52nd Edition — February 2, 2020
Advantage, service, fault, break, love, the basic elements of tennis are those of everyday existence, because every match is a life in miniature.Andre Agassi, Open
1. No (American) Football Stories
I’m trying so hard not to mention football this week nor my favorite football book which is probably Gridiron Genius by Michael Lombardi. Oops, sorry.
Since I’m not allowing myself to talk football, how about listing three books with a strong sports theme that can augment our financial leadership capabilities?
- Open by far is one of my favorite books. I found 3 major takeaways that have shaped my thinking about growth from this meaningful book. Even if you hate sports, the New York Times has called this one of the best anti-sports books of all time.
- Friday Night Lights may seem like the furthest title about business and finance. Is it? I found the story a bit like a Shakespearean tragedy which parallels some businesses I’ve worked with over the past 20 years. Sorry, this is a football story, but it could have easily been about a soccer or baseball team.
- I read Born to Run years after my 5k PR of 18:10 – I never could break 18 minutes. It’s a book about running barefoot and without pain. I thought this would be a boring book. Yet, I kept getting sucked in. if you are tempted to read it, skim the Goodreads comments first.
2. The February Listening List
It’s a new month, and that means refreshing an audio list of new books. Here’s my listening for February:
- How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States (4.6 on 1,460 ratings)
- The Storm Before the Storm (4.7 on 5,186 ratings)
- Island of the Lost (4.3 on 3,966 ratings)
- The Way I Heard It (4.9 on 2,484 ratings)
3. Reading and Listening Widely
Academia has three intellectual pillars: arts, humanities, sciences.
Those are also the Big 3 pillars in business too as such:
- The Arts – the magic of marketing, innovation, and value creation
- The Humanities – managing, leading, developing, and helping others
- The Sciences – strategy, systems, processes, technology, analysis
Most financial leaders are raised along the sciences pillar. Not all, but most of our continued learning is probably around that pillar.
But the humanities are where the art of leadership and management resides. Reading and listening widely is going to exercise and stretch our sciences brain muscle. That’s why I try to venture into the unknown with my Audible listens.
Read and listen widely, grow widely.
Endurance is the greatest leadership book I’ve ever read. Yet it’s a historical narrative that describes tragedy, failure, and calculating impossibilities about a voyage in the South Atlantic. There were actually two voyages, but you’ll need to find out for yourself.
The central figure in the book is Captain Ernest Shackleton who knew how to lead, motivate, and inspire others. Only one person died during that harrowing experience, but it was a fluke-crazy accident. It’s books like Endurance that influence and shape our financial leadership capabilities for years to come.
5. The Written Word
If you add the search term ‘kindness’ on Seth Godin’s blog, you’ll see about 30 article results. The first article is Kindness Scales where Godin writes:
Kindness ratchets up. It leads to more kindness. It can create trust and openness and truth and enthusiasm and patience and possibility.Seth Godin, Kindness Scales
Kindness and attorneys are two words we typically do not include in the same sentence, right?
I met Jacqueline and Steven Brown at an event in Texas three years ago. Since then, I’ve been receiving a holiday card each year – from Australia. That’s kindness and thoughtfulness, and they hardly know me.
Accordingly, kindness expressed through the written word is one of the top referability habits for financial leaders.
By the way, why can’t law firms in the states include a pricing page like Jacqueline’s and Steven’s at Lynn & Brown Lawyers? No hourly fees, no estimates, no hidden extras. Just fixed pricing. Brilliant. And kind too.
Thank You For Reading
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Take care and have a great week. Always be learning.