Geeks & Geezers - AchieveMax® Top Ten Book Review
Geeks & Geezers: How Era, Values, and Defining Moments Shape Leaders by Warren G. Bennis & Robert J. Thomas
Most every organization today employs members of the younger generation just out of college and, in some cases, even high school. In fact, I recently read of a west coast firm that hired several middle school students to do part-time programming after school and on weekends. Those same companies employ their share of A.A.R.P. members nearing retirement. Both age groups, as well as those in between, bring tremendous value to the table in terms of education, experience, creativity, talent, etc. However, consider the cultural, environmental, motivational and personal goal differences of these two diverse employee groups. Then consider the fact that they are being thrown into the same chaotic, rapidly changing business environment and instructed to achieve ever-increasing levels of productivity and profitability! To expect such lofty expectations to be met would, of course, require, at the very least, a basic orientation to members of each group of the vast differences existing in each of the areas mentioned earlier. In fact, education and discussion of these differences and their possible consequences should be on-going. Now think about your own organization. Is this orientation currently being offered? Has it ever been offered? Should it be?
If any organization were to recognize the importance of this education and decide to provide it for their employees, the benefits would be phenomenal! The ideal textbook for such a program would have to be Geeks & Geezers by Bennis & Thomas. In this groundbreaking study, the authors compare and contrast these two disparate groups-affectionately labeled "geeks" (aged 21-34) and "geezers" (aged 70-82). They asked successful geeks to share the secrets of their youthful triumphs and distinguished geezers to tell them how they continue to stay active and engaged despite the changes wrought by age. Today's young leaders grew up in the glow of television and computers; the leaders of their grandparents' generation in the shadow of the Depression and World War II.
The authors, who bring considerable experience to the table (Bennis has written over 30 books on leadership and Thomas is a senior fellow with Accenture's Institute for Strategic Change), interviewed more than 40 leaders who they deem either "geeks" or "geezers" to evaluate the effect of era on values and success. The two groups vary in terms of their ambitions, heroes and family lives, but members of both sets share one common experience: all have "undergone at least one intense, transformational experience," which the authors call a "crucible." In some cases the crucible was an actual hardship, e.g., geezer Sidney Rittenberg spent 16 years in prison in China for speaking out against the government. For others, it was a dramatic experience, such as NYSE pioneer Muriel Siebert's entry into male-dominated Wall Street in 1967 or geek Liz Altman's stint working at a Japanese Sony factory before becoming a Motorola VP.
Among the findings of their research, Bennis and Thomas learned that Geezers and Geeks had quite different concerns when in the age range of 25-30. The Geezers' concerns were making a living, earning a good salary, starting and supporting a family, stability and security, working hard and getting rewarded by the system, listening to their elders, paying "dues" to various organizations, and using retirement to enjoy life. It also reveals the critical traits they share, including adaptability, vision, integrity, unquenchable optimism, and "neoteny"-a youthful curiosity and zest for knowledge.
In contrast, Geeks' concerns (during the same age range) were making history, achieving personal wealth, launching a career, change and impermanence, working hard so they can write their own rules, wondering if their elders "got it wrong," deciding where loyalty should lie, and achieving a balance between work and life. These are significant differences which Bennis and Thomas explain in terms of the different eras in which Geeks lived (at ages 25-30), the societal values of their respective generations, and various "defining moments" such as those associated with the Great Depression, World War II as well as Vietnam and the emergence of the Internet and World Wide Web.
Geeks and Geezers is a book that will forever change how we view not just leadership but the very way we learn and ultimately live our lives. Highlighting the forces that enable any of us to learn and lead not for a time, but for a lifetime, this book is essential reading for geeks, geezers, and everyone in between.
More than 100 business book reviews written by Harry K. Jones are available at www.AchieveMax.com/books/index.htm">http://www.AchieveMax.com/books/.
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www.AchieveMax.com/motivational-speaker-harry.htm">Harry K. Jones is a professional speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a firm specializing in custom-designed keynote presentations, seminars, and consulting services. Harry has made presentations ranging from leadership to employee retention and time management to stress management for a number of industries, including education, financial, government, healthcare, hospitality, and manufacturing. He can be reached at 800-886-2MAX or by visiting www.AchieveMax.com">http://www.AchieveMax.com.
Signature (a Random House website) looks at the many 2018 Golden Globes nominees based on books:
It is officially that time of the year awards season is upon us. As usual, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has kicked things off with the announcement of the 2018 Golden Globe Awards nominees. The literary world is represented in this year's lineup with a smattering of great adaptations leading the charge in both film and TV. While the slate of nominees is populated with a few of the marquee titles you'd expect "Game of Thrones" got it's annual nod, for instance a few surprises cracked the surface as well. It looks to be another interesting year at the Golden Globes. Let's have a look.
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year for 2017 is feminism. The word was a top lookup throughout the year, with several spikes that corresponded to various news reports and events.
In an opinion piece in the Irish Times, John Boyne writes:
So I'm going to make a claim now that will probably get me kicked out of the Fraternity of Underappreciated Male Authors (FUMA) and blacklisted from the annual Christmas football game. Here goes:
I think women are better novelists than men.
There, I've said it. While it's obviously an enormous generalisation, it's no more ludicrous than some half-wit proudly claiming never to read books by women. For the record, purporting to love literature while dismissing the work of female writers is like claiming to be passionate about music while refusing to listen to anything but Ed Sheeran. However, I'm going to try to back up my sweeping statement...
The great Simeon Booker, one of the bravest journalists of our time, faced dangers far worse than a petulant president's social media feed. Booker refused to be cowed--and ultimately helped change the nation. His life's work should be a lesson to us all about the power of truth to vanquish evil.
Booker died Sunday at 99. At the height of his career, few could have imagined he would live so long.
As Washington bureau chief for Chicago-based Johnson Publications, publisher of the newsweekly Jet and the monthly magazine Ebony, Booker went to the Deep South to cover the most tumultuous events of the civil rights movement--life-threatening work for an African American journalist.
William H. Gass, a proudly postmodern author who valued form and language more than literary conventions like plot and character and who had a broad influence on other experimental writers of the 1960s, '70s and beyond, died on Wednesday in St. Louis. He was 93.
Mr. Gass was widely credited with coining the term "metafiction" to describe writing in which the author is part of the story. He himself was one of the form's foremost practitioners.
Barnes & Noble, which posted a wider loss last quarter and sent its shares tumbling, is scaling back ambitions to become more than a bookseller.
The retailer had hoped that toys, games and other items would shore up its results, especially as Amazon ate away at its traditional business. But its non-book sales have flagged the past two quarters, and now the company is putting its focus back firmly on reading.
Shelf Awareness reports on the growing "Cider Monday" movement by indie booksellers in response to the big online shopping day known as Cyber Monday. In this low key but fun event stores offer their customers "a warm welcome and a cup of delicious cider" to thank them for shopping local.
Dictionary.com's choice for its Word of the Year is "complicit." It says online searches for the word spiked three times this year...
On Saturday, hundreds of booksellers across the USA took part in Indies First and Small Business Saturday, organizing all kinds of in-store activities, offering a range of deals, hosting parties and engaging in the staple of Indies First since the event was founded by Sherman Alexie in 2013: having authors work in their favorite indies as booksellers. Shelf Awareness reports on some of the events.
Meanwhile, in the UK, bookstores celebrated the first inaugural Saturday Sanctuary
to "celebrate bookshops as a place of calm and respite from our hectic daily lives."
A New York Times opinion piece by Daniel T. Willingham lays out the argument that American's poor reading skills cannot be blamed on modern technology but on a misunderstanding of how the mind reads - that functional literary is grounded not just in the ability to read words but in having the factual knowledge to put what one is reading into context.