What Is Influencing Your Thinking Today?


May 8, 2013

I’m a voracious reader.  I go through spurts though where I don’t make time to read books.  I tell myself that I’m staying on top of things because I read articles and blog posts, but I’m still an old-fashioned girl when it comes to the feel of a good book in my hand.  I like the weight of the book.  I like the way the pages feel and the feeling of satisfaction I have as I’m drawing near the end of the story.  I get that momentary rush at the end of the book and feel that little twinge of accomplishment.

I also love that by reading,  I have my own thoughts and ideas challenged or validated.

I’m not someone who can read just one book at a time though, so I usually have several good books going at once.  Here’s what I’m reading right now and why.  I’m hoping these will help spark some new ideas here on the blog in the coming months.

The Killer Angels

The Killer Angels is a Pulitzer Prize winning Civil War novel by Michael Shaara.  It tells the story of the Battle of Gettysburg from Robert E. Lee and James Longstreet’s point of view.  What I am finding most interesting is that it doesn’t attempt to be a textbook story, it takes the information from actual documents and letters written by the men who fought.

The interesting and somewhat disappointing thing to know about the book is that the author struggled for years to get it published.  He finally did but it never saw critical acclaim during his lifetime.  Even being awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1975 did not help much.  It wasn’t until after his death that interest increased after the movie ‘Gettysburg‘ was based on it,  and it ultimately was number on on the NY Times bestseller list.  I’m excited to be learning more about Gettysburg because I’ll be making a trip there in June to walk the battlefield and learn about the leadership of the men who fought there.  I’ll be sharing more about that in the next month.

The Sun Also Rises

The Sun Also Rises was a book recommended by one of my closest friends.  I know many people are forced to read this in high school literature class, but somehow, I never had the pleasure to read it.

To me, this story speaks to us as readers today.  It takes place in post- WWI Paris and Spain but it could just as easily be written about us today.  There is the examination of a generation who seem to have a lack of communication, an unnaturally strong affinity to drinking, and the sense of false friendship.  I won’t make my own assumptions just yet because I’m still working my way through it.

Written by Ernest Hemingway, it is considered one of the best novels written in the twentieth century. It proves that although technology, jobs, or family structure may change, it’s still relevant today.

Finding Keepers

I have to admit, I am really excited to read this book and the way the chapters are set up has allowed me to quickly jump to the chapters that most interest me.  The discussions on employer branding and how to truly market your brand are worth the price of the book.  I especially like the section on marketing shorthand.

I received this book as a gift from Eric Winegardner of Monster.  He and Monster were generous to give them away at HRevolution.  I’ll be interested to see how other participants react to the tools in this book.  I may not be a recruiter from a job description perspective, but this is the book that will give me some good tips and tricks to share with the hiring managers I work with every day.

Thanks Monster!

Thinking For A Change

This is a book I’ve read and re-read several times.  Anything by John Maxwell tends to be good, but this one is my favorite.  I actually bought it several years ago when I was part of a mass HR layoff at PwC.

I like that it gives you real-life examples of how to change the way you think, how to open your mind, and how to respect the ideas of others.  I also think that the way that Maxwell builds in “thinking questions” and an action plan at the end of each chapter is a great way for the reader to actually attempt to weave the suggestions into daily practice.

My favorite chapter is Discovering the Joy of Creative Thinking.  It’s a great book to help guide yourself to approaching your life and your work in a way that embraces change.

So, what are you reading lately that is influencing your thinking?  Share it in the comments.


  • Trish, I am surprised to see Killer Angels on the list, make that extremely happy. I was one of the few that read it long before Gettysburg was made and LOVED it. I am glad to hear that someone else is thinking of looking into the leadership associated with that event, something that I have done for years. I have been there many times and hopefully will be there this fall. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this.

  • Trish, the most recent serious book I read was The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt, recommended by Ben. It helped me identify a bottleneck in my hiring process and started me thinking about how to fix it.

    I tend to read a lot of serious nonfiction so I try to make a point of reading more fiction. I took a couple light novels to HRevolution and read one on the way there and the other on the way back.

    I’m putting a reading basket together for my car for all those long red lights, doctors appointments, etc. First things going in are my Talent Management and other HR publications I usually don’t get around to reading!

  • I loved Killer Angels as well as John. It is on the list for a re-read. The Sun Also Rises is a classic as well, thanks for pointing out the relevance of the work even today. Great post.

  • I have a stack of books that I’m so far behind on, I’m embarrassed. I’m currently reading three books, only one of which is in that stack.
    Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris, hilarious; I found that one after I bought the iPad.
    Finger Lickin Fifteen by Janet Evanovich; a girls gotta have some good fiction.
    And What Every Body Is Saying by Joe Navarro, his is the one I’m most interested in but am having the hardest time finishings. The book is similar to the Fox show Lie To Me, its shed a new light on employee relation conversations.

  • Funny that your post below is about Lewis and Clark. I’m reading Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose which is a chronicle of their journey and a pretty amazing commentary on leadership and working in a team.

  • Trish,

    I added Think For a Change to my list of books for this year. I too am an avid reader and enjoy most anything John Maxwell writes. Another Maxwell book you might enjoy is Everyone Communicates, Few Connect. I’m half way through the book and to say it is a winner doesn’t do the book justice. It is all about connecting with others – one on one, small groups or large groups – in a deep and meaningful way.


  • Trish – We have something in common !! I usually have 2 to 3 books going at the same time as well.

    So, what’s influencing me (at this time) are:

    “Switch – How to Change Things When Change is Hard” – Chip Heath & Dan Heath – always wanting to learn about change !!

    “The Shack” by Wm. Paul Young – I guess I’m the only person who hasn’t read this yet, but it’s good so far.

    and the John Adams biography that was featured on HBO.

    BTW – I read “Killer Angels” and loved it !! I’m a closet history buff.

    Thanks for always stretching how we think !!

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About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.




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