Book Week III – Best and Most Impactful

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“A story has no beginning or end; arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.”

     – Graham Greene (1904 – 1991), English novelist, in the opening line of The End of the Affair, published in 1951*

And so it is with books.  There is no end-all, be-all, definitive list of the best, most impactful, most overrated, life-changing or irreplaceable books.

So, let’s try to start one, shall we?

You’re right, that’s a horrible idea.  How ’bout if we just start a discussion instead…?

First, though, thanks to those of you who weighed in via comment and e-mail.

Most Frequently Mentioned

The Bible was named in every category but “over-rated,” and while I know there are some who’d categorize it that way, it warms my heart that so many of you listed it as “best,” “most life-changing” and “most impactful.”  Warms my heart.

The Best Book(s) We Ever Read…

Kudos to those of you who went with fiction or farce, from To Kill a Mockingbird to Sh** My Dad Says (the lowbrows among us, mine being the lowest brow of the bunch) get a voice, too…

It’s a pseudo-business blog, though, so let’s tip our caps to Good To Great, Start With Why and Covey’s 7 Habits… No links there.  You clearly all have copies already!

For me, it’s a tie, unless you count the sequel as part of the original.

First Break All The Rules by Don Clifton and Marcus Buckingham, and their follow-up Now, Discover Your Strengths (upon which Buckingham has built an amazing career as a Difference Maker) simply captivated me from the first page, and they’ve shaped who I am as a leader, and hopefully as a mentor, father, and man.  The idea that doing the same crap over and over again is not a way to lead a team or a business and the idea that pouring into what makes each person on the team “tick” are foundational ideas that have impacted millions of lives, even those of people who have never read either book.

The Most Impactful Book(s) We Ever Read…

Again, fiction, Faith, sports and farce all made appearances, from the Frank Peretti This Present Darkness series, to Tom Clancy novels, biographies and, for at least one of the gang, Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book: Lessons and Teachings From a Lifetime Of Golf 

Steve’s choice, again, is a series of books, not a book.  Patrick Lencioni’s Leadership Fables have hit me right between the eyes and reminded me that it’s not that freaking hard.  The link only goes to a boxed set of the first three, by the way.  If you made me pick one, it’d be Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding The Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty.  It’s where the concept of loyalty-over-satisfaction really got through to me, and it proves that value is the best way to stand apart in an ever-more-commoditized marketplace, even if the marketplace says you’re a commodity.  I probably could have listed this one under “made me think differently / changed my life,” but that’s for Part II of Part IV — also known as tomorrow’s post.

* as used in the June 7th Monday Morning Memo by Roy H Williams.  Subscribe now.  Just do it.  It will make you better, just as it does me, and everyone else who subscribes…  And if you’re not an “advertising type,” it might be even more important!

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