Review: Stargirl

Stargirl
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My teenaged daughter handed this book to me with a smile, stating that I might enjoy it. She’s almost always right. For some reason I do enjoy YA fiction. Is it the yearning? The optimism? The world view that “anything is possible, but its just so HARD for me right now?”

Nevertheless, this was a fun, quick read. Not perhaps in the same category as “The Fault in our Stars” but a solid rollercoaster of a read. Stargirl is a fanciful embodiment of Richard Feynman’s “What do you care what other people think?” Playing ukulele, dressing up, oblivious to the stares of others, Stargirl is both attractive and repulsive to the high-school mindset. Interesting to read it as an adult, with perspective. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel.

My favorite quote of the book:
“Like so many of Archie’s words, they seemed not to enter through my ears but to settle on my skin, there to burrow like tiny eggs awaiting the rain of my maturity, when they would hatch and I at last would understand.”

CMIO’s take? The pressure of conformity, of habit, is comforting, lulling, deadening. Sometimes it takes an extrovert or an unexpected event to shake us out of our doldrums and open our eyes again.

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Review: The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results
The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So, is it realistic to clear 4 hours of your work day EVERY DAY to work on your ONE THING? Yes, I agree, not going to happen, even if Gary Keller tells you to. However, it is inspiring to read about new ways of working, new ways of structuring the day, the week, the month, to think about focus. Given the 17 priorities I’m working on now, and my many colleagues with highly variant concerns and demands, I completely understand where this book comes from and its audacious goal.

I also know, from my recent work on APSO notes (inverting the SOAP progress note written by doctors, to place the Assessment and Plan at the top of the note, for easier reading and understanding by all), and making this change (highly resisted, because IT’S DIFFERENT AND UNFAMILIAR) throughout the 3000 doctors at our hospital system, that this was my primary focus for years, until it was achieved as a universal standard. Focus does have its benefits. When I look back on my career, it is NOT the hundreds of smaller projects, or the hundreds of thousands of emails I crafted or responded to, it is not the ‘crucial conversations’ I had with individual docs and patients that maybe moved their beliefs and attitudes very slightly. Instead, I look back at BIG projects that were HARD, and where we accomplished something as a team, as an organization.

CMIO’s take: In hindsight, it was the unintentional “One Thing” attitude that put these projects over the top. Perhaps I could learn from my past, of the projects never reaching fruition, and the few that did, and allow the “One Thing” more of an influence in what I do. Highly recommended as a book.

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Review: Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a fun read. If you’re human, you are creative. This book gives you permission to open your arms, in big scribbled words, to something new, and not let your frontal cortex shut it down as “stupid, anyway.”

Austin unlocks the fun hidden deeply in your teenaged soul, suppressed by years of schooling and working. If you have 10 dollars and a free hour, read this book. Such an easy way to get a new perspective on creativity, enjoyment, and life. As a CMIO, my take is: many folks at my work desperately need to read this book.

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Hell’s Angels (book review)

hells_buyer1Well, I’m not sure what to think. I read this because of my book club, where we read Juan Thompson’s book “Stories I tell Myself”. He’s Hunter’s son, and writes well in his own right (and, works in Healthcare IT in Denver!). Moreover, this was an opportunity for me to read some literature of the Gonzo generation that I never got around to. Juan mentioned the lyricism of Hunter’s description of being on motorcycle barreling down Pacific Coast Highway at midnight. This prompted me to pull Hell’s Angels off my wife’s bookshelf, and then I was hooked.

Diving into the book, Hunter takes you inside the California Hell’s Angels, the (intentionally) bad press, why they smell bad, how “looking for a fight” gave them a raison d’etre, and perplexingly, how news coverage elevated them to a national phenomenon, when otherwise, they might have faded away. Its a love song about the dispossessed, beautifully reported and written.

It’s far from my personal experience, and an opportunity to walk a mile in shoes I would never otherwise wear.

CMIO’s take? There are leadership lessons everywhere you look: from brilliant police captains who narrowly avoid pitched battles using┬ámundane traffic cones and enforced curfews, to Hell’s Angels chapter leaders using nimble telephone trees to assemble a flash-mob, before there was such a thing as a flash-mob.

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