I finished reading Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog today. It was such a great read that I didn’t want it to end. I read the last chapter extra slowly and chewed on every sentence. The book was such an emotional journey. I laughed and I cried while reading it. Phil is such a phenomenal writer. He used simple language with short sentences that captivate readers’ attention. Reading this book was like sipping on a steamy cup of tea on a cold winter day; awakening and heartwarming. Anyone who enjoys a good read, is into entrepreneurship, or owns something from Nike should read this book. Highly recommended.
Today I finished reading Viktor Frankle’s Man’s Search for Meaning book. It was fairly fast read compared to the last one (Principles by Ray Dalio). Frankle’s memoir was inspiring with some great messages. Below are some of the lines I enjoyed:
- Don’t aim at success – the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.
- He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.
- What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him. What man needs is not homeostasis but what I call “noo-dynamics,” i.e., the existential dynamics in a polar field of tension where one pole is represented by a meaning that is to be fulfilled and the other pole by the man who has to fulfill it.
- Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being reasonable. Thus, logotherapy sees in responsibleness the very essence of human existence.
- In some ways, suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice.
- What matters is to make the best of any given situation. “The best,” however, is that which in Latin is called optimum – hence the reason I speak of a tragic optimism, that is, an optimism in the face of tragedy and in view of the human potential which at its best always for: 1) turning suffering into a human achievement and accomplishment; 2) deriving from guilt the opportunity to change oneself for the better; and 3) deriving from life’s transitoriness an incentive to take responsible action.
- If you want anyone to laugh you have to provide him with a reason.
- I know that without the suffering, the growth that I have achieved would have been impossible.
- Live as if you were living for the second time and had acted as wrongly the first time as you are about to act now.
- For the world is in a bad state, but everything will become still worse unless each of us does his best.
Today I finished Bob Iger’s book: The Ride of a Lifetime – Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company. I enjoyed it very much. Now I can’t look at another Disney movie without thinking about Iger’s journey. Similar to how I shared Bob’s 10 principles to true leadership when I first started reading this book, I’m going to share some highlights from his Appendix on Lessons to Lead by:
- Now more than ever: innovate or die. There can be no innovation if you operate out of fear of the new.
- Excellence and fairness don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Strive for perfection but always be aware of the pitfalls of caring only about the product and never the people.
- True integrity – a sense of knowing who you are and being guided by your own clear sense of right and wrong – is a kind of secret leadership weapon.
- Value ability more than experience, and put people in roles that require more of them than they know they have in them.
- Don’t be in the business of playing it safe. Be in the business of creating possibilities for greatness.
- Don’t let ambition get ahead of opportunity. …… It’s important to know how to find the balance – do the job you have well; be patient; look for opportunities to pitch in and expand and grow; and make yourself one of the people, through attitude and energy and focus, whom your bosses feel they have to turn to when an opportunity arises.
- Pessimism leads to paranoia, which leads to defensiveness, which leads to risk aversion.
- Treating others with respect is an undervalued currency when it comes to negotiating. A little respect goes a long way, and the absence of it can be very costly.
- What people think of you is what they’ll think of your company.
- When hiring, try to surround yourself with people who are good in addition to being good at what they do. Genuine decency – an instinct for fairness and openness and mutual respect – is a rarer commodity in business than it should be, and you should look for it in the people you hire and nurture it in the people who work for you.
- If you’re in the business of making something, be in the business of making something great.
- Hold on to your awareness of yourself, even as the world tells you how important and powerful you are.
I look forward to introducing my kids to read this book. There are so many lessons in this book for everyone.
Last month, I read Ask for More: 10 Questions to Negotiate Anything by Alexandra Carter. I was pretty proud of myself for finishing that book in a month. I mean I started the book last year, but still. The majority of the book was completed this January. It goes to show when we dedicate ourselves to do something or commit our time to focus on doing something, we will achieve results.
I’m currently reading The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company by Robert Iger. My friend, Leo, recommended this book to me last year. We were talking about having patience in our jobs and persevering for opportunities. Leo said I have to read this one.
I read the Prologue today. The book started out a bit slow with tragedies like the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando and the alligator attack at the Grand Floridian Hotel. Both incidents brought my mood down as lives were lost, including a two-year old boy. Iger picked things up as he concluded the chapter. Below are some highlights from the end of the Prologue:
“As I near the end of all of that and think back on what I’ve learned, these are the ten principles that strike me as necessary to true leadership. I hope they’ll serve you as well as they’ve served me.
Optimism. One of the most important qualities of a good leader is optimism, a pragmatic enthusiasm for what can be achieved.
Courage. The foundation of risk-taking is courage, and in ever-changing, disrupted businesses, risk-taking is essential, innovation is vital, and true innovation occurs only when people have courage. … Fear of failure destroys innovation.
Focus. Allocating time, energy, and resources to the strategies, problems, and projects that are of highest importance and value is extremely important, and it’s imperative to communicate your priorities clearly and often.
Decisiveness. Leaders must encourage a diversity of opinions balanced with the need to make and implement decisions.
Curiosity. The path to innovation begins with curiosity.
Fairness. Strong leadership embodies the fair and decent treatment of people. Empathy is essential, as is accessibility. … Nothing is worse to an organization than a culture of fear.
Thoughtfulness. Thoughtfulness is one of the most underrated elements of good leadership. … It’s simply about taking the time to develop informed opinions.
Authenticity. Truth and authenticity breed respect and trust.
The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection. This doesn’t mean perfectionism at all costs, but it does mean a refusal to accept mediocrity or make excuses for something being “good enough.” If you believe that something can be made better, put in the effort to do it. If you’re in the business of making things, be in the business of making things great.
Integrity. Nothing is more important than the quality and integrity of an organization’s people and its product. … The way you do anything is the way you do everything.”
I’m looking forward to reading this book.
Today went by with some meaningful activities:
- I finished the Ask for More book.
- Mom and I cooked brunch and dinner together. Brunch was noodles with beef and dry beans, and dinner was a three-dish meal: fried ling cod, spinach, and beef, snap peas and red pepper stir fry.
- A full body workout, followed with a Tai Chi lesson from Mom.
Tai Chi was fun. I’m hoping to keep that up throughout the quarantine.
Below are some of the good lines I enjoyed from the Ask for More book from Alexandra Carter:
- We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers. – Carl Sagan
- When you ask the right questions, of yourself and others, you open a window to create value far beyond what you can imagine. Leading your negotiation with questions not only helps your bottom line, but it helps you connect to people in a way that can transform relationships, personally and professionally.
- When you change your questions, you change the conversation.
- The first negotiation in any situation is the one you have with yourself.
- In my work, I teach that negotiation is any conversation in which you are steering a relationship.
- Everything you see, hear, and feel helps you steer with accuracy toward your goal.
- So what happens when you treat negotiation like steering a kayak? First, it means you don’t wait until the contract comes up to negotiate with your boss or client. You don’t wait until your relationship feels like it is in crisis to have a conversation. Instead, you are continuously piloting those relationships in every conversation you have. And second, you take in the right information to help you steer toward your goal. You ask great questions. You use advanced listening skills to get information that helps you shape your deals. In sum, you approach those conversations intentionally. You treat them all as part of your negotiation of that relationship.
- “Tell me” is a magic question that opens up an entire world to your view.
- The best negotiations, relationships, or client interactions start with you – a process of self-discovery that helps you get clarity on who you are and what you want to achieve.
The above are some of the highlights from the Introduction chapter. It’d be impossible to share everything I liked from the book. There are too many! Though I do want to share the last two sentences of the book:
- When you stay curious in your negotiations and relationships, you’ll see that other people start looking to you as a model, and do the same. In this way, good negotiators become leaders – at home, at work, and in the world.
Here is a handy checklist of the 10 questions to negotiate anything by Alexandra Carter:
- My definition of the problem/goal (What’s the problem I want to solve?)
- My needs/what those look like (What do I need?)
- My feelings/concerns (What do I feel?)
- My previous success (How have I handled this successfully in the past?)
- My first steps (What’s the first step?)
- Their definition of the problem/goal (Tell me…)
- Their needs/what those look like (What do you need?)
- Their feelings/concerns (What are your concerns?)
- Their previous success (How have you handled this successfully in the past?)
- Their first steps (What’s the first step?)
Great book! Highly recommended.