Welcome to the Business e-newsletter for Winter 2015. Winter came in rather a rush, and whilst the desire to hibernate might be strong, winter can be a time to catch up on all that work related reading, or escape to warmer climes, or just take time out to do something literary.
|Extraordinary leadership in Australia & New Zealand : the five practices that create great workplaces / James Kouzes, Barry Posner with Michael Bunting.
“The research-driven guide to the leadership behaviours which create more engaged workplaces and higher performance, Extraordinary Leadership in Australia and New Zealand is a guidebook for what it takes, at any level of an organisation, to bring out the best in people. Interviews with more than 100 leaders and their teams provide real examples and practical applications within the grasp of every reader who aspires to make a difference. Case studies are balanced across gender, function, and industry providing a broad perspective, identifying why leadership matters, and offering keen insights into how you lead others to greatness. Extraordinary Leadership in Australia and New Zealand presents a data-driven framework for being an effective leader, with expert guidance toward the actions that you can take to improve the performance of your team and organisation.” (Syndetics summary)
|New rules of the game : 10 strategies for women in the workplace / Susan Packard.
“Where would your career be if you could understand how your colleagues–especially men–succeed and win at work? And if, in understanding and applying the rules, you could win, too? In New Rules of the Game, business leader Susan Packard shows you how to cultivate gamesmanship –a strategic way of thinking regularly seen in the video game and sports worlds, and most often among men–that develops creativity, focus, optimism, teamwork, and competitiveness. Packard shares her career story with humor and candor, including the successes and the mistakes, the triumphs and some personal and career setbacks, and presents them as teachable moments for you… providing you with the insight and inspiration to play the business game smarter, stronger, and more successfully.” (Syndetics summary)
|The creator’s code : the six essential skills of extraordinary entrepreneurs / Amy Wilkinson.
“Kevin Plank was relatively small for an American footballer, and when he weighed the cotton T-shirt he wore under his team uniform, he found it weighed three pounds because it was so drenched in sweat. Going to a local fabric shop, he soon learned that synthetic materials would not take in as much sweat, so he had a shirt made and found it added just four ounces over the course of a game. He began to produce the shirts commercially, and now Under Armour is a $2 billion global brand used by people from every sport. Packed with fascinating and inspirational tales of success, Amy Wilkinson’s brilliant book explains the six essential skills required by entrepreneurs to achieve their dreams. Based on in-depth interviews with the founders of numerous global brands, from eBay to Spanx, from LinkedIn to PayPal, she shows just what they did and what set them apart. These stories show how – if you follow the right steps – anyone can become a successful entrepreneur.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Every month when we see all these amazing titles we may be tempted to think, “Wow, if only I could read all these books, my life would be so much better!”. But the task seems impossible and we give up before we start. What if instead, we chose only one of these books, every month, but actually took on one of the messages and actively put it into practice? This would actually change our lives, incrementally, for the better.
|The world beyond your head : on becoming an individual in an age of distraction
“In this book, the author takes a unique look at attention, positing that it is a commodity. He sets out to establish that in a world of increasingly pervasive distractions, individualism can only be attained through focus. Crawford uses examples of skilled labor and craftsmanship to explain how people can gain back some of their lost autonomy (a word he works over quite thoroughly) through concentration. He explains his theories well, with strong writing and citations, and the resulting argument is fresh and extremely enlightening. What is most satisfying is that technology is not blamed for the modern deluge of distractions-it is discussed as the cumulative effect of a number of influences found within Western culture. ” (Syndetics summary)
|Better than before : mastering the habits of our everyday lives
“Bestseller Rubin (The Happiness Project) returns with this fun and informative self-help tome on the ways we unthinkingly shape our lives with habits. As she shows, habits affect our lives in both positive and negative ways. By acquiring positive habits and eliminating negative ones, we can increase our overall happiness. “How we schedule our days is how we spend our lives,” Rubin asserts. The subtitle calls to mind Julia Child’s cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking, suggesting a goal similar to Child’s: to collect all the available information on the subject and break it down into components for readers to apply to their own lives. Writing that “we can build our habits only on the foundation of our own nature,” Rubin goes on to identify four tendencies, or personality types, in relation to habit-formation: upholder, questioner, obliger, and rebel.” (Syndetics summary)
In this month’s new computing books, there are a range of topics covered. Starting with the fundamentals of how computers work, this month’s picks also highlights how to create your own android apps and a beginners guide to WordPress. With the variety on offer, there should be something technological to sink your teeth into!
|How computers work : the evolution of technology / Ron White ; illustrated by Timothy Edward Downs.
“This full-color, fully illustrated guide to the world of technology assumes nothing and explains everything. In addition to all the content you’ve come to expect from prior editions, this newly revised edition includes all new coverage of topics such as: how smartphones and tablet PCs put the power of a desktop computer in your hands– literally; how advances such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, eBay, and smartphones are expanding our universe of friends, knowledge, and opportunity; how increased miniaturization leads to new products, such as smartphone, smartwatches, and Google Glass; and, how computing technology takes advantages of quantum physics and innovations no one even imagined a few years ago.” (Syndetics summary)
|Building Android apps in easy steps / Mike McGrath.
“…begins by explaining how to create a development environment on a computer in which to develop and test Android Apps. It then takes the reader through installing Java and the App Inventor 2, alongside each required key function of creating the app itself. Covering areas such as designing the interface, controlling progress, calling functions and deploying the app, this book shows how together technical knowledge and creativity can produce Android Apps to be proud of…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
|WordPress : absolute beginner’s guide / Tris Hussey.
“…Whether you’re new to WordPress or not, this practical, approachable book will show you how to do exactly what you want, one incredibly clear and easy step at a time – all explained with full-color illustrations. Leading WordPress instructor Tris Hussey provides step-by-step instructions for every task requiring more than one step. Screenshots and illustrations guide you through complex processes, so you’ll never get lost or confused…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
New Zealand non-fiction
Roses are red, violets are blue, here’s some New Zealand poetry and some other topics too! A mixture of poetry, caravans, horses, New Zealand Women, exploration, jewellery and murder cover some of the variety of topics of the recent arrivals in the New Zealand Collection this month.
|Being here : selected poems / Vincent O’Sullivan.
“BEING HERE is the first book to survey the entire span of Vincent O’Sullivan’s poetry, from Bearings (1973) to new poems first published in this volume. On display is the full range of the wit, intellectual agility and arresting beauty of one of New Zealand literature’s finest poets. Hardback, Cover painting by Karl Maughan Vincent O’Sullivan is one of New Zealand’s leading writers, author of the biography of John Mulgan, Long Journey to the Border, the novels Let the River Stand and Believers to the Bright Coast, and many plays and collections of short stories and poems. He is joint editor of the five-volume Letters of Katherine Mansfield and has edited a number of major anthologies. He lives in Dunedin.” (Abridged Syndetics summary)
|A great indoors for the great outdoors : the story of Liteweight caravans / Don Jessen.
“In 1946, a practical-minded New Zealander became interested in caravans as a way of holidaying and decided to build one for his family in his garage. From this humble beginning a story of Kiwi ingenuity emerged, with Liteweight Caravans growing to become an iconic New Zealand brand, which for over four decades led the country, and sometimes the world, in technical design and innovation. Liteweight produced more caravans than any other caravan manufacturer in New Zealand and, today, more than 25 years after the factory closed, the majority of its caravans are still in use. This is a story as much about people as it is of caravans, and the person at the heart of the story is Tek Jessen, Liteweight¿s founder.” (Syndetics summary)
Travel stories & Guides
Top of our picks this month is James A. Michener’s 1968 classic “Iberia”, recently reprinted, with an introduction by Steve Berry. And a couple of books for light reading are “What I was doing while you were breeding”, and “Vagabonding through Retirement”.
|Iberia : Spanish travels and reflections / James A. Michener ; photographs by Robert Vavra ; introduction by Steve Berry.
“Spain is an immemorial land like no other, one that James A. Michener, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and celebrated citizen of the world, came to love as his own. Iberia is Michener’s enduring nonfiction tribute to his cherished second home. In the fresh and vivid prose that is his trademark, he not only reveals the celebrated history of bullfighters and warrior kings, painters and processions, cathedrals and olive orchards, he also shares the intimate, often hidden country he came to know, where the congeniality of living souls is thrust against the dark weight of history…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
|Findings / Kathleen Jamie.
“It’s surprising what you can find by simply stepping out to look. Award-winning poet Kathleen Jamie has an eye and an ease with the nature and landscapes of Scotland as well as an incisive sense of our domestic realities. In Findings she draws together these themes to describe travels like no other contemporary writer. Whether she is following the call of a peregrine in the hills above her home in Fife, sailing into a dark winter solstice on the Orkney islands, or pacing around the carcass of a whale on a rain-swept Hebridean beach, she creates a subtle and modern narrative, peculiarly alive to her connections and surroundings.” (Syndetics summary)