What the New Year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the New Year.” -Vern McLellan

Vern McLellan

The Best Book Covers of 2013

Readers of this blog know that I love books.  There must be some psychological label for someone who must have a book within reach at all times.  Whether at home or at the office, whether on a flight or a long drive, I am uncomfortable unless a book is close by.

In recent years, my career has me surrounded with books.  As I walk down an aisle of books, I need to use all my willpower not to stop and start browsing. And what captures my attention?  Book covers.

Book Covers Pull You In

Do you ever buy a book because you are attracted to its cover?  Book covers do that.  A well-designed book jacket stops you. Maybe makes you squint or smile or pause for a second. It calls you to pick up the book and look inside.

Each year, I make a list of the best book covers.  Here is my 2013 list. (And, if you missed, here are the best book covers of 2012 and 2011.) What’s your favorite?

I Hate to Leave this Beautiful Place by Howard Norman

I Hate to Leave this Beautiful Place by Howard Norman

 

Shouting Won’t Help by Katherine Bouton

Shouting Won’t Help by Katherine Bouton

 

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

 

Devoted: 38 Extraordinary Tales of Love, Loyalty, and Life With Dogs by Rebecca Ascher-Walsh

Devoted: 38 Extraordinary Tales of Love, Loyalty, and Life With Dogs by Rebecca Ascher-Walsh

 

Creative You: Using Your Personality Type to Thrive by David Goldstein and Otto Kroeger (see my interview with David Goldstein here.)

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East of Denver by Gregory Hill

East of Denver by Gregory Hill

3 Leadership Development Tips to Help Bring Out the Leader in You

This is a guest post by Dale Carnegie Training, a company founded on the principles of the famous speaker and author of one of my classic favorites “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” Today, the company offers leadership training to help businesses and individuals achieve their goals.

As the year comes to an end, now is the perfect time for business professionals to reflect on the past year, review what they did well, and determine what skill set areas need improvement. One skill that every businessperson should possess is leadership. Great leadership qualities are a key to success and allow people to be able to take charge of situations to ultimately get the job done. No matter what field you are in, having good leadership skills is critical to your success. Use the following tips and insights from Dale Carnegie Training, one of the leaders in leadership training, to help bring out your inner leader.

 

Act enthusiastic and you will be enthusiastic. –Dale Carnegie

 

Work on Your People Skills

One skill that is often overlooked in the business world is people skills. More than just being social and likeable, people skills allow you to understand how to deal with other people in an efficient and positive manner. This skill can ultimately help leaders win business simply by creating positive experiences for people with whom they interact. People skills are also extremely important in resolving conflict and can help leaders keep team members motivated and engaged at all times. By learning how to interact with others in an effective way, you will be able to better collaborate with your team to ultimately reach company goals.

 

Our thoughts make us what we are. –Dale Carnegie

 

Communication is Key

In order to effectively lead, one must become an expert in communication. The way people communicate can instantly cause a positive or negative reaction, which can greatly affect the outcome of any situation. Leaders should be able to inspire others while also remaining confident and professional.

Good listening skills are also a big part of effective leadership and communication. By listening to those around you, and keeping the lines of communication open, you will have a better understanding of the wants, needs and ideals that are critical to fostering a successful environment.

 

Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain-and most do. –Dale Carnegie

 

Invest in Leadership Training

For some, being a leader comes naturally. However, most leaders could greatly benefit from management training programs to help them develop and fine-tune these skills. Look for leadership development learning opportunities. Whether you find a seminar offered through your company, or opt to take an online course on your own, these seminars can be extremely beneficial and can help improve communication and interpersonal skills. Leadership training can provide useful tips, insights and valuable hands-on experience. Even if your company doesn’t offer training opportunities, make it a point to find training opportunities for yourself and be proactive about your leadership.

 

Have Yourself A Blessed Little Christmas

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.

As I reflect on this past year, I am full of gratitude.  If I’m honest, some of that thankfulness is because the year is over because there were some difficult moments.  And yet, I’m still so grateful for the gift of life, for friends and family, and for those who have made a tremendous impact on me.  Mistakes, successes, failures, lessons, gifts, books, lyrics all blend together to prepare me for the year ahead.

Take time and listen to my gifted friend Michael O’Brien sing “Have Yourself a Blessed Little Christmas.”  I wish all of you a coming year full of blessings, friends, gratitude, and peace.

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley
William Ernest Henley