How to Read Fast – And Remember What You Read!

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Hi Everyone!

We know leaders are readers. They also are time poor.

One leader I knew said he never had a problem getting through his piles of reading, because he just read what I didn’t already know. I must admit, I never knew how that was possible and never pursued it further…

…until one of our readers asked us for tips on how to read fast and remember what was read, so we asked one of our volunteers, Sarah – who was a slow reader – to research for you her best recommendations of books and courses designed for speed reading strategies.

Sarah looked for the best ten books, but only found three. She looked for the best three courses and only found one. And she has four tips of her own.

Please enjoy her article below and take action – by clicking on any book title, you will be taken to Amazon where you can review the book, read a summary of it, find thousands of real customer reviews and buy from Amazon at no extra cost. You’ll also be helping mybestchoices.org – a volunteer organization – as we may get a small fee (I am talking typically less than $1).

You also can click on the audio-book course from our article and go through to the producer’s site. We earn nothing if you decide to buy.

My Personal Experience of Being a Slow Reader

I have always been a slow reader. This made me dislike reading fiction, as I would see reading as a chore (my mum would always make me read). This developed into an anxiety of being a slow studier throughout high school. Increasing my reading speed helped me throughout my final year at school.

I realized that one of the main factors that increased my reading speed was to stop worrying that I was slow! Sounds easy, right? Anyone who has this issue would agree with me when I say that it is not.

The main strategy that decreased my anxiety was telling myself:

  • “ok, so maybe I am a slow reader and studier”
  • “if you don’t understand every sentence, just keep reading”
  • “Just keep going and you will probably understand what the sentence you don’t understand or remember was saying, due to what is revealed in the next sentences”.

About a month ago, mybestchoices.org asked me to research and find a “top 10” list of speed reading books and my “top 10” speed reading courses. I really can only recommend a “top 3” list of books and 1 audio-based course. I rated books and courses based on my opinions of them, given my reading challenges, and the opinions of others in the same situation.

Top 3 Speed Reading Books

  • Become a SuperLearner: Learn Speed Reading & Advanced Memorization, by Jonathan A. Levi et al
    • Become a Superlearner is a written version of the #1 best-selling course (discussed in Top Speed Reading Course, below).
    • The book covers many aspects of speed learning, such as speed reading, and memorization skills.
    • The author, Jonathan A. Levi, from Silicon Valley, is himself a superlearner – he is an experienced entrepreneur, private investor and is a master of finding short cuts to increasing efficiency. Jonathan has been one of the top performers on Udemy since 2014 and has launched a successful company, SuperHuman Enterprises. SuperHuman Enterprises produces products that help with learning, reading and efficiency.
    • The memorization skills section helped me a lot with my speed reading ability as, silly as this may sound, I became confident in remembering what I had just read and stopped over thinking it.

  • Breakthrough Rapid Reading, by Peter Kump
    • This book’s program focuses on one of my worries – if I’m reading faster, will I be taking everything in?
    • Breakthrough Rapid Reading concentrates on increasing reading speed, as well as increasing your comprehension.
    • Author Peter Kump is the former National Director of Education for Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics and hence has much experienced in the area.
    • Many readers say that the techniques helped them significantly.
    • Some people increased their speed up to 3 times over!

  • Become a Speed Demon: Productivity Tricks to Have More Time, by Jonathan A. Levi et al
    • Become a Speed Demon is again by Jonathan a Levi.
    • This book focuses more on increasing study speed. When I struggled with my reading speed, the main time it was a problem was when I was studying so it’s all tied together.
    • I liked the book’s focus on productivity, automation and efficiency.
    • Many readers gave it 5 stars and said that it gave them lots of great tips.

Top Speed Reading Course

I was surprised to find only one course that I would recommend…

  • Become a SuperLearner online course
    • Not surprisingly, the Become a SuperLearner online course was the #1 best-selling course…with over 135,000 people in 203 countries having completed it.
    • The course enables you to improve your reading speed and memory in just 30 minutes a day for 10 weeks and my research is that it delivers on its promise.
    • It contains a good mixture of 14 videos, many worksheets and chat room discussions.
    • The course claims to be able to increase viewers reading speed up to 320% and, at the same time, improve memory retention by over 80%.
    • The course gets a 5-star rating (out of 5) – reviewers all seem positive.
    • You can jump to the producer’s site by clicking here.

What Helped Me Increase My Reading Speed?

Here are my personal tips for you:

  • Minimize your number and duration of fixations
    • People do not read at a consistent speed. Our focus jumps along the line we are reading. It helped me a lot to become aware of this and then try to cover a larger amount of words with each jump, as well as to pursue for a smaller amount of time.
    • I benefited from a blog by Tim Ferriss available by clicking here.
  • Eliminate regression and back skipping
    • This was one of the major causes of my slow reading speed. I would read a paragraph and then worry that I hadn’t remembered enough and hence would read it again. This could happen multiple times for the same paragraph.
    • My speed increased a lot when I decided to not allow myself to re-read more than once.
    • I noticed that it was mainly anxiety causing the issue, rather than a reading problem.
  • Audio books as well as physical
    • the strategy that has helped me the most for increasing my reading speed is listening to the audio book at the same time as reading the physical book.
    • I found this a bit strange at first, but it stopped me from re-reading and from pausing as my mind would then go off on a tangent.
    • Now I mainly read without listening to the audio book, but I feel as though I can hear the voice and read at more of a consistent speed.
  • Read a book, do a course
    • Don’t do nothing – that will just mean continuing to suffer with your problem.
    • I recommend reading a book or doing a course so you can find your own way to improve and identify exactly what is slowing you down.

Conclusion

If you disagree with my recommendations of the books and course, or think that I have left a book or course out that helped you, please post your comments below my article.

Also, do you have any questions about my tips or have any tips of your own? Again, feel free to comment below.

Sarah.

So You’re An Alcoholic – Can You Be a Leader?

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Hi Everyone!

So you have another corporate function or customer lunch coming up and you dread it – you know you will drink too much. You can’t avoid alcohol, because people will think you are a freak. You have to be one of the boys or one of the girls or you won’t be promoted. But can you really be a leader when you know in your heart you are an alcoholic? How will you cope?

If this sounds like you, or someone you know, this article is important for you.

If you are a leader without an alcohol affliction, this article also is important to you, because the balance of probabilities is that you have alcoholics, or sufferers of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) in your team at work or on the sports arena.

I our article, we:

  • share the true story of an alcoholic leader and his battle with AUD (only the names are changed);
  • refer you to an article about how leaders can help alcoholics and why they should; and
  • offer some resources to help anyone impacted by AUD.

Andy’s Story – It Changed My Life!

Andy the Executive

Andy had climbed the corporate ladder. He was a senior executive in a public organization employing 40,000 people. His talents were visible to all who came in contact with him. But his personal battle was hidden.

Andy had been one of the boys, commencing his career in a sexist world dominated by men at the top. At corporate functions – especially those away from home – he was always one of the last to bed and most drunk. There were always others like him.

He loved customer lunches and the corporate hospitality box, too. Always a chance to try a new beer or wine. And always a time to be merry.

But this was killing him inside…. He knew he had a problem.

Andy’s Problem

The penny had dropped – Andy knew he was an alcoholic. One drink was too many for him, but 20 wasn’t enough.

He had convinced himself that he couldn’t be a leader if he didn’t drink:

  • Wouldn’t his peers think he was a freak?
  • How could he take a customer out to lunch and not buy a bottle of wine and have that cleansing ale afterwards?
  • And how would he be promoted if were seen to have a weakness?

Then his problem came to a head. His beautiful ever-supportive wife gave him an ultimatum – he needed to cease drinking or lose his family. Andy freaked – what would his choice be…family or career? In his heart, he knew that he chose his family. But in his head he thought his career was finished.

The Unexpected Happened

Andy went cold turkey and ceased drinking. His first customer lunch came up since he became a teetotaler. He didn’t know what he was going to say to explain why he wasn’t drinking. He discussed his fears with his wife and they agreed it was simply best that he said it was a lifestyle choice.

Andy had never felt this nervous in his whole career. Lunch came and went without a hitch – his customer said he was more than happy to drink soft drinks anyway.

Then the same happened at his second lunch. And third. And then things went further…two of his customers, on separate occasions, confided in Andy that they admired him; that they themselves felt they had drinking issues; and they were relieved to go to a lunch where there was no pressure to drink alcohol. Andy was stunned…and very encouraged!

Then the same happened at work. Some employees told him that they admired having a leader whom they could trust at corporate functions…who they could respect…and who set the right culture.

And Andy noticed something – when he used to be in that last cohort in the lift, drunk, at 4am in the morning, he had always thought that the group represented the majority. But when he went back to the hotel room now at a corporate function at 10pm, the cohort he was with formed a long queue outside the lift. Only now was he part of the majority!

Then Andy had an epiphany – he realized he was leading…Andy the alcoholic was a leader!

Andy Had a 100% Probability of Suffering AUD

Andy didn’t know this…and neither did we until we conducted our research. It turns out that alcoholism, or AUD, is a disease. It is 50% genetic and 50% environmental. Andy had been abused as a child and grown up in a family of alcoholics, so he had the genes and the environmental issues. No wonder he suffered AUD! Knowing this really helped him…he wasn’t a weak, bad person after all.

If you are interested in more research, please see our article Leadership Characteristics List – Dealing With Alcoholics.

You Are Not Alone – Famous, Successful People With AUD

Amazing People, Amazing Achievers

You are not alone…you are amazing!

My experience is that the vast majority of people coping with AUD are amazing – they are not the cliched homeless person on the street or drunks in a bar before lunchtime. I’ve had real experience with alcoholics and I can genuinely say that they typically are more can-do than most…and much more compassionate.

Be proud to know you are a silent person in the famous people demographic, too…

Ten Household Names Who Overcame AUD

There are many people I could have included, so please just treat this as a sample that is representative of the pervasiveness of successful people who became famous (for the right reasons), despite struggling with alcoholism, from varied walks of life. You can add your name!

  1. Award-winning actor, Bradley Cooper
  2. Star of the Harry Potter movies, Daniel Radcliffe
  3. Legendary singer-songwriter and Grammy Award winner, Billy Joel
  4. Multi-award winning actress, Carrie Fisher
  5. Best-selling author, Stephen King
  6. Former First Lady to US President Gerald Ford, Betty Ford
  7. Famous author, Ernest Hemingway
  8. Artist, Vincent van Gough
  9. Revered United Kingdom Prime Minister, Winston Churchill
  10. Astronaut and second person to walk on the moon, Buzz Aldrin.

Families and Friends

And I must recognize that the families and friends of AUD victims are real day to day leaders.

Books and Other Helpful Resources For You

As covered in a previous article (click here to read it), mybestchoices.org and Amazon have collaborated to provide you with recommended books at the top of this article. We ensure the recommendations are up-to-date and include books about alcoholism, books about treating alcohol use disorder, books about counseling families of alcoholics and books about research on alcohol use disorder.

We believe this is the best choice for you out of all websites we have researched…indeed, we only determined this mechanism as an unintended result of the research we conducted.

To get help, and to get an understanding about those that do, please make contact with alcohol addiction support groups. There will be one near you. Here are just a few organizations that will help you:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous – https://www.aa.org/
  • Alcohol Rehab Guide – https://www.alcoholrehabguide.org/support/
  • Rehab4Alcoholism – https://www.rehab4alcoholism.com/programme/alcohol-addiction-counseling/

Conclusion

Alcoholism is way under-reported and affects just about everyone in life one way or the other.

Many leaders are sufferers of AUD. Overcoming, or dealing with, AUD makes many people better leaders…so please remember this if ever you doubt yourself. And know that many, many successful people are alcoholics…even if they no longer drink, they still consider themselves alcoholics and are vigilant in managing themselves.

We all need support, no matter what afflictions we do or don’t have. Books can help, support organizations can help and…best of all…families, friends and work colleagues can help. Feel confident that you can thrive…and ensure you discuss any problems you have, as starting the discussion starts your road to betterness.

Have your say about this important issue – leave comments below this article and share this article!

Onward and upwards!

David

Founder, mybestchoices.org

Fun Leadership Training Activities To Do on Your Holidays

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Hi Everyone!

For many people around the world, holidays are soon approaching. What better time to do online leadership training programs, or buy and do that self help course…especially when you know it can be fun!

By doing fun leadership training activities on your holidays, you can include your family and get greater bang for buck!

So, how do you decide which course to do? That’s where we help in this article!

What Our Research Found

We don’t want to appear too negative here, as the right self development and self help courses are excellent and the Internet makes available courses that otherwise would not be available for people who are not fortunate enough to have their employer provide good self development courses.

But there are many scams, some outrageously pricey courses, dissatisfied customers, burned affiliates who pay a high price to be able to on-sell courses that turn out to be rorts and really hard sells occurring on the Internet.

And there are many vulnerable people being used, as self development is one of those personal things that genuine people decide to invest in, with all the best intentions.

There even is disagreement over the size of the self development market – we’ve read so-called experts say anything between USD5 billion to USD11 billion annually! Whatever the correct figure, two things are true – it is an enormous market and growing quickly.

Hence, we recommend only the following, as cautious as it may sound:

  1. Attend courses provided by your employer – take advantage, as you very likely will get a lot out of the courses if you attend them and take into them the right attitude. Be grateful that you are one of the lucky ones who has an employer which has assessed courses and are providing them for you.
  2. Go with who you know – some local courses are the best available…so follow leaders with whom you resonate, as well as recommendations from people whose opinions you trust.
  3. If your employer doesn’t provide courses and you are not able to go with who you know, go with what the market shows – to us, this means only undertake courses that businesses and consumers vouch for. Yes, there always will be some who have poor experiences, but they are far outweighed by the successes. So, we only vouch for two:
    1. Tony Robbins – because the business world has voted, with thousands of them investing in his programs and well-known brands giving the thumbs up to his programs (e.g. he has been honored by Accenture as one of the “Top 50 Business Intellectuals in the World”; by Harvard Business Press as one of the “Top 200 Business Gurus”; and by American Express as one of the “Top Six Business Leaders in the World” to coach its entrepreneurial clients. Fortune’s recent cover article named him the “CEO Whisperer,” and he has been named in the top 50 of Worth Magazine’s 100 most powerful people in global finance for two consecutive years); consumers have voted, with in excess of 50 million people having attended his courses (often more than once); and he has sustained his leadership role for over 40 years (currently the #1 business and life strategist in the United States). Safe bet.
    2. Brian Tracy – again because the business world has voted, with well over 1,000 of them investing in his programs and well-known brands giving the thumbs up to his programs (e.g. recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Best-Selling Authors™, he won the Harold Longman Award in 2010, and Master of Influence Award in 2011); consumers have voted, with in excess of 5 million people having attended his courses (often more than once) in over 70 countries; and he has sustained his leadership role for over 30 years. Another safe bet, in our view.

Full details are provided in our previous article, Leadership Characteristics List – Self Development…Full of Scams!

Fun Leadership Training Activities For Your Holidays

Tony RobbinsBrian Tracy

So where does that leave you?

Given it’s your holidays, the leadership training program is not going to be one provided by your employer. mybestchoices.org does not know about most local programs and therefore cannot comment on that area.

But, for people who do not know of a local program, we can help you decide what to do, in three easy steps:

  1. Get together with your family member/s or friend/s who you’d like to do training with
  2. Click on each of the following links
    1. click here for Tony Robbins (pictured first, above) courses, and
    2. click here for Brian Tracy (pictured second, above) programs
    3. …they will take you to appropriate pages on each site
  3. Explore the LEADERSHIP courses on offer – be confident that it’ll be fun, worthwhile and improve your leadership…as will your family and friends…our research has shown that, so we’re providing you with a safe bet!

Conclusion

You are likely reading this, as you are a leader who wishes to continually improve your leadership skills…but are not sure whether to do a course and, if so, which course to do.

We researched the situation and recommend three broad options – do that course your employer provides; do that course run by a local leader with a great reputation; and, for those not fortunate enough to have any of the first two options available, play it safe and stick with Tony Robbins and Brian Tracy.

We are confident that you will find their courses fun leadership training activities…and very worthwhile.

Do a course on your holiday – include people from your family and friends…for free! More fun and more value!

Have your say about leadership courses – leave comments below this article and share this article!

Onward and upwards!

David

Founder, mybestchoices.org

Leadership Characteristics List – Dealing With Alcoholics

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Hi Everyone!

You may not know it, but you fit into one of these three categories:

  1. you know you are an alcoholic leader.
  2. you know you are leading and serving alcoholics.
  3. you don’t know that you are an alcoholic leader and/or leading and serving alcoholics.

Welcome to this article, as part of our Leadership Characteristics List series (simply key Leadership Characteristics List into our search bar to find other articles in the series). We received a huge response to our articles about Helping People With Disabilities and Helping Survivors of Child Abuse…so were encouraged to tackle another social issue head on – helping those addicted to alcohol.

We have seen significant progress, albeit too slow in my opinion, regarding equal rights for women. I believe leaders have an obligation to ensure equal rights across the whole diversity spectrum – gender, race, religion, sexuality, sick and disabled, and disadvantaged. And, it turns out, alcoholism is a genetic sickness and disability.

This article outlined what disability is, the obligations we have as leaders and some interesting information you won’t have thought about regarding your employees and customers. It also recommends some books and other resources to help you.

What Is Alcoholism, or Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)?

Let’s go with some reputable sources, starting off with Wikipedia: Alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder (AUD), is a broad term for any drinking of alcohol that results in mental or physical health problems. The disorder was previously divided into two types: alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. In a medical context, alcoholism is said to exist when two or more of the following conditions are present: a person drinks large amounts over a long time period, has difficulty cutting down, acquiring and drinking alcohol takes up a great deal of time, alcohol is strongly desired, usage results in not fulfilling responsibilities, usage results in social problems, usage results in health problems, usage results in risky situations, withdrawal occurs when stopping, and alcohol tolerance has occurred with use.

You may not realize this, but within the medical and scientific communities, there is a broad consensus regarding alcoholism as a disease state. For example, the American Medical Association considers alcohol a drug and states that “drug addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite often devastating consequences. It results from a complex interplay of biological vulnerability, environmental exposure, and developmental factors (e.g., stage of brain maturity)” [Source: Volkow, Nora. “Science of Addiction”. American Medical Association.]

Current evidence indicates that in both men and women, alcoholism is 50–60 percent genetically determined, leaving 40–50 percent for environmental influences [Source: Dick, DM; Bierut, LJ (April 2006). “The genetics of alcohol dependence”. Current Psychiatry Reports. 8 (2): 151–7].

Most alcoholics develop alcoholism during adolescence or young adulthood.

Facts About Alcohol Use Disorder

Pervasiveness of People with AUD

It is likely that most readers underestimate the widespread nature of disabilities and how problematic employment prospects are for people with disabilities. For example:

  • The World Report on Disability estimated that, in 2010, there were 208 million people worldwide suffering AUD – that’s 6% of the population – and its prevalence is growing.
  • In the United States and Western Europe, 10 to 20 percent of men and 5 to 10 percent of women at some point in their lives will meet criteria for alcoholism.
  • 37% of college students in the US meet the medical criteria for alcoholics.
  • About 12% of American adults have had an alcohol dependence problem at some time in their life.
  • According to the US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in 2015 15.1 million adults ages 18 and older (6.2 percent of this age group) had AUD…and
  • …an estimated 623,000 adolescents ages 12–17 (2.5 percent of this age group) had AUD.
  • AUD causes significant mortality – for example, alcoholism often reduces a person’s life expectancy by around ten years. The most common cause of death in alcoholics is from cardiovascular complications.
  • There is a high rate of suicide in chronic alcoholics, which increases the longer a person drinks. Approximately 3–15 percent of alcoholics commit suicide,and research has found that over 50 percent of all suicides are associated with alcohol or drug dependence.

Workplace Disadvantages

Alcoholics are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to finding and keeping employment. The extent is hidden, given that adult survivors are significantly more likely than others to suffer debilitating illnesses such as:

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – including flashbacks, hyper-vigilance and intrusive thoughts.
  • Anxiety disorders, panic disorders, phobias, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) – often associated with PTSD.
  • Depression – the most commonly reported symptom of AUD.
  • Interpersonal issues – often adopting an avoidant style (includes low interdependency, self-disclosure and warmth, leading to few interpersonal ties); or an intrusive style (includes extremely high needs for closeness, excessive self-disclosure and being smotheringly warm). The first style is codependent and the second overly demanding and controlling. Both styles result in loneliness and lack of work role promotions.

Research shows that alcoholics find it harder to obtain, and keep, jobs.

Our simple message is – know that you have, and are hiring, people suffering AUD. People with AUD have other disabilities – especially mental health disabilities – so implement visions, strategies, systems, processes and training that cover disabilities…and you will automatically help people with AUD.

Revelation For Business Leaders

The revelation is that it is highly likely some of your staff – people – are alcoholics.

Think about it. If research shows 10-20% of adults will suffer alcoholism, you can assume that you only need 5-10 employees to be likely of having a person suffering AUD on your staff.

And, when you hire graduates, we see that 37% of them have been categorized as AUD sufferers – that’s one in every three you hire.

So you have an obligation to meet their needs, just as you have an obligation to meet the needs of men, women, different races, religions, sexual disposition, the disabled and disadvantaged.

Leadership is about inclusiveness and diversity – from a humane perspective and from a hard-nosed business view.

Role of the Board and Executive

Leaders at Board and Executive levels need to set the noble cause and values of the organization…and live them by example. This not only means communicate, communicate, communicate (the second longest tenure Prime Minister of Australia once said he had to talk publicly about a policy 150 times before the message got across)…but to be seen authentically living those values.

Equality for women and people with disabilities is visible – you can see a women and, most times, a person with a disability. But AUD sufferers are invisible. But you need to lead AUD sufferers and accommodate their needs. Make it visible. As part of your good corporate citizen branding, support a not-for-profit organization that helps AUD sufferers…and make it public.

Do not accept people getting drunk at that free-booze corporate event – have a chat with them to check they are OK and, without scaring them, mention the anonymous support your organization provides.

Getting drunk is not normal – it’s a sign of AUD.

Role of the Hiring Manager

This one is often missed – no matter what the nobel purpose and values are, if the hiring managers do not realize they can be unknowingly hiring people with AUD, then no gains are made. For example, my experience is that this area is the biggest problem – yes, there is discrimination, but a larger emerging problem is that the hiring manager actually feels for disabled people and does not feel prepared to know what to do should there be any need to support the person’s disabilities if something goes wrong.

The Business Unit and Human Resources have a big role to play in ensuring hiring managers are fully educated and supported…and to ensure that there are anonymous employee assistance programs well promoted so that sufferers of AUD can get help without fear of reprisal.

Role of Employees

The main role here is for employees to genuinely embrace people with AUD – as Stephen Covey famously states in his The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: “seek first to understand before you seek to be understood”.

When you see someone drink too much – ask them if they are OK. Let them know you will help…even if that is simply referring them to available support resources. Drinking too much is not normal – it’s not harmless “being one of the boys or one of the girls”. It’s a sign of AUD.

You Serve Customers With Alcohol Use Disorder

Too many people forget that people with alcoholics represent a large customer base – 6% of the world’s population! It reminds me of the narrow-mindedness of the equality for women debate…85% of household purchases are made by women!

And, of course, when you sub-segment your markets, the incidence of AUD is more than double this in the adult population segment and over six times this figure for customers attending college.

They’ll applaud and reward organizations that acknowledge the AUD problems and support AUD not-for-profits.

Famous and Successful People With Alcohol Use Disorder

Amazing People, Amazing Achievers

In general, people coping with AUD are amazing – they are not the cliched hobo on the street (they are poor and extreme examples of AUD). I have had real experience with alcoholics and I can genuinely say that they typically are more can-do than most…and more compassionate.

And that’s the experience in the famous people demographic, too…

Ten Household Names Who Overcame AUD

There are many people I could have included, so please just treat this as a sample that is representative of the pervasiveness of famous people who became famous (for the right reasons), despite struggling with alcoholism, from varied walks of life.

  1. Award-winning actor, Bradley Cooper
  2. Star of the Harry Potter movies, Daniel Radcliffe
  3. Legendary singer-songwriter and Grammy Award winner, Billy Joel
  4. Multi-award winning actress, Carrie Fisher
  5. Best-selling author, Stephen King
  6. Former First Lady to US President Gerald Ford, Betty Ford
  7. Famous author, Ernest Hemingway
  8. Artist, Vincent van Gough
  9. Revered United Kingdom Prime Minister, Winston Churchill
  10. Astronaut and second person to walk on the moon, Buzz Aldrin.

Families and Friends

And I must recognize that people with AUD plus their families and friends are real day to day leaders.

Pay It Back and Forward

Every successful leader had a lot of help along the way and, oftentimes, a lot of luck and opportunities that the disabled and disadvantaged just won’t get.

If you are one of these people, you may wish to consider adopting the philosophy one of my mentors, who was a successful partner in a well-known legal firm – “I give back by volunteering my time in three areas: mentoring emerging business leaders; being on Boards of not-for-profit organizations serving the disabled and disadvantaged; and being on the Board of a sporting organization. So, emerging leaders, not-for-profits and sport“.

So, consider volunteering at an organization that provides support to alcoholics and families of those suffering from alcoholic use disorder.

Books and Other Helpful Resources for You

As covered in a previous article (click here to read it), mybestchoices.org and Amazon have collaborated to provide you with recommended books at the top of this article. We ensure the recommendations are up-to-date and include books about alcoholism, books about treating alcohol use disorder, books about counseling families of alcoholics and books about research on alcohol use disorder.

We believe this is the best choice for you out of all websites we have researched…indeed, we only determined this mechanism as an unintended result of the research we conducted.

To get help, and to get an understanding about those that do, please make contact with alcohol addiction support groups. There will be one near you. Here are just a few organizations that will help you:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous – https://www.aa.org/
  • Alcohol Rehab Guide – https://www.alcoholrehabguide.org/support/
  • Rehab4Alcoholism – https://www.rehab4alcoholism.com/programme/alcohol-addiction-counseling/

Conclusion

Alcoholism is a very important topic – one that requires leaders to continually address. It is the right thing to do about people, and there are clear business benefits.

You are surrounded by people suffering alcohol abuse disorder, whether you know it or not. Reading about it well help you address such an impactful social issue…and knowing about support organizations to refer anyone you suspect of having AUD will ensure you can help in specific situations.

Have your say – leave comments below this article and share this article!

Onward and upwards!

David

Founder, mybestchoices.org

Amazon Books Sale – Leadership: Books to Read at Christmas

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Hi Everyone!

Well, Christmas is fast approaching, so it’s time to gear up and work out the best leadership books to buy for you and your loved ones…as well as which leadership books to read while you have some down time over the holidays!

And, with Amazon having a 12 Days of Deals sale, it’s the right time to shop for those books and, while you are there online, some 8 million other products.

But, before you do, how do you decide which books to buy and which books to read?

Bad News – Scams and Dishonesty Re Recommended Books

Scam 1 – Dishonest and Problematic Sites

Previously, as part of our research into the best leadership books on various topics, we expected to find solid recommendations based on salient rationale. To our surprise, mybestchoices.org exposed that most online sites recommending books to read are problematic at best – even the highest ranking sites.

This was first uncovered in our article available by clicking here.

Additional specific examples are in our articles about the best leadership books on social media marketing, sales and leadership development.

But the good news is that, as a result, mybestchoices.org now provides a list of books that you can rely on, as covered in our articles.

Scam 2

We also alerted readers about a free online book scam in our article available by clicking here.

Good News – You Benefit From Sound Recommendations of Best Leadership Books About Anything AND Amazon Books Sale!

Not only do you get worthwhile recommendations of the best books to read, you also always get the best price available from Amazon…on the books and over 8 million products sold online by Amazon!

Whenever there is an Amazon Books Sale, the sale price is automatically in the links above our articles! And, once you’ve clicked on a book title, you can buy any of Amazon’s 8 million products while you are on Amazon’s site!

Click here to be taken to a list of all our articles, recommending books about various leadership topics. This will help you choose the best choices of leadership books for you and enable you to buy from Amazon.

Conclusion

Leaders are readers…and they take pride in developing others.

They also are smart with money.

With Christmas fast approaching, it’s a great time to decide which leadership books about anything that you want to buy for you and others…and which books to read on your holidays.

We ave provided you with an excellent combination of recommended books at “always sale” prices! And our list of recommendations for you – available by clicking here.

Have your say – leave comments below this article and share it!

Onward and upwards!

David

Founder, mybestchoices.org

Best Leadership Books For You

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Hi Everyone!

To make it easy for you, here is your list of previous articles recommending the best leadership books about various topics we believe all leaders and aspiring leaders are interested in (click on the subject areas and we will take you to that article – recommended books are at the top of each article – simply click on any book you’d like to review and you will be taken to Amazon, where you can read full details, customer reviews and buy from Amazon):

Conclusion

Leadership is a very important topic – one with many characteristics. It’s also an ongoing journey.

Leaders are readers.

We’d love you to share experiences about leadership and books and courses that have helped you – have your say and leave comments below this article and share this post!

Onward and upwards!

David

Founder, mybestchoices.org

Leadership and International Day of People with Disability for 2018

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Hi Everyone!

What better day than to post an article regarding leadership and disabilities!

We have seen significant progress, albeit too slow in my opinion, regarding equal rights for women. I believe that leaders have an obligation to ensure equal rights across the whole diversity spectrum – gender, race, religion, sexuality, disabled and disadvantaged.

This article focuses on disability leadership – how to help people with disabilities…with a little section from me on coping with disabilities.

Facts About Disabilities

Pervasiveness of People with Disabilities

It is likely that most readers underestimate the widespread nature of disabilities and how problematic employment prospects are for people with disabilities. For example:

  • The World Report on Disability states that 1 billion people worldwide – or 15% of the population – are disabled…and its prevalence is growing.
  • In June 2018, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that only 18% of people with a disability were employed, compared to 65.7% of people without a disability.
  • The incidence is further accelerated by the aging population. Australia is often utilized as a pilot market, given it represents a pretty good microcosm of the global populace – the Australian Network on Disability reports that the likelihood of living with disability increases with age. Two in five people with disability are 65 years or older.

Amazing People, Amazing Achievers

In general, people with a disability are amazing. Personally, I will never forget the first time I met with the CEO of a Not-for-Profit who took me on a tour of one location – I saw disabled people performing real jobs in the packaging, furniture, car detailing and property and garden maintenance, successfully competing on a commercial basis with icon companies. It was the most amazing business experience I have ever had.

A great example of the spirit of the disabled is the Invictus Games – founded by the UK’s Prince Harry – the Olympic Games equivalent for people becoming disabled as a result of their service in the Defense Forces of 18 nations.

My experience is that disabled people are more can-do than those without a disability…and more compassionate.

Employing People With Disabilities

Leadership is about inclusiveness and diversity – from a humane perspective and from a hard-nosed business view.

Role of the Board and Executive

Leaders at Board and Executive levels need to set the nobel cause and values of the organization…and live them by example. This not only means communicate, communicate, communicate (the second longest tenure Prime Minister of Australia once said he had to talk publicly about a policy 150 times before the message got across)…but to be seen authentically living those values.

Role of the Hiring Manager

This one is often missed – no matter what the noble purpose and values are, if the hiring managers do not hire people with disabilities, than no gains are made. My experience is that this area is the biggest problem – yes, there is discrimination, but a larger emerging problem is that the hiring manager actually feels for disabled people and does not feel prepared to know what to do should there be any need to support the person’s disabilities if something goes wrong.

The Business Unit and Human Resources have a big role to play in ensuring hiring managers are fully educated and supported.

Role of Employees

The main role here is for employees to genuinely embrace people with disabilities – as Stephen Covey famously states in his The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: “seek first to understand before you seek to be understood”.

Serving Customers With Disabilities

Too many people don’t even think that people with disabilities represent a large customer base – 15% of the world’s population! It reminds me of the narrow-mindedness of the equality for women debate…85% of household purchases are made by women!

Consumers with a disability is an extremely important market and should be addressed with high priority. Today it is not – for example, the Australian Network on Disability report highlights that:

  • People with a disability are three times as likely to avoid an organization and twice as likely to dissuade others because of an organization’s negative diversity reputation.
  • 36% of people with a disability are often treated less favorably than customers without a disability.
  • 28% of the disabled have experienced discrimination by one or more organizations they’ve recently interacted with.

Engaging People With Disabilities In Everyday Life

Wikihow has published an excellent article, How to Help Those Who Have a Disability. I found it very useful and respectful and would encourage people with an interest in this area to have a read – it won’t take long.

Leaders With Disabilities

I include this section, as it is inspiring and reflects what I covered earlier about people with disabilities generally being amazing people who are high achievers.

Physically Disabled World Leaders and Politicians

Disabled World lists 86 politicians and world leaders across 30 countries who were holding office in 2015 or had held office previously while having a significant physical disability. This by no means is an exhaustive list.

Ten Household Names Who Overcame Disabilities

There are many people I could have included, so please just treat this as a sample that is representative of the pervasiveness of famous people who became famous (for the right reasons), despite disadvantaged and disabled, from varied walks of life.

  1. Genius and Nobel Prize winner, Stephen Hawking
  2. Academy Award-winning actress, Marlee Matlin
  3. Legendary singer-songwriter and Grammy Award winner, Stevie Wonder
  4. Multi-award winning singer, writer, musician and producer, Andrea Boccelli
  5. Hollywood and Canada Walk of Famer, actor and Parkinson Disease advocate, Michael J Fox
  6. Lecturer and activist, Helen Keller
  7. Painter, Vincent Van Gough
  8. Perhaps the most famous of all composers, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  9. Bollywood legend and amputee, Sudha Chandran
  10. US President, Franklin D Roosevelt.

Families and Friends

And I must recognize that people with disabilities plus their families and friends are real day to day leaders.

Pay It Back and Forward

Every successful leader had a lot of help along the way and, oftentimes, a lot of luck and opportunities that the disabled and disadvantaged just won’t get.

If you are one of these people, you may wish to consider adopting the philosophy one of my mentors, who was a successful partner in a well-known legal firm – “I give back by volunteering my time in three areas: mentoring emerging business leaders; being on Boards of not-for-profit organizations serving the disabled and disadvantaged; and being on the Board of a sporting organization. So, emerging leaders, not-for-profits and sport“.

Coping With Disabilities – My Personal Battle

I don’t intend to write a lot here. Suffice to say that helping people with a disability is very close to home:

  • one of my daughters was struck down with a brain tumor at age 6 and it appeared she likely would be in a wheelchair with involuntary movement of one of her arms, assuming a safe operation to remove the tumor;
  • my family and I were a host family providing respite to a family with a teenage boy with intellectual disabilities
  • I regularly have been on Boards of Not-for-Profit organizations for those who are disabled and disadvantaged
  • and I was struck down with disabilities that forced me out of the workplace for 4.5 of the last 5 years.

I am pleased to say that my daughter had a miraculous recovery, in terms of being fully mobile with normal movement. However, as an aftermath of her brain surgery at age 6, she suddenly became epileptic at age 12. And I recovered and am back in the workforce, running my own businesses.

But I must say that dealing with disabilities – from all perspectives – really is a battle and, unfortunately, there still exists much discrimination in the workforce and community.

I deeply appreciate anyone who advocates for people like us.

Best Leadership Books on Disabilities – What Do We Recommend…and Why?

So, how does mybestchoices.org overcome the issues we uncovered in other major sites making book recommendations (see details here)?

The simple answer is we ask the industry leader – and that’s Amazon. More precisely, Amazon and we collaborate to bring you a combined view, based on our articles and Amazon’s experiences of books that help in the areas covered by our articles….in this case, disabilities.

So, above our article, there are joint recommendations – updated in real time – covering books available at Amazon regarding the best leadership books about disabilities, books on leading not-for-profits, books about disability management, books about empowering teenagers with disabilities and books about leadership.

We believe this is the best choice for you out of all websites we have researched…indeed, we only determined this mechanism as an unintended result of the research we conducted.

Conclusion

People with disabilities are just that – people. We, as leaders, are obligated to advocate for them and accommodate them. That is a human obligation. Oh, and from a hard-nosed business perspective, it makes sense, too.

As always, leaders are readers. read a book, even buy a book, about disabilities. get involved ina community group. You can do it!

And have your say – consider posting a comment at the end of this article and sharing this article. Many thanks!

Onward and upwards!

David

Founder, mybestchoices.org

Emotional Intelligence – Why “EQ or IQ” is Nonsense!

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Hi Everyone!

Why are people still fussing about Emotional Intelligence and whether EQ is better than IQ? Is this still valid? Was it ever valid? What is the appropriate leadership position to take? What do scientists say?

Why have you been attracted to the debate? Most probably, you have been attracted to the debate, due to your desire to become a better leader… a nobel cause in itself. We certainly have our point of view and invite you to read on…

What’s the EQ or IQ Debate About?

Definitions of IQ and EQ

Before we can understand the debate, we have to understand what is being debated. While there are some different definitions, we suggest two sources of definitions:

  • Wikipedia, because it is the encyclopedia we all rely upon; and
  • Daniel Goleman, because he sparked the debate in his seminal “What Makes a Leader” paper originally published in 1996. Harvard Business Review (HBR) promoted it with gusto…and still does (for example, in HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Leadership, the first must-read article is Goleman’s 1996 paper). HBR equals credibility in many minds! But maybe not always justified…

IQ, or Intelligence Quotient is defined by:

  • Wikipedia – “An intelligence quotient (IQ) is a total score derived from several standardized tests designed to assess human intelligence. The abbreviation “IQ” was coined by the psychologist William Stern for the German term Intelligenzquotient, his term for a scoring method for intelligence tests at University of Breslau he advocated in a 1912 book.[1] Historically, IQ is a score obtained by dividing a person’s mental age score, obtained by administering an intelligence test, by the person’s chronological age, both expressed in terms of years and months. The resulting fraction is multiplied by 100 to obtain the IQ score.”
  • Goleman – well, he doesn’t define IQ, but groups together “purely technical skills like accounting and business planning” and “cognitive abilities like analytical reasoning” as the IQ side of the IQ versus EQ equation. Hmm…not too robust.

Emotional Intelligence is defined by:

  • Wikipedia Emotional intelligence (EI), Emotional leadership (EL), Emotional quotient (EQ) and Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EIQ),[1] is the capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one’s goal(s).[2]
  • Goleman – a group of five skills: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skill.

The Idea Behind EQ or IQ Debate

Goleman’s proposition – which is the proposition behind the trend (some may now say fad) – is that it’s EI that distinguishes great leaders from merely good ones. He actually takes it further and professes that technical skills or IQ do not distinguish great from good leaders. Also, while IQ is innate and genetic and cannot be developed, EQ skills can be…through “persistence, practice, and feedback from colleagues or coaches”.

Goleman’s viewpoint is that he analyzed competency models of 188 organizations and found:

  • when senior managers in one organization had a “critical mass of EI capabilities”, their units outperformed yearly earnings by 20%;
  • EI was twice as important as technical skills and IQ at all levels of jobs; and
  • EI played an increasingly important role at the highest executive levels where “technical skills are of negligible importance”.

And The Verdict Is…

FIRSTLY, people have been having the wrong debate – leaders need to continually develop IQ and EQ.

The real debate should be about how leaders foster both IQ and EQ.

SECONDLY, it is nonsense that IQ (technical and cognitive abilities, in Goleman’s model) cannot be developed. We now know beyond a doubt that the brain is plastic – new neuron connections can be made and old ones replaced at any age.

THIRDLY, it is nonsense that “technical skills are of negligible importance” at the highest executive levels. Think of Google’s founders Luke Page and Sergey Brin. Think Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Think Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. They changed the world through the Internet, through their technical skills and vision…and after Goleman did his research!

FOURTHLY, the whole foundation of the EI debate has been questioned by the scientific community. Yes, weird but true! A simple check on Wikipedia shows “Studies have shown that people with high EI have greater mental health, job performance, and leadership skills although no causal relationships have been shown and such findings are likely to be attributable to general intelligence and specific personality traits rather than emotional intelligence as a construct. For example, Goleman indicated that EI accounted for 67% of the abilities deemed necessary for superior performance in leaders, and mattered twice as much as technical expertise or IQ.[12] Other research finds that the effect of EI on leadership and managerial performance is non-significant when ability and personality are controlled for,[13] and that general intelligence correlates very closely with leadership.[14]“.

In passing, we highlight that, during the 20+ year period of this debate, “luminaries” espoused the virtues of focusing on our strengths and de-focus on weaknesses. That, too, is an old concept! The world today will not accept it.

A great case in point is Apple – yes, it focused on its strengths to recover from its second near death experience to at one time be the most valuable company in the world, based on market capitalization. Yet, what happened when a weakness occurred – back in 2010 when the Apple iPhone 4 was introduced and had antenna issues? The stock price dropped 8% in the weeks that followed – that represented USD19.1 billion of shareholder value wiped off the company – and its head of hardware, Mark Papermaster, fell on his sword (see NY Times article).

Introducing AQ – “And Intelligence”

I have perpetually heard the or debate within organizations for all of my 30-year career – “is it more important to focus on the customer or our people?”. “Should we go for market share or profit?”. And the debate since the 1990s around “should we focus on EQ or IQ”. People assume one is always better than the other, hence it should get our focus.

And many trends in reality are marketing fads!

It’s always this or that…when it should be this and that!

Focusing on or shows the wrong mindset. Why? Because the word “or” shows limited, binary thinking. The answers is that your customers and your people are the most important…you need market share and profit are needed and you need to focus on EQ and IQ.

The most successful people and businesses find the “and”, not the “or”. I call it “the and factor”. “Or” is constrained. “And” is unconstrained and expansive.

I genuinely believe the two most important words are “and” and “love”. We have covered the word and. Love also is unconstrained and expansive. It also is compassionate, inclusive, peaceful and harmonious…and if it were front of mind all the time, we would have far fewer problems in the world and personally.

So, let’s hop on the trendy bandwagon and say we have introduced AQ, or “And Intelligence”! It covers people who focus on and love! No science needed…just everyday evidence in business and life. And you read it here first!

Fad or trend? It doesn’t matter!

Seriously, the 5 personal attributes that Goleman attributes to EI are important people skills. They should be developed and are a necessary part of leadership. But so are the technical skills and IQ aspects that he threw out.

Best Leadership Books about EQ and IQ – What We Recommend and Why

In the past, we conducted research to find sound recommendations for the best leadership books about various topics. Surprisingly, most sites were deceitful – see The Best Leadership Books About…Anything! Website Trust Check.

The approach we take is explained in the same article. Suffice to say, all the books above our post are suggested by Amazon and mybestchoices.org as relevant, up-to-date and justifiable suggestions for books available from Amazon about leadership and emotional intelligence, books about intelligence, books about leadership in business, books about coaching, books about leading people and books about self development.

Additionally, the banners about leadership courses from Tony Robbins and Brian Tracy International are relevant to our topic.

Simply click on any of them and you will be taken to the respective sites. You can view the items, see customer reviews of them and even buy them or other items you explore…you will be buying at no extra cost and buying from those suppliers.

We recommend you read HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Leadership – you need to know the foundation of this debate and Goleman’s article contains attributes of leaders that are required…it’s just that IQ and technical attributes are needed, too!

Other Helpful Resources For You

We previously wrote articles that will help you know and understand people in general and touch on our concept of AQ:

All these articles should help you develop your own people leadership skills.

Conclusion

The concept of Emotional Intelligence took hold like a grass fire. It did raise some necessary attributes of a manager. However, too many people approached it with the wrong mindset – a binary, constrictive “this or that” point of view.

Leaders were encouraged to focus on EQ at the expense of IQ, yet both are needed. If there’s a debate to be had, it should be about how we develop IQ and EQ. And they were taught that technical skills were not of use at senior executive levels, which has been conclusively proven to be fallacious.

We presented a new concept that leaders today need to have AQ – combining IQ and EQ, as well as an expansive mindset.

Your call to action is to read about the topic and that may mean you buy a new book or two. No doubt, you will be exposed to the debate…so be prepared!

Also, have your say and leave comments below this article and/or share this article!

Onward and upwards!

David

Founder, mybestchoices.org

Leadership Characteristics List – Young Manager Managing Ex Senior Executive Manager!

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Hi Everyone!

Welcome to another article in our Leadership Characteristics List* series – this time you are a young or new manager and you find yourself with an older, seasoned ex senior executive manager in your team. What do you do?

That’s exactly what we’ll discuss…followed by some recommended reading…and concluded with some additional resources to help you.

(* You can search all our articles in this series by keying Leadership Characteristics List in our search bar.)

How Do You Manage That Ex Senior Executive Manager?

So, you have heard…and maybe even say…”our people are our greatest asset”. But do you live this? Many don’t – they don’t even know if their people really are an asset!

Here are three simple, yet profound questions for you…and they probably are going to be the three most important actions you take this year to propel your career and leadership:

  1. Who are your people? – this might sound silly, but many organizations don’t know.
    • Acid test – walk around some of your locations and ask your managers and team leaders to give you a personal run down of each of the people in their function or team. Be prepared for stutters, pregnant pauses and wild guesses…
    • Oh, and can you answer this question about the people who report directly to you? There’s a key action for you!
  2. What are the “top three” areas of help your people say they need to be successful in their roles? – the thing is, your people know what is needed for your business to succeed. Arm them with this help and your business will flourish. Unwanted attrition will fall markedly.
  3. Would they recommend working in your organization to their family and friends? – this will tell you if your people are your asset.

So, what has this got to do about managing that ex senior executive manager who is way older than you? Everything! You must know, and continuously review, answers to these questions to be a successful leader…no matter what age your direct reports are and no matter what experience they have.

In addition…and this is probably more what you were expecting…specific items you can do with your ex senior executive:

  1. Have her upwards mentor you – this person has more experience than you. Ride on her back…and watch her self-esteem grow and loyalty to you grow with it. For example, a very new Internet generation survey that is conducted to ask customer the very key, ultimate question “would they recommend your products to others?” was invented by Fred Reichheld…and he was born in 1952!
  2. Downward mentor him – he will be scared of certain things…technology is one! Did you know that in November 2018, thousands of students in Australia went on strike to bring the focus of climate change to older politicians…and this movement, called Strike 4 Climate Action, was initiated by a 14-year-old girl!
  3. Give them extra responsibilities – especially in areas where you know they more expertise than you and he would like to stretch himself. Again, watch results and loyalty rise!

What we are saying is know your people’s strengths and allow them to play to them.

Best Leadership Books on Managing People – What We Recommend and Why

Previously, some research we conducted ended up exposing that most online sites recommending books to read are problematic at best..scammers and dishonest at worst. Even most of the highest ranking sites (that is, the ones that come up early in Google, Bing and Yahoo searches)!

You can read more about this epidemic by clicking on the following article – The Best Leadership Books About…Anything! Website Trust Check.

We turned this unintended bad news into intended good news – we now provide a list of books that we believe is as good as any you will find….and, at the risk of sounding less than humble, far better than most.

So, what do we do about recommending the best leadership books about managing that ex senior executive manager?

The simple answer is we ask the industry leader – we ask Amazon. mybestchoices.org and Amazon collaborate to bring you a combined view, based on this article and Amazon’s experiences of books that help in this area.

Most sites recommending books give a static view – a view at a point in time – so you may be viewing recommendation made years ago and the world may have moved on, making some recommendations redundant.

We provide you with a continuously up-to-date and relevant view, so you can make the best choices for you. How?

  1. Amazon views this article each time you click on it.
  2. Based on their statistics and ratings of relevant books, Amazon composes a list of the best leadership books about the first-time manager, books about managing people, books about leading the unleadable and books on coaching.
  3. Amazon posts its recommendations above our article.

Simply by clicking on an item at the top of our article you can view a summary of the book, its rating out of 5 stars, read thousands of customer reviews about the book and buy from Amazon while you are on Amazon’s site.

We believe this is the best choice for you.

Other Helpful Resources For You

We previously wrote articles that will help you know and understand people – here are some that will help you:

All these articles should help you develop your own know your people…from the graduate and non-graduate new-starters…right through to that senior executive manager with years more experience than you!

Conclusion

No organization exists without people. People truly are your best asset and this should be like a holy gospel that is lived and breathed by you…not just spoken about.

But remember that all people are just that…People. Get to know them as people, help them at a deep level and you will enjoy more success, as they will create that success for you more than you can do by yourself.

There are what mybestchoices.org, with Amazon, consider as best leadership books about managing people for you to consider in order to improve your overall leadership. mybestchoices.org has provided a list of books that is probably as good as any you will find, along with some articles we believe will help you.

We’d love you to share experiences about managing that senior executive…and people in general – have your say and leave comments below this article and/or share this article!

Onward and upwards!

David

Founder, mybestchoices.org

Leadership Characteristics List – An Elite Swimmer’s Tale

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Hi Everyone!

Welcome to another article in our Leadership Characteristics List series – the rest of the series can be found by typing Leadership Characteristics List into our search box.

In this article we will discuss the real life story of an elite swimmer, because it changed my life and had a profound impact on my views of leadership – I believe the story can do the same for you.

As usual, after the article you are provided with recommendations for the best books on leadership and parenting (you will see why)…based on some real rationale. And then we finish with some other resources to help you.

Please sit back, read and enjoy our article!

Personal Experience That Changed My Life – Elite Swimmer’s Tale!

I was fortunate to find myself on a leadership course run by a global organization that utilized the parallels of leadership in sport and in business to get its messages across. Every consultant had been an elite athlete, coach or in an associated role, such as sports psychologist or scientist.

Our consultant – let’s call him Vince – was a strapping man in his thirties. He had been an elite swimmer and had a profound story to tell…

He started swimming at a relatively late age – about 17 – and quickly became one of the best 100 meters and 50 meters swimmers in his country. Every four years, like the Olympics, his country, along with over 70 other nations, competed in the Commonwealth Games. In his second year of swimming, he just missed out on selection for his country and vowed to make the team for the next Games.

At the national titles for that next Commonwealth Games, Vince was ranked #1 in both his events and, so long as he finished in the top 4 and maintained his event times, he would make the national team. The national titles were in a different state to his home town and he traveled over 4 hours by plane to be in this destination. The tyranny of distance and costs prevented his parents from being able to attend, but they had saved and budgeted instead to travel to the Commonwealth Games, assuming Vince made the team.

On the second last day of the titles, the final of the 100-meter swim was on. Vince had qualified first fastest, as expected. He nervously took up his position on th the starting blocks and made an excellent start to the race upon the sound of the starter’s gun.

At the 90-meter mark, six of the eight swimmers were level – this was shown to us by way of an aerial photograph with a line drawn along th the tips of the six swimmer’s fingers. This was typical – it was in the last 10 meters that Vince normally surged to the lead and finished first.

But not this time! For some unexplained reason, Vince felt he had no oxygen and just didn’t have the energy for his final surge. He came sixth. That meant he wasn’t in the team for the 100-meter event.

He broke down in tears and called his father, who was in his home town waiting for a good news phone call. But he received the bad news. His advice to Vince was to put it behind him and focus on tomorrow’s event, namely the 50-meter freestyle – Vince’s flagship event.

The next day came. Vince again nervously approached the starting block. Bang went the starter’s whistle. Off Vince went with another great start. At the 40-meter mark, again six swimmers were in a tie – again the aerial photograph showed us this. And again Vince failed to have his normal fast finish…coming sixth and missing out on the national team completely now.

Again, Vince was in tears – four years of hard training, dreaming and sacrifices had come to nothing! Vince felt like he was being sucked into a sinkhole…and felt the loneliest person on the planet. He dreaded making th the phone call to his parents…

but he didn’t have to! To his surprise, he brought his hands down from his teary eyes to see his father, who was supposed to be back home, walking towards him. Vince said “You’re supposed to be home? What are you doing here and how did you get here overnight?”

To which his father replied “No son of mine was going to face this moment on his own”.

Is there a chill going up your spine…it happened to me again while typing!

The father’s act was a true act of leadership. That’s the point of this true story.

So, what had happened? It turned out that Vince was experiencing the beginnings of a tragic, debilitating cancer…and this is why he just couldn’t get the oxygen and energy to finish both races the way he normally would have done.

Happily, he recovered from his cancer…and was able to trial again for the national team four year’s later.

Unfortunately, he didn’t make the…but the mere fact he overcame his cancer in such a short time and then made it back to that elite level is worthy of a platinum medal.

Best Books on Sports and Business Leadership, and Parenting- What We Recommend…and Why

Previously as part of our research into the best leadership books on various topics, we expected to find solid recommendations based on salient rationale. To our surprise, mybestchoices.org exposed that most online sites recommending books to read are dishonest at best.

Specific examples elaborating on this include our articles about the best leadership books on social media, marketing, sales and leadership development.

While our research led to unintended bad news…it led to us creating some good new for you – mybestchoices.org now provides a list of books that we believe is as good as any you will find….and, at the risk of sounding less than humble, far better than most.

So, how does mybestchoices.org overcome the issues we uncovered and provide you with the best choices for you?

The simple answer is we ask the industry leader – we ask Amazon. More precisely, mybestchoices.org and Amazon collaborate to bring you a combined view, based on our articles and Amazon’s live, real-time analysis of books that help in the areas covered by our articles.

Most sites recommending books give a static view – a view at a point in time – so you may be viewing recommendation made many years ago and the world may have moved on, making many recommendations redundant.

But we provide you with an up-to-date and relevant view, so you can make the best choices for you. How?

  1. Amazon views each of our articles on an ongoing basis.
  2. Based on Amazon statistics (especially current trend best-sellers) and Amazon ratings of relevant books…in this article’s case, Amazon pulls together a list of books on leadership, books about leadership in business, books about leadership in sport and books, books about the parallels of leadership in sport and business, and books on parenting (and, where relevant, other products and services it provides).
  3. Amazon then includes its recommendations above our article.

We then take things a step further to help those of you who wish to explore the recommendations more and even buy from Amazon at no extra cost than going to Amazon instead of through our site. Simply by clicking on an item at the top of our article, as suggested by Amazon, you can:

  1. view a full, up-to-date summary of the book.
  2. see the book’s rating as part of a 5 star rating system.
  3. read real customer reviews of the books (typically in the thousands).
  4. buy from Amazon at no extra cost.

We believe this is the best choice for you out of all websites we have researched…indeed, we only determined this mechanism as an unintended result of the research we conducted for you.

Other Helpful Resources For You

If you liked this article, you probably will like:

All these articles should help you develop your own leadership.

Conclusion

We all have personal stories that change our life. Some of these are about leadership and sharing them is one of the best things we can do to help each other and the world.

Also, leaders are readers and mybestchoices.org, with Amazon, provide an always-up-to-date suggestion on some of the best leadership books available for you to consider reading. This list of books that is probably as good as any you will find, along with some articles we believe will help you.

We’d love you to share experiences about customers – so, have your say and leave comments below this article…and consider forwarding it on to others (simply click on your favorite social media icon below this article)!

Onward and upwards!

David

Founder, mybestchoices.org