Non-Fiction

Book Review of Character Strengths Matter

character strengths matterThis is a really good primer for anyone wanting to become more familiar with the 24 VIA Character Strengths.  It gives a good outline of each, discussing them in depth as well as how they manifest in over- and under-use. It even does a good job of making you more excited about some of what might appear are the more ‘tame’ character strengths such as prudence of humility, showing how necessary and beautiful each of these are. Each character strength is accompanied by one or more short pieces to help in the reader’s consideration of them – sometimes a poem, or an extract from literature, a speech or an article. There are also five straight-forward and sadly unimaginative tips for developing each, and while not exciting these are achievable and relevant.

The end of the book is a collection of interesting articles about applying these and working with them in different areas.  Certainly will be a useful one to have on the work bookshelf.

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Book Review of the PROPSER School Pathways for Student Wellbeing – Policy and Practices

PROSPERThis is another work read recommended to me by a Wellbeing expert. Although I’ve been using Seligman’s PERMA model in my own work, PROSPER is similar although makes a few other elements concrete such as the need to teach resilience.

This is a very clear discussion of all the elements with some basic ideas for implementing each.  There are helpful even helpful hints for making and implementing policy around student wellbeing at your school.  A really useful read for anyone working in this area or looking to learn about PROSPER as a model in schools.  Nothing earth-shattering or new, just a good clear reference guide.

Book Review of The Happiness Equation

Unknown-2This is an easy and pleasant read by Neil Pasricha.

In it, Neil writes about his nine tips to improve your overall happiness (pictured here in the post).  Some of this is common sense , and the rest good insight.  He starts with your motivation and your goals before moving into ways to view life, to view challenges and to view yourself.

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The chapters are short and to the point – this is the ideal book to have on the shelf for a quick re-read every now and then, or to share with colleagues when the message is relevant.

I really enjoyed the first couple of chapters, but then it kind of blurred into a lot of the sameness…. but I’d still find this a useful book to have under my belt and in my collections.

 

Book Review of Who Moved My Cheese?

cheeseNeed to look at change – whether it be in the workplace, in relationships or elsewhere – Who Moved My Cheese is THE book.  It’s a quick read – a parable really about mice (and little men) in a maze who discover the cheese they eat daily has disappeared.  One group of characters embraces change and goes looking for “new cheese”, whilst others find it harder, and take a much longer road to accepting that the old cheese is gone forever.  Sounds crazy – but like me, you’ll be making cheese references for weeks afterwards.

The foreword and discussion pages afterwards help continue to provide context to the parable and ensure it make sense to the reader.  A great way to get across difficult information in a way that doesn’t place blame – it just goes through natural stages of responding to change and asks you if you could have responded differently.

I read this mainly for the workplace implications, but there are ones for my personal life too.  I like “sniff the cheese regularly to make sure it’s not getting old!”.

Book Review of Our Iceberg is Melting

Our Iceberg is MeltingA fable about institutional change, John Kotter tells the story of a penguin colony that finds themselves in trouble.  Their iceberg is melting, and the frozen water will expand and destroy their home.

Initially the penguins are sceptical, but eventually come to see that change is necessary.  The follow the good steps of change management as designed by Kotter and eventually determine a their next steps forward.

It’s an interesting story, and one that acknowledges the complexity of any human interaction.  No matter how well the penguins follow the process that Kotter is espousing here, there are still nay-sayers.  But this is sound, reasonable advice that is told in a very relatable way.  An easy read for anyone in a management position.  You’ll get some good key takeaways.

Book Review of The Making of Men

I first came across Dr Arne Rubinstein at the Positive Schools conference mid year. He making o fmenreally impressed me with his session about the importance of creating Rites of Passage for young men in the modern world, as well as how he ran the session. Initially, I was uncomfortable with the sharing and small groups, but of course by the end of it, felt much closer to the people around me. After all – according to Dr Rubinstein – ‘nobody ever liked each other less by knowing each other more’.
Between this, and a scheduled visit to my school this week, I made my way through his The Making of Men. Despite similar subject matter, I enjoyed this much more than the Carr-Gregg I finished just before it. This is a positive book full of advice about how to assist young men to be the best they can be. It’s informed by research as well as Dr Rubinstein’s personal experiences as a medical doctor and in the field. The entire last section outlines Rites of Passage in more depth and is well worth a look for parents and educators.

Book Review of The Prince Boofhead Syndrome

This iboofheads a work read – and a pretty straight-forward one.  Definitely aimed at parents of boys this is Dr Michael Carr-Gregg’s follow up to his book on raising girls, The Princess Bitchface Syndrome.

This is likely to be a supportive read for parents, reinforcing a lot of good common sense ideas, whilst also addressing the sense of entitlement that is unfortunately plaguing our young men.

Nothing earth-shattering here, but a solid straight-forward read with some good advice.