05 – March 10, 2019
First things first, thank you for your interest in reading content at CFO Bookshelf.
1. What I’m Reading
- I’m a big believer in reading beyond technical books in our field like corporate finance and any other topics related to our jobs. There’s a time and a place for such reads. If you are in marketing, sales, and operations, then read our books. For those of us in financial leadership positions, we need to ignite the creative juices by reading good literature and topics in the arts and humanities. Accordingly, I gave in and started reading Larson’s The Devil in the White City based on the recommendations of several other CFOs. I can do without the gruesomeness in the book. But I’m enjoying the near-impossible-odds of the creation of a World’s Fair in one of the ugliest landscapes on the planet.
- Looking for some reading ideas? Here are the 7 books I completed in February.
- David Ogilvy was a Topgrader years before a marketing mind attached a name to the hiring concepts that great CEOs have been employing since the dawn of the industrial age. In his book Ogilvy on Advertising, the author tells us he gives the head of every new office Russian Dolls, the kind when you open it, there’s a smaller, and another smaller one, and another, and so on. Says Ogilvy, “If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs, but if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, Ogilvy & Mather will become a company of giants.”
2. What I’m Writing
Mildly criticizing Michael Gerber of The E-Myth Revisited may be considered sacrilegious in the small business world. But I don’t fully agree with this mantra of working on the business instead of in the business. I wrote about my opinion about Gerber’s directive this week.
3. What I’m Planning to Write About
Some 20-plus years ago, I was frustrated that I wasn’t remembering what I was reading. Why read at all if I forget? So I started taking notes. I got a journal and started writing notes of what I read. The first book I took notes about was Endurance by Lansing. I can pretty much tell you the full story from beginning to end. The next book was Uncle Tom’s Cabin. I can tell you the key points of each chapter in that book, one that I read nearly 20 years ago.
But there’s a catch. I’ve told the story of The Endurance dozens and dozens of times. I’ve used main characters of Stowe’s book in my writing and while inspiring others. Accordingly, it helps to tell others what you have read. Then the key points start to get sticky in your mind. Here’s another post by a favorite writer if forgetting what you read resonates.
4. What I’ve Been Watching
Did you watch the movie Rudy? My family and I have probably watched it dozens of times. Remember the jersey scene near the end where the starters want to give their spot to Rudy? Touching scene.
Will McAvoy of HBO’s Newsroom is relating this story to a group of interns and journalists during their daily brief. Later in the show, we ultimately learn that Will who can be a pompous you-know-what has given away $500,000 in exchange for the release of an Egyptian freelance reporter. Somehow, his executive producer found out about it. And then the episode ended with this feel-good-scene.
That episode reminded me of some of the great leaders I’ve worked for in the past. There are times you want to let them have it in a verbal sparring match. But in the end, the good ones always have your back, and the backs of others too. I have a few people I need to thank this week.
5. What I’m Reading Beyond Books
Quit asking me, ‘how are you?’ and ask me something else. Excellent feedback on how to start a conversation by ending the small talk. My favorite question is, “How are you changing the world this week?”
6. Homework Assignment
Earlier, I mentioned Gerber’s mantra about working on the business instead of working in the business. Now it’s your turn. As you are working in your role this week, spend 15 minutes this week working on your role. If you are not in a leadership position, share this homework assignment with your manager. If they are a topgrade manager, they should say, “Let’s all of us do this and compare notes later on.”
As you think about this exercise, consider the following:
1. How does your role align with the goals and objectives of the company?
2. How can I be more effective with my most limited resource which is time?
3. What needs to be done now, 90 days from now and this year?
Thank you for reading. If you like the above and the posts at CFO Bookshelf, may I ask a favor? Feel free to share this with other readers along with commenting on your favorite blog posts in LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.
Take care and have a great week. Always keep learning.