Cover of "Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming...

Cover via Amazon

Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky
Category: Leadership
Date: 11/17/2013

While this book is aimed significantly at what Scott refers to as “creative teams” – those organizations in the business of creating new things or developing advertising or marketing campaigns — the principles he lays out have relevance to other types of teams as well.  Primary points that he emphasizes are:

  1. Organizational structure matters
  2. You can’t do it alone
  3. If you focus on the people (team members), you won’t need to worry about productivity

It’s a good read — lots of useful nuggets for leaders.

Deep Work by Cal Newport
Category: Productivity
Date: July 2017

The hypothesis that he starts out with is:

The Deep Work Hypothesis
Deep work is becoming increasingly valuable at the same time it is becoming increasingly rare. Therefore if you cultivate this skill you will thrive.

… expanding on this, he explains his reasoning behind this hypothesis (paraphrased):

“The only people that will thrive in the knowledge economy are those that 1) can master complex concepts quickly, 2) produce at exceptional levels, and/or 3) can invest heavily in the knowledge infrastructure. Given that #3 is more opportunity than skill, the thing that is common between the other two is the ability to learn quickly and apply that knowledge at “rock star” levels — both of which require the ability to focus on tasks for significant periods of time.”

So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport
Category: Productivity
Date:  July 2017

This is actually the prequel to the book Deep Work (see above).  The premise of this book is to discredit the career advice we frequently get:  “Follow your passion, and everything will work itself out”

Cal claims that passion is insufficient to provide the value that we need to produce in order to be successful.  Instead, we need to find what we’re good at, get better (using deep work skills) and use that success to create value for ourselves (satisfaction for a job well done) and value for employers.  At that point, we can pursue our passions as recreational activities instead of as our livelihood.

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