Books Read in December 2012

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Top Recommendation:

Leading Quietly: An Unorthodox Guide to Doing the Right Thing by Joseph L. Badaracco, Jr.

This leadership ideas in this book were unexpected. They were about things such as waiting, bending rules, moving gradually, and compromising. Badaracco states the three key virtues are restraint, modesty, and tenacity. A lot of the solutions and paths that he praises feel, well, off somehow, like being bold and courageous would have been better. Yet, it is hard to see how the individuals involved could have achieved more by doing so. I will be reading and thinking on this again.

More Books Read:

Sword of Ice, Sun in Glory, Crossroads, and Changing the World edited by Mercedes Lackey

I enjoyed these four collections of stories set in Valdemar, especially since the format allows for a broader exploration of the world and a way to answer some questions that come up.

Influencer: The Power to Change Anything by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler

This book and the Heath's Switch, one of my favorites (which was published later), cover much of the same ground, but Influencer focuses more on the individual person. They approach it from a grid of motivation and ability crossed with personal, social, and structural. It was well written and had the good approach I'd expect from the authors of Crucial Conversations.

Hardball for Women: Winning at the Game of Business by Pat Heim

I've read books like this before and I always learn something new each time. One idea that struck me this time was the idea of men's upbringing and coaches. You follow the hierarchy and do what the coach, or boss, says, even if the only point of the request is to serve as a loyalty tests. Girls are raised and play together to believe that they are essentially equal. That also plays into a dichotomy of winning versus fairness.

Connecting Art to Stitch by Sandra Meech

This was not as good as I'd hoped, for a book that actually ties into embroidery. However, it is a strong introduction to art principles and creative exercises that I would have been thrilled by when I was first making steps away from craft.

The Artist Unique by Carmen Torbus

This was another of the books that was enjoyable to read through and see how artists do things differently. It has some useful exercises and such as well.

Women at Work by Anna Maslin

The book is a collection of short essays or interviews with women at various stages in their careers, primarily from the United Kingdom. As expected, it was uneven, but nice slices of life to pick up and put down at lunch time.

Halloween Jack and the Devil's Gate by M Todd Gallowglas

A fun Kindle read I picked up for free that was good enough to have paid for. It's folklore and mythology and tricksters, but approached in an unusual way. When I read the author's bio - that he's been a storyteller at a Renaissance Faire for a couple decades - it seemed fitting.

Inside HBO's Game of Thrones by Bryan Cogman

I've really enjoyed the TV show, enough that I'm tempted to take another stab at reading the books - I made it partway through the first one sometime ago. But this book is about the making of the tv show, and I enjoyed it. I was especially amused that Martin had deliberately written a book beyond what he considered possible in a movie or tv series after years spent working on them.

Expressive Drawing by Steven Aimone

It was fun to read a drawing a book that focused on abstraction and gestures and not realism, although many of the examples I would have considered painting instead. It did get a bit monotonous in some ways, as it was based on a particular workshop, but overall was a different approach than I'd seen before and has some things I'd like to try.

The 13th Element by John Emsley

Great popular science book telling a multitude of stories around the extremely useful but extremely dangerous element of Phosphorus. I learned about discovery, fertilizer, matches, bombs, and poisons and the people who made them.

Just one graphic novel this month - Caliber: First Canon of Justice - This was an intriguing American Western take on King Arthur.