Archive for the ‘Book review’ Category


August 14th, 2012 by Gallagher John No Comments

Recently, I completed The Noticer  by Andy Andrews.  It was a gift from a friend and I really enjoyed this book.  Actually, this is the third Andy Andrews book I have completed this year.  I also read The Traveler’s Gift and The Final Summit.  I have really enjoyed the author’s style of writing with his mix of interesting history, vivid imagery and timely humor.

In the Noticer, Andrews tells the story of how a wise old man known as Jones has an impact on many in his community.  His favorite quip: “It’s all about perspective”  results in many a positive outcome in difficult circumstances.

I found the book  difficult to put down once I got started as the stories were both well written and  very relevant to my story.  While the statement “It’s about perspective” sounds like a simple statement, it can also be a very challenging call to action if you allow it.

Often, your perspectives can be  clouded by your own experiences and internal stories you make up about what might happen.

Jones’ wisdom is bestowed upon several folks during and  at the end of the story with these compelling words and a call to action:

“The reason an answer is not often found in the midst of crisis is that many times, at that very moment, a specific answer does not exist.  In desperate times, more than anything else, folks need perspective…Perspective can just as easily be lost as it can be found.”

I loved this read.   Does a situation or challenge you are currently facing need a change in perspective to help you get to an answer? Be the first to comment and share this review via Twitter and I will send you a copy of the  book for your enjoyment.


April 24th, 2012 by Gallagher John 1 Comment

I just finished reading The Best Practice – How the New Quality Movement is Transforming Medicine. Not all of my readers are keenly aware, but for the past two years I have been a consultant in health care working with organizations to improve the effectiveness of their delivery of health care.  For me, a lot of my work is about reducing wait times and improving efficiencies.  This book was a gift from one of my clients and I am so appreciative of this gift.  Let me share a few of the jaw-dropping facts:

  • From a Harvard Medical Practice Study, it is estimated that there are 1 million preventable medical errors in the United States each year, resulting in more than 100,000 deaths (That is like one 737 crashing EVERY DAY in a year!)
  • The cost of these injuries is estimated at $33 billion annually
  • 70 percent of the nation’s cost of care goes to less than 10 percent of the population
  • There are over 10,00 billing codes in health care for procedures (want to guess how many there are for cures?)
  • 74 percent of doctors believe patients could receive better care if doctors were able to share information via electronic medical records.  63 percent believe the benefits of electronic medical records would decrease the risk of medical error- 2007 Wall Street Journal survey  (Think of how many information cards you carry on your key-chain with your information on them.  How many of you carry one around with your medical information on it?

After completing this book, I am more committed than ever to continue the work that I do.  Not just to improve efficiency and reduce the time we wait in the doctor’s office, but to….SAVE LIVES!

This book is very relevant to those seeking to understand just a little bit better the problems with our current health care delivery system.

I really enjoyed reading this book.  Thank you, Gene Lindsey, for sharing it with me.  There were gut-wrenching stories of folks who were affected by errors in our medical system.  From infections to having the wrong limb amputated, to death for poor systems…NOT bad people…bad SYSTEMS. 


Book review – Steve Jobs

February 20th, 2012 by Gallagher John 2 Comments

I just finished reading Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.  It was not on my 2012 reading stack at the start of the year, but I chose to read it at the suggestion of a friend.  I am glad that I did.

First, the fact that I finished a 600+ page book is an accomplihsment in itself!

The book is a chronological look at Steve’s life and business journey. I must say that as I read it, I found myself shaking my head often at the ‘style’ Jobs presented.  His strengths were his weaknesses.  This is the major takeaway of the book for me.

Empathy. – Jobs had an incredible ability to connect with the needs of his customers.  Clearly, during the story he often did NOT have this same ability with family and employees. 

 Focus. “Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do” (pg 336).  However, when Jobs got focused on something, it engulfed him.  Again, often at the expense of his family relationships and his health.

Simplicity. – “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”(pg 127).  However, Steve often ‘ignored’ the complex.  The biggest example of this was when he did not seek treatment when his cancer was initially found. 

Motivational – Jobs was a master at painting the big picture so that employees knew their impact.  There is a story in the book where he went to a white board and showed that if there were five million people using the Mac, he could save a hundred lifetimes per year by decreasing start-up time by 10 seconds.  BUT, you generally ended up in two camps with Jobs with your ideas: 1) brilliant or 2) total “s–t” (crap).  He was charismatic AND his brutal honesty alienated many.

There are too many really good stories to list in this review.

Have you read this book?  What are your thoughts on the leadership ‘style’ Steve Jobs exhibited?


Book Review – The Traveler’s Gift

November 28th, 2011 by Gallagher John 4 Comments

Just recently completed The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews.  This was given to me as a gift…twice.  I must say that I enjoyed this book.

There are so many books out there with “numbers”.  21 ways to do this, 5 ways to become a millionaire in 3 minutes a day.  So, when I read the subtitle, “Seven decisions that determine personal success”, I will admit that I was a little skeptical at first.  But, when 2 people give you a book, it is kind of like when someone offers you a stick of gum or a mint…there is a reason!!

This was the first Andy Andrews book I read.  I was intrigued by his writing.  His vivid imagery made it easy for me to follow the story of a man visiting several (seven!) leaders of the past, including Abraham Lincoln, Joshua Chamberlain, among a few others.  So, not only did I get 7 choices that may help me to determine success, I got a history lesson!  Now, one can skip to the end of the book to get the answers, but the author’s method of getting you to each decision was engaging.  It won’t ruin the book if I give you the 7 decisions:

1) The buck stops here.  I am responsible for my past and my future

2) I will seek wisdom.

3) I am a person of action

4) I have a decided heart

5) Today, I will choose to be happy

6) I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit

7) I will persist without exception

Several memorable quotes from this book as well.  “The only sure way to avoid criticism is to do nothing and be nothing!”

I think this was a great book.  Want a copy?  Comment on this post and tweet the link to this post.   Let me know which of the 7 decisions you struggle with the most.  How are you going to overcome that struggle?  I will choose one winner from the responses and send a copy to you via mail.

Can books REALLY save us?

May 15th, 2011 by Gallagher John 1 Comment

Today, I read a post from Mark Sanborn titled Books Can Save Us.  I posted a lengthy comment as it generated a lot of thoughts in my head.  Then, I read a post, Seven Types of Blog Comments and How to Respond to Them, and found I was guilty of #2 – being long-winded.  Oddly, I had just minutes before thought it was long-winded and I should post about it, so…here I am! 

Now, I don’t know that books will really ‘save’ us, but I do find books to be therapeutic, thus, I believe they have a way of extending our lives.  So, here was what I expressed to Mark, and now to you, about books:

1) I envy personal libraries  with the wood paneling to the ceiling and the walls of books, including out of print, first editions, and favorites that have been read.  While I stop short of making this type of personal library a ‘goal’, it would definitely be nice to have.  I would want it to be interactive, though.  When friends come over, I want them to pull the books off the shelf, read through my notes, and generate discussion/fellowship for the content as well as the aesthetics!

2) I think that books can be ‘attractive’.  When I finish reading a book, I remove the fancy cover and see how attractive the book’s binding is.  Then, it goes on my ‘shelf’.

3) Touring of bookstores is something I often do.  I wish I had the time to read all of the wonderful books that are there.

4) Life is too short to read a bad book(or drink a bad wine).  I will stop reading a book part of the way through. I don’t do this often as most of the books I read are suggestions from trusted sources.

These are a couple ways that books are therapeutic to me.  What about you?