Utah Politico Summer Reading: Rep. John Knotwell

John Knotwell, by Chad Hurst.
John Knotwell, by Chad Hurst.

It’s not too late to start a new book. And if you need a good idea or two, here are a few that Utah’s politicos are reading.  This is the ninth in a series on what Utah’s politicians have on their summer reading lists.


Representative John Knotwell represents Utah’s 52nd District and lives in Herriman. He acknowledged that it sounded like “smart sounding” but promised it was legit…and wished he could match State Auditor John Dougall’s (forthcoming).


 

John Knotwell’s Summer Reading

Amazon summary:

The relationship between a father and a son is like none other. Dads have a God-given role to protect and provide for their families, always striving to teach their sons the life skills they’ll need to grow into honorable men. But many dads struggle with feelings of inadequacy regarding their fathering abilities. They want to be better dads. Rick Johnson can show them how. In this insightful and practical book, Johnson shows how fathers can be equipped and inspired to be positive role models for their sons. He stresses the significance of male bonding, discipline, and spiritual leadership; discusses important topics such as sexual purity, respect, and self-discipline; and reveals the top ten mistakes to avoid as a father. From commitment and courage to honesty and humility, Better Dads, Stronger Sons helps men strive to be the dads God designed them to be-so their sons can grow to be everything they are meant to be.

Amazon summary:

Mitch Rapp’s hunt for a missing CIA asset raises the stakes for his own survival—in Vince Flynn’s “tight, right, and dynamite” (Minneapolis Star Tribune) #1 New York Times bestseller.
The head of clandestine operations in Afghanistan has been kidnapped, his four bodyguards executed in cold blood. With the CIA plunged into crisis mode, Rapp is dispatched to find his missing friend, Joe Rickman, at all costs. He isn’t the only one looking for Rickman; an FBI special agent is at his heels, determined to blame Rapp for the bloody debacle. Rapp is, however, the only one who knows certain things about the vanished black ops master—secrets that in the wrong hands could prove disastrous. With elements of his own government undermining him—and America’s security— at every turn, Rapp must be as ruthless and deceitful as his enemies to complete this razor’s-edge mission.

Amazon summary:

Why do only a few people get to say “I love my job”? It seems unfair that finding fulfillment at work is like winning a lottery; that only a few lucky ones get to feel valued by their organizations, to feel like they belong.

Imagine a world where almost everyone wakes up inspired to go to work, feels trusted and valued during the day, then returns home feeling fulfilled.

This is not a crazy, idealized notion. Today, in many successful organizations, great leaders are creating environments in which people naturally work together to do remarkable things.

In his travels around the world since the publication of his bestseller Start with Why, Simon Sinek noticed that some teams were able to trust each other so deeply that they would literally put their lives on the line for each other. Other teams, no matter what incentives were offered, were doomed to infighting, fragmentation and failure. Why?

The answer became clear during a conversation with a Marine Corps general.

“Officers eat last,” he said.

Sinek watched as the most junior Marines ate first while the most senior Marines took their place at the back of the line. What’s symbolic in the chow hall is deadly serious on the battlefield: great leaders sacrifice their own comfort—even their own survival—for the good of those in their care.

This principle has been true since the earliest tribes of hunters and gatherers. It’s not a management theory; it’s biology. Our brains and bodies evolved to help us find food, shelter, mates and especially safety. We’ve always lived in a dangerous world, facing predators and enemies at every turn. We thrived only when we felt safe among our group.

Our biology hasn’t changed in fifty thousand years, but our environment certainly has. Today’s workplaces tend to be full of cynicism, paranoia and self-interest. But the best organizations foster trust and cooperation because their leaders build what Sinek calls a Circle of Safety that separates the security inside the team from the challenges outside.

The Circle of Safety leads to stable, adaptive, confident teams, where everyone feels they belong and all energies are devoted to facing the common enemy and seizing big opportunities.

As he did in Start with Why, Sinek illustrates his ideas with fascinating true stories from a wide range of examples, from the military to manufacturing, from government to investment banking.

The biology is clear: when it matters most, leaders who are willing to eat last are rewarded with deeply loyal colleagues who will stop at nothing to advance their leader’s vision and their organization’s interests. It’s amazing how well it works.

Amazon summary:

On July 1, 1893, President Grover Cleveland vanished. He boarded a friend’s yacht, sailed into the calm blue waters of Long Island Sound, and–poof!–disappeared. He would not be heard from again for five days. What happened during those five days, and in the days and weeks that followed, was so incredible that, even when the truth was finally revealed, many Americans simply would not believe it.

The President Is a Sick Man details an extraordinary but almost unknown chapter in American history: Grover Cleveland’s secret cancer surgery and the brazen political cover-up by a politician whose most memorable quote was “Tell the truth.” When an enterprising reporter named E. J. Edwards exposed the secret operation, Cleveland denied it. The public believed the “Honest President,” and Edwards was dismissed as “a disgrace to journalism.” The facts concerning the disappearance of Grover Cleveland that summer were so well concealed that even more than a century later a full and fair account has never been published. Until now.

Amazon summary:

Leadership. Creativity. Innovation.
When you put it all together, EVERYTHING CONNECTS.

The constant cascade of new technologies and social changes is creating a more empowered population. Workforces are increasingly dispersed, demanding of self-expression, and quite possibly disengaged. Within this topsy-turvy context, leaders must spark creativity, drive innovation, and ensure sustainability.

What are the remedies? The newest problems of the world find solutions in the oldest and time-less practices such as mindfulness, authenticity, and perseverance—because Everything Connects.

Everything Connects is a kaleidoscopic view of the way humans—by being able to think out of the box—have been able to achieve greatness for themselves, their organizations, and the world at large. It is your step-by-step guide for working with yourself and others—for meaningful success.

Using real-life practical experiences, serial entrepreneur and thought leader Faisal Hoque teams up with journalist Drake Baer to provide a personal and professional playbook that shows how to:

  • Holistically connect the “when” and “what” with who you are
  • Inspire and lead inside and outside of your organization
  • Generate ideas, grounded decisions, and long-term value

Part philosophy, part business, and part history, Everything Connects offers the wisdom of 2,500-year-old Eastern philosophies and the interconnected insights of Leonardo da Vinci. Couple that with Fortune 100 corporate cross pollination for creativity and startup thinking for how to adapt with ease, and you’ll quickly discover that Everything Connects.

This isn’t just a quick fix for your next financial quarter; this is how you succeed in the long run. It is a systemization of the best practices of spirituality and entrepreneurship—loaded with knowledge, humor, and humanity.

Amazon summary:

In Scaling Up Excellence, bestselling author Robert Sutton and Stanford colleague Huggy Rao tackle a challenge that determines every organization’s success: scaling up farther, faster, and more effectively as a program or an organization creates a larger footprint.  Sutton and Rao have devoted much of the last decade to uncovering what it takes to build and uncover pockets of exemplary performance,  to help spread them, and to keep recharging organizations with ever better work practices.  Drawing on inside accounts and case studies and academic research from a wealth of industries – including start-ups, pharmaceuticals, airlines, retail, financial services, high-tech, education, non-profits, government, and healthcare — Sutton and Rao identify the key scaling challenges that confront every organization.  They tackle the difficult trade-offs that organizations must make between “Buddhism” versus “Catholicism” — whether to encourage individualized approaches tailored to local needs or to replicate the same practices and customs as an organization or program expands.  They reveal how the best leaders and teams develop, spread, and instill the right mindsets in their people — rather than ruining or watering down the very things that have fueled successful growth in the past.  They unpack the principles that help to cascade excellence throughout an organization, as well as show how to eliminate destructive beliefs and behaviors that will hold them back.

Amazon summary:

In Quick and Nimble, Adam Bryant draws on interviews with more than two hundred CEOs to offer business leaders the wisdom and guidance to move an organization faster, to be quick and nimble, and to rekindle the whatever-it-takes collective spark of a start-up, all with the goal of innovating and thriving in a relentlessly challenging global economy. By analyzing the lessons that these leaders have shared in his regular “Corner Office” feature in The New York Times, Bryant has identified the biggest drivers of corporate culture, bringing them to life with real-world examples that reflect this hard-earned wisdom.

Amazon summary:

In Boys Should Be Boys, one of our most trusted authorities helps parents restore the delights of boyhood and enable today’s boys to become the mature, confident, and thoughtful men of tomorrow. Boys will always be boys–rambunctious, adventurous, and curious, climbing trees, building forts, playing tackle football, and pushing their growing bodies to the limit as part of the rite of passage into manhood. But today our sons face an increasingly hostile world that doesn’t value the high-spirited, magical nature of boys. In a collective call to let our boys be boys, Dr. Meg Meeker explores the secrets to boyhood, including

• why rules and boundaries are crucial–and why boys feel lost without them
• how the outdoors is still the best playground, offering the sense of adventure that only Mother Nature can provide
• the essential ways to preserve a boy’s innocence (and help him grow up)
• the pitfalls moms and dads face when talking to their sons
• why moody and rebellious boys are not normal–and how to address such behavior
• how and when the “big” questions in life should be discussed: why he is here, what his purpose is, and why he is important

Parents are blessed with intuition and heart, but raising sons is a daunting responsibility. This uplifting guide makes the job a little easier.

Amazon summary:

Disgraced Boulder detective Sam Purdy, FBI counter-terrorism specialist Christopher Poe, and CIA analyst Deirdre Drake are drawn to Yale University to investigate the disappearances of several students- including the sons of both the Secretary of the Army and a Supreme Court Justice. An unseen enemy is playing by no rules, making no demands, somehow anticipating every FBI move-and executing hostages, one by one…

Amazon summary:

In recent years, Google’s autonomous cars have logged thousands of miles on American highways and IBM’s Watson trounced the best human Jeopardy! players. Digital technologies—with hardware, software, and networks at their core—will in the near future diagnose diseases more accurately than doctors can, apply enormous data sets to transform retailing, and accomplish many tasks once considered uniquely human.

In The Second Machine Age, MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee—two thinkers at the forefront of their field—reveal the forces driving the reinvention of our lives and our economy. As the full impact of digital technologies is felt, we will realize immense bounty in the form of dazzling personal technology, advanced infrastructure, and near-boundless access to the cultural items that enrich our lives.

Amid this bounty will also be wrenching change. Professions of all kinds—from lawyers to truck drivers—will be forever upended. Companies will be forced to transform or die. Recent economic indicators reflect this shift: fewer people are working, and wages are falling even as productivity and profits soar.

Drawing on years of research and up-to-the-minute trends, Brynjolfsson and McAfee identify the best strategies for survival and offer a new path to prosperity. These include revamping education so that it prepares people for the next economy instead of the last one, designing new collaborations that pair brute processing power with human ingenuity, and embracing policies that make sense in a radically transformed landscape.


 

Previously posted at Publius Online.

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