Book Review – Thanks For The Feedback By Douglas Stone & Sheila Heen

Thanks For The FeedbackIntroduction

Are you great at feedback? As a learning and development practitioner you probably are (or at least think you are). I did until I started reading Thanks For The Feedback by Douglas Stone and Sheila Stone who previously wrote a book titled Difficult Conversations – How To Discuss What Matters Most. This book flips the focus on feedback to the receiver instead of the giver, hence the subtitle: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well.

The book which is from the Harvard Negotiation Project offers frameworks and tools to help people deal with feedback more effectively. The book is on the sizable side with 13 chapters and 348 pages and is an amusing one to read. Continue reading

Book Review – The Leadership Challenge By James Kouzes and Barry Posner

The Leadership Challenge


The Leadership Challenge written by James Kouzes and Barry Posner has become a leadership classic. First written in 1987, it has gone through five editions and marked its 25th anniversary when the 5th edition  was published in 2012. The book has sold more than 2 million copies and translated into 20 languages. It focuses on five practices  that the authors believe lead to exemplary leadership. These five practices are, model the way, inspire a shared vision, challenge the process, enable others to act, and encourage the heart. The authors have spent more than 3 decades teaching and researching on leadership and through that time have continued to talk to people in different types of organizations to find out about what makes effective leadership. One question they have been asking since 1982 when they started focusing on leadership is: What did you do when you were at your personal best as a leader? The compilation of what they have observed in their research and studies of people is what culminated in the the five exemplary practices. Continue reading

Book Review – The New Social Learning By Tony Bingham and Marcia Conner

The New Social Learning


With a 4.5 rating on Amazon and 15 comments written in the book, some from heavy weights in the industry, this is a well lauded book. Whether you see that as hype or not, this is definitely a book worth reading. Even 4 years after it was published, social learning still seems like an enigma to a lot of us in learning and development. There are more questions than answers. What is it? When and how would you use it? Can it be managed or evaluated? Is it just a fad? Or is it just about technology? Maybe it’s more appropriate for generation Y and Z? This book answers some of those questions. Written by Tony Bingham, the current President and CEO of ASTD and Marcia Conner, it puts forth a convincing argument as to why social learning should be embraced using theoretical facts and practical examples from case studies. Continue reading

Book Review – Leading Change By John P Kotter


Leading Change by John KotterIntroduction

In 1994 John Kotter wrote an article for Harvard Business Review titled, Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail. The article became one of the most popular ones written for the journal. Kotter later extended the ideas expounded in the article in a book titled, Leading Change, published in 1996. This is the updated and second version of that book. Kotter who has written other books on change and is considered to be one of the top thinkers in the world on the subject has said that this book is not like any of his previous ones. In his own words, “Unlike my previous books, leading change is not filled with footnotes and endnotes. I have neither drawn examples or major ideas from any published source except my own writing nor tried to cite evidence from other sources to bolster my conclusions .” Continue reading

Book Review – The Secrets of Facilitation By Michael Wilkinson

Secrets of FacilitationIntroduction

Secrets of Facilitation subtitled, The S.M.A.R.T Guide to Getting Results with Groups, was written by Michael Wilkinson to help people get more results from groups using a structured facilitation process. S.M.A.R.T is an acronym that stands for Structured Meeting And Relating Techniques. Make no mistake this is not a training book, although the techniques taught can very much be used as part of a training process whether virtual or face-to-face. Michael Wilkinson developed the technique partly based on his experience working as a business consultant at IBM. He observed that solutions created in conjunction with customers which has their buy-in and agreement have a higher chance of being implemented as opposed to solutions proposed by the consultants. Continue reading