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What Is Influencing Your Thinking Today?

Originally posted: May 8, 2013 on TrishMcFarlane.com

I’m a voracious reader.  I go through spurts though where I don’t make time to read books.  I tell myself that I’m staying on top of things because I read articles and blog posts, but I’m still an old-fashioned girl when it comes to the feel of a good book in my hand.  I like the weight of the book.  I like the way the pages feel and the feeling of satisfaction I have as I’m drawing near the end of the story.  I get that momentary rush at the end of the book and feel that little twinge of accomplishment.

I also love that by reading,  I have my own thoughts and ideas challenged or validated.

I’m not someone who can read just one book at a time though, so I usually have several good books going at once.  Here’s what I’m reading right now and why.  I’m hoping these will help spark some new ideas here on the blog in the coming months.

The Killer Angels

The Killer Angels is a Pulitzer Prize winning Civil War novel by Michael Shaara.  It tells the story of the Battle of Gettysburg from Robert E. Lee and James Longstreet’s point of view.  What I am finding most interesting is that it doesn’t attempt to be a textbook story, it takes the information from actual documents and letters written by the men who fought.

The interesting and somewhat disappointing thing to know about the book is that the author struggled for years to get it published.  He finally did but it never saw critical acclaim during his lifetime.  Even being awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1975 did not help much.  It wasn’t until after his death that interest increased after the movie ‘Gettysburg‘ was based on it,  and it ultimately was number on on the NY Times bestseller list.  I’m excited to be learning more about Gettysburg because I’ll be making a trip there in June to walk the battlefield and learn about the leadership of the men who fought there.  I’ll be sharing more about that in the next month.

The Sun Also Rises

The Sun Also Rises was a book recommended by one of my closest friends.  I know many people are forced to read this in high school literature class, but somehow, I never had the pleasure to read it.

To me, this story speaks to us as readers today.  It takes place in post- WWI Paris and Spain but it could just as easily be written about us today.  There is the examination of a generation who seem to have a lack of communication, an unnaturally strong affinity to drinking, and the sense of false friendship.  I won’t make my own assumptions just yet because I’m still working my way through it.

Written by Ernest Hemingway, it is considered one of the best novels written in the twentieth century. It proves that although technology, jobs, or family structure may change, it’s still relevant today.

Finding Keepers

I have to admit, I am really excited to read this book and the way the chapters are set up has allowed me to quickly jump to the chapters that most interest me.  The discussions on employer branding and how to truly market your brand are worth the price of the book.  I especially like the section on marketing shorthand.

I received this book as a gift from Eric Winegardner of Monster.  He and Monster were generous to give them away at HRevolution.  I’ll be interested to see how other participants react to the tools in this book.  I may not be a recruiter from a job description perspective, but this is the book that will give me some good tips and tricks to share with the hiring managers I work with every day.

Thanks Monster!

Thinking For A Change

This is a book I’ve read and re-read several times.  Anything by John Maxwell tends to be good, but this one is my favorite.  I actually bought it several years ago when I was part of a mass HR layoff at PwC.

I like that it gives you real-life examples of how to change the way you think, how to open your mind, and how to respect the ideas of others.  I also think that the way that Maxwell builds in “thinking questions” and an action plan at the end of each chapter is a great way for the reader to actually attempt to weave the suggestions into daily practice.

My favorite chapter is Discovering the Joy of Creative Thinking.  It’s a great book to help guide yourself to approaching your life and your work in a way that embraces change.

So, what are you reading lately that is influencing your thinking?  Share it in the comments.

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