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My Summer Reading List for 2017

It is no secret – I love reading. I am also a bit eclectic when I read. I am truly all over the place. Yet, because of that very fact, many ask what I am reading. So here is my Summer Reading List for 2017.

So here is my Summer Reading List for 2017. It ranges from sci-fi novels, business marketing helps, leadership and social media, and so much more.

Hope you enjoy!

#1 Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday (marketing/social media)

I decided to read this book because I have been working in a marketing department of a large company. I felt as if much of what they did and how they thought would benefit me and the charity I run for them. Plus, it allowed me to have a starting place to discuss intelligently with them on marketing topics.

I highly recommend this to someone wanting a quick read that allows them a portal into the marketing world, especially as it relates to social media.

#2 As Kingfishers Catch Fire by Eugene Peterson (ministry/preaching/spiritual formation)

I try and read all that comes out from Eugene Peterson. Finding out this will be his last book meant I would have to have it. This large tomb is worth its weight in gold.

The text is a compilation of his sermons through Scripture (Genesis to Revelation) at a certain place, time, and period. They have only edited some as needed, but the fact that he talks about what happened in the 60s and 70s and how they affected the church he pastored for almost 30 years is powerful. It’s literally like being able to binge read the life of a pastor as he grew, his congregation grew and how Scripture informed it all.

Feel free to skip this book, but be warned as it will be discussed in a category of its own for years to come.

#3 Digital Leader by Erik Qualman (social media/leadership)

I have followed Erik Qualman since his first days as a Twitter guy and blogger. His first book, Socialnomics was amazing and I still find I need to go back and re-read parts.

What Qualman does here is built on those principles by the practical work and learning he has done over the years and created a wealth of advice for those leading in an unprecedented digital age.

I will admit, it is a bit long in parts, but overall, the content is next to none. Other leaders in the social world will be reference this work, so make sure to become conversant with it.

#4 Hell Divers by Nicholas Sansbury Smith (sci-fi/apocalyptic novel)

Of course, I love reading sci-fi and fantasy when I can. This was a .99 cent book deal that I bought and finally got around to reading. It was well worth the buck!

The novel is based on the future where the earth has had a major apocalypse and humanity lives on giant air ship cities. To make sure the ships fly and run well, Hell Divers, dive to the surface of the earth to scavenge for parts.

What lives on the earth still is what makes the novel so much fun. Plus, it’s full of thought and questions about what does it mean to be human in a post-apocalyptic world and at what costs will someone go to make sure life carries on. Anymore and spoilers come out, so fans of apocalyptic tech/sci-fi will love this novel and the sequel, Hell Divers 2.

#5 The Kingdom of Speech by Tom Wolfe (journalism/language/literature)

I actually bought this book because the title fascinated me and I tend to enjoy reading and listening to Tom Wolfe.

What makes this book unique is it’s not a novel as Wolfe tends to write but a telling of his version of looming at Speech and its connection to evolution. He tackles the topic as it intrigued his journalism side. Why it intrigued him was because of the notion that language and language development was the one major thing that plagued Charles Darwin and subsequent evolutionists that followed in his thinking.

The crux of the book is that language wars against evolution as a major issue. Why did only humans learn language, semantics, and complex nuances? Why was a humans brain so large from the beginning and other parts so week? The large brain gave no evolutionary advantage through language for millions of years? Sounds interesting, right? Well to Tom Wolfe, it did too and he sets out to talk about the language and evolution wars of the past to liven up and bring back this theory to the modern public.

Let’s just say, Wolfe has his journalistic bravado and unnecessary snark at points, but overall, fans of Wolfe and fans of language and language development will find this book as fun as it is informational.

#6 Canoeing the Mountains by Tod Bolsinger (ministry/leadership)

My friend and missionary, Adam Fogleman, reached out and told me I have to read this book. I am half way through now as it was a late addition to the list. I try not to fully endorse a book till I have a full fill of its content, but I find myself highlighting something on each and every page.

I will more than likely be doing a full blown book review of this one next month, so stay tuned.

#7 Ready Player One by Ernest Clime

Another sci-fi/apocalyptic/techie novel makes the list!

So all of my good and nerdy friends keep talking about this book. And I tried to ignore the chatter till someone said it is full of 80s pop culture. 80s music, games, movies, etc. I was hooked from the beginning.

I read the novel in two days and ended up sending a copy to my brother for his birthday.

Basically, it’s the future and its sucks (of course) and people find a way to escape their poor, sorry lives by jumping onto the Oasis. A fully online world where your avatar has stats can go on adventures, can go to school and can be far cooler than you will ever be in the poverty-stricken, energy starved world of the future.

The story is a first person account of a young man who in the real world has nothing going for him, but in the Oasis is a rock star after solving a mysterious riddle from the eccentric 80s lover and creator of the Oasis, now deceased. Once these three riddles and three keys are possessed by someone – they become the ruler of the Oasis and inherit the future and power and prestige left behind by the founder.

As it starts out as his quest to solve these riddles and save the Oasis, he is joined by friends, chased by enemies, and goes on one heck of the 80s like ride to save the future and make sure the Oasis stays as authentic to its purpose as the founder had wished it to be.

Trust me, I wanted to go back and listen to all my 80s music, re-watch Back to the Furture, War Games, dust off the Atari and Nintendo and relive my childhood. It is one fun book. The only caution I give is that some of the themes are adult in nature, so being a book about games and such doesn’t mean it is void of some language and topics you may not be ready to chat about with your kiddos.


BONUS: What I am currently listening to on Audible:

#8 What is the Bible by Rob Bell (ministry/biblical studies/pop culture)

I started listening to this last week and thought I would add it on at the last minute. So many people either love or hate Rob Bell (with much in between that just don’t care). Nevertheless, I wanted to see what all the talk is about, but after needing to read other books, I bought the audio version to listen to while I commute back to work.

So far, many of his ideas he has shared in other books or on his blog/podcast, and some very fresh and engaging ideas. while he still asks questions that he never wants to answer only making it harder for people who follow his works to find out what he is really trying to say. But it’s Bell, he likes the mystery.

He narrates his own audio book and all I can say is he is one engaging, powerful stroy teller. I am sure to use some of his thoughts on certain Scriptures in sermons to come. Once I am finished listening, I will do a fuller review.

HAPPY SUMMER READING! 

Making “WOW” Happen!

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I am currently reading Michael Hyatt’s Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World.

I have actually read it before when it first released but never followed through with the principles. Am I the only one that does that?

This go around I am reading to apply, but wanted to share some of the bigger insights with you all.

Since I pretty much read as my hobby, I will read, summarize, and save you time. Now that’s what we call a Win-Win!

So here are Hyatt’s six ways to find the courage to make “wow” happen:

  1. Take a stand for greatness.

  2. Connect with the original vision.

  3. Remind yourself what is at stake.

  4. Listen to your heart.

  5. Speak up.

  6. Be stubborn.

Seems so simple right? Well Hyatt goes into creative depth on these points to not only motivate but to provide guru-like advice. Know this, I do not bestow the Guru title on anyone, but this book is Michael Hyatt’s journey from leaving a CEO job to become a blogger, podcaster, and speaker. He is a personal brand genius because he tried ideas, through out the junk and honed in on the principles that worked.

For example, “Remind yourself what is at stake,” (3) is about knowing that you will fail, you will get frustrated, and you will want to quit. Personal branding and getting your ideas out in the world is what is at stake. The world needs your ideas, your council, and your charisma. There are people out there that only you can inspire and reach. What’s at stake is you! You matter. Preserve!

People want to be wowed. People want to hear the story of personal courage. Speak up, be stubborn, and take a stand for what is great.

We often hear people say, Bring it! I like to say, Bring WOW! @MichaelHyatt feel free to quote me! Click To Tweet

So I will continue to post fun ideas from Hyatt’s book and mix my thoughts in there, but I highly suggest you get a copy and get your message…your WOW…out there into the world that needs it!

Bring your WOW and get noticed in this noisy world!

Creating Unforgettable Experiences

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Creating a an Unforgettable Experience by Brad Lomenick, director of Catalyst

Basic Overview: These are my notes from a breakout session from 2012 at the NYCL Conference in Atlanta. Brad discussed the 10 creative core values that govern his team as they plan the Catalyst conference.  The two things he asks him team to bring to the creative meetings are: 1. Your creative ideas and 2. Your sense of discernment. People need to contribute both with ideas and debate ideas.

1. It is not about us!

His team is to position themselves with palms up and hands open.

No one should have clenched fists on ideas of the past, present, or future.

2. It is about uniting leaders, not dividing them.

Structured as a community and collaborative effort.

Not about individuals but ideals.

World thinks the church culture does not unite well. They are here to disprove that idea.

Nothing is more valuable than unity in leadership.

Start with the idea of generosity. Sharing is big in society today. Social Media is the leader in this area.

Be defined by what you are for and not what you are against.

Remember it is about the larger win; not personal gain. Give all away that you learn or achieve.

3. The event must be about the experience.

Content is consumable, out there everywhere, and is typically free.

People care about the collective experience, not the content of the event.

Value all the five senses and not simply auditory and visual.

What will they leave talking about beyond the message (if they are even talking about the message anyway)?

4. Make it Personality-less.

Don’t build the experience around just one personality. (Explained the transition from John Maxwell to the team approach to Catalyst.)

Events should not be about who, but about what and why – what will I learn and why will it help me in my daily life or work.

This society is about the tribe, the brand, not just one personality.

Design with the communal nature in mind.

Even if the event is more or less personality based, learn to continue to celebrate the entire team to balance it out.

5. Create a big vision and challenge your tribe to buy-in.

The overall goals are about dreaming big and creating inspiring movement.

Think bigger than expected but do not dismiss reality as a part of the equation.

Don’t let reality keep you from dreaming, but let it help you when it comes to actual and possible execution of the dream.

6. Authenticity must be valued since we are all humans.

This generation sees a fake a mile away.

Be you, but do it creatively. Don’t force who you are not.

Be with your people. Get the pulse and feel of their lives.

No leader is such a big deal that he cannot connect with his followers.

Be real and be reachable.

7. Causes and Social Movements are the new norm.

Social Media is king. Innovation is a tweet away.

This generation is about social justice.

The Kony video is a great example.

Create connection through social media as much as you can to foster online communities and forums to spread your ideas and values.

Go to the people, don’t fight to bring them to you – social media is key here.

8. Honor the sages and mentors before you.

This is often forgotten in the younger generation of leaders.

Invite the seasoned leaders to be a part of the creative process.

Creativity is not limited to only younger people.

Have them speak, let them give input, honor their voice in what you do.

This is an area you have to be intentional, because it is not natural.

9. Create a product that you love!

If you do not love your own event, why would anyone else?

If you do not want to come to your event or want to invite others to your event, you have a major disconnect.

Create in a manner that gets you excited about your own event.

This needs to play a major role in planning.

10. Set a standard that scares you.

Excellence is the standard.

To be different is the standard.

Something that has yet to be done but needs to be done.

Make it hard to top your best moments.

These standards will shock you out of the normalcy trap and scare you (in a good way).

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