Seth Godin & Bill Hybels (Book Review Column for June 2010)

My monthly book review column is published in print each month in Transitions magazine…

Time to Read: The Two Best Business Reads for the Summer

Axiom by Bill Hybels. Published by Zondervan, 224 pages

                My good friend Eileen Soisson over at The Meeting Institute loaned me another great leadership tome. She’s one of the few people I’ll accept a loaner book from because I always know it’s going to be a good one. This one was Axiom by Bill Hybels. Hybels is the Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church located near Chicago. It’s a megachurch hosting thousands of attendees each week. With The Global Leadership Summit coming up in August I thought it would be a good time to read my first Hybel’s book.

                The book is set up in small sections, most from one to three pages for each leadership adage or axiom mentioned. It’s a very quick read if you want to read it straight through or you could take an adage each day and meditate on it or journal about it.

                All of the leadership axioms come from Hybels’ personal life and his experiences in and out of Willow Creek. They deal with real people and real situations, not abstract leadership ideals like some books concentrate on. I greatly enjoyed reading the personal stories, both good and bad.

                If you are a reader of business books in general or leadership books specifically, I would recommend this be one that graces your coffee table or night stand. Don’t buy it for the bookshelf. It needs to be read and not displayed.

Linchpin by Seth Godin. Published by Portfolio. 244 pages

                I am an unabashed Seth Godin devotee and fan. I was introduced to his works by Dr. Dan Miller, the author of 48 Days to the Work You Love. Godin’s book Tribes had just come out and Miller mentioned it at a meeting I attended. I bought it and soon after subscribed to his daily blog. I also used Tribes as the basis for a sermon I preached at Live Oak Church in Murrells Inlet.

Then I drank the Kool-Aid and bought a special limited edition boxed set of his books that arrived in a custom-made wooden box. Now I almost have a full Godin shelf in my office. He sent me a copy of his latest book Linchpin. It just arrived in the mail one day out of the blue as a gift. I e-mailed him and said I was upset that I couldn’t fit it in the wooden box with the others. He replied back, “It would if you burned the box first and took the ashes and spread them out on a piece of melted glass and then remelted the glass into the right shape…”

Linchpin will easily take its place among other classics by Godin and the top tier of business books. The book isn’t really about business though. It’s about you, no matter what level or type of employee you are. As the inside of the dust jacket says, “your choices, your future, and your potential to make a huge difference in whatever field you choose.”

It goes on to explain that linchpins are “the essential building blocks of great organizations.” In his blogs Godin is constantly asking, “Are you a linchpin?” Well, are you? If not, why not? You can be in a major corporation, a small one, the military, or even a self-employed business of one and not be a linchpin. So maybe it’s time to make sure that you become one.

This book will challenge you with clear facts and stories of real linchpins to inspire you to do something better, dream bigger, and become indispensable. It’s the longest book Godin has written, and it’s that way for a reason. It’s that important. Buy the hardback version while you can. I won’t ruin a nice inspirational surprise that’s on the inside of the dust jacket and see for yourself.

Godin has a way of inspiring people. When you buy the book, look for the index. You’ll notice that it’s missing. It just wasn’t included. Don’t worry though. One of Godin’s stark, raving fans created an index for the book that goes beyond the mere mention of people, places, and events. Check out the blog version of this review, and I’ll be sure to include a link to it for you.

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