Executive Leadership Coaching

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Attention-Grabbing Books: What We’re Reading Right Now

Aug 9, 2018

Written by: Shawn Sweeney

Content plays a central role in your ongoing development as a leader, as we discussed in a recent Spinnaker blog “The 3 Cs of Personal Leadership Development.” In honor of National Book Lover’s Day, today Spinnaker’s leadership team shares a peek at a trio of books that caught our attention, and whose leadership lessons we think are worthy of yours.

SHAWN SWEENEY, Founder and Managing Partner

The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results
by Gary Keller

I love the quote this attention-grabbing book starts with: “If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.” Such a simple concept—and one I think most of us would agree with—yet many of us struggle to live by it. The author walks us through the concept’s challenges and offers concrete steps to overcome the struggle.

While the author focuses on how the book’s fundamental concepts apply to us as individuals, I think there’s equal impact when applied to how we run our teams. “When you say yes to something, it’s imperative that you understand what you’re saying no to.” Doesn’t that define one of the key challenges as a leader: Focusing our teams and limited resources on what really matters, while pushing aside the things that are less important?

I’m confident if we could each put into practice the habits the author outlines, we would all accomplish more of what matters most.

CHRIS LANDRUM, Principal

Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet
by Jesse Itzler

Having spent several years on active duty in the US Army, I’ve always been fascinated with Special Operations. More to the point: Special Operators. Like so many of us these days, I often find myself watching short clips on YouTube, and one of the more random—or not, given Google’s algorithm—YouTube videos I watched recently motivated me to purchase this attention-grabbing book.

Here’s the story: A Navy SEAL, who is living with the author and his family, ambushes the author daily for 31 days and takes him on some intense, bordering on insane, exercise adventures. Imagine! Though it’s predictable after the first chapter or two, it’s fun to read and the book held my attention till the end.

After all the laughs, I took away exactly what the author intended: We all need to get out of our comfort zone. Try something new every day. Put yourself out there. Take a risk. Fail. Fail again. Fail fast. Before you know it, you’ll be learning, stretching yourself, and potentially succeeding at things that seemed out of reach just a short time ago.

If you need a spark, pick up this attention-grabbing book. While I hope you don’t need to go to the lengths Jesse did to find that spark, you just might find yourself being more daring. And that’s a good thing!

BRETT LUDDEN, Principal

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
by Bill Bryson

This author tells his stories as an observer, providing a wealth of interesting history and trivia while he shares how he and his childhood friend hiked various segments of the roughly 2,250-mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.

His humor launched quite a few chuckles as I followed his journey. Yet it also helped me contemplate how to maintain perspective. Not a true outdoors man, the author quickly learned the sheer size of the trail and how irrelevant we are in the natural world. He also succeeds in reminding us of the benefits of getting away and allowing ourselves to recharge—an important lesson for leaders.

In the end, the author bemoaned the fact that they didn't hike the entire 2,250 miles. His friend, however, was quick to remind him of one important fact: "We hiked the Appalachian Trail." Bottom line: The winners are those who tie up their laces and begin the walk.



Accomplishing what matters. Taking risks. Getting started. Each of these leadership lessons can be found in the attention-grabbing books we’re reading right now. And note they’re not all “leadership” books. Just as you may look outside your own industry for ideas to spark innovation, it’s a good idea to round out your leadership development reading with some selections that are decidedly outside the leadership box.

On this National Book Lover’s Day, there’s no better time to pick up a new title to fuel your own leadership development. We think you can’t go wrong by choosing one of these attention-grabbing books.

We’ll leave you with a quote from Gary Keller: “You’re smart, but people have lived before you. You’d be wise to study what others have learned first, and then build your actions on the back of their lessons.”