Reading List

I 100% believe in every title listed here. Full disclosure, I monetized each link with Amazon. I get a small percentage of each sale resulting from a click originating from this site. For those interested, this is called the Amazon Affiliate program.

For Directors

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking when Stakes are High
Authors: Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler
(2002, 2013)

Perhaps the most transformative book I have read on human behavior since AP Psychology. It goes into detail on techniques to maintain safety and how to stay in dialogue. It has also helped me council students as they are dealing with their own emotional problems.

    One insight:
Most people (read: students) believe the chain of events that link emotions and actions is:
See/Hear → Feeling → Action
But the more accurate model is:
See/Hear → Story you tell yourself → Feeling → Action

Getting Past No: Negotiating in Difficult Situations
Author: William Ury

It’s not just about negotiating. I have found the insights gained from this book have helped me deal with difficult parents, students, and administrators. It’s a quick read.

    One insight:
What people say they want (their position) is very different from what they actually want (their interest). The key to finding the win-win solution is getting people to move off of their position and reveal their interest.

If you are on this blog, you most certainly know or at least have heard of the Seven Habits. I tell you, the book is 100% worth the hype. The detail flushed out in this book goes far beyond just knowing the habits. As a bonus, the audiobook is read by the author.

    One insight:
There are four quadrants where you can spend your time based on what is urgent and important as illustrated below. The key to long term success is to focus on what is important but not necessarily urgent.

Urgent / Important
Crisis Management
Not Urgent / Important
Long term planning
Relationship building
Urgent / Not Important
Announcements over the PA
Pings from your phone
Not Urgent / Not Important
Time wasters

For Students

Fish: A Proven Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results
Authors: Dr. Stephen C Lundin, John Christensen, Harry Paul
(2000, 2014)

    Brief Summary
This book is written like a novel and is a quick read. You follow the story of Mary Jane as she attempts to transform her “toxic energy dump” of an organization into...not that. The book gets its name from the world-famous Pike Place Fish Market, from which she learns four lessons:
  1. Choose your Attitude - You can always choose how you do the work even if you can’t choose the work itself.
  2. Play - have fun!
  3. Make their Day - Look for as many ways as you can to create memories.
  4. Be Present - there is nothing more important than the person directly in front of you.
This book is easily digestible for a student leadership team and the lessons are directly transferable to a marching band that is about building and maintaining excitement and energy.

Gung Ho! Turn on the People in any Organization
Authors: Ken Blanchard, Sheldon Bowles

    Brief Summary
This novel-like leadership fable is based on the true story of Peggy Sinclair and her transformation of a factory from being on the verge of being shut down to the highest performing factory in the company. She learns four secrets of being Gung Ho!
  1. Spirit of the Squirrel - Worthwhile Work
  2. Way of the Beaver - In control of achieving the goal
  3. Gift of the Goose - Cheering others on
The story is a quick read which is great for a student leadership team that sometimes leaves reading to the last possible minute. Reading this book can help important discussions take place such as “Is what we do worthwhile?” “How can we celebrate our success?” and “Why do congratulations mean different things from different people?”

Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy
Author: Jon Gordon
It’s right in the title.

One Minute Manager
Author: Ken Blanchard
(1982, 2015)

    Brief Summary
The original Ken Blanchard book. It’s super short. It follows the story of a guy who wants to be a great manager (terrible wording, but hey, it was the 80’s). On his path, he learns three secrets of being a “One Minute Manager”
  1. One Minute Goal Setting - Every goal must be clearly articulated and take only one minute to read.
  2. One Minute Praises - Specific, immediate, tell them how it made you feel.
  3. One Minute Reprimand - How to have a tough conversation who has clearly failed to meet expectations.

On my Reading List

The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups
Author: Daniel Coyel

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