Friday Hi-5 Features, 23 September 2011

Welcome to today’s Friday Hi-5 Features! Each week we will explore the best picks in the following categories: technology/tool; fiction book; non-fiction book; post of the week; and offline inspiration.

This week, I am switching things up a bit. Think about others. How are you making those in your communities the hero of the conversation or shared experiences? Whether it be a neighbor, Twitter acquaintance or participating in the Blue Key drive, how are you stepping out of the limelight and letting other folks soak up the attention?

Where in the world will you find Lauren?
  • 24-25 September – Podcamp Boston 6: Community Management is the New Black | Register today!

Friday Hi-5 Features, 16 September 2011

Welcome to today’s Friday Hi-5 Features! Each week we will explore the best picks in the following categories: technology/tool; fiction book; non-fiction book; post of the week; and offline inspiration.

This week, a “hodgepodge” theme was evident in all of the selections.

Technology/Tool

Stitch Fix – Malls and throngs of people give me hives. Combined with shopping for clothes and fitting rooms, I am a mess. Then my super savvy and stylish friend, Vanessa Rhinesmith, introduced me to a new way to shop. After taking a detailed survey about what I like, those I admire for the way they dress and preferred price range, a box of five items is delivered to my door each month. It is like Christmas morning.

Non-Fiction Book

The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations by Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom – This book describes the rise of decentralized organizations through the stories of Wikipedia, Alcoholic Anonymous and even, YouTube. The authors not only discuss the principles of a regenerating organization, but the skills needed for the people or catalysts creating these organizations.

Fiction Book

Dom Casmurro by Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis – Do you remember the required reading list in your English Literature class (American schools)? You remember…Scarlet Letter, Treasure Island and others. Or did you review the CliffsNotes versions of these classics? Just as these books are required reading, Dom Casmurro, is read by those in Brazilian schools. This tragic love story…or dark comedy…does not have a clean ending. You will have to ponder on the outcome just as other readers have been doing since 1899.

Post of the Week

FIR Interview: Jeremiah Owyang, Altimeter, on Social Business Readiness – Not just a post, but also a podcast! If you have not already checked out the latest Altimeter report on Social Business Readiness, download full report, and listen to Neville and Shel interview Jeremiah about detailed report findings. I found this report to be an extension of Charlene Li’s book, Open Leadership, so while the actionable insights may not be new, the stats supporting these concepts are fascinating and speak volumes about social media maturity.

Offline Inspiration

Fashion Week and Project Runway Episode 7/2011 – There are different elements that make up a brilliant story. Be inspired by the visuals. How would you describe these events to a blind person? What makes these stories resonate?

Where in the world will you find Lauren?

Friday Hi-5 Features, 9 September 2011

Welcome to today’s Friday Hi-5 Features! Each week we will explore the best picks in the following categories: technology/tool; fiction book; non-fiction book; post of the week; and offline inspiration.

This week, an “education” theme was evident in all of the selections.

Technology/Tool

Khan Academy: How many of us sit at the kitchen table with our kids and spend the evening trying to figure out their homework? Admit it. Along the way we discarded how to deconstruct a sentence and long division to leave room for the other items we were learning. Or if you are like me, I will be happy to tackle English homework, but any math word problems makes me sweat. No thank you. So, on those days when continuous learning is required (for me or the kidlette), I turn to Khan Academy. The courses are split into easy to digest modules in plain language. Give it a try. I suggest beginning with statistics.

Non-Fiction Book

The Element by Sir Ken Robinson: If you have not already done so, take the time now to watch Both of Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talks. You may not have extensive concerns about how our schools are structured and how our children learn using antiquated methodology, but you will be inspired once you hear and read the stories shared.  Discover your element and then help others discover the same gift within themselves.

Fiction Book

Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clark: This 50’s science fiction novel depicts the pros and cons of a near-utopia. The aliens govern through indirect rule and may even remind you of a few present-day industries and organizations. Follow the human race as they evolve into a Golden Age. Reflect on how you have learned, who taught you…and how you have grown.

Post of the Week

Back to (the wrong) school by Seth Godin: “As long as we embrace (or even accept) standardized testing, fear of science, little attempt at teaching leadership and most of all, the bureaucratic imperative to turn education into a factory itself, we’re in big trouble. The post-industrial revolution is here. Do you care enough to teach your kids to take advantage of it?

Offline Inspiration

I have read the book, The Element, by Sir Ken Robinson immediately following his TED Talk, but this week I listened to it on audiobook. Hearing the written word spoken by him was mesmerizing. His dry sense of humor and articulation made the stories new once more.

Where in the world will you find Lauren?

  • 10 SeptemberMIT Sloan Marketing Conference: Going Digital Breakout Session: Marketing Analytics 3.0 | 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. (Boston)
  • 13 SeptemberFutureM: The Future of Communities Doubleheader Panel | 2-4pm Will I see you Monday at the Opening Night party? (Boston)

Time to Hit the Books!

Last week was move-in day and this week most schools officially begin the 2011-2012 school year in the Boston area. Oh, how time flies. This time each year, I get a nagging sensation to clean and organize….maybe get a bit wild with the label maker. The first day of school was always my favorite. I wasn’t so excited to reconnect with people my age, but meet new teachers, explore new perspectives and open fresh textbooks. Some folks may like the new car smell, but I adore the smell of a new book. Listening to the first crack of the spine (yes, still talking about a book) is music to my ears.

Just because we have graduated and now are in 24/7 (um, I mean 9-5) jobs does not mean we stop learning or ignore the August/September habit of getting ready for school. I challenge you to reconnect with theory and explore how you are actually practicing all of the things you learned in school. Take inventory of what you didn’t learn in school and wish you had, then share with co-workers and folks you meet along the journey.

I don’t know about you, but I kept all of my textbooks. My mother and husband can attest to the fact that I hoard books and paper. So, what books will I drag out and review this season?

  1. Effective Public Relations by Scott M. Cutlip, Allen H. Center and Glen M. Broom: The book was originally published in 1952 and contains the original 7 C’s. There is only so much you can absorb in your introductory class to public relations. Once you begin to practice PR, the theories begin to make sense and act as a foundation for you to test your knowledge…or question the theories of communication greats now past.
  2. Plain English for Lawyers by Richard C. Wydick: I picked up this book during my brief law school time and the book is small and not intimidating at all. Exploring how other professions tackle writing and description is fascinating to me because in communications we have to be prepared to engage with anyone about any subject. Test your skills with the end of chapter exercises.
  3. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man by Marshall McLuhan: Before you brush off this suggestion, have you actually read the book? Digested the material or just heard and interpreted the quotes from this text? Perhaps it is time to explore why McLuhan’s work was viewed as a cornerstone of media theory.

And books I wish I had read while I was in school:

  1.  How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie: This is by far, the best business book, how-to book, anything-book I have ever read and re-read…and it was published in 1936. Social skills are not taught in school and are up to us to learn and adapt ourselves.
  2. The Hedgehog and the Fox: An Essay on Tolstoy’s View of History by Isaiah Berlin: You may be familiar with this essay mentioned in the must-read book, Good to Great. Berlin compares the moist and pluralist historical philosophies. Are you a fox or a hedgehog?

Take flight this fall in a book. Rediscover theories you studied in school. Are they still valid? How has this knowledge influenced your practice? What books would you add?

Friday Hi-5 Features, 2 September 2011

Welcome to today’s Friday Hi-5 Features! Each week we will explore the best picks in the following categories: technology/tool; fiction book; non-fiction book; post of the week; and offline inspiration.

This week, a “smiling” theme was evident in all of the selections.

Technology/Tool

Kickstarter: (WATCH this video!) Support artists and back a project that speaks to you…or in this case, sings to you. My friend, C.C. Chapman has rockin’ (literally) taste in music and yesterday I read one of his tweets about Kickstarter artist, Nataly Dawn. If the video doesn’t make you want to fall in love with her, check her out on iTunes or YouTube.

Fiction Book

I Don’t Know Hos She Does It by Allison Pearson: So, you may have seen the trailers for the movie with Sarah Jessica Parker based on this book, but don’t be deceived. Before you watch the movie, please read the book. The protagonist is actually English-not a New Yorker-and the wit of this book is unmatched. Are you a mom? Stressed? Always working? Take a break. You will be laughing by the end of the first page.

Non-Fiction Book

The Accidents of Style by Charles  Harrington Elster: After you have completed your morning affirmations, read a lesson about how not to write badly. A page a day will have your writing and speech sparkling in no time!

Post of the Week

You Don’t Need to Know Everything by Dave Fleet: Over the past two years, I have been preaching the value of listening. Active listening goes beyond discovery of brand mentions. This behavior is first demonstrated on a personal then professional level. As I begin my fourth week on the new job, I have done a lot of listening. What am I listening for? Desires, challenges…anything that helps me understand the person/team and how I may be of service. It is not about arriving on the scene as a conqueror or almighty guru, but understanding what is of value to those I will serve. Like Dave, I have thoughts I will contribute, but there is a time and a place for every action.

Offline Inspiration

In preparation for blog posts next week, rent or stream The September Issue.

Friday Hi-5 Features, 26 August 2011

 

Welcome to today’s Friday Hi-5 Features! Each week we will explore the best picks in the following categories: technology/tool; fiction book; non-fiction book; post of the week; and offline inspiration.

This week, a “find value” theme was evident in all of the selections.

Technology/Tool

AirBNB – modern day spin on the bed and breakfast to save you some cash

Fiction Book

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Non-Fiction Book

Inside the Magic Kingdom by Tom Connellan

Post of the Week

8 Terms that Suck the Life Out of Your Writing by Russell Working

Offline Inspiration

Save some cash at those conferences and ask your friends for recommendations! Why not plan a dinner party? Enjoy travelling on business.