Feb 21, 2016

Book Review: Natural Born Heroes by Christopher McDougall

I had high expectations to Christopher McDougall's new book Natural Born Heroes. His previous book was really enjoyable journey to endurance athletes and especially to ultrarunning world. I thought this book would be natural continuation to that one.

The book tells stories about human abilities that go beyond our thought of normal human abilities. So it tells stories about heroes. Heroes and especially endurance heroes looked like an interesting topic to read about.

Quite early in the book I noticed that it isn't as easy to read that I would have hoped to. The challenge with the book was that it was filled with so many stories, that it becomes almost impossible to follow all of those.

Main stories were about Greece, but even there the stories jumped from mythologies, to World War II to McDougall's own experience from there. In addition to these Greece stories, book jumped once in a while to stories from former China, UK and US. Many of the stories connected to each other, but there were so many characters in the book that it was laborious to keep track on whom was whom.

As such I liked the book and it thought some good things about humans and endurance overall. In that sense it was enjoyable. With better planning and organization the book would have been excellent. At least for my type of reading, I kept loosing track which story was being told at which time.

It is bit hard to give recommendations about the book. At least if World War II interests, then I recommend to read it. If you want something lighter about endurance once in a while, then it would be good option look into. If you expect clearly structured fact based book about endurance, then maybe there are other choices to consider.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Dec 28, 2015

Book Review: Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux

Over year ago I saw the presentation from Frederic Laloux about the new kind of organizational models. I've read and listened his thought many times since. The book Reinventing Organizations have been in my book shelf for a year, but now I finally can say that I have read it from cover to cover.

Reinventing Organizations is important book discussing about future of workplaces. It goes through via history and via good examples different kind of organizational models. Most importantly it introduces the Teal organization thinking.

Best part of the book is the case studies and examples from organizations like Buutzorg, FAVI, Morning Star, Sun Hydraulics and some others. Those show that self organization and new kind of management is possible and has been possible for years already. Those are examples that every person interested in developing companies further should read.

Contents and the ideas in the book were really interesting and valuable. The style and structure of the book made it laborious for me to read. It could have been almost 100 pages shorted with better plan on the structure. That is the only criticism that I can say about the book.

It is important book and I really recommend to read it. Teal type of organizations will be something that will be in discussion in the near future in many different industries. This is a book that will help everyone to understand better what future might look like.

The least everyone should do, it to check the video that has been made based on the Laloux model (link to the video). It is no where near as extensive as the book, but it will give the basic idea.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Oct 3, 2015

Book Review: It's Not All About "Me" by Robin Dreeke

Robin Dreeke is former FBI Agent from the FBI Behavioral Unit. He writes in his It's Not All About "Me": The Top Ten Techniques for Building Rapport - book about how to build trust and connect with people.

The book is written well and it's easy to understand. Techniques as such are not magic, but something that everyone can take in to use if they wish. I've previously read about nonviolent communication and I think there are many similarities to the things Robin is teaching.

As the title already says, the main message is to concentrate to the other person. The key is to get rid of need to answer to other, but to concentrate on what the other one is saying. It sound so easy, but you can easily notice in everyday discussions the need to bring your own views and your ego to the discussions. NVC book already thought me about this skill few years ago, but I still find it very difficult to master.

Of course there are some other things to take in to account. For example there are tricks that help you make the person you want to approach, to feel safe and comfortable to open up. These skills are important for everyone in their personal and work life's.

In top of being interesting and easy to read, the book is also very compact and fast to read. I highly recommend everyone to read this book. I can't think of anyone who wouldn't benefit of the skills presented in this book.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Sep 26, 2015

Book Review: The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True

Richard Dawkins is world famous evolutionary biologist and author. His book The Magic of Reality tries to explain in understandable ways some of the really complicated phenomenons of physics and science overall.

In the midway of the book, I felt like back in school. Quite many things very familiar, but the way Mr. Dawkins explains those helped to deepen the understanding quite a bit.

The book goes through topics all the way from big bang to evolution to quantum mechanics. So it is really comprehensive overview to the universe as we know it. I give the credit to him on explaining things in very understandable ways.

Mr Dawkins is a know atheist and science believer. It really shows in the book. He dismisses all religions. He does admit that there are many things science can't explain yet, but he sees it only as a shortage of current science, not as a possibility for higher forces. Atheism actually came disturbingly through from all the writing. That's a shame, in science facts should be facts without personal believes.

I have to still recommend to people who want to understand physics and the world better. I felt like getting a fast recap of learning's from physics from many years at school. It's an excellent book, if you can tolerate the pushing of atheism.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Jul 28, 2015

Book Review: Practicing the Power of Now

Practicing the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle is a self help book about being present and not letting the past or future create any pain to you. Eckhart Tolle introduces himself as a spiritual teacher without any specific religion or ideology behind him. His message is quite simple: be present at the moment and feel yourself and you will free yourself of pain that your mind is causing.

I both hated and loved the book. I believe, in the being in the moment and accepting what life offers, kind of thinking. Then on the other hand Mr. Tolle takes his toughs sometimes to the levels that are out of my thinking and my ideology. If I understood him right, he says we should forget the past and the future and only live in the moment. In my thinking, your past defines you, relationships with people always have a past, learning is relies to the past and part of our happiness comes from the past.

What I think is really valuable in the book is the idea of feeling yourself and not letting your own history define you too much. You should always be open to people and really feel what you are feeling and not what you think you should feel.

The book as such isn't long, it's quite short to be exact, but still I believe it could have been even shorter. The idea is such a simple that it could have been told even in bit less pages.

I'm glad I read the book, but I think there are better books about being present and mindfulness. If you've already read couple of similar books, this could be good addition to the group, but if you haven't read one of these before, select something else to start with.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen