You The Leader (Book Review)

By: Phil Pringle

ISBN 0-975-1905-1-2

Book Price $25.00

Influential

Phil Pringle is the Senior Minister of C3 Church in Sydney Australia, one of Australia’s largest and most influential churches. He is leader of the CCC movement internationally (a movement of over 150 churches). Phil’s relevant and dynamic style has made him a much sought after speaker in both Christian and secular contexts.

Leadership Traits

In eighteen chapters Phil reveals the heart of a true leader. He covers points as, the leader and his vision (p. 33), the leader a winner (p. 51), the leader’s trials (p. 57), the leader’s weapons (p. 97), leader’s attitude (p. 109), the leader as communicator (p. 201), the leader and teams (p. 243), the leader a decision maker (p. 297), and more.

Leadership Responsibility

Phil Pringle is quick to engage readers with his concise and informative style. He addresses the great need for leaders stating, “It appears that the real role of the Chief Executive Officer is to manage the values of the organization… God… entrusts leadership positions only to those He has tested and brought through the fire.”

Pringle’s words carry conviction to challenge others. He shares, “Leaders don’t find their foundations for influence in themselves, but in God. Without God they forfeit their destiny and the destinies of those who follow them.”

Phil employs quotes for impact, like the following statement from E.M. Bounds, “While the church is searching for better methods, God is searching for better men.” And from Dale Carnegie he explains, “Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain-and most do-but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.”

Personal responsibility is a clear trait of Phil’s message. He expresses, “Leaders have learned to rule their attitudes. They are not waiting to see how they feel. They know how they want to feel and choose to “feel” that way.” And, “Leaders don’t wait to see what will happen; they make things happen… we motivate ourselves to achieve… “

Phil gives concrete keys to see results, revealing that, “If the leader is personally growing, the organization he or she leads is growing.” and, “The discipline of living right before God in secret is the key to a success that is granted from heaven.” also, “People rarely succeed at anything unless they enjoy what they are doing… A smile overcomes… “

Become A Great Leader

Phil Pringle presents a compelling tool for empowering those who are called to become a great leader.

Book Review: Leaders – Myth and Reality

I selected this book because of the title and the author's background; hearing what military leaders have to say about leadership always interests me. In this case the retired general enlisted the help of two others – Jeff Eggers and Jason Mangrove. Nevertheless, this article discusses what makes the book worthy of your time and attention. Aside from wisdom for your leadership journey, it will challenge you to think outside the boundaries.

What You Uncover

  • Takes a different approach

What makes this book unique? The writers take a different stance on leadership by generating a discussion on six types of leaders: founders, geniuses, zealots, heroes, power brokers, and reformers. In contrast, most books focus on traditional leaders found in corporations, non-profits, and government.

  • Redefines leadership

The authors challenge readers to rethink leadership. This way of thinking is refreshing because the traditional way of examining leadership is limiting. Moreover, it tends to zero in on the leader in exclusion of the people surrounding him or her.

  • Case studies

Even more refreshing is the selection of leaders for each category. For example, Martin Luther and Martin Luther King, Jr. were chosen for the reformers. Walt Disney and Cocoa made the cut for founders. An analysis of the leader's reaction to adversity is given along with comparisons and differences.

With Martin Luther, for example, an investigation of his handling of the crisis after breaking from the Catholic church is viewed. In contrast, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s decision making was scrutinized concerning the civil rights movement.

  • Discussion of 3 myths

Aside from the case studies, you'll hear a discussion on the three myths (results myth, formulaic myth, and the attribution myth). The former asserts that the leader's outcomes outweigh what they say or how they appear. On the other hand, the formulaic myth boils good leadership down to a list of desired traits. Lastly, the attribution myth puts a heavier emphasis on influence forsaking other factors.

  • Format

Leaders – Myth and Reality is only 411 pages including an epilogue. At the end of each chapter are resources for learning more about the subject. Equally important, a discussion summarizing different aspects of the leaders lives are given.

In short, the book is user-friendly. You have the option of reading it from beginning to end, or take your pick. I jumped around after reading the first chapter. Although all the featured leaders intrigued me, some did so more than others.

How to Write a Thoughtful Book Review

If you see a book with a lot of reviews, does it make you want to buy it? If a ‘review’ simply says ‘it’s great’, or ‘buy this book’ is that enough for you to want to spend money to read the book?

A good book review will give the reader something to think about before they decide whether or not it is for them. Reviews are important to authors as certain algorithms show that the more reviews a book has, the more sales the book generates. Great books inspire readers so much that they want to talk about them and what better place to spread the word than to write a review and post it in a prominent place. Similarly, if you feel the author could have improved the book in some way, and you have some useful comments to contribute, leave a constructive review. If you feel disposed to write a review for a book you have just read, and aren’t sure how to do it, here is a simple guide.

Read the book. This seems obvious, but I have seen ‘reviews’ where people have said ‘I didn’t finish the book’ and then give it a very low rating. I have started some novels that are just so badly written that I can’t waste another minute of my time on them, but I just move on to the next book in my reading pile. If you don’t read the book, don’t leave a review.

Don’t feel obligated to give a glowing review. You can always tell the reviews that have been written by friends of the author. They usually have five stars and talk more about the author’s talent than give the reader any insight into the content of the book. Were you unsatisfied with the ending or did the blurb not accurately describe the story? For you to leave a review, the book must have had some impact on you, so state the facts simply and leave out the gushing adjectives.

Be constructive with your criticism. Whether you enjoy reading the book or not, there will be some people, places or events that stand out. If you feel there is too much dialogue, or not enough description, then say so in your review, but also point out anything you may have learned from reading the book or any characters that you could identify with in some way. Did the book make you laugh or cry? Was it a gripping read that you couldn’t put down? Did you like the author’s writing style? Whatever you say will have an impact on other readers and the author, so give your view but be kind.

Don’t leave a one sentence statement such as ‘it’s great’ or ‘buy this book’. It doesn’t help anyone.

As a reader, I have written reviews for a lot of great, good, and those-that-have-potential books. As an author, I have received a lot of great feedback in the form of reviews from people who have enjoyed my books. You get people who take issue with a particular subject because it offends their particular tastes, and that’s OK as long as they say that in their reviews. When I am looking to purchase new books, I look at the five-stars and the two-stars to get a good overview of readers’ thoughts.

Keep writing book reviews, but be kind, and if you can’t be kind just move on to the next book. A well-written book review will always be appreciated by an author.

Book Review – Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy

Many people know Tony Dungy as the NFL head coach who took Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts to the Super Bowl in 2007. You may also know from watching him on television as an announcer and just from watching his mannerisms that he is a decent guy. But many of us have no idea about his upbringing and the people and experiences that made him who he is today. Quiet Strength is a memoir which was written after Dungy’s super bowl victory and one of the most impactful years of his life.

The book takes us through Tony’s life in chronological order, starting with his childhood and home life. Dungy had two straight-forward, moral parents. He mentions in his book how they instilled a sense of calmness in him and the difference between right and wrong. Dungy always says that when he is frustrated or wants to confront someone, he must think back to what his dad used to tell him, and figure out if yelling out will accomplish anything and actually make his situation better. You can tell from the beginning of the book that Dungy is, and always has been a family man.

As a teenager, Tony was an excellent athlete. He played varsity high school basketball and football. As a tall, slender, muscular young man, he excelled in basketball and was actually a quarterback on the football team. He was so good in fact that he went on to play football at the University of Minnesota. Dungy played a solid four years for the Golden Gophers and thought that he had a solid chance of playing in the NFL. One thing though, he did not have the typical build or college statistics of a NFL quarterback and would have to work his way onto a professional team the hard way. He was skeptical about getting drafted, and his suspicions proved to be right as he never received a call from a pro team. However, the Steelers eventually gave him a chance and signed him as a free agent to play in their defensive backfield.

Dungy made the most of his time at the Steelers organization. He felt comfortable in Pittsburg because the ownership was more like a family to him than just a boss. He made the team as a defensive back due to his smaller size and won a Super Bowl during the short time he was there. Dungy happened to be playing for the very best team of that time and ended up with a ring during one of his three years as a player. Although he did play pro football, he knew his days in the NFL were limited and needed to think of another job he could perform once his playing days had ended. As an intelligent young man who had experience as both a quarterback and defensive back, he was in a unique position to become an excellent coach.

Tony held several coaching jobs for teams such as the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the NCAA, and the Pittsburg Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, and Minnesota Vikings in the NFL. Dungy knew all of the right people at the teams he used to play for and they accelerated him on his coaching career due to his diligence and character. His first head coaching job came after several years of being a coordinator and assistant coach. The Glazers, owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, hired him as their head coach. The Glazers and Dungy had a great relationship throughout his entire career in Tampa Bay. They fully supported him and his straight-forward ideas about running a complete football team. Dungy ended up bringing his team to the NFC championships several years in a row, but could never quite reach the biggest game. The Glazers therefore decided to release Coach Dungy. Not only did he get fired, but his coaching staff did as well. This is what bothered Tony the most; he had a feeling that he could find another job in the NFL, but he had an awful time knowing his assistant coaches, hand-picked by Coach Dungy himself, may not have such a future.

Not long after being fired from the Buccaneers’ organization and not know what God had planned for him, Coach Dungy returned home one day to find a message from the owner of the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts owner told him that he recently fired his coach, and knew that Tony would be the perfect fit for the head coaching job in Indianapolis. Tony and his new boss would develop a football team as part of the community, not just to win games. Tony’s ideas of morality, self-accountability, and family-first for his football players would work well in Indianapolis.

Coach Dungy inherited an exceptional offense in Indianapolis, lead by Peyton Manning. The defense needed work and confidence, but with Dungy’s help, they were quickly playing on a whole different level. The team started to make the playoffs every year where they usually encountered their rivals, the New England Patriots. The Patriots usually got the best of the Colts, but not in 2007. Dungy won nearly all of his regular season games, beat everyone in the playoffs, and then destroyed the Chicago Bears in the NFL Super Bowl. Coach Dungy became the first African American head coach to win the Super Bowl, and instantly knew he had to apply his knowledge and fame to make the world a better place. Dungy knew that as a successful black man with such an important title and a world championship to his name, he could make an impact.

Tony Dungy has always been an extremely busy man, working seven days a week, usually with only a few hours sleep. However, he always has found the time to do charitable work. This includes church work, starting charitable organizations with his wife, Lauren, and running All Pro Dad. This organization focuses on making fathers all across the nation into better people, and to teach these men to be there for their kids. The concept is simple, yet profoundly important. Imagine how many kids in this world do not know who their fathers are and how they do not have a male presence in their life. All Pro Dad teaches fathers and even male figures to be role models to the younger people in the world.

While Coach Dungy has shown himself to be a great man and a noble person, it is what he does behind the scenes that truly makes him great; he puts his family first and always makes them his number one priority. Not only do Tony and Laura have numerous kids of their own, they have started to adopt. Since they are in such a fortunate position in the world and financially well-off, they have made better lives for black orphan children. Anyone who has children knows that they can be a blessing, but difficult at times. Often in life children can bring incredible happiness, but also sad moments as well. The first child Tony and Laura adopted is missing a critical gene which would allow him to feel pain. Since the child cannot feel pain, his parents must watch the child at all times to make sure he is not doing anything which may unknowingly harm him.

Most of Coach Dungy’s book is uplifting and has a positive vibe, but there is a part of the book which takes the reader by surprise. During Dungy’s 2007 championship season, he received a call in the middle of the night. Everyone knows that middle of the night calls are never good, and this call was heart breaking; Coach Dungy’s son, Jamie, had committed suicide. Dungy says repeatedly that he will never know what caused Jamie to take his own life, but he knows that Jamie had placed God first in his life and is undoubtedly in Heaven now. It is very sad to read about terrible things that happen to such great people, but Dungy put a positive spin on the situation. He said that Jamie blessed their lives for eighteen years and he should be remembered for all the joy he brought. Jamie never had an enemy and made friends very easily. From what Tony Dungy wrote about Jamie, it is very clear that Jamie was just as good of a person as his father.

After reading Coach Dungy’s memoir, one thing is evident: Coach Dungy lives his life for God. Life will put you through the highest of high moments and the lowest of lows. The thing that makes us all different and special is how we react to these situations. Dungy has learned to persevere through the tough spots in life and to stay modest through the championship-caliber moments. Tony Dungy is a role-model for everyone and we all can learn a positive lesson from reading his book. This book is rated 5 out of 5.

Book Review – Are You Happy? By Lea Colleens

In "Are You Happy? A Guidebook to Earning Happiness," author Lea Colleens takes the reader on a journey of discovery in a quick and easy to read self-help manual that will open the eyes to a unique concept on how to find happiness – by earning it. The book is divided into three sections: Happiness Explained , Instruction Guide and The End Result , each section providing clear and easy to understand ideas, explanations and suggestions along the way.

The journey begins with a simple question – Are you happy? Seems an easy enough question, right? But it leads to several other questions. How do you know if you are really happy? How can you be sure? How does anyone know what will make them happy? How can anyone know? To help answer these questions, Colleens begins by explaining what happiness is and what it is not. She states that contrary to the popular beliefs that have been spoon fed to us over the years, it is not contentment, the absence of ego, pleasure, self-esteem, positive, thinking, etc. Nor will nice things make one happy. Rather it is cited that happiness is certainty of future pleasures (that nice things often bring), but that the nice things of themselves, don't, and won't make you happy. The basic formula for happiness as defined by the author is Happiness = Affection + Excitement.

Colleens goes on to explain the functions of the three brains in your head vying for control: The Master Brain, The Dog Brain and The Reptile Brain, and explains how each brain makes us act the way we do. According to Colleens, if we can learn to let our Master Brains run the show, we will be happy, because our Master Brains want us to be happy.

Colleens has a distinctive, clear voice that is crisp and to the point. One can almost feel her energy emanating from the pages. Though while the pages are full of zest and enthusiasm, some of the language used in the delivery is distracting from the message. The profanity will be off-putting to those with an aversion to that sort of thing, as will the sarcasm. Granted, there are times when such a tone is effective and beneficial, but in a self-help book on happiness? I leave that up to the individual reader.

That being said, there were many things in "Are You Happy? A Guidebook to Earning Happiness," by Lea Colleens that I thoroughly enjoyed. The illustrations are excellent and clearly add definition and an extra layer of understanding to the text. I also found the charts on Seeking Excitement: Do's and Don'ts and Seeking Affection: Do's and Don'ts to contain valuable advice. In the end, I fully agree with the author when she says, "There are no shortcuts … to help you earn happiness" (59). It takes consistent hard work and dedication to the cause, but in the end, happiness is totally worth it!

Why Dance, Why Not – A Book Review on Dancing

Over the years, I've been very impressed with what Sir Ken Robinson has to say about creativity in our schools. He explains the problem with rote memorization, and seems to speak with the aversion that most Americans have with the No Child Left Behind legislation (NCLB). Some of my friends have called the NCLB Legislation; the No Child Allowed to Advance directive. I guess in some regards I do agree with that observation. In one of Sir Ken Robinson's most famous TED Talk, he suggests that we ought to be teaching dance in our schools, yes dance.

Why you ask? Well, it is a creative exercise and it helps your brain develop and think. He's right and now neurologists know why. The nerve endings are attached to nerves which run up the spinal column and right into the brain, it's an extension of that system. In fact, if you'd like to learn more about all this, maybe I can save you some trouble in your personal research as I had recently asked myself some of these questions, trying very hard to confirm what many teachers and educators have speculated for decades. If this topic also intrigues you there are some very good books I'd like to recommend that you read;

1. "The Artful Mind: Cognitive Science and the Riddle of Human Creativity," edited by Mark Turner, Oxford University Press, New York, NY, 2006, 314 pages, ISBN: 978–0-19-530636-1.

This book is a compilation of academically peer reviewed articles and essays on the topic, much of which has taken all the old works of white dead men famous psychologists and merged it with modern day neuroscience. Some of which proves what we inherently already know and have readily observed in case studies, other essays challenge the status quo and knowledge we thought we believed turning everything on its head. A very important set of reads for sure, for anyone researching this topic.

2. "Dance / Movement Therapists in Action: A Working Guide to Research Options," edited by Robyn Flaum Cruz, Cynthia Florence Berrol, Charles Thomas Publishers, Springfield, IL, 233 pages, ISBN: 978-0-39-80750-40 .

Edited in a similar format, but the essays focus on what to do with all this new information and how to best utilize it for therapy. Not only does it do tremendous physical good, but it can be used creatively in therapy and learning to do wonders for cognitive ability, helping the student to overcome challenges and increase their ability to think. It all starts with a little dance. I hope when you get a change, you will choose to dance. Please consider all this and think on it.

"Outcasts United" Book Review

In 1997, Luma notified her parents she was staying in America. She came here at the age of 21. Her father was not happy with her decision. After graduating from college, she was determined to make it on her own.

In 2002, she got a job coaching girls' soccer at the local YMCA in Clarkston, Georgia. She stumbled upon boys playing a street pick-up game of soccer and felt she could make more of an impact with them. She quit her job and committed to starting a team with these boys. They named themselves the "Fugees".

Clarkston was initially resistant to the refugee newcomers. White people left and those who stayed were not welcoming. The police and mayor tried everything in their power to keep them in their place.

Over time, a few people began embracing diversity. A local grocer took advice from a Vietnamese girl who suggested he begin stocking the store with ethnic foods. A church renamed itself and welcomed all the groups. A new police chief righted wrongs. In 2009, the mayor's term ended.

Luma got an assistant named Tracy. The writer, Warren St. John shared their story. They got donations and hired two teachers to work with the team tutoring.

This book took a while to read because it went into the history of situations each of the players had come from. It does remind us of the difficulties refugees face. If we were in the same position, we would hope for kindness from someone.

I was blessed to have made a friend in 1999 with one of the "Lost Boys" of Sudan in Phoenix, Arizona. My daughter-in-law is from Sudan. God knew in 1999 when we met our friend that my son would marry a girl from that same country when he grew up.

In uncertain times, fear keeps us at a distance from the unfamiliar. Sometimes, events are out of out our control but we can miss out on opportunities by not getting to know refugees in our communities.

I love reading stories of people who made a difference in the lives of others. That kindness can have a ripple effect and multiply. Sometimes, it may be years before we find out how. I've witnessed it in my life. I hope to see more.

I thank God for those I've met and those I have yet to meet. Best wishes to everyone in this story.

Born to Win by Zig Ziglar and Tom Ziglar – Book Review

Synopsis of Content:

This is the latest book by the late master salesman and motivational speaker and writer Zig Ziglar and his son Tom Ziglar. Tom is now the CEO of the empire his father built over the past four decades.

Born to Win is divided into three parts: Planning to Win, Preparing to Win, and Expecting to Win.

In Part 1 Planning to Win there is a thorough discussion of developing your vision for where you want to go or what you want to accomplish and then how to set realistic and useful goals and how to implement them. Ziglar focuses on the importance of our Desire to accomplish our goals. He echoes the work of Napoleon Hill and others who have written about the critical importance of having vision and desire. He also discusses the six qualities he finds essential to winning: honesty, character, faith, integrity, love and loyalty.

In Part 2 Preparing to Win is about preparing yourself to win. It is about acquiring the knowledge, skills and experience you need to succeed. Included in this is the development of the disciplines needed to win and the need to associate with the right kinds of people who will help you and inspire you.

In Part 3 Expecting to Win you learn how worry is a fruitless and destructive emotion that we must defeat. Here you see the logical extension of the work done in Parts 1 and 2 to condition your mind with the correct attitudes and expectations. Here you learn the self-defeating thinking that you must banish from your mind.

Like all good success literature you will not find anything magical or “new” in this book. It is a distillation of the best of what has been written about success but presented through the unique lens of both author’s experience and reflection. Through their own life experience and that of others they have worked with they have seen what works and how it works and share that with the reader.

Balance

Ziglar emphasizes throughout the book the importance of achieving balance in our lives. This includes paying sufficient attention to our spiritual, physical and emotional needs. He deeply values family and friends and teaches that success is meaningless without spending time and effort in these areas. As he observes, there is nothing more pitiful than a rich man with no family or friends.

Ziglar gives more emphasis on spiritual development than many success writers do. He is a devout Christian and discusses how his faith changed his life and the vital role it plays in winning. He does not suggest you must be a Christian but rather whatever you believe you must feed that spiritual need to thrive.

Motivation

The book discusses motivation. He observes that motivation is as essential as food. People criticize motivational speakers like Ziglar because they say that motivational works only have a short term effect. Ziglar points out that a meal only as a short term effect. Just as we must eat every day to remain healthy we must seek motivation every day to remain motivated and on the road to winning. I have never seen a better explanation for the importance of continual motivation to feed our spirit.

For Zig and his son Tom success in life must be holistic and a work in progress. No one ever reaches the top really, they just keep getting closer. For the Ziegler’s “winning” is realizing fulfillment and success in this process.

Usefulness:

This book is very useful to anyone who seeks to succeed in life, in business or in any other worthy cause. You will learn from it and be motivated by it. Each time you re-read it you will get a further boost.

Readability/Writing Quality:

It is very well written. It is well organized and written in a style that is easy to follow. They use good illustrations and examples to show the principles they teach.

Notes on Authors:

Zig Ziglar is a master motivator who has spoken to millions of people worldwide, published 29 books and numerous digital products. He has worked with six US Presidents, world leaders and many Fortune 500 corporations.

Tom Ziglar, Zig’s son, is the CEO of Ziglar, Inc. and has worked for many years to carry his father’s message to people. He has worked especially hard to carry this message to third world nations.

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

1. “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want”. – Zig Ziglar. This has been Mr. Ziglar’s mission and mantra for decades. He has through his own experience proven it to be true.

2. Remember the formula by Frank Outlaw: Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; for it becomes your destiny.

3. “Being born to win is about planning, preparing and expecting to win. It is also about being the best you can be, no matter your job or profession”.

Publication Information:

Born to Win by Zig Ziglar and Tom Ziglar

Copyright 2012 Zig Ziglar

Available as a Kindle book.

Book Review – Can You Make a Desert Tortoise Your Pet?

The desert tortoise is an endangered species in California, so you are not supposed to take them as pets, but if they wonder onto your property or dig under the fence to find shade and food, or make a home burrowing under the yard, you aren 't allowed to move them, unless you call in a special wildlife biologist to assist. It's quite a tricky endeavor. However, sometimes you can make them feel more at home and they make nice pets. Still, you might not wish to get too attached, eventually they decide to leave, and often don't return for a while, sometimes never.

There is quite a bit of difference between the males and females, and you can easily tell the difference. Males have an indentation underneath to which matches the shape of the shell of the females for mating, since the male mounts the female in this process. That's the easiest way to tell. If you see a desert tortoise, you might see a small sensor epoxied to the shell, don't worry it's a wildlife tracking device to help biologists learn more and protect the species habitat.

Wildlife field biologists remind us to always check under our car tires and cars if we are in their domain because they often seek shelter from the hot summer sun in the shade underneath. If you see a desert tortoise do not pick it up and move very slowly as not to upset it. If you do scare it or pick it up it might discharge its bladder where it stores water, this is very bad. If that happens it might be better of you lay it in some water to let it soak back into its system. And if you pick one up because it is on the road way, always put it back down facing the same direction, otherwise it becomes disoriented as to its direction of travel.

How would you like to learn more about having a tortoise as a pet? If so, let me recommend a very good book for you, it is available in digital or paper versions, the name of the book is:

"Sulcata and Leopard Tortoises – Complete Herp Care," by EJ Pirog, TFH Publishing, Neptune City, NJ, 2008, 128 pages, (Digital eBook Version) ASIN: B005KKODD4, ISBN: 978-0-7238-2898-2.

In this work you can learn about many of the African Tortoise species and the size of the egg laying "clutches" and how many eggs they lay along with their habit needs, mating season, incubation time for the eggs, and what type of predators try to get those eggs. Knowing what they eat is very important too. Most arid region tortoises are similar in nature, and be sure not to call them turtles, they are different you see. Please consider all this and think on it