confidence.
  • The greatest act of courage is to follow your heart and do the right thing even if it isn’t popular.
  • Sometimes you have to make decisions not everyone is going to be comfortable with. You have to focus on what you are trying to accomplish, with as much respect and care as you can for everyone involve. But you can’t let that stop you from what needs to be done. Leadership takes courage – but courage without being reckless.
  • Courage is a matter of speaking up and giving voice to an uncomfortable truth.
  • Often, once you summon the courage to take this step, it turns out to open up wonderful new possibilities that otherwise might have remained closed or hidden.

BOOK REVIEW : KITE RUNNER BY KHALED HOSSEINI


It started out as something I had to read because it was on top of the list. But I grew fond of it, Surprisingly.

Kite Runner is about family, war, friendship, kindness, oppression, guilt, regret and redemption.

The story revolves around a boy named Amir Jan whose closest friend was the son of their servant, a Hazara as they call them. His closest friend was a Hazara named Hassan the son of Ali. Ali and Baba, Amir Jan’s father grew up together just as Hassan and Amir Jan also grew up in the same house and has fed in the same breasts. Hassan has always showed his affection, loyalty and respect to Amir Jan while several events showed that Amir Jan only sees Hassan as their servant. One day, their friendship was tested and that day was the start of how Amir Jan’s guilt will eat him up until the day Hassan will need him after several years.

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I. Memorable Lines

  1. The past claws its way out.
  2. For you, a thousand times over.
  3. There is a way to be good again.
  4. Attention shifted to him like sunflowers turning to the sun.
  5. You can’t love a person that way without fearing him too.
  6. Children aren’t coloring books. You don’t get to fill them with your favorite colors.
  7. A boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand up to anything.
  8. Because history isn’t easy to overcome.
  9. Because words are secret doorways.
  10. Seconds plodded by each separated from the next by an eternity.
  11. And that’s the thing about people who mean everything they say, they think everyone else does too.
  12. But better to get hurt by the truth than comforted with a lie.
  13. I felt his glare on me like the heat of a blistering sun.
  14. In the end, the world always wins.
  15. War doesn’t negate decency. It demands it.
  16. I only knew the memory lived in me, a perfectly encapsulated morsel of good past, a brushstroke of color on the gray, barren canvas that our lives had become.
  17. It may be unfair, but sometimes what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day can change the course of a lifetime.
  18. Sad stories make good books.
  19. The benefit of her unblinking love.
  20. My heart was doing pirouettes in my chest
  21. Often, we wallow in too much self pity. We give in to loss, to suffering accept it as a fact of life, even see it as a necessary.
  22. There is only what you do and what you don’t do.
  23. It always hurts more to have and lose than to not have in the first place.
  24. A world of thanks.
  25. Perspective was a luxury when your head was constantly buzzing with a swarm of demons.
  26. I wondered it that was how forgiveness budded, not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.

II. DISTURBING IDEAS

  1. That Hassan would grow up illiterate like Ali and most Hazaras. Hazaras had been decided that minute he had been born, perhaps even the moment he had been conceived.
    1. She said, ‘’I’m so afraid’.  I said, ‘Why?’’

    Because I’m so profoundly happy. Happiness like this is frightening. They only let you be this happy if they’re preparing to take something from you.

III. YEARNING FOR A FATHER’S LOVE

  1. Most days I worshiped baba with an intensity approaching the religious. But right then, I wished I could open my veins and drain his cursed blood from my body.
  2. Baba and I lived in the same house, but in different spheres of existence.
  3. I was going to win and I was going to run the last kite. Then I’d bring it home and show it to baba. Show him once and for all that his son was worthy. Then maybe my life as a ghost in this house would finally be over.
  4. Maybe baba would even read one of my stories. I’d write him a hundred if I though he’d read one.
  5. And that right there was the single greatest moment of my twelve years of life, seeing baba on that roof, proud of me at last.

IV. TIMES HASSAN STOOD UP FOR AMIR JAN

  1. Remember Amir Agha. There’s no monster, just a beautiful day.
  2. ‘’Hassan, come back with the last kite!’’ ‘’For you, a thousand times over!’’
  3. When Hassan said ”I did, Amir Agha”. He admitted to stealing the money Amir Jan placed under his pillow.
  4. When Hassan assaulted and threatened Assef with his sling shot when Assef was about to beat the crap out of Amir Jan.
  5. When Hassan said ”It’s the most beautiful story I have ever heard! Did you write that, Amir Jan?” about the first story Amir Jan wrote.
  6. All the mornings he prepared his breakfast and ironed his clothes.

V. TIMES AMIR JAN PUSHED HASSAN AWAY

  1. ‘’Baba, have you ever thought about getting new servants?
  2. ‘’What would you od if I hit you with this?(pomegranate) I hurled the pomegranate at him. It struck him in the chest, exploded in a spray of red pulp. ‘’Hit me back’’ I snapped. Hassan did pick up a pomegranate. He walked towards me, opened it and crushed it against his forehead. ‘’There, are you satisfied? Do you feel better now?’’.
  3. I took a couple of the envelopes of cash from the pile of gifts and my watch. I went downstairs and entered Ali and Hassan’s living quarters. I lifted Hassan’s mattress and planted the watch and the cash.
  4. When Amir Jan played at Hassan. Teaching him the opposite meaning of words just because he knows Hassan has no ability to read nor write.
  5. When Amir Jan purposedly making up the rest of the story in the book making it appear he has been reading from the book.
  6. When Amir Jan stood there, doing nothing, being coward, just staring and watching at Assef pumping his manhood at the rear end of Hassan.

It was only a smile, nothing more. It didn’t make everything all right; it didn’t make anything all right. Only a smile. A tiny thing. A leaf in the woods, shaking in the wake of a startled bird’s flight.

But I’ll take it. With open arms. Because when the spring comes, it melts the snow one flake at a time.

BOOK THOUGHTS: TAKE RISKS – YOU CAN DO IT BY JOHN MASON


An excerpt from the book, ”You can do it. Even if others say you can’t” by John Mason.

If you want to be successful, you must either have a chance or take one. You can’t get your head above the water if you never stick your neck out. 

Risk

As David Viscot wrote, If your life is ever going to get better you’ll have to take risks. There is simply no way you can grow without taking chances.

If you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.

Learn to face the storm. 

THOUGHTS: One step is all it takes.


At some point, you have to make a decision. Boundaries don’t keep other people out. They fence you in. Life is messy. That’s how we’re made. So you can waste your lives drawing lines or you can live your life crossing them. 

More often than not, we are too afraid to go out of our comfort zones just because we are already aware of what’s out there, because you want to lessen the possibility of life surprising you. But then, by drawing the line and avoiding what’s unknown, you haven’t seen what ther opportunities is out there for you, what other skills and learning you can learn from what’s outside, what is beyond your reach. 

If you just have enough courage to take 1 step out of your fence, then maybe, just maybe, life gets so, so much better.