A review of the books I read (listened to) first quarter of 2017


The 12 Week Year

My Rating:

This was an ok book that really just reminded me of the importance of breaking down a plan into small, manageable parts and then executing on that plan. I think you this is something you struggle with, this book may be great for you to check out. The whole, “get a year’s worth of stuff done in 12 weeks” is a little over hyped, but all in all, this wasn’t a bad productivity book.

great game of businessThe Great Game of Business

My Rating:

This book was good and written by authors that really know business. I really liked what they had to say about transparency and how they treat their employees. As Sideways8 grows I might revisit this book and implement more of what it advocates, but the first time through was encouraging and worth the read.


My Rating:

I know, I’m behind on reading this book and could have just watched the movie, but I loved it all the same. I’m not a huge baseball fan but didn’t need to be to enjoy this book. It was really well written and encouraged me to think way outside the box. I love how this book details a completely different way of thinking about baseball and how successful it was. It encouraged me to look at everything with a new lens.

born a crime

Born a Crime

My Rating:

I think everyone should read this book. Trevor Noah is a fantastic story teller and weaves a fascinating story about his life that is both entertaining and moving. This book helped me to view race and racism in a different light and helped me to better understand the point of view of others. The best quote in this book is fantastic:

I had a natural talent for selling to people, but without knowledge and resources where was that going to get me? People always lecture the poor, “Take responsibility for yourself, make something of yourself.” But with what raw materials are the poor to make something of themselves? People love to say, “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” What they don’t say is, “…and it would be nice if you gave him a fishing rod.” That’s the part of the analogy that’s missing.

5 dysfunctionsThe Five Dysfunctions of a Team

My Rating:

If you lead a team, read this book. It is entertaining, interesting and very informative. It is a business fable, so the book is told as a story that is engaging and helps you to see the inside of a dysfunctional team. It reminded me of the importance of candor and trust within a team.

3 big questionsThe Three Big Questions for the Frantic Family

My Rating:

Sometimes we don’t think about our families strategically and under manage them, taking them for granted. For example, I spend a ton of time strategically thinking about how to grow Sideways8, but comparatively little time thinking about how we raise our children or manage our family. This is convicting. This book addresses three questions families should ask in order to think more strategically about how they are living and growing together.

ideal team playerThe Ideal Team Player

My Rating:

If you ever have to hire people and want to bring in team players, read this book. This is a business fable that walks through what to look for in a team player. It was incredibly helpful to me as I thought about our next hire and will guide our team as we continue to hire.

getting nakedGetting Naked

My Rating:

Another business fable by Patrick Lencioni (I’ve been on a kick lately). It’s all about the need for authenticity and transparency. It is similar to some of his other stuff, so might not have been a necessary read, but I did enjoy it.

everything storeThe Everything Store

My Rating:

This book is about the rise of Amazon.com and it was fascinating. It tells all about the life of Jeff Bezos and how he started Amazon. It gives insight into Amazon’s culture as a company (where I would never want to work) and into how passionate they are about getting the lowest possible prices for customers. Jeff’s passion and brilliance in creating and growing Amazon is admirable and I learned a lot from his example. If you like tech startups or entrepreneurship, this is a great book read.

shoe dowShoe Dog

My Rating:

This book and “Born a Crime” are the best books I read this quarter. This book is the history of Nike from very humble beginnings as Blue Ribbon Shoes to almost going out of business numerous times, to world domination. I really enjoyed the style of the book and it was really encouraging to see how much of a struggle it was for Nike to become Nike. If you love business, or sports, or Nike, read this book.

magnolia storyThe Magnolia Story

My Rating:

At the behest of my wife, I begrudgingly picked up this book… and loved it. This is the story of Chip and Joanna Gains from the show Fixer Upper. A few things stood out to me in this book. The first was how much Chip embraces life and lives it to the fullest, and how he takes huge risks, like selling the house he and Joanna are living in without talking to her about it first! Another thing that stood out was that they are TV stars that don’t own a TV, and they are supremely down to earth. If you like their show, this is a great read.

creativity incCreativity Inc.

My Rating:

This book is the story of Pixar and how it came to be the powerhouse that it is today. If you run any company that is creative, this is a good book to read. From the great stories about movies I love to the detailed analysis of the growth (and potential collapse) of the business, this was a good book. As a side note at the end, it also had a detailed and thoughtful analysis of Steve Jobs that was contrary (in a good way) to much of what has been written about him.

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