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BOOKS I’VE ENJOYED                                                                                                                                                                

Monday Morning Musings – Architecture, Architects and Life by Allan Kehrt

Do you ever think about just what you are doing?  Really think about it?  As we race through our business daze in which swift decisions gain appreciation over thoughtful ones, data chokes out cogitation, devices are leaned on as lifelines, and action above all is heralded as The Answer, the art of gaining a stand-back, overall understanding grows increasingly elusive.

In 2003, twenty years after co-founding KSS Architects in Princeton, New Jersey, Allan Kehrt penned his first short essay inviting his partners and staff members to begin “thinking about why they were working so hard and why they were so passionate about their careers.”  For the next nine years, every week Allan would climb the 300-foot ladder of perspective, gain insight, and distill that piece of wisdom into a succinct Monday Morning Musing.  He’d then place a copy in each KSS team member’s mailbox.  (Don’t you wish you had a CEO like that?)

Now Allan has collected 100 of these Musings for your benefit.

Each of these roughly 200-word essaylets is introduced with a one word title: Waste – Influence – Water – Sunlight – Personality – Wood – Roles – Clarity.   Each, with elegant simplicity serves as a short fuse that leads to an explosion of personal pondering, and perhaps discovery.  Allan’s Craft reminds us: “We need to know that it takes time to do things well…to empathize with those trying to solve problems created by others’ lack of attention…and to learn what it takes to make something of value.”

All of us, after all are architects – only our choice of designs and creations differ.  And each reader will doubtless find a little delight and a hand-up in our search for purpose from the Musings of Allan Kehrt.

To get your copy, write info@bartsbooks.com


On You Way to Work….

Coming in 2021 – Evolution – My Rise, My Grind, My Journey by Bruce Boyd 

Bruce Boyd’s own story takes you on a journey to freedom – but like the underground railway journeys of eld – this path carries no weak-willed, quick-fixers, or wannabe-wishers. In powerful, short sentences, Bruce relates the tough, familiar obstacles facing a young urban black who refuses to be a prisoner of the projects.  He shares the familiar demoralizing feelings. Then he pauses, grabs your lapels, and presents you with a practical, boot-strapping solution.  And then before you catch breath, he swiftly hauls you along to the next hurdle.  The BOYD “magic” that has guided countless young people out of ghetto resignation to lives filled with purpose, springs from Bruce’s own passion and entrepreneurial sweat.  If you are a young, urban black, you must seize this book’s inspiration.  If you are an adult desperately trying to set yourself or children free into lives filled with fulfillment, study these pages, and emulate.


Building Bridges – The Case for Executive Peer Groups By James Millar

There’s nothing cookie-cutter about being an executive.  No recipe you can study and follow guarantees solutions.  You know that.  So does author Jaime Millar who carefully makes the case that your most effective hope for learning businesses’ ropes comes from the guidance of veterans who’ve done it before, and your fellows, experiencing those challenges currently.

One truly helpful aspect of this brief and readable volume is that Millar concisely analyzes the types of tasks and problems facing the folks in charge today.  His categorical description of complex vs. profound issues, with the varied approaches for handling them is worth comprehend before you execute.

Further, unlike so many business authors who are intent on their framework and its jumble of original labels, Millar dissects the need of executives at all stages of their careers, and builds his flexible peer group models based on those needs and values alone.  You, the whole person, need help, Millar is saying, and here’s a good tool for obtaining it.  Based on this ever-evolving set of principles, Millar has formed his peer-grouping firm, SkyBridge Associates.

Whether you are running any sort of business group, or you are hunting for a helpful group of mutual mentors, pick up this book, by visiting www.skybridge.associates.

P.S. You’ll love his definitions of Networks vs. Networking and listen to his radio show on www.theartoftheceo.com on August 28th, 2018.

Do Yourself a favor and browse through:

Bill Humbert’s Employee 5.0 – Secrets of a Successful Job Search in the New World Order.  There’s a lot of solid guides telling you how to search for and land that better job, but Bill delves deeply into one oft-ignored aspect: your personal attitude.  In addition to each of his 12 logistical steps, Bill straps on a vital world-view or way of thinking that transforms drudgery into venture.  With logical subtlety Bill takes hold of some great job-search fear, e.g. interviewing, and has you believing that this is fun and makes you anxious to take center stage in the interviewer’s hot seat.

And then, gradually as you read through the process, you begin absorb knowledge on the art of being an employee.  You absorb a greater overview of what managers, coworkers, and this entire entity called The Company, really wants – and how they may best serve your interests.  Bill Humbert’s techniques are new, but his insights into the relationship of folks working together have the ring of sage and proven wisdom.


On Your Way Home….

When you’ve struggled through a full day of immersion in your own chosen profession, turn to Rofi Kohan’s Arena.  The product of his year-long expedition to and through many of America’s major sports stadiums, the adventuresome Mr. Kohan takes readers through every aspect of these giant temples of commerce and community.  Instead of focusing on the superstar athletes and their exhaustive roster of game stats, the author turns to the people who keep these centers alive.  Follow him through the labyrinthine maze of subcultures: scalpers, half-time performers, fanatical fans, tailgaters, those who grow and maintain the exquisite grass on the field.  They are lifted from the crannies of the stadium, celebrated, and held in warm appreciation.

There is so much you don’t know about this fascinating sector of our culture, and so much you will enjoy discovering when you take this trip through these monumental mirrors of our society.


In Your Best Chair, with Brandy…..

Why not make the evening’s experience complete by thumbing through James Lipton’s classic An Exultation of Larks – Or the Venereal Game.  Back in the day when gentlemen of the court were seeking to rise in the estimation of nobles a bit further up the feudal ladder – back when speaking well truly mattered – it was important, yea may I say vital that one learned the proper name for classifying each group of animals.  Thus vast bunch of cawing black birds was correctly labeled “A murder of crows.”  Likewise propriety demanded A Murmuring of Starlings, A Parliament of Owls, A Gam of Whales, and A Bloat of Hippopotami.

What makes this listing such grand fun is that human wit, as is so oft the case, sprawls into the field of humankind.  Thus, as Lipton sagely explains, they are known as An odium of Politicians, An Indifference of Waiters, A Swish of Hairdressers, A Descent of Relatives, and an Acne of Adolescents.  All in all, it makes for A Revelry of Readers.             Goodnight Sweet Prince.

Accountability – The Key to Driving a High Performance Culture by Greg Bustin

What makes the business tool so valuable is Greg’s accountability which begins with and hinges on character.  Using a multi-faceted approach he guides leaders in enhancing and honing the quality of themselves – then points out applicable avenues for inspiring such personal quality improvement in members of the team. This is refreshing to see long-forgotten element of achievement brought back to the fore.

State of Readiness   – Accelerated Strategy Development and Execution
The company of today has its supply chains and finances stretched further around the globe than ever before while simultaneously having increasing pressures to drive value across a complicated and fluid set of metrics and deliver innovations, products, and services more quickly and reliably.

John Lennon vs. the USA

I find my particular copy of this volume precious because it was presented and signed to me by its author Leon Wildes who in 1972 fought the good legal fight against President Richard Nixon and his Attorney General John Mitchell seeking the deportation of John Lennon and Yoko Ono.  The contest was simple:  the voting age had just been lowered to 18.  President Nixon was putting his full might (and soldiers’ lives) into the Vietnam War, very unpopular with younger voters.  Meanwhile, here is youth-icon John Lennon and the Beatles leading the nation in a chorus of “Give Peace a Chance.”  This rabble rouser had to be deported back to England.  But the White House cronies had not counted on the lone might of Leon Wildes.  After two-and-a-half years, Leon won John’s and Yoko’s case – they got to stay in America – and peace was given another chance.

I met Leon through his son Michael Wildes who has now taken over the mantle of America’s most effective and idealistic immigration attorney.  Not too far from Wildes’ offices rises an imposing statue in NY harbor, lifting her lamp of welcome beside America’s golden door.  And again we face a Presidential attack on those who would come to this nation.  And as in 1972, the White House reasoning involves personal political betterment.  The President requires a negative rallying point to gain votes and the witch hunt is once more off and running.   I recall one sign that hung in so many of our college dorms in those years: “War is Good for Business.  Invest a Son.”  ‘Tis time again to take a look at one of America’s tigers of liberty, give our thanks to Leon Wildes, and support his son Michael and all the others seeking what is right, rather than what is profitable.

Yes, We’re Still Invincible – GIles Milton

You just have to love humankind’s audacity.  “Gee, there are valuable spices half way around the globe and it only takes three years round trip.  Let’s go get some and sell them!”  Who has the courage to say that?

I have just finished re-reading Giles Milton’s Nathaniel’s Nutmeg.  This fascinating history avalanches an overlapping jumble of adventurous tales featuring a host of European merchant leagues and wildly adventurous sea captains all of whom sought to seize their personal fortunes and stake out their nation’s monopoly in the immensely lucrative spice trade.  The reams of planning based on mere snippets of information – the overwhelming odds – the suffering and risk beyond anything witnessed today, and above all the inestimable courage of individual seamen and tenacity of factors (those setting up shop on the god-forsaken spice isles) all attest to the unquenchable human spirit.

If you need to re-believe that man is capable of battling on and achieving heroically – tune in to real life – read this book.  Oh, then lay your own plans and send your doubts packing.

Leadership Secrets of Hillary Clinton   How does the daughter of a dirt-poor, orphaned child effectively lead herself into national prominence.  How does she gather a team around her so dedicated they have launched her into the first woman Presidential nominee of a major party – and perhaps the White House, again? Read the exhaustively researched and fascinating study by Rebecca Shamaugh

The Art of the CEO  “This is one of the best business leadership books I have read in my career…I could not put it down..full of wisdom..what are you waiting for?” Darrell Gunter, CEO Gunter Media Group

Claiming Your Place at the Boardroom Table   Thomas Bakewell’s definitive volume readably and completely helps you determine if a seat on the board is right for you; if so how to get there, and what it takes to thrive masterfully once you arrive.

Impossible to Ignore  Cognitive scientist Carmen Simon gets right down to the hard-wired we human folk think, remember, and decide.  If you want to influence the decisions of the folks around you, study this book – twice.

The Disney Way by Bill Capodagli & Lynn Johnson – Harnessing the Managment Secrets of Disney in Your Company.

Intelligent Influence – The 4 Steps of Highly Successful Leaders and Organizers Dale Caldwell not only details exactly the ways to generate and take advantage of influence, he walks the reader through the steps of how the best firms have made it work.  Excellent for professionals and required  for business owners.

Carrots & Sticks Don’t Work – Paul Marciano  Leaders seeing performance, profit, and personal satisfaction should adopt the respect model outlined in this book. Marciano accurately and readably details what today’s working busiiness person needs, along with the sensible steps required to provide it. A modern leader’s improvement manual.

Finish Your Book: A Time Management Guide for Writers –  Karen Hodges Miller &  Lorette Pruden

This book sparks the would be author in all of us.  Excuses, doubts, and procrastination are banished in this very logical, thoughtful business plan for creating your own book.


And don’t forget your Soul:

Inspire yourself with the autobiographical tales of astounding explorers who reveal just how much may be endured and achieved.

The Endurance Expedition by Ernest Shackleton

The Long Way Home  by Terry Bolland (Australia’s greatest living explorer.)

So That’s How They Do It is one of my favorite book projects primarily because of the readership. We deliberately designed this book for those business folks we at BartsBooks term The Engergized Elite. You know who you are. You’re that individual who seeks a fulfilling and satisfying career enough to not only hear about some good idea, but to rise up from your swivel chair, seize that better tool, and apply it to your own job or business.

We asked ourselves, what do folks like you require? You are too bright, individual, and busy for some seven-step success template. So instead we offer you a smorgasbord of tactics that have brought benefit for a worldwide array of business masters.  We’ve made each tactic, discipline, or attitude short-more of a hint with a brief example. Our hope is that you pick up this book, bypass the tools that don’t suit, apply the ones that do, or maybe just set your mind to pondering some innovative improvement of your own.