Admin Musings

My summer reading 2024

“Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.” ― Jim Rohn

I’m not sure that I am aiming to rise above the ordinary but I certainly believe that reading is essential.  Books open the mind to so many possibilities and opportunities.

This summer I have three books on the go, a novel, a personal development book and a business book.

The novel – Henry VIII: The heart and the crown by Alison Weir. 

I love the Tudor time period, the war of the roses and the reign of Elizabeth I.  I fell in love with this time period when I was first introduced to Shakespeare by my Drama Teacher at secondary school. This novel is the second in the Tudor Roses trilogy by Weir.   It tells the story of Henry VIII’s life and reign from his own perspective, exploring his personality, passions, and motivations.

Weir is an acclaimed British Historian and this adds a depth to her writing

From a Prince, never destined to be King to the tyrannical mountain of a man, many stories have been told about Henry VIII painting him as a cruel, at times lascivious, obsessive and a monster.  Weir’s novel weaves a tale, told entirely from Henry’s perspective, showing a human, flawed, charismatic, dogged by what he sees as his failures, and now very much the star of his own story.

I think this is a pivotal moment in British and indeed the world’s history with Henry expanding Parliament, founding the Royal Navy, modernising medical training, composing music and poetry, and patronising the arts.

“A passionate man in search of true love, he was stymied by the imperative to produce a male heir, as much a victim of circumstance as his unhappy wives. Had fate been kinder to him, the history of England would have been very different.”

Personal Development – Time Magic by Melissa Ambrosini, Nick Broadhurst

I received this book as part of my Aussie Biz Chic subscription box. I’ll be sharing some more information about this amazing professional and personal development monthly box in another blog.

This isn’t a time management book, it doesn’t tell you how to “get more things done” (the premise of time management – although I do still teach about time management), this book proports to “change your relationship with time”.  The introduction had me hooked immediately claiming that if “you follow the steps in this book, you can reclaim up to 16 years of your life.”  A wild claim, I thought, but I’m interested to see how and what things I might be able to do to achieve even a portion of that 16 years!

Divided into five sections the book, the book explores different aspects of Time Magic (using magical allusions as the section titles). Each part builds on the previous part, and the authors recommend reading the book all the way through, then dipping back into it at whatever section you need to refresh.  I am in that position now, having read the book on the plane to teach in Timaru (one of the benefits of travelling is the uninterrupted reading time available on the plane, train, or sitting in the airport).

Part One: The Great Disappearing Act was a real eye-opener for me.  I know that I “lose” time all over the place, it’s not that I am disorganised but I do find myself often overwhelmed to the point of procrastination. 

There’s not a lot of “new” advice in here for me, but the way that Melissa and Nick present the information is what makes this book so different.  A few things are a bit “out there” for me, I’m not really a fan of a plant-based diet, I consciously try to eat more fruit and vegetables but I’m also a fan of meat!  I’m not big on meditation or Yoga but it has given me some insights into the science behind these activities.

My key takeaways from this book have been that I need to practice what I preach, get those big rocks in the diary, use what the book refers to as “focus pocus” and “ignition intervals”, basically similar in principle to using the Pomodoro Technique™ and probably the biggest wake up call, the digital detox and being conscious about what content I am “consuming”.

Business Book – Killer Thinking – by Tim Duggan

This is the third time I am reading this book, I love it that much!  This is another book that I received through Aussie Biz Chic and I devoured it on the plane to Invercargill, in my hotel room and the trip home again. I then re-read it to assist in facilitating the AdmiNZ Board strategic session in September.  And I just needed to dip into it again!

So what is Killer Thinking – basically it is a framework that allows us to test and those amazing ideas and scale them to greatness.  The KILLER bit stands for: Kind, Impactful, Loved, Lasting, Easy, Repeatable.

This book is a guide to getting the thoughts out with practical exercises to crystalise your ideas and also take the next step(s) to creating, developing and recognising ideas not only in the workplace but also life itself.

My biggest takeaway, and I’ll be sharing a blog about this next month, is that brainstorming sucks!  Brainstorming is not conducive to great ideas let alone killer ones!

“If I tasked you to come up with the worst possible way of being creative, you’d probably come up with a brainstorm. Put an hour-long meeting into people’s diaries, gather a group of varying experience around a boardroom table, and then demand that they come up with some ideas on the sport with the clock ticking”.

OMG doesn’t that just hit home!?!? I’m a verbal thinker, and I know I can dominate a “brainstorming” session not because I want to be seen as being creative, but that’s the way my mind works.  Others are the dark horses, that need the time to percolate their thinking, then there are those that are not confident in sharing their ideas in that sort of forum.  This is probably the biggest thing I enjoy about facilitating idea-generation sessions, and I now encourage (require) the individual ideation time for people to be able to bring their thinking to the table and not be dropped in it to come up with an idea on the spot.

I’ll be doing a full review of Killer Thinking at the end of the month, so look out for that.

So that’s my summer reading? How about you, what are you reading these holidays (and I realise for my colleagues in the northern hemisphere you aren’t soaking up the sun in 26°C+ temps)?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *