best of 2012

Leading Across Cultures, James E. Plueddemann.  A must read for anybody involved in multi-national or multi-cultural leadership.  Plueddemann looks at a number of cultural studies (Hofstede, Globe, etc) and identifies characteristics that affect dynamics in multi-cultural teams.  I found myself nodding as I read through it, putting words to some of my experiences, and giving insight into others.

The Circle Maker, Mark Batterson.  a fresh approach to what has been called “prevailing prayer.”  Mark Batterson tells his own prayer journey/testimony and encourages the reader to believe God for big things by “praying them through.”  An interesting part of the book corroborates what I have read in other works- that which we set our minds upon influences us in our actions.  He lays out an argument that what we are praying about primes us to recognize the answers and opportunities when they come. The title is part of the encouragement – draw a chalk circle around yourself and pray for God to bring revival within that circle!  I was encouraged and challenged.  Looking for chalk now.

A Praying Life, by Paul Miller.  How’s your prayer life?  A friend of mine once said she had the same guilty feeling as when her dental hygienist asked if she flossed.  Paul Miller changes the question– what if you had a praying life?  I loved this book.  He poked through all kinds of rituals and language we have about prayer to really challenge me.  As you go through the day,  what kinds of things do you never think of praying about because you already think you know the answer? Yes, it was convicting but also refreshing.  Made me think more deeply about being child-like in faith.  Recommended!

Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking, Susan Cain.  If you are an introvert, or you live with, work with, or are friends with an introvert, this book is worth your time.  Full of interesting facts and relevant examples, Susan Cain makes the case for introverts in a world where extraverted behavior is considered the norm, the only acceptable form of sociability and/or leadership.  Recommended.

Team of Rivals, Doris Kearns Goodwin.  a fabulous look at Abraham Lincoln and his Cabinet, composed of his rivals, hence the title. This book gives an insightful look at Abraham Lincoln’s character, intellect and relational ability, as well as those leaders around him.  Highly recommended.

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society, Schaffer & Barrows.  A delightful read, perfect for vacation. Charmingly humorous, the story is told through a series of letters written back and forth between  an author and the people who lived through the German occupation of the Channel Islands during WWII.  I laughed out loud and couldn’t help reading probably a third of it out loud to my sister.  And she laughed, too!

Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins.  a story of the best and worst of human nature, I can see why kids love this story.  With teens being the heroes, and adults looking inspid or power-mad, it adds up to a good story with a classic good v evil angle.  Thought-provoking in many ways, many of the characters are distortions of real-life that we read in the news today.  Makes you think and for that, I’d recommend reading it- despite the premise.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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