What books have you read lately?
That was the title of a session at the conference I attended in June. Three people led it but just about every one of the 15 or so present was willing to talk about what they’d read recently. And as the session went on, people divulged their passion might be fantasy books or romance novels. There was a bonding as we admitted what we had on our bedside night stands. It was so much fun that a colleague and I submitted that topic for an upcoming conference.
So it was heartening to read an interview with the CEO of Delta Air Lines in the New York Times. (This was a link a friend sent me in late April and I found as I was cleaning out email yesterday, hence the time lag.) CEO Richard Anderson answers questions about what he looks for in job candidates. He asks people what are the last three or four books they’ve read and what they enjoyed about them. He says he’s looking for the human intangibles to gauge how people might fit the Delta culture. He’s looking for a person’s values, work ethic and communication skills. I’ll bet it doesn’t matter a great deal what you’ve read but how you answer the question.
So tell me, what books have you read lately?
I’ll start. I’m reading ‘The Painted Kiss’ by Elizabeth Hickey. It’s the author’s debut novel, about the artist Gustav Klimt and the woman whose name he uttered with his dying breath. (That’s what the dust jacket says.) I suppose you couldn’t even label it historic fiction but it’s an entertaining summer escape.
Last month I finished ‘Personal History’ by Katharine Graham. Fascinatingly good read for an autobiography. Long (625 pages). Graham’s father owned the Washington Post; she became publisher after her husband’s suicide. She was a woman in a man’s world during the Pentagon Papers, Watergate and some unbelievable union struggles. It’s on the list of the 100 best business books of all time. (I’m trying to read the individual books rather than the book about the 100 books, which I’m willing to admit is insane.)
A provocative book I read end of winter was ‘Here Comes Everybody: the Power of Organizing Without Organizations’ by Clay Shirky. I have newfound respect for Wikipedia, understand how people Twitter to organize in political situations and even recognize the power law distribution when I see it.
The April 26 interview in the New York Times has way more insight that this bit I pulled out
It’s your turn to share what you’re reading….