Weekend Reads: Lights Out, Improv and Unretirement

Every day is a good day to sit back, relax, and cuddle up with a good book. We may think that we don’t have time in our busy schedules to take an hour or two to immerse our minds in a thought-provoking book, but we do. Here are some great reads that tackle some heavy issues. You won’t be disappointed.
Lights Out book coverFlip a switch, there’s light. Turn a faucet, there’s water. Click, and you’ve done your banking. We’ve become so used to the instantaneousness of these things that we barely give thought to having them. Flip, turn, click, done. And that, says Author Ted Koppel, is a big problem. What we don’t know or, more likely, don’t think much about is that our electrical grid and the nation’s internet infrastructure are both unsecure and extremely vulnerable to attacks by a nation, group, or individual willing to risk what he says is basically an “act of war.” In fact, Koppel says, “This book reflects the assessment of those in the military and intelligence communities and the academic, industrial, and civic authorities who brought” him to his conclusions. Koppel examines these thoughts in his book Lights Out, available for purchase here.
Yes, And book coverFor weeks now your top client has been dancing around a decision and he just can’t commit. You’re getting a little worried that he might waltz right out of the deal. So how do you learn to be light on your feet in this situation – and others? Start withYes, And by Kelly Leonard and Tom Yorton. In their long careers with The Second City, Chicago ’s famed comedy center, Leonard and Yorton have had the good fortune to watch talented performers shine through the use of improvisation. Improv, in comedy and at work, lets practitioners respond more quickly to a situation. Comedy and business have three major things in common, say the authors: “Creativity, Communication, and Collaboration.” The “bedrock” of them all is “Yes, And,” which is a way to keep ideas flowing, solve problems, and keep employees involved. Yes, And helps with “creating something out of nothing” by asking for more. It builds on everyone’s contributions and levels the “playing field of the conversation.” If your sales or marketing department needs freshening up, this book and the exercises inside it may help, and they’ll surely make things fun. Available for purchase here.
Unretirement book coverFor much of your employed life, you dreamed about not having to work. Retirement would be great. It would stretch out for years, a horizon with no alarm clock and no deadlines. What will you do with it? Chances are, says author Chris Farrell, believe it or not, you’ll go to work. And in his new book Unretirement: How Baby Boomers Are Changing the Way We Think about Work, Community, and the Good Life he says you’ll do it because you want to, not because you have to. He says that Boomers’ “last third of life is being reimagined and reinvented into ‘unretirement.’” They’re seeing work in a whole different way: the rate of senior entrepreneurship is up, and so is gradual retirement. They’re staying on the job longer, are finding second (or even third) careers, or are volunteering. A very interesting read and could be a great holiday gift. Purchase it here.
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Contributions from Terri Schlichenmeyer