Suggested Books & Links

Welcome to my book list.

I love to read books and listen to audio recordings of books. I just find I need constant inspiration to navigate the waters of life. As C.S. Lewis once said, “We read to remind us we are not alone.” I need the inspiration that when life gets tough there is always hope, or as Winston Churchill said to the British Empire in the deepest darkest hours of WWII, “Never, never, never give up.”

All of the books on this list are easy to find at any book store or online website like http://www.amazon.com. Most of these authors are quite prolific but I’ve only listed one book to get you started. Don’t assume it’s their “best” book, that’s up to you to find out. Look up the author and see if they have another book that speaks to your interests. If you haven’t tried audio books, I highly recommend it, especially if you have a long drive to work. It’s a great way to use that time effectively. Not everybody likes audio books, so try reading or videos. You may also may find a lot of these authors do workshops you can attend. If you like audio books I highly recommend http://www.audible.com, a website where you can download books quite cheaply (and it’s legal).

Some of My Favorite Non-Fiction Authors

Welcome to my book list. I love to read books and listen to audio recordings of books. I just find I need constant inspiration to navigate the waters of life. As C.S. Lewis once said, “We read to remind us we are not alone.” I need the inspiration that when life gets tough there is always hope, or as Winston Churchill said to the British Empire in the deepest darkest hours of WWII, “Never, never, never give up.”

All of the books on this list are easy to find at any book store or online website like http://www.amazon.com. Most of these authors are quite prolific but I’ve only listed one book to get you started. Don’t assume it’s their “best” book, that’s up to you to find out. Look up the author and see if they have another book that speaks to your interests. If you haven’t tried audio books, I highly recommend it, especially if you have a long drive to work. It’s a great way to use that time effectively. Not everybody likes audio books, so try reading or videos. You may also may find a lot of these authors do workshops you can attend. If you like audio books I highly recommend http://www.audible.com, a website where you can download books quite cheaply (and it’s legal).

Russel Ackoff, Ph.D. – Re-creating the corporation: A design of organizations for the 21st century. Ackoff is a very prolific writer on the application of systems theory. A former professor at the Wharton School. Look for his articles as well as his books. He really makes you think about why we do some of the crazy things we do in organizations.
Idealized Design-if you’ve ever participated in one of my team interventions you’ve probably heard me talk about the concept of idealized design. Here are the details behind the approach.

Angeles Arrien, Ph.D.The Four Fold Way-An expert in the cultural anthropology of the Native American Indians. If you have participated in a Medicine Wheel exercise with me and want more information, this is the book.

Mitch Albom-Tuesday’s With Morrie. My friend Andrew Shoyer said to me, “Michael thank you so much for this book. It’s been 20 years since my wife died and I’ve always been puzzled by the meaning of life since then. No one has ever come back to tell us what happens after we die, but Morrie, in his story of courage and faith gives us a glimpse and beautiful perspective from a special man as he approaches his own death.” This is one of the most touching, beautiful, inspiring books I have ever read.

David Baum- The Randori Principles. David is one of the most entertaining and informative consultants I ever worked with. We hired him in the early 80’s to do a series of workshops on humor in the workplace. He taught me how to eat fire, literally. I have the pictures to prove it. But along the way I also learned some great lessons about organizational dynamics and life in general. Much of his philosophy is found in this text.

Valerie Malhotra Bentz & Jeremy Shapiro-Mindful Inquiry in Social Research. If you’ve heard me talk about my dissertation, a phenomenological qualitative study and want to read more about the research method this is an interesting book on the topic. The authors tie the research methodology to eastern philosophy and the practice of mindfulness. A nice companion to Moustakas’s classic text on phenomenology (see below).

Ken Blanchard, Ph.D.-Leadership and the One Minute Manager: Increasing Effectiveness Through Situational Leadership. Blanchard’s practical and easy to read parables on management are a great start in the world of management literature. They’re a quick read but have a great deal of the depth to them. Situational leadership is a tremendous model for how different people need different approaches, the basis behind contingency theory. There are some questions around the validity of Blanchard’s theories, which I would be happy to discuss.

Peter Block, Ph.D.-Stewardship: Choosing Service Over Self Interest. Block is today’s leading writer on stewardship and employee empowerment. Must reading if you’re into shared governance. Look for his audio tape The Right Use of Power, it’s brilliant.

John Bradshaw-Healing the Shame That Binds You. John is a wonderful lecturer and prolific writer. His lecture series are often on PBS. He is a psychologist and a former Christian Monk who does a brilliant job of explaining psychology and spirituality in a very down to earth manner that is easy to relate to. I especially enjoy his lectures on families.

Patti Breitman & Connie Hatch-How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty : And Say Yes to More Time, and What Matters Most to You. There are several authors who have written books on this topic. I find there are a lot of nurses who struggle with this. It’s not surprising given that we are care givers and want to help, not set limits. There are some great tips on how to say things in a way that avoids your feeling guilty, things like, “Sorry but I have a personal matter to attend to tonight.” If they ask what the personal matter is, respond, “It’s personal.” Also see Manuel Smith’s book listed below.

William Bridges, Ph.D.-Managing Transitions. Here again, if you’ve attended my lecture on change, this is the basis for a lot of that information. Fast reading and lots of helpful hints on how to survive major change.

Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman-First Break All the Rules: What the Worlds Greatest Managers Do Differently. The authors work as consultants for the Gallup Survey Organization and reviewed over 80,000 interviews with managers from all types of companies. They debunk some dearly held notions about management, such as “treat people as you like to be treated”; “people are capable of almost anything”; and “a manager’s role is diminishing in today’s economy.” “Great managers are revolutionaries,” the authors write. “This book will take you inside the minds of these managers to explain why they have toppled conventional wisdom and reveal the new truths they have forged in its place.” The four keys to becoming an excellent manager: Finding the right fit for employees, focusing on strengths of employees, defining the right results, and selecting staff for talent–not just knowledge and skills. A very enlightening book. I give it five stars!

Marcus Buckingham & Donald O. Clifton, PhD-Now Discover Your Strengths.
This book introduced the Strengthsfinder assessment, which psychologist Donald Clifton developed. It’s a wonderful tool for assessing your passion and what strengths bring you energy. The book entitles you to take the on-line assessment. An updated version Strengthsfinder 2.0 is available by Tom Rath.

Joseph Campbell-The Power of Myth. Campbell was one of the foremost authorities on comparative religion. He looked at the universal themes that occur in all religions. If you want to understand more about other religions this is a great starting point. Look for his series with Bill Moyers, it’s often on PBS and is available on audio and video cassette.

Richard Carlson, Ph.D.Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and it’s all small stuff. Well the title says it all!

Julia Cameron, The Artists Way. Are there some things you used to enjoy doing, and just don’t get around to in the busy serious business of life? Maybe you played an instrument, did artistic work, sports, or just visited with friends. Would you like to recapture the spirit of those times? Julia Cameron’s book is a 12 week course in which she guides you through a series of exercises that look at these issues and leave you with tools to capture your creativity, the vein of gold in each of us. Heck I found out I was a cartoonist!

Kim Cameron & Robert Quinn, PhD’s- Diagnosing and Changing Organizational Culture: Based on the Competing Values Framework. This book thoroughly explains the Competing Values Framework, a contingency theory based on four major schools of leadership. This is a much more academic approach to Hersey and Blanchard’s concept of Situational Leadership. Basically we should have a single style of leadership but a combination of skills based on the situation. Also see Quinn’s Deep Change listed below.

Peter Checkland, Ph.D. – Systems Thinking, Systems Practice: Includes a 30-year Retrospective. A wonderful academic review of the various forms of systems theory. Not as practical and down to earth as Senge, but a wonderful retrospective review of the body of literature on systems theory.

Jim Collins, Ph.D.-Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t. A wonderful research based review of excellent companies who have been successful over decades. How do they do it? He explains it.

Sonia Choquet, Ph.D.-The Psychic Pathway. Sonia is a fascinating lady and a graduate of Julia Cameron’’ workshops. She found her gift is her intuition and Julia helped her to write this book that explains ways to cultivate your intuitive side. Sonia is a wonderful story teller and this book is a really fascinating look at a side of each of us we don’t talk about much. If you’ve ever had the experience of feeling in touch with another person you should read this. I won’t say anything more.

Deepak Chopra, M.D.-Quantum Healing. A traditionally trained U.S. endocrinologist, former Chief of Medicine at Tufts University. Deepak took a trip back to his homeland, India and was introduced to the world of Ayurvedic Medicine. Skeptical at first, of “alternative” medicine he learned more about and has written many books on this topic as well as on Eastern Religion. Very down to earth explanations of Eastern philosophy.

Ann McGee-Cooper, Time Management for Unmanageable People. Do you have trouble sticking to a schedule? Time management courses are usually taught by compulsive, detail oriented people who love check lists and daily planners. If you are a right brained creative person who struggles with doing it all, this is the book for you.

Kenneth Cooper, M.D.-Aerobics. The Godfather of the whole exercise movement. Dr. Cooper says you don’t have to exercise to the point of exhaustion. His research shows you exactly how much exercise you need for optimal cardiac conditioning.

Steven Covey, Ph.D.-The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. If I gave you this list I probably don’t need to tell you about Dr. Covey. As you can see I do a lot of this type of reading. Covey is the best at putting it all together in a way that everybody can relate to it. As he says, “common sense, but not commonly practiced.”

Ram Dass [Richard Alpert, Ph.D.]-Experiments in Truth. This is my favorite audio tape of Ram Dass, as it’s a compilation of some of his greatest talks. He’s also written several books but I find him to be an exceptional motivational speaker combining Eastern Philosophy with traditional Western psychology. A Jewish, Buddhist, Stanford trained clinical psychologist who gives a funny, touching, and spirited perspective on integrating the message of Eastern religions into Western culture.

Peter Drucker, PhD- The Essential Drucker: The Best of Sixty Years of Peter Drucker’s Essential Writings on Management. Yes you read it correctly he has been writing for 60 years. He is the granddaddy of contemporary leadership authors. You don’t want to be caught saying, “I’ve never read any Drucker, who’s he?” This is a wonderful compilation of his works.

Wayne Dyer, Ph.D.-Your Sacred Self. Dr. Dyer has been a prolific writer and speaker for over 25 years. I especially enjoy his work in the past few years since his wife’s cancer was cured by Deepak Chopra and he became more spiritual.

Betty Edwards-Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. If you wish you were artistic but don’t think you have the talent read this book. Edwards breaks down art into simple lines and curves. It’s how my favorite art teacher taught me. But, she also discusses the psychology behind why we think we can’t draw and how you can quickly overcome it. Try it you’ll surprise yourself. It’s a different approach to the problem than Franck takes, but if you read both books you’ll soon be drawing like an expert. There are a few other books on drawing I’ve listed here if you want to learn more and I highly recommend The Artists Way by Julia Cameron.

Frederick Franck-The Zen of Seeing. If you think you have no artistic ability, Dr. Franck will have you drawing in an hour and producing works of art within a day. A brilliant piece of work I was given by my friend Frank Champagne 20 years ago. Franck is in his 90’s and I’m not sure he still does his live workshops, but the book is still an excellent way to learn how to draw even if you think you can’t draw beyond a stick figure. It took me five years to get into his class and was well worth the wait.

Viktor Frankl, M.D.-Man’s Search for Meaning.  In the deepest darkest hours of his imprisonment in the Alshwietz concentration camp Frankl discovered the last ultimate freedom, the ability to choose how YOU want to interpret what is happening to you in life. Dr. Frankl survived the experience by finding a purpose in it all. As a psychiatrist he felt the need to survive so that he could explain it all to the world and help future generations to understand how we can find meaning in life’s tough moments. This is a good companion book to Martin Seligman’s work on learned optimism.

Robert Fritz-The Path of Least Resistance. Why is it that we have self destructive behaviors? What holds us back? What motivates visionary leaders? Fritz worked with Peter Senge on a lot of his theories. You know that little thing cartoon I show about Vision vs. Current Reality and the man pulled in different directions by rubber bands? That’s from Robert Fritz!

Marshall Goldsmith, PhD-What Go You Here Won’t Get You There How Successful People Become Even More Successful. Goldsmith is the #1 executive coach making $250,000 per client per year! In this book he gives all his tips for how he coaches and how executives can be successful.

John Gray, Ph.D.-Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus. My favorite author on male-female communication issues. Very entertaining and thought provoking, especially on tape or live!

Jack Hamm-Cartooning the Head and Figure. People often ask me how I got into cartooning and is there a good book to get started. First of all I think it helps to have some traditional art training to understand thinks like space, depth and proportions. I would recommend Franck’s book on the Zen of Seeing (see above) even if you feel you have no artistic skills at all. I highly recommend Betty Edwards book, she’ll have you drawing works of art in no time. As far as cartooning there a lots of books out there but this is like my encyclopedia of figures. When I can’t figure out how to capture something I pull out Hamm’s book for 100’s of great examples.

James Hoopes-False Prophets: The Gurus Who Created Modern Management and Why Their Ideas Are Bad for Business Today. Hoopes is a historian and traces the history of modern business from a historical paradigm. He describes the shift from an agricultural society to factories during the industrial revolution in the late 1800’s. Hoopes suggests that the only models we had for management were the military and slavery, which shaped the future of modern management in not such good ways in his opinion.

Institute of Medicine Committee on Quality in Health Care- Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century. A landmark book written in 2001 that describes what’s wrong with health care and makes some suggestions for how things need to change in order to be consistent with other businesses that need to pay attention to quality and safety.

Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.-
Face The Fear and Do It Anyway. It’s funny how our anxiety paralyzes us in some aspects of our lives yet in other areas we just face our fears and do it anyway. Dr. Jeffer’s explains why and how to overcome your fears.

Bill Jensen- The Simplicity Survival Handbook: 32 ways to do less and accomplish more. Jensen has done some very interesting research on the complexity of today’s workplace and how we can make communication simpler. He practices what he preaches in this easy to ready book that’s chock full of interesting tips like keep your E-mails to a few sentences that focus on what you want your recipient to KNOW, how you want them to FEEL and what you want them to DO.

Spencer Johnson, Ph.D.-Who Moved My Cheese. Dr. Johnson was the co-author of The One Minute Manager and wrote this amazing little book on ways to deal with change in your work and in your life. The book is amusing and a quick read but the message is very, very deep. If you struggle with change or working with people who whine and complain and aren’t motivated you’ll find some helpful information in this book.

John Kabat-Zinn Ph.D.-Wherever You Go There You Are. I love this title, it’s so true, and you can’t get away from yourself so you better learn to love yourself. Kabat-Zinn is the founder of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center and teaches mindfulness as a way of life. A practicing Buddhist he gives a simple explanation of why meditation is important and how it can be cultivated as a stress reducing technique in our hectic lives. His guided meditation tapes are a great introduction to meditation.

Rodger Kamenetz-The Jew and the Lotus. In 1990 a group of Rabbi’s traveled to the East to meet with the Dali Lama, spiritual leader of Tibet. In the late 40’s the Chinese killed over one million Tibetan people many of them monks and exiled much of the nation to other parts of the world, much as the Egyptians did to the Jews 2000 years ago. Along the way the Rabbi’s learn as much about Judaism as they do Buddhism. A fascinating piece of work. If you are a Jew who struggles with spirituality I’d also highly recommend his later book Stalking Elijah. It’s all about his struggle with formal religion.

Mathew Kelly-The Dream Manager. This book introduces a fabulous concept around employee engagement. Kelly suggests that companies hire career coaches to help employees achieve their dreams. His premise is that by showing employees you care, they care about your organization. It’s really the premise of servant leadership, but Kelly shows a practical approach that any company can institute.

Thomas Kuhn PhD-The Structure of Scientific Revolution. This landmark book was written in 1962 but Kuhn traced his theories back to the 1940’s. It’s an incredible description of how change takes place in science and is the basis for many of today’s theories on change. Kuhn suggested that the more people are tied to the history the more resistant they are to changing, but a new generation comes in, takes the change at face value and says, “Hmmm makes sense to me.” Think about this if you are still playing CD’s or worse yet tapes and don’t have an Ipod.

Rabbi Harold Kushner-Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People; How Perfect Do We Have To Be? Rabbi Kushner lost a son at an early age. He learned a lot through that experience and shares his wisdom on why bad things happen in life and how to get through the bad times in these two books.

Patrick Lencioni-The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. Lencioni has written several books, but this is my personal favorite. One example is that teams need to have robust debates about what to do next, but once the debate is done they need to choose a direction and all march off to that plan. Dysfunctional teams continue to debate the issue after the decision has been made, and then fail to hold each other accountable for why they’re not sticking to what was agreed to.

John Maxwell-The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. Maxwell is a very prolific writer and speaker. He is very down to earth with a very practical and principle based approach to leadership. Very Covey-like in his approach.

Clark Moustakas PhD-Phenomenological Research Methods. Arguably the definitive text on this qualitative research method. It is the approach I used for my dissertation so you may have heard me speaking about it and wish to read more. Also see the Bentz text listed above.

Bob Nelson-1001 Ways to Reward Employees. Nelson works for Ken Blanchard and suggestions there are 1000’s of ways to reward employees beyond just money. One of his theories is that anything given across the board becomes an entitlement and not a reward. A reward must be based on specific behavior and timely. A good compliment can be more rewarding than a bonus, if done right.

Ikujiro Nonaka & Toshihiro Nishiguchi-Knowledge Emergence: Social, Technical, and Evolutionary Dimensions of Knowledge Creation. I know sounds pretty heavy, it is.
This is a major work on how people acquire knowledge, especially around things that are tacit, not easy to describe. I often refer to them so I list this reference for those of you who want to read some heavy material.

Suze Orman, The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom. Do you struggle with your personal finances? What you just rather avoid the whole topic? Most people feel that way, but Suze helps you to understand where those feelings come from and has some good exercises on how to overcome those fears and take personal control of your situation.

Barry Oshry PhD- Seeing Systems: Unlocking the Mysteries of Organizational Life. Oshry is one of the most interesting authors I have come across in recent years. An amazing perspective on organizational life. This is the Tops-Middles-Bottoms theory I often refer to. If you can find one of his experiential workshops to attend it will be a life altering experience for you. You will never see organizations in the same way again.

Og Mandino-The Choice. Og Mandino was a very prolific motivational writer who passed away a few years ago. His books are kind of like a spiritual, motivational, twilight zone that always leaves you with a warm feeling when you’re done.

Kerry Patterson, et al- Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High. This is a wonderful text for scripting difficult conversations written by a consulting group hired by the Association of Critical Care Nurses to help improve communication and team dynamics. Also see Stone’s similar book Difficult Confrontations below.

M. Scott Peck, M.D.-The Road Less Traveled. Peck is a recovering alcoholic psychiatrist whose brilliant insights on life are useful to anyone, whether you have an addictive personality or just have to relate to others who do.

Tom Peters, Ph.D.
In Search of Excellence. Who can say they’ve never heard Mike Grossman say, “Well you know what Tom Peters always says….” Peters is a charismatic, energetic speaker who exhausts you just to watch him. His life’s work has been looking at what makes companies excellent. Look for him on PBS or get a live lecture on tape[not him reading his book!] He’s amazing to watch and really makes you think about what makes for a quality organization. This was his first book decades ago and he’s written many since. Just pick out the one that resonates for you. His message is usually the same, “Listen to the people on the front line. They know what’s wrong!” Peters work is a good companion to Oshry’s work on why leaders don’t listen to their employees.

Tim Porter-O’Grady-Quantum Leadership A Resource for Healthcare Innovation. Tim is one of the most prolific nursing authors over the past 20 years. The fact that he’s also a graduate of the same doctoral program as me means that a lot of the things I talk about HE talks about in this book. It’s a nice, practical, down to earth book on the future of healthcare from a system’s theory perspective.

Robert Quinn, PhD- Deep Change Discovering the Leader Within. Robert Quinn is the Dean of the University of Michigan School of Business and a very prolific writer. He is the co-author of the competing values framework methodology you may have heard me discuss. This is an easy to read and very thought provoking book about the deep changes that need to take place in organizations to avoid a downward decline.

Tom Rath-Vital Friends. Tom Rath’s fascinating book on the value of friendships in the workplace is a combination of seventy years of Gallup surveys culminating in a database of 4.51 million respondents from 423,000 workgroups in 112 countries from 2002-2004 (Rath, 2006). Rath’s review of the literature on friendships suggested that friends can be the highpoint of ones day and that strong social relationships are the leading indicator of overall happiness (Kahneman, Krueger, Schkade, Schwarz, & Stone, 2004). Rath suggested we focus on the strengths of friends rather than their weaknesses, which is also consistent with other Gallup research regarding the value of focusing on employee strengths (Buckingham & Clifton, 2001). There is growing recognition of the importance of relationships in the workplace, as described in several recent popular books (Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, & Switzler, 2005; Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, Switzler, & Covey, 2002; Stone, 2000). Research in health care has also shown there to be a direct relationship between patient outcomes, relationships and teamwork (Aiken, Clarke, Sloane, Sochalski, & Silber, 2002). Rath suggested that the gap between individual focus and fixing the entire group could best be addressed by focusing on improving relationships two people at a time, you and your vital friends. IF you haven’t noticed by now I REALLY liked this book!

Strengthsfinder 2.0-Tom Rath published this book after taking over many of Marcus Buckingham’s projects at the Gallup Corporation. The content is not much different than Buckingham’s original book and is based on the same Strengthsfinder on-line assessment. Buckingham is one of my favorite authors, but you can often pick up this version a little cheaper.

James Redfield-The Celestine Prophecy. Redfield’s controversial book heralds a spiritual revolution in the world. His somewhat amateurish fictional story line gets in the way of some really brilliant work based on his insights and experiences as a therapist. If you can’t get past the story I’d recommend his The Celestine Prophecy An Experiential Guide. It reads more like a textbook and he gives a lot of academic background to his theories. Also includes some good group and individual exercises. Try his meditation tapes too.

Anthony Robbins, Personal Power. Yes this is the guy on the infomercials. I know he looks a little too slick, but his information is very interesting. A practitioner of the Neurolinguistic school of psychology, it’s a very practical approach to moving through life by making changes in your behavior rather than trying to dwell on what got you to this point. Give him a try, it’s interesting stuff.

Hal Rosenbluth- The Customer Comes Second and Other Secrets of Exceptional Customer Service. Rosenbluth is the president of Rosenbluth travel and suggests that unless you treat your employee’s right they can’t be good customer service agents, which is why he suggests the customer comes second. Very logical down to earth suggestions.

Neil Salkind- Statistics for People Who (Think They) Hate Statistics. O.K. who can honestly say they love statistics. If you do then don’t read this book, but if you shy away from statistics this is a great companion to any text you are required to read for a course. Salkind’s also written a very traditional textbook on statistics.

Steven Sample PhD- The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership. Sample is the Dean of Stanford’s prestigious school of business and has written a book that is similar to other non-traditional leaders. Much like Buckingham’s work First Break All the Rules, Sample suggests that the best leaders don’t follow the conventional wisdom but instead take a somewhat contrary approach, which is why there are so few great leaders. A very thought provoking book.

W. Richard Scott PhD-Organizations: Rational, Natural, and Open Systems. This is a classic book of management theory. Somewhat esoteric and not a practical how to book by any stretch of the imagination. But it is a landmark and required reading to understand the foundations of management theory taught on graduate school level. I often mention it so that’s why I included it in this list.

Martin Seligman, PhD-Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life. Why do some people see life as a half empty glass and other’s are optimistic despite adversity and challenges? Seligman explains not only why it happens but how you can change your approach to life to stop feeling like a victim. Many other works have been written based on Seligman’s theories. A good companion book to Jeffers Face the Fear and Do it Anyway listed above.

Peter Senge, Ph.D.-The Fifth Discipline. If you haven’t heard my Senge routine you don’t know Mike Grossman. Senge brings systems theory to the world of business. His writing is somewhat dry, but his lectures are brilliant! It’s an incredible model, especially if you are involved at all in Continuous Quality Improvement.

Barbara Sher, I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was. Do you struggle with what to do next with your career? This book is the next best thing to working on a 1:1 basis with Mike Grossman to figure out what to do next.

Tony Schwartz-What Really Matters Searching For Wisdom In America. Tony hurt his back and went to see John Sarno M.D., and orthopaedic surgeon in N.Y. He found it that back injuries are not totally about your back. It’s also about anxiety, stress and life in general. Tony went on a journal of meeting with all kinds of interesting people who have been pioneers in the healing movement in this country since the 60’s. A writer for New Yorker Magazine, Tony’s stories are down to earth and quick reading. A great starting point for an overview of many of the authors on my list.

Bernie Siegel, M.D.-Love Medicine & Miracles. Bernie is an oncology surgeon at Yale. Twenty years ago he wondered why some people survived cancer and others didn’t. His insights also work for anyone who struggles with life, but they are a must if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer.

Marsha Sinetar-Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow. Another book on finding your right livelihood. If you do what you love you’ll be so good at it, you can’t help but be successful.

Manuel J. Smith-When I Say No, I Feel Guilty. There are several authors who have written books on this topic. I find there are a lot of nurses who struggle with this. It’s not surprising given that we are care givers and want to help, not set limits. Smith gives some great tips on how to say things in a way that avoids your feeling guilty, things like, “Sorry but I have a personal matter to attend to tonight.” If they ask what the personal matter is, respond, “It’s personal.” Also see Patti Breitman’s book listed above.

Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen, Roger Fisher-Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss what Matters Most. This is a wonderful book on just what it says, how to conduct difficult conversations. The authors are associated with the Harvard Project on Negotiation and show how dialogues consist of describing what happened, the feelings behind it, and a re-expression of the situation given the new insights to arrive at a solution. Also see Patterson’s book on Crucial Conversations listed above.

Al Stubblefield-The Baptist Health Care Journey to Excellence Creating a Culture That Wows. Stubblefield took over the leadership of BHC after Quint Studer left to go on the lecture/consulting circuit and has kept the traditions of quality going. This is his perspective on how they are one of the nation’s leading hospitals for quality. A good companion book to Studer’s.

Quint Studer-Hardwiring Excellence: Purpose, Worthwhile Work, Making a Difference. Studer is probably the hottest consultant in health care today. Everyone wants to develop an evidence based, outcomes oriented, quality organization based on Pillars of Quality. A must read for anyone in healthcare.

Rabbi Joseph Telushkin-Jewish Literacy. The best down to earth explanation of anything you would want to know about the Jewish religion, people, history and culture. We read his explanations at every holiday dinner. A great review of the Old Testament too.

Peter Vaill, PhD-Learning as a Way of Being: Strategies for Survival in a World of Permanent White Water. Vaill is credited with first using the metaphor of white water to describe the chaotic, fast paced business world we live in today. This book just blew me away, one incredible insight after another. The pages of my copy are just covered with highlighter pen markings and notes.

Dennis E. Waitley, Ph.D.-The Psychology of Winning. Have you ever watched an athlete close their eyes and concentrate before they perform? They’re visualizing their performance. Waitley was the psychologist to the Olympic team and really explains the whole concept of how athletes use vision and guided imagery to motivate themselves to achieve success. Not just for athletes, these same techniques work in any part of your life.

Margaret Wheatley, Ph.D.-Leadership and the New Sciences. Some people find Wheatley a little “out there.” I love her work. She is a wonderful author who explains Open Systems theory and why organizations can not be rigidly controlled. I’ve heard her questioned about the practicality of her theories and she replied, “I’m a theorist, I’m not supposed to get into all the details.” She will really make you think about why change is so difficult, like trying to control the weather.

David Whyte-The Heart Aroused. A poet who has friends in Fortune 500 companies who struggle with their work. Whyte points out that these are not work dilemmas, they’re about the struggles of life that have been well described in great literature. He does this interesting technique of using poems and stories to explain our work struggles.

Marianne Williamson-A Return To Love. Marianne is the foremost authority on A Course in Miracles, a spiritual based program not tied to any formal religion but based upon love and kindness. I became interested in this a few years back when I noticed that so many motivational speakers had taken the course and highly recommended it. A Course in Miracles is a book [not written by Mariane] that you can walk through in years worth of daily exercises. If you are spiritual but struggle with the rituals and dogma of formal religion, give this a try.

Anthony E. Wolfe, Ph.D.-Get Out of My Life but first can you drive me and Cheryl to the Mall? If you have an adolescent at home you can relate to this title. I LOVED this book. It was funny and so on target. It also had some real practical advice for dealing with this difficult age group. If your kids are younger, start reading this now because it’s coming your way sooner than you think!

Andrew Weill, M.D.-Spontaneous Healing. Dr. Weill is a traditional western trained physician at the University of Arizona who became interested in complimentary medicine. He really explains what works and doesn’t work for the everyday problems that your doctor really doesn’t have an answer to. Must reading!

Ron Zemke, Raines, C., & Filipczak, B.-Generations at Work: Managing the Clash of Veterans, Boomers, Xers, and Nexters in the Workplace. This is the definitive work on age diversity and the impact of the different clashing generations on the workplace environment. A must read.

Dr. Michael Grossman, DM, MSN, RN, NEA-BC has over 30 years of nursing leadership experience and is a nursing consultant, academician, and career coach. As a professor in the graduate schools of nursing at both University of Phoenix and Drexel University, he specializes in healthcare ethics, leadership development, career coaching, mentoring, teambuilding, motivation, change, communications, and dealing with “difficult” people. 
He can be reached at 610-331-8470 or Mike@NurseLeadershipBuilders.com

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