I Tried.....I Really Did

I wanted to select one picture from the thousands I took this year to designate as 'Best Picture Of The Year'. And I tried to do that....I really did. Unfortunately I couldn't narrow it down to any fewer than 34 pictures. Part of the problem is that there are a lot of different criteria to consider - best subject matter, best memory, best shot technically, etc. Given all of that I figured I'd just share the favorites. If you've got a favorite among these, let me know! Here's a link to the photos in case you have trouble seeing the slideshow.

Favorite Articles/Reading on Leadership

A friend at work recently asked me to recommend my favorite articles or readings on leadership; after assembling the list I figured I would share it with you. If there are other pieces you'd recommend, let me know via the comments!

Leadership Favorites


Primal Leadership - Daniel Goleman (also here and here)
Five Dysfunctions of A Team – Patrick Lencioni (also here and here)
The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive
– Patrick Lencioni (also here and here)

Personal Development/Leadership/Role of an Executive
What Makes An Effective Executive – Drucker
Managing Oneself – Drucker
Managing For Business Effectiveness - Drucker
Leading Change – Why Transformation Efforts Fail – Kotter
What Makes A Leader? – Goleman
Leadership That Gets Results – Goleman
What Leaders Really Do – Kotter
Discovering Your Authentic Leadership – George
Five Minds Of A Manager - Mintzberg
Reaching Your Potential – Kaplan
What To Ask The Person In The Mirror - Kaplan
Ways CEOs Lead – Farkas
Managing Your Boss – Kotter
How Successful Leaders Think – Martin
How Senior Managers Think - Isenberg

Leading/Managing Change

Driving Radical Change – McKinsey Quarterly (registration required)
A Blueprint For Strategic Leadership – Wheeler et al; Strategy & Business

Time Management/Priorities/Strategy

The Theory Of The Business - Drucker
Reclaim Your Job – Ghoshal
Beware The Busy Manager – Bruch
Managing The Right Tension – Dodd
Management Time – Who’s Got The Monkey – Orken
Stop Wasting Valuable Time - Mankins
Building Your Company's Vision - Collins


The Effective Decision – Drucker
What You Don’t Know About Making Decisions – Garvin
How Management Teams Can Have A Good Fight – Eisenhardt
Stop Making Plans; Start Making Decisions – Mankins

A series of articles written by Jonathan Byrnes; the articles originally appeared in a Harvard Business School newsletter called HBS Working Knowledge and focus mostly on the idea of managing profitability. The first article is called Who's Managing Profitability; links to pdfs of the entire series can be found here.

I'd also recommend the blog of Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson publishing; the blog is called From Where I Sit.

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A Must Read....Cutting For Stone By Abraham Verghese

One of the fun things about working at a publishing company is the chance to hear about great books from colleagues and to have the chance to read them in advance of the release date. Many people at our company are talking about a book which will be released in early February - Cutting For Stone (also here and here, by Abraham Verghese. I finished the book this morning - in a final 4-hour sitting - and can't recommend it highly enough. I've included a couple of links below where you can get a description of the book, but suffice it to say I found it a big, sprawling, life-affirming novel and a terrific example of the power of great literature. Don't miss this book!

From the publisher's web site: Cutting For Stone, by Abraham Verghese

An early review from A Guy's Moleskine Notebook.

Comments and links at bookbrowse.com.

Q & A with the author at Publishers Weekly: Across Continents

Publishers Weekly review of the book (at the bottom of the page).

Info on the author tour.

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Some Mystery/Thriller Recommendations

I've had the chance to read a lot while on vacation and have already finished two mysteries. I've read some really good ones this year so I thought I'd share a list with you. Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and Envy The Night are at the top of the list.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson

Big City, Bad Blood, Sean Chercover
Trigger City, Sean Chercover

Envy The Night, Michael Koryta
Tonight I Said Goodbye, Michael Koryta
Sorrow's Anthem, Michael Kroyta

The Brass Verdict, Michael Connelly

Chasing Darkness, Robert Crais

Moscow Rules, Daniel Silva

The James Deans, Reed Farrel Coleman

The Dawn Patrol, Don Winslow (author of one of my all-time favorites - The Power Of The Dog - very good but very intense and very graphic)

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No More Excuses

According to Don't Starve A Cold Of Exercise by Gina Kolata in the New York Times, the little bit of research that has been done to date suggests that one should not skip workouts while sick. The studies which were done don't sound to me like much fun given that the subjects were 'deliberately infected with a rhinovirus' and the researchers 'collected the subjects’ used facial tissues'....

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New Yorker: Gladwell on Teachers and Quarterbacks

My friend Jeff recommended this New Yorker article by Malcolm Gladwell: Annals of Education - Most Likely To Succeed. On reading Most Likely To Succeed, I was reminded of another Gladwell article which I found thought-provoking when I first read it: The New-Boy Network. Both articles speak to the power of conventional wisdom and the downside of reflexively protecting self-interest....

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It's That Time Of Year Again

As the year winds down and we approach the new year, I naturally start to look back at this year to think about what was good and what was less good and to plan goals for next year. Around this time last year I came across an article in the New York Times called Year-End Review, With Yourself from the Shifting Careers blog. I'm planning to revisit the article in the coming days and figured you might find it helpful as well.

Gingerbread House

In addition to making pepper jelly today, we built the gingerbread house in the picture above. Random House recently published an entire book on gingerbread houses (The Gingerbread Architect: Recipes and Blueprints for Twelve Classic American Homes) and in honor of our friend Phyllis we decided our first house would be in the Cape Cod style. The house was a lot of work but also a lot of fun and a great family project.

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Pepper Jelly

We love spicy foods in general, and Mrs. Longest Run especially likes pepper jelly. These being the days to stay inside with a hot fire, I'm doing a lot of cooking. One of today's projects was to make pepper jelly. To keep things interesting I made two different recipes. The first, courtesy of the Kraft Corporation, Sure-Jell Hot Pepper Jelly, came out really well (it looks just like the jelly in the recipe picture). I went looking for the Sure-Jell recipe as the blueberry jam I made using Sure-Jell last summer was insanely good (prepared with hand-picked blueberries from Ellsworth Farm in Connecticut).

Today's other recipe was courtesy of the website Simply Recipes: Jalapeno Pepper Jelly. I was interested in this recipe as it used the natural pectin in fruits rather than including added pectin.

Both came out well and would be worth making again - though I'd definitely shoot to make them spicier next time....

Have Things Gone Too Far?

I've written in the past about the idea of ambient intimacy (here and here), and I certainly value the opportunity to connect with friends via The Longest Run, facebook, etc.

The Wall Street Journal covers a new iteration of sharing online in The New Examined Life: Why more people are spilling the statistics of their lives on the Web.

Beautiful graph of the smallest details of a guy's life here. Nice tools to do the same for yourself at Daytum and mycrocosm. But perhaps things have gone too far....bedpost.

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From The Atlantic....

I really enjoyed this article by Caitlin Flanagan: What Girls Want, though I did find scary the idea that
"living with a teenage girl [is] one of the most unpleasant experiences God metes out to the unsuspecting."


A Short Health Update

Came across an article today in the New York Times that's quite timely: The Pain May Be Real, but the Scan Is Deceiving.

I'm currently enjoying my own medical odyssey - trying to get to the bottom of what's up with my back and leg pain and soreness. After seeing an orthopedist yesterday, my next step is to see a physical therapist who specializes in runners; I'll see him next week for a video analysis (!) of my running gait to check if there's something I'm doing that's causing the problems. No running for now, but I have been cleared to do biking; lots of spin classes in my future!

The lack of a clear diagnosis of the cause of the problem is a bit frustrating....but I'm hopeful that connecting with a good doctor will lead to some answers.

More On The Global Economy

If you enjoyed my post a few weeks ago on the global economy, you might also be interested in the Boston Globe's overview of prominent economic blogs: Inside the influential new world of econobloggers and well as the field guide to economics and finance blogs. The article is a solid overview of the econoblog landscape. Two of my personal favorites are The Big Picture and Calculated Risk.