Books and Book Clubs
By: Queue Murphy
This past week I was talked about at work publicly by my Director. She told everyone that I did so many things for the company and department, that I must not have enough work to do. She told everyone that I basically needed to get back into my own little box. I have experienced this unhealthy culture in most of my work life. I have not worked in an environment that perpetuates a positive work culture - I have always worked in large companies with greedy, selfish leaders.
The book, Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek, does an excellent job in describing the harm this causes. It also describes how to change negative work places, or move away from them. This not only affects us personally, but our future generations as well. The book does describe successful companies and how their directors and managers have changed this type of behavior. Very insightful!
I really enjoyed this book and it gave me hope about what is going on in the work world out there. Let me take that further and state it not only gave me hope for the work world, but also the conscious changes happening in the world.
When I first started to read this book, I thought, oh great, another book about the army, navy, air force or marine discipline. This opinion was because the book started out by describing how marine leaders put their men first – they eat first, go to sleep first, are safe first. Intriguing, but my Dad loves service stories as he was in the navy, and I have heard many stories and watched many movies - and still do when he comes over. However, I gave the benefit of the doubt to the beginning of the book as it had received great reviews and the description was as follows:
Imagine a world where almost everyone wakes up inspired to go to work, feels trusted and valued during the day, then returns home feeling fulfilled. This is not a crazy, idealized notion. Today, in many successful organizations, great leaders are creating environments in which people naturally work together to do remarkable things.
In his travels around the world … Simon Sinek noticed that some teams were able to trust each other so deeply that they would literally put their lives on the line for each other. Other teams, no matter what incentives were offered, were doomed to infighting, fragmentation and failure. Why?
His book goes onto describe what happens in our jobs and everyday life. As people, we want to know and understand the cause of stresses happening to us. If we do not feel safe, cortisol rushes through us and inhibits release of oxytocin (empathy hormone). The cortisol hormone increases aggression. In companies, neighborhoods, politics, it makes people more selfish. Unhealthy, unbalanced cultures are created as we all adapt to our surroundings. People get used to it – very unhealthy – and we are, as the author describes it, doomed to infighting, fragmentation and failure within our companies, communities, country and therefore, world.
The destruction that we create in our outside lives doesn’t stop there, it wreaks havocs on our physical bodies as well. Constant cortisol harms glucose levels, impairs cognitive ability and is a danger to us physically. As we continue to drive forward to survive in this mode, we are left stressed out, our bodies are prepared to act suddenly or fight or run. We turn off digestion and growth. Immune systems are shut down because during these bursts of cortisol, it is not needed. We get sick. We are creating physical sicknesses in our workplace, our homes, everything around us, because of the environment we are accepting and living through.
I recommend this book highly as I have not even scratched the surface of all the details it goes through in describing changes we need to make in our lives! It all starts with leadership and being a leader. We can all be leaders in making this change! Leaders set the tone – leaders eat last!
On Monday morning I will be going back to that box to work – but the difference is, I have already started making plans to move beyond that box – way beyond! I hope you do too!
If you really love to read the minute details of your friend’s Facebook pages, then you might enjoy this book. There is really nothing more than the daily events of an extended family’s lives through each year from 1953-1986. Granted this is the 2nd book in a trilogy that gives a chapter to all 100 years but I wouldn’t want to go back to the first nor am I waiting anxiously for the 3rd. The extremely slow pace that the book moves makes staying interested a daunting task.
I just can’t stay interested in learning about what these characters are thinking and doing. They perform all these tasks with major events of the time taking place in the background. But even the impact of these events on the characters is presented in a lackluster way. There could have been much more depth if the constraint of the format wasn’t so strict. You want to learn more details and the story line of a character just when the author jumps to another perspective.
The subtle mention of the times – including the cold war, political assassinations and turmoil, hostages, oil prices, aids, Vietnam and others – are like a background scenario with not enough substance to capture the reader’s attention. This is not so much a book you shouldn’t try but be warned, you have to enjoy the common everyday wanderings of the characters.
I would refrain from devoting much time to this read. Not entertaining and surely not captivating. I suggest looking into one of the many other Jane Smiley books that illustrate her talent much better. So consider this your Early Warning about Early Warning………..
A stark reminder of the power and strength of women everywhere. This book offers a unique perspective from the women whose lives are abruptly altered by WWII. Their courage, stamina, and the antagonizing choices they were forced to make are delivered to the reader in ways that illustrate the brutal reality they endured and the internal agony they faced. The events these women were forced to suffer, the courage they showed, and the strength exhibited to survive bring a touching and realistic perspective into this historical time.
Beginning at the early stages of World War II in the French countryside where at first the atrocities of Hitler’s plans seem far removed, this novel shows how fast things can change. Jewish families begin to feel the impact and the invading German’s slowly take over even the most remote areas bringing Hitler’s insanity along with them. Two very different sisters have to endure their own dangerous journeys to survive. Although each chooses a path completely removed the other, their inherent wish to challenge the wrongs all about them show how the spirit cannot be overruled and how close their inner beliefs are really tied.
I highly recommend this read for those not overly sensitive to the reality of war. These female characters bring a fresh and realistic perspective to the perils of war on the civilians surrounding the mayhem and provide insightful viewpoints from their individual roles. The lasting impact of their decisions becomes a part of history and touches the personal lives of many.
If you haven't read Mary Kay Ash's biography, Mary Kay Ash: Miracles Happen, you are missing out!
What an extraordinary woman! This is definitely a must read for the woman who needs inspiration, or who enjoys to hear success stories of women overcoming difficult trials.
Mary Kay Ash was a woman who focused on others before herself. Her childhood was the beginning of her journey in building her character into who she was to become as a wife, mother, and career woman. Obstacles through relationships in her adulthood did not hold her back or suppress her, rather they helped to sharpen her drive, passion and determination.
By ignoring others who tried to crush her dream with negativity and fear, she has touched the lives of many women, and her legacy continues to touch lives today through offering women career options, life changing opportunities, and the Mary Kay Foundation.
I highly recommend this book for all women who are going through all walks of life to read.
Here's a link to the Mary Kay Foundation: Their focus is on ending women's cancer and domestic abuse
I’ve always loved to read. I was the kid who used to hide in my closet or under my covers with a flashlight. My mother would scold me and tell me to go outside and play, and I’d bring a book with me so I could find a tree to hide behind, to lose myself into someone else’s adventures.
When I was in my late 20s, I joined my first bookclub. These women were ferociously intelligent, and I was exposed to classics by Sōseki Natsume and George Elliott. As was before, I spent late evenings reading, but they were joyless hours spent re-reading passages to try to understand, exactly, the subterfuge of it all. When my career started taking off and my free time became even more limited, I bowed out of the bookclub with a sense of freedom and relief.
After my son was born, I became friendly with some other new mothers. Eventually, as all mothers do, we came to the conclusion that we needed an official excuse to gossip, drink wine and get out of the house. Hence the bookclub was born.
For me, bookclub gave me a guilt-free excuse to check out of my life for a few hours. I’ve painted our mudroom while listening to The Devil in the White City. Sobbed through My Sister’s Keeper. Wiggled my toes on my big feet while reading Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. Delighted my senses in The Namesake. Gained an appreciation for Western freedom in the Kite Runner. Shivered with horror through Sarah’s Key.
A dear friend of the family turned 95 and moved across country to be near her niece. During one of our phone conversations, she told me that she had joined the bookclub at her assisted living facility. A few months later, I asked her how she was enjoying it. “I dropped out,” she explained. “All they did was gossip and read popular novels.” The intellectual discussion, she said, was missing.
Which is exactly what I love about my bookclub.
In fact, my bookclub spends much of the time talking about anything other than the book itself. We catch up on what’s happening around town and with each other. We solve what’s wrong with the world. We brag and complain about husbands, jobs and kids. We share diet secrets while indulging in chocolate therapy. And we drink wine. Lots of it. But we always end the evening by talking about the book itself. Sometimes it’s a quick conversation and sometimes, it keeps us up way too late as we debate and discuss (and drink more wine). It’s an escape I look forward to, month after month.
My mother’s generation had the bridge club. I’d hide in my room with my pillow over my ears, trying to sleep while 12 ladies laughed, played cards and smoked into the night. Now, 40 years later, my daughter survives the nights that I host bookclub by putting in her earbuds to drown out the laughter and chatter below. And whatever the bookclub equivalent is for her generation, I know that she, too, will relish in the community and comradery of Mom’s Night Out.
OnTheCusp is a reluctant workaholic and Boston-based mother of two teenagers, whose dream is a daily walk on the beach to savor the sunrise.
To immerse yourself in this fictional tale is a treat. The cleverness of the twists woven with the help of a beautiful scarf between 1911 Ellis Island and 2011 Manhattan keeps the reader intrigued throughout the entire book. The tragedy of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Fire leaves one woman heart broke and on a healing journey that starts with her devotion to nursing the immigrants newly arrived on Ellis Island. Here a young immigrant arrives with his deceased wife’s scarf around his neck and is escorted to the Scarlet Fever ward on the island still in a daze.
A century later, another tragedy has left a widow convinced that love and life lost will keep her moored to the past and even her daughter remains protected from the whole truth of that fateful day. With that same scarf in her hands, she is rushing to meet her husband to share the news of their expectant baby. Almost there, the World Trade Tower tragedy hits and a stranger helps her to safety while her husband isn’t as fortunate.
I highly recommend this read because you will be compelled to think about the journey of life. Two women separated by a century yet connected with similar loss and love learn the remarkable ability to heal. This story Illustrates how little the basic human condition changes even though the world in which we inhabit is unrecognizable from the past. Enjoy……………