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matrix vision newsletter
Great Books Issue
August, 2010 - Vol 3, Issue 8
In This Issue
Self Development Books
Business Books
More Great Books
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Story of the Month

W. C. Fields (born William Claude Dukenfield), the great American comedian from the 1930's and 1940's was on his death bed in a Hollywood hospital.  Fields had a reputation both on and off the screen as a hard drinker.


A famous quote was "I met a woman once who drove me to drink, it's the one thing I am indebted to her for".  In addition he was not known to be a very religious man.

Imagine the surprise of his friends who, when visiting him in hospital during his last days, found him propped up in bed reading the Bible.


"Bill!" they cried, in disbelief, "What are you doing?"


The irascible man looked up from his reading and calmly announced, "I'm looking for loopholes".

Great Books Quotes
"In the case of good books the point is not how many you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you."
Mortimer Adler
" The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.
Mark Twain
"You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.
Charles "Tremendous" Jones
"No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.

"A bookstore is one of the only pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking."
Jerry Seinfeld
"That is a good book which is opened with expectation and closed in profit."
Amos Bronson Alcott
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested."
Francis Bacon
"There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them."
Joseph Brodsky
"To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting."
Edmund Burke
"The book to read is not the one which thinks for you, but the one which makes you think."
Author Unknown
"The oldest books are still only just out to those who have not read them."
Samuel Butler
"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.." 
Joseph Addison
"I must say that I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it on, I go to the library and read a book."
Groucho Marx
"Our high respect for a well read person is praise enough for literature.."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Welcome to the matrix vision newsletter for August (late again). This month's newsletter is focussed on Great Books
This newsletter shares some of the books and authors that have had an influence on my knowledge, thinking and development. There is a concern for me that it may appear to be a little self indulgent. However I would like to think that I am providing to the readers of this newsletter, my friends, clients and colleagues, a little self disclosure.  
There will obviously be some books that provide no surprise because I may have referred to them in previous editions of this newsletter.  However there may be others that will surprise you.  Hopefully I have avoided any books that may give you concern. 
The newsletter presents the books in several topic areas. 
  • Self Development Books - books around motivation/thinking and general self development
  • Business Books - books on organisational development, leadership and sales and marketing 
  • More Great Books - books about decision making, psychology and words
In addition read about 360 degree feedback and how I need your help and support for OCSOBER.
Enjoy your reading and as always your feedback would be welcome!
If any of the information interests you and if you would like to find out how it can help you please contact us.  We would love to talk with you.
Self Development
Dawn Adams said "Show me the books he loves and I shall know the man far better than through mortal friends". This newsletter is an attempt to share with you some of those books that have influenced me in my career and my life.
Psychology of WinningThe first book in this area that I ever read was Denis Waitley's "The Psychology of Winning". It had a profound impact on my life. Waitley had studied top athletes, business people, leaders, and returning prisoners of war to determine what separates "winners" and "losers" in life. Winners were not necessarily those who beat other people but a winner can be someone who helps other people to win.  While many of the examples used in the book maybe a little dated, it still remains, for me a classic.  Waitley went on to write several other books including "The Seeds of Greatness".
Think and Grow Rich"Think and Grow Rich", another classic by Napoleon Hill. Originally published in 1937, this book has provided an instruction book for the mind for many generations.  Hill writes  basically about the power of thinking positively and it has been an inspirational book for me on the concept of "what you can conceive and strongly believe you are likely to achieve."  It is a powerful and timeless book with wonderful stories that illustrate the points that Hill is making. This book is a lot more than just about making money.
Maximum AchievementBrian Tracy's "Maximum Achievement" .  My first exposure to Brian Tracy is when I attended his Phoenix Seminar on the Psychology of Achievement.  I was struck by Tracy's ability to synthesise the works of many people into a coherent approach as to why people achieve. He has brought together the works of people like Zig Zigler, Earl Nightingale, James Allen, Maxwell Maltz, Norman Vincent Peale and Victor Frankl as well as Napoleon Hill and Denis Waitley.  This book contains all the ideas that were presented in the original Phoenix Seminar. Brian Tracy is a prolific author and has written many other books and recorded works on topics like Selling, Leadership and Time Management that are worth reading.
& HabitsSteven Covey's "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People".  This more recent classic, published in the early 90's thrust Steven Covey into the limelight in this field. This book is based upon habits which he describes as the intersection of knowledge skill and desire. Covey identified seven habits that he saw as synonomous with people who are highly effective.  His simple presentation and logical argument has resonated with many people.  Another great book by Covey is "Principle Centred Leadership"
What Got You HereMarshall Goldsmith's "What Got You Here, Won't Get You There". Written in 2007 by Goldsmith, one of the world's most highly regarded executive coaches, this book takes a slightly different approach to those mentioned earlier.  Goldsmith identifies the twenty habits that hold successful people back from achieving what they are capable of.  It is a great book and worth a read. Goldmith's latest book is called "Mojo"
Other Self Development Books
Six Weeks to Words of Power"Six Weeks To Words of Power" - Wilfred Funk.  While I was in high school I am came to the conclusion that my vocabulary needed development.  This was because I needed to be in a better position to understand the books that I was reading and I felt that I needed more words at my command to express what I needed to say.  I came across this book written by the same person who wrote the vocabulary quizzes in the Readers Digest magazine. I assiduously worked through the book and I believe it formed the foundation for me of a better understanding and use of the English language. 
Adventure of EnglishMelvyn Bragg - "The Adventure of English" .  I have always enjoyed studying the history of the English language. This book published in 2006 as a companion to the SBS television series is a fascinating journey of the development and resilience of a language that now has with more than a billion speakers worldwide.  Bragg's style is easy to read and you can sense his enthusiasm in his writing.  Reading this book can help you understand why you use the words you do and lift your ability to use words even better.  Another book by Bragg is "12 Books that have Changed the World".
Complete Works of Shakespeare"The Complete Works of William Shakespeare".  This book seems out of place in the self development section.  Yet, for me I have learned about blind ambition from Macbeth, the dangers of an all encompassing jealousy from Othello, the perils of inaction and self absorbed procrastination from Hamlet and the folly of pride and self importance from King Lear.  Add to that, an analysis of the techniques that Marc Anthony employs in his speech in Julius Caesar, exemplifies the classics of presentation skills, Shakespeare has taught me a lot. 
Business Books
Books with an Organisational Perspective
In Search of Excellence"In Search of Excellence" - Tom Peters & Robert Waterman.  This was an important book when published in 1982.  Peters and Waterman, two McKinsey consultants analysed what excellent U.S. Companies did that made them successful.   
Their findings suggested that eight attributes were common for an excellent organisation; bias for action, close to the customer, autonomy and entrepreneurship, productivity through people, hands on, value driven, stick to the knitting (=focus on what you do best), simple form lean staff, and simultaneous loose-tight properties (balance between centralised/decentralised organisation). Many companies in Australia tried to emulate the success of their U.S. counterparts.  This book launched the career of Tom Peters as a management guru who went on to write several other bestsellers including "A Passion for Excellence", "Thriving on Chaos" and "The Pursuit of WOW" to name a few.  The book also promoted a number of similar books analysing business success in other countries, including "The Winning Streak" looking at UK organisations and Fred Hilmer's Australian analysis "When The Luck Runs Out"
"Good to GreatGood to Great" - Jim Collins.  Published almost twenty years after Peters and Waterman's book.  Collins explored how organisations made the leap from being good to achieving greatness. Collins found that making the transition from good to great doesn't require a high-profile CEO, the latest technology, innovative change management, or even a fine-tuned business strategy. At the heart of those rare and truly great companies was a corporate culture that rigorously found and promoted disciplined people to think and act in a disciplined manner. Full of dozens of stories and examples from the great and not so great, the book offers a interesting road map to excellence that any organisation could use as a template.  This book was required reading for CEOs and senior managers 5 or 6 years ago. Jim Collin's earlier book "Built to Last" is also well worth a read. 
5 Dysfunctions of a Team"The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" - Patrick Lencioni.  This book is descibed as a management fable.  It tells the story of Kathryn Peterson, CEO of Decision Tech, who is faced with a management team that is in such disarray that it may bring down the company. Her task is to unite the team and have them work effectively together.  During the parable Kathryn comes across the five dysfunctions of the team, Absence of Trust, Inattention to Results, Fear of Conflict, Lack of Commitment and Avoidance of Accountability. Lencioni shows how each of these dysfunctions can be fixed with some very simple approaches. Other books by Patrick Lencioni include "The Three Signs of a Miserable Job" and "Silos, Politics and Turf Wars"
Books about Leadership/Management
Managerial Grid"The New Managerial Grid" - Robert Blake and Jane Mouton.  This version is a revised and updated edition of their original classic published in 1964. Blake and Mouton presented the first two dimensional model of leadership. Before this work leadership had been seen as a continuum where on one end was "autocratic" leadership and on the other was "democratic" leadership.  They presented leadership as a grid with one axis representing "concern for production" and the other "concern for people".  Blake and Mouton were able to identify five different leadership styles plotted on the grid.  They advocated that there was one best style being plotted at 9,9 on the grid representing maximum concern for both production and people. The fascinating aspect of this book is the detail they develop about each of the styles including the implications for mental and physical health and the childhood origins of each style.
Management of Organisational Behaviour"Management of Organisational Behaviour" - Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard.  This book has helped many managers since its first publication in 1969.  Hersey and Blanchard presented a useable approach to contingency leadership which they termed "Situational Leadership".  They argued, unlike Blake and Mouton that there was not one best style of leadership but leadership styles needed to change based on what they termed the "maturity" level (willingness and ability) of the followers.  Their model was behaviour based with their axes being "task behaviour" (now called Direction) and "relationship behaviour" (now called Support).  This gave managers a simple and logical way of getting the best out of their direct reports by avoiding "over-supervision" and "under-supervision"
One Minute Manager"The One Minute Manager" - Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson. Following a rather acrimonious parting of the ways with his co-author of the previous book Ken Blanchard collaborated with Spencer Johnson to write this book which had a dramatic impact on management in the 1980's.  It was a simple book written in the form of a story of a manger learning the ropes.  Its basic premise was "catch people doing things right"  and suggested that management is made up of lots of one minute interactions with people. They presented outlines for One Minute Goal Setting, One Minute Praising and One Minute Reprimanding. Blanchard followed up with a number of books in the "One Minute Manager" series including "The One Minute Manager Gets Fit" and "The One Minute Manager Meets The Monkey".  Hersey responded with the rather barbed and cynical -  "Leadership - The Other 59 Minutes".  There was also the rather tongue in cheek title by Rae Andre and Peter Ward called "The 59 Second Employee - How To Stay One Second Ahead of Your One Minute Manager"
Extraordinary Leader"The Extraordinary Leader" - John Zenger and Joseph Folkman.  This is one of the best books on leadership I have read in the last ten years.  I have long admired the work of Zenger, and this book clearly identifies the competencies required for effective leadership.The book is based on the authors comprehensive research and suggests a tent model of leadership with Character being the centre pole.  The four corners of the tent are Personal Capability, Interpersonal Skills, Focus on Results and Leading Organisational Change.  Under each of these key characteristics they go on to describe the competencies that leaders must possess to maintain the tent upright. Another great book by John Zenger is "Leading Teams"
Books about Selling/Marketing
How to Master The Art of Selling"How to Master The Art of Selling Anything" - Tom Hopkins.  Tom Hopkins became a sales training phenomenon of the 1980's.  The secret of his success was this book, in which he brings together many of the ideas of previous sales educators including Le Du Bois and J Douglas Edwards. The book is a comprehensive outline of successful sale techniques that Hopkins has used in his own sales career.  There is a large focus on objection handling, and closing techniques.  Hopkins introduces such cute techniques as "The Benjamin Franklin Balance Sheet Close", "The Higher Authority Close", "The Dear Old Mom Close", "The Reduction to the Ridiculous Close" and "The Puppydog Close".  Tom's techniques are useful for transactional sales.
Spin Selling"SPIN Selling" - Neil Rackham.  This book, written by someone who looks more like an accountant than the Tom Hopkins type of salesperson is, without doubt, the greatest book on selling I have ever read. Instead of using anecedotal evidence and folksy stories about why some salespeople are more successful than others Rackham embarked on a 12 month million dollar research project to look at what skills are actually used by successful salespeople.  This book turns the conventional Hopkins style of selling on its ear.  Rather than spending most of the time handling objections and employing clever closing techniques successful sales people spent most of their time in questionning using Situation, Problem, Implication and Need-Payoff questions (hence the acronym SPIN). Other books by Rackham include "Making Major Sales" and "Re-thinking The Sales Force".

Influence"Influence - The Psychology of Persuasion" - Robert Cialdini.  This book was designed as a protection for people who succumb to the power of persuasion but has also been used as a guidebook for marketers on how to influence people's decision to buy. Cialdini outlines six "weapons of influence"; reciprocation (we repay in kind what another person has provided), commitment and consistency (our obsessive desire to be or appear to be consistent with what we have already done), social proof (one means we use to determine what is correct is to find out what others think is correct), liking (we prefer to say yes to the requests of someone we know and like), authority (our willingness to accept the commands of authority figures) and scarcity (we are motivated more by the thought of losing something than by the thought of gaining something of equal value).

More Great Books
Books about Thinking and Logic
New Rational Manager"The New Rational Manager" - Charles Kepner and Benjamin Tregoe.  This book published in 1981 is the best book I have come across about providing a logical and disciplined approach to management decision making and problem solving. The major tool that they introduce is Problem Analysis.  This process is helpful for identifying, describing, analysing and resolving a situation in which something has gone wrong without explanation. Decision Analysis is based on the choice making pattern of thinking.  It is a tool for designing the purpose of the decision, analysing the options for achieving that purpose and defining the relative risks of each option. Other tools introduced in the book are Situation Appraisal and Potential Problem Analysis.
Pyramid Principle"Pyramid Principle" - Barbara Minto.  This book is about how to present ideas and concepts in a structured and logical way. Minto's techniques apply to both the preparation of a presentation as well as a written report. Her premise is that the order in which we present our thinking makes our writing clear or unclear. We need to clearly understand our major and minor ideas and work out their relationships in a structure. The demands of logic and the limitations of the reader to take in information dictate that this structure will be pyramidal in shape - hence The Pryramid Principle. This is a great book and has helped me put together clear and cogent presentations and reports.
Six Thinking Hats"Six Thinking Hats" - Edward De Bono. De Bono is the inventor of the concept of "Lateral Thinking" and has written many books on thinking and creativity.  This book is my favourite because it encourages teams to practice improved thinking.  The technique is based on all team members together at various times in the discussion putting on a different coloured hat (metaphorically) and adopting that perspective to the problem, issue or topic. White Hat is about information and data, Red Hat is about emotion, intuition, gut feel, Black Hat is about caution, difficulties, downside, Yellow Hat is about benefits, feasability, possibilities,  Green Hat is about new ideas, alternatives, creativity, Blue Hat is about process, control, thinking. Other books by De Bono include "Lateral Thinking", "Serious Creativity" and "sur/petition".
Books on Human Behaviour
Games People Play"Games People Play" - Eric Berne.  This book was probably the first of the books in this genre that I ever read.  It opened my eyes about how well he had identified how human beings get locked into playing emotional games.  Berne descibes games with wonderful names like "See What You Made Me Do",  "NIGYSOB (Now I've Got You, You S.O.B.)" "Blemish", "Why Don't You....Yes But" and "Let's You and Him Fight".  He explains these games and how we get caught up by them by using  a model called "Transactional Analysis".  This model is based on the belief that our behaviour is caused by whichever ego state we are operating in at the time, parent, adult or child ego state.  Other books using the transactional analysis model which were published around the same time include Thomas Harris's - "I'm OK...You're OK" and Muriel James and Dorothy Jongeward's "Born to Win".
Emotional Intelligence"Emotional Intelligence" - Daniel Goleman.  Although the concept of "emotional intelligence" had been discussed for some time it was not until Goleman published this book in 1995 that we had something concrete that we could use to determine and build emotional intelligence. Goleman made a distinction between emotional intelligence and emotional competence. Emotional competence refers to the personal and social skills that lead to superior performance in the world of work. "The emotional competencies are linked to and based on emotional intelligence. A certain level of emotional intelligence is necessary to learn the emotional competencies."  For instance, the ability to recognise accurately what another person is feeling enables one to develop a specific competency such as Influence. Similarly, people who are better able to regulate their emotions will find it easier to develop a competency such as decisiveness or motivation/drive.  Goleman identified five pillars of emotional intelligence - Self Awareness, Self Regulation, Motivation, Empathy and Social Skills
Who Moved My Cheese"Who Moved My Cheese" - Spencer Johnson.  Johnson who was co-author of " The One Minute Manager" wrote this book as part of his way of dealing with his own marriage break-up. The book is a parable about change. It is a story of four characters living in a "Maze" who face unexpected change when they discover their "Cheese" has disappeared.
Sniff and Scurry, who are mice, and Hem and Haw, little people the size of mice, each adapt to change in their "Maze" differently. In fact, one doesn't adapt at all. This is a very simple story, yet contains so many lessons about coping with change.  That probably explains why it was Amazon's largest selling management book in its first ten years of operation and why it is the number one bestselling book in Japan's history by a non-Japanese author (4.5 million copies).  If you haven't read it, you should.
Books about the Use of Words
Bartletts Quotations"Familiar Quotations" - John Bartlett.  Those of you who have read this newsletter more than once will know that I love short statements that have an impact on the stimulation of the thought processes.  I revel in seeking out quotations that are witty, clever and use brevity to make their point.  My passion for quotations started with this book which I won as a school prize during fourth form at high school. In more recent times, I scour the internet to find quotations that match the theme of my newsletters or that  I use as a thought for the week on the matrix vision website.  However it is still a delight to browse through this well thumbed book from time to time.
Appreciate Me Now"Appreciate Me Now and Avoid The Rush" - Ashleigh Brilliant. This man has spent his life thinking up witty and insightful epigrams about the human condition under the title "Brilliant Thoughts" (Ashleigh Brilliant is his real name). His thoughts can be humourous, cutting, sad, moving, uplifting and depressing. Here are a few random thoughts from this book - "Be kind to teachers- those that don't deserve your respect may at least deserve your pity", " Many people don't realise my importance immediately, and a surprising number never realise it at all", "Unlike most other people I am just an average person".  Ashleigh Brilliant has published several books of his thoughts including "I May Not Be Totally Perfect, Put Parts of Me Are Excellent", "I Have Abandoned My Search For Truth And Am Now Looking For A Good Fantasy", "I Feel Much Better Now That I've Given Up Hope" and "All I Want Is A Warm Bed And A Kind Word And Unlimited Power".
OCSOBER - Support Me!

What is Ocsober?

OCSOBEROcsober is a fundraising initiative that encourages people to give up alcohol for the month of October.


The money raised goes to Life Education, the organisation behind the iconic educational mascot, Healthy Harold. For 30 years, the loveable giraffe has been teaching Australian children how to enjoy a healthy lifestyle by resisting participation in drug and alcohol abuse. This year, Ocsober aims to raise $1 million to help Life Education and Healthy Harold go into even more schools across Australia.


Ocsober is also an important opportunity to highlight the growing danger of binge drinking and alcohol abuse, particularly among young Australians.



Barry has signed up for the OCSOBER challenge.  Please give your support to a great cause and your encouragement to Barry to remain sober in October by making a donation at his fundraising page. CLICK HERE!
                                No Beer!      No Spirits!       No Wine!       Yes,Water! 
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In Setember the theme of the newsletter will be "Motivation".
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Barry McMaster
Matrix Vision Pty Limited