Summer Reading for Credit Union Folks

By Rob

It’s mid-summer and time to catch up on that summer reading. Here are some books that you may find interesting.

Thinkertoys by Michael Michalko

Out of ideas? This book is for you! Michalko has created a smorgasbord of ways to get your brain going to help you work through pretty much anything. Truly, the book is overwhelming at times because of its depth and its ability to address so many different types of thinking. I like to imagine that I can be creative, but my goodness, Michalko is in a class by himself. In one chapter, he documents the brainstorming process and how to do it alone or with a group. He also describes some techniques on how to involve one’s unconscious thoughts that I have yet to try but sound very intriguing. It’s like a treasure chest for people who like to think.

In The Plex by Steven Levy

Say what you will about Larry Page and Sergey Brin, but they pretty much changed the world. Levy documents how this happened and what it’s like at Google’s headquarters. I think it is always helpful to understand how successful people do things, and this book provides many examples. In the credit union world, what if executives were empowered to spend 20% of their time pursuing their own creative initiatives? I think that would unleash many powerful ideas. I doubt that many credit unions are going to install their own gourmet cafeterias anytime soon, but I do know of one that has a coffee shop.

Making Things Happen by Scott Berkun

Did you know that project management is a science and that it can be taught? I didn’t. But now I do, and after reading this book, I think I know how. If you read no other book on this list, this is the one that will probably do your organization the most good. The efficiencies taught here provide real value and will save people a lot of time in preventing them from doing project management incorrectly.

A Whole New Mind by Daniel H. Pink

I like Daniel Pink’s work. I think that his latest book drive is actually better than a whole new mind, but it is still worth reading. This book extolls the value of creative thinking in the 21st century as well as the power of developing multiple skills. That’s right up my alley. It also tells a couple of whoppers. While developing creative skills and depth in many areas is certainly a great idea, it in no way ensures success. Getting along with people is still probably more important. In fact, if you haven’t read Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, you might want to read that before you pick up any Daniel Pink.

Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku

I debated putting this on a reading list for credit union people, but here it is anyway. Some might dispute it if I claim that Kaku is Carl Sagan’s heir apparent, but he’s the best we have. A brilliant man, he is more controversial than Sagan, but in this book he lays out a compelling view of the future. Given this book’s emphasis on technology, why do we care about it in the credit union movement? Because we are joined at the hip with technology in everything that we do, from data processing to compliance to lending. This book describes what we will see in the coming years. If you don’t think social media is important now, wait until people are seeing the internet in their contact lenses.

Don’t have time to read? Get an Audible account and listen to them while you drive. It makes commuting and trips fly by. I had to drive to Madison, Wisconsin and back last week which gave me 16 hours in the car across two days. I listened to a book and a half and was very grateful for it.  Never stop reading folks, it’s one of the easiest ways to keep your gray matter in the game.


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