By Rob Cooney (@EMEducation)
Welcome to 2018 fellow readers! For this month’s review, I thought I would try something a little different and go back through my reading list from the past year and share some of my favorite reads (and listens) with you that I haven’t yet covered! I hope that you’ll browse the list and discover a title or two that speaks to you!
Writing is not a skill that comes easily to me. I tend to procrastinate, ruminate, type, delete, type, delete… You get the idea. Bird by Bird is a poignant and witty guide to becoming a better writer. Ms. Lamott covers observation, voice (and vulnerability), routines, embracing the “shitty first draft,” dealing with the dreaded writer’s block, and getting feedback on your work. All in all, a fun read that will make you smile and possibly laugh, so caution if reading in the library.
Turn the Ship Around! by L. David Marquet
Have you ever had to work with a disgruntled, poor performing team? That was the situation Captain Marquet inherited when he assumed command of USS Sante Fe, a nuclear fast-attack submarine. At the time he transitioned into the command role, the Sante Fe was the worst performing submarine in the entire US Navy. Needless to say, he had his work cut out for him. In Turn the Ship Around, Captain Marquet dissects the problems with the “leader-follower” approach to management that remains pervasive in business and how he transitioned to a “leader-leader” system through a combination of empowerment, deliberate action and “certifying” competence, and the shared understanding of core values. Under his command, the Sante Fe went from worst to first in their performance metrics. If you want to get a sneak peak, check out Captain Marquet speaking at Google. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzJL8zX3EVk)
It would be hard to argue against the success of Pixar with a record of 13 Academy Awards, 11 Grammys, and 9 Golden Globes. Creativity, Inc catalogs the journey from a small studio to the powerhouse that Pixar is today and the leadership lessons gleaned by co-founder and company President Ed Catmull. In this book, you’ll learn why hierarchy creates impediments to being a learning organization, how to balance risk/fear of failure with learning, how to derail confirmation bias and actually listen to your team, why environment is critical to success, and much more.
This book received a LOT of attention when it was published, and rightfully so. Dr. Kalanithi was a neurosurgical resident who, at age 36, was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic lung cancer. When Breath Becomes Air is his posthumously published memoir about life, death, meaning, purpose, and medicine. The book is filled with profound insights and, as a physician, provoked many moments of quiet introspection in addition to the occasion tears. A few of the passages I found meaningful:
While reflecting on a friends death:
“In that moment, all my occasions of failed empathy came rushing back to me: the times I had pushed discharge over patient worries, ignored patients’ pain when other demands pressed. The people whose suffering I saw, noted, and neatly packaged into various diagnoses, the significance of which I failed to recognize…” (pg 85)
In discussing the process of his mentor’s pancreatic cancer treatment:
“How little do doctors understand the hells through which we put patients.” (pg 102)
In reflecting on his close friend’s suicide after a bad surgical outcome:
“Death comes for all of us. For us, for our patients: it is our fate… Our patients’ lives and identities may be in our hands, yet death always wins. Even if you are perfect, the world isn’t. The secret is to know the deck is stacked, that you will lose, that your hands or judgment will slip, and yet still struggle to win for your patients. You can’t ever reach perfection, but you can believe in an asymptote toward which you are ceaselessly striving.” (pg 114-115)
A must read for all medical professionals.
Featured image via Pexels