Books, and book reviews, worth reading

March 10, 2007

The book review carnival is well underway at Joyful Jubilant Learning, including some great reviews of books and authors that were previously unfamiliar to me.

Here are clips from two of the reviews that particularly caught my attention.

Lisa Haneberg, author of Two Weeks to a Breakthrough and Management Craft blogs, reviewed The Zen of Groups: The Handbook for People Meeting with a Purpose.

The book has two parts – The first 90 or so pages offer a good primer on how groups operate (purpose, roles, phases of team development, and meeting models). They offer a pretty good primer on group facilitation, too.

One of the distinctions the authors return to again and again is the importance of how we relate to baggage – ours and other people’s. I love this simple quote from page 7, “Baggage is not right or wrong, it just is.” I can relate to that! The authors talk about baggage a lot because its mismanagement is the cause of a lot of group dysfunction. I like this distinction (I call it Mucky Muck, but it’s still baggage) and think they use it in helpful ways.

Karen Wallace, author of The Clearing Space and Sanctuary, reviewed Do Less, Achieve More – Discovering the hidden power of giving in.

Do Less, Achieve More uses the parable of the rainmaker, made famous by Jung, in which a man ends a five-year drought through inner harmony with the divine. Chu weaves this parable through the book – and being in the middle of terrible drought here in Australia this had extra meaning for me.

I don’t know that it is feasible for me sit in a tent, alone, quiet and still for four days communing with the divine until my inner harmony causes the rain to fall… (although, then again… 🙂 but the richness of the analogy allows the lessons in this book to seep into our soul.

I am adding both of these books to my reading list, and expect the list to grow as the month-long Love Affair with Books continues. Check it Out!

[Oh, I almost forgot a shameless self promotion: I’ll be reviewing Marcus Buckingham’s Go Put Your Strengths to Work on March 31.]

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Social Media Club Dallas discusses tools and votes

March 1, 2007

Fantastic discussions last night at the Dallas meeting of the Social Media Club. Tony Wright of Kinetic Results lead two main discussions – one about useful tools that attendees “simply cannot live without” and another about the role of social media in political campaigns.

Useful Tools

Lauren Vargas, founder of 12comm Public Relations and author of Communicators Anonymous, has already cataloged the various tools discussed. Here is the list and check out Lauren’s post for more details.

  • PSD2HTML: Fast, high-quality XHTML / CSS markup!
  • Jott: Free, telephone-to-email service that you need on your speed dial.
  • Spinvox: Voice message to text, and more
  • Picnik: Online photo editing
  • WatchetShot: Screenshot freeware
  • TinyURL Creator: Firefox add-on for quick Tiny URLs
  • Basecamp: Project collaboration
  • Accomplice: Free, project management suite, syncs with Outlook and PDA, Lauren’s “must have” recommendation, my next download!

Social Media in Politics

I was a bit surprised by the topic at first; I mean, is it safe for clubs to talk about politics or religion? However, excellent input from the likes of Jake McKee, Sunni Thompson and Blake Poutra insured a lively and insightful discussion.

A big question was whether candidates who embrace more openness, and who’s campaigns utilize social media, will benefit from doing so. Like I said, a BIG question leading into the 2008 national elections.

Much closer to home, we examined the website and MySpace page for Dallas mayoral candidate Zac Crain. Crain is very engaged in social media and has over 1500 people who have signed up as his friends on MySpace. Whether amassing virtual friends can result in polling booth turnout is well worth watching.

I want to write more about the discussion of social media and campaigns, but that will have to wait for another post. For now, check out the blogs of the smart, talented members of Social Media Club Dallas and consider whether making its next meeting (or a meeting in a city near you) should be on your agenda. Hint: It should!

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