Book Review: The Culture Code

I’ve been on a bit of a run lately with finding really interesting books.  I love writing reviews, and will try to get all of the good books reviewed here.

Screen Shot 2018-05-09 at 2.33.33 PMThe first one is Daniel Coyle‘s The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups. I just finished it up, so here goes:

Coyle digs into many different successful organizations and attempts to distill some of their successful strategies.  His central theme is that these companies and organizations have a successful culture due to a concerted effort and plan – that they are not successful on accident.  And that the successful culture is directly responsible for the success that the companies and organizations have.

The groups he studies range from the Navy SEAL Team Six to the most successful New York City restauranteur, Danny Meyer.  He studied a successful jewelry theft ring, and the crew of United flight 232 that crashed in 1989.

Over and over again he identifies how these diverse groups have found and use key skills and procedures to build culture which translates into their success.

The key question of the book is – Why do certain groups add up to be greater than the sum of their parts, while other similar groups add up to less?

His answer is that these groups succeed more because they work together in a smarter way.  They have cultures created by a specific set of skills: Build Safety, Share Vulnerability, and, Establish Purpose.  He determines that Culture is not something you are, it is something you do.

Coyle breaks down his studies to demonstrate each of the three skills with solid, interesting examples from all over.  He builds a very compelling case for each of his three vital skills.

Overall a very interesting read, some great examples of how to make a team function more effectively.  I’d love to see someone leading a team view their internal dynamics through the lens of the three Culture building skills…

Book review: Stop Stealing Dreams by Seth Godin


Stop Stealing Dreams

Thought provoking book on education, students needs, and where we are heading. Godin brings together insights and anecdotes in his normal far reaching process and applies his intellect to come to some provocative conclusions.

The education system exists to serve a need that doesn’t exist anymore. What the world needs now are people who can solve problems, write coherently, self motivate, and create. The education system churns out people who know how to memorize things for a short time.

I wish this was book was required reading for educators and parents – maybe even students who know what they were getting into….

See other reviews and thoughts here on Goodreads…

I read a newspaper today!

We started receiving The Oregonian today – for free – for some period of time.  I am of two minds over this.

First : the positive.  I love getting things for free.  Who doesn’t.  I love holding a newspaper, seeing all of my reading options laid right out in front of me.  I like being able to scan the large page and see the layout of the articles and ads.  I like how having it all right there in front of me tends to make me read more of the articles about subjects I would not have seen in my RSS, Twitter, and Facebook scanning.  (Who knew that no one seems to like the two candidates for Mayor of Portland?)  I like knowing a bit more about the area I live in and the world in general.  (kinda – more below)

Now, the negative.  I hate having paper laying around after I’m done with it.  I hate the news print on my fingers.  (don’t want to dirty up the iPad or iPhone….)  I actually didn’t like most of the articles that I read – way too much negativity and ‘bad stuff’ happening.  I think I was better off before knowing about all that junk going on.  I don’t like that I can’t find other articles or more information about a topic very easily after reading it.  I don’t like that I’ll have more recycling to do.

I think it is a telling thing that I had to be given The Oregonian in order to get me to read it.  Obviously printed papers (and magazines, like US News and World Report) are on their way out and this is an attempt by the paper to keep “readership” numbers up to prop up advertising rates.  I just wonder how much longer they can keep playing that game?

Do you read the newspaper any more?


Review: Finding Ultra by Rich Roll

Finding Ultra by Rich Roll

This was a short-ish book that details Rich’s life, focusing mostly on his incredible EPIC5 race – 5 Ironman distance tri’s on five different Hawaiian islands on 5 consecutive days!

Rich was an elite level swimmer in high school and college, then got bored with the commitment in college.  He actually found beer, booze and partying to be much more exciting.  He became a full-bloomed alcoholic even as he passed the Bar, and started working as a lawyer.  He finally faced his addiction enough to finish AA and made it through a rehab clinic.

After that ordeal, then he had a life changing event!  Just before he was turning 40, he found he couldn’t walk up the 8 steps to his kids room to kiss the goodnight.  He made up his mind to change – and that is where the book gets interesting.

He started with a 7 days progressive cleanse, eating herbs, teas, fruit and vegetable juices.  After the de-tox period, his body adapted and by day 3 he “was sold.  Day four was better and by day five, I felt like an entirely new person.”   When the 7 days were up, he kept on going.

Through trial and error, he found an eating system that he calls “PlantPowered” – it is basically Vegan, but because of the stigma connected to that word, he doesn’t like to use it.  He has used that diet to become one of the worlds best Ultra men – competing in a 320 mile ordeal of a Triathlon and then dreaming up the EPIC5 race…

Rich spends considerable time on debunking what he calls the myth of vegans don’t get enough protein.  He shows exactly how much protein he gets, and then spends time addressing the current thought that we all need MORE protein.   For me, I believe what he says, especially since he is a living example.  The feats he is able to accomplish on his diet have me willing to believe that I don’t need as much protein as I have thought.  Rich isn’t a hulking mass of muscle, he is trim and lean with muscles that literally go all day.

Power foods that he recommend include:  Chia Seeds, spirulina, quinoa, Beetroot, macs powder, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds (iron),

His story was inspiring, motivational, and informative.  There is a large resource appendix where he give web sites for some of his favorite products, some of which lead back to his own site.

Some that appeal to me: – his lifestyle site, links to the book, etc. – His blender of choice – Cold brew coffee system – Holistic wellness company, carries his Endurance Elixir powder – Raw Protein – Pre-workout energizer, electrolyte hydrator

All in all, a very entertaining book, one I intend to reference and come back to.