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?


5 ways to help you to determine your ‘Vocation’

February 6th, 2012 by Gallagher John 1 Comment

How do we really know what we are supposed to be ‘doing’? 


One of the favorite sermon series that I have heard (twice now!) is on 5 ways to help you determine your ministry…your work…your purpose.

The 5 ways are built into an acronym called the S.H.A.P.E. profile

S – Spiritual gifts.  What are the gifts you have been given to have an impact?  You might be a leader, or have the gift of hospitality, life my wife does.  Here is a link to a couple short assessments you might take to detemine your gifts CLICK HERE

H – Heart (passion) What are the things that you have a passion for?  When you do these things you simply are more energetic and find reward in them

A – Abilities.  These are things that help keep you grounded.  I may want to be an NBA basketball player, but my abilities don’t match with that very well!

P – Personalities.  Do you have the ability to get along and lead individuals with personalities that are differnt than yours?  The assessment I use to help me here is the DiSC profile.

E – experiences.  What experiences do you have to share?  What has already happened in your life that you can teach others?  We often can provide great help to those who are going through tough experiences by the learnings we have of going through situations.  For example, if you are a cancer survivor, your experiences on that journey can be very helpful to someone who has just learned of their diagnosis.

Special thanks to Stan Buck and Ken Neinke, 2 pastors who have shared these tools with me and helped to SHAPE me.

Do you know your SHAPE?

I hate jogging…I love having jogged !

February 2nd, 2012 by Gallagher John 1 Comment

Recently, I was listening to an Andy Andrews podcast and the NY Times best-selling author said something close to this about writing: “I hate writing, but I love having written.” This really struck me with regards to discipline of accomplishing a goal.

In the past year, I have picked up jogging as an exercise and actually run a few 5K’s.  I call it ‘jogging’ because I would be embarrassing the sport of running if I called my Clydesdale pace  ‘running’.  I HATE jogging…, but I LOVE having jogged!  There are a few reasons:

1) The fruit – For me, to maintain a healthy weight, I must exercise.  Since I started my jogging program almost a year ago, I have lost over 20 lb

2) The accomplishment – When I am through jogging, I feel like I have accomplished something positive and that is a good thing.

3) The goal – Whether I am shooting for a personal best time for 3.1 miles, or looking to shed a few extra calories due to the dessert the night before, it helps me to get to achieve my goals!

We all have things we hate do-“ing”, but love having “done” them.  My guess is that some of my ‘Lean’ friends I work with hate following their personal standard work, but the love having followed their personal standard work!  We love having done them for various reasons.  What reasons would you add?

Finish this sentence for me:  I hate __________________-ing, but I love having _____________-ed

What is your personal hourly rate?

February 1st, 2012 by Gallagher John No Comments

As I type this blog post, I am on hold with a large computer company(I won’t say the name, but the initials are HP!!) debating whether or not they will replace a faulty printer cartridge that I recently purchased.  (Even with the receipt, I was unable to return to the original supplier for a replacement since I did not have the original packaging, but that is a story for another day!)

Photo from

I am often frustrated by the value that I don’t get returned for the time I invest.  Sometimes it may cost more than it is worth.

Do you know your hourly rate for your personal time?  It’s easy to calculate:

Target annual personal income / 2,080 (approx work hours in a year) = Hourly rate for your time

You can use this calculation to see if you are wasting more time on something than it is worth!  That project you are working on so you don’t have to call the contractor…. How many hours do you have in it????  What is it costing you?  Of course, sometimes cost is not the only variable that is important with your time.  There is family time that is priceless.  There is personal development time that increases your personal value. 

But, sometimes, the time it takes to do a task is simply not worth it.  I have now been on the phone for 25 minutes.  This ‘free’ replacement cartridge is costing me a lot of money!!!!

So, what is  your hourly rate????  What do you need to STOP doing that costs more than the time invested?

2012 Reading stack

January 4th, 2012 by Gallagher John 1 Comment

In the spirit of lifelong learning, I am taking on this reading stack in 2012:

Each of these books in one way or the other should impact my life plan in a positive way, whether it be parenting, speaking, leading, or being a better husband.

What’s on your list to read in 2012?

5 things I am grateful for upon reflecting on 2011

December 29th, 2011 by Gallagher John 4 Comments

Another year has FLOWN by.  What a year it has been.  I was looking through some of my photos from the year and, of course, realize I don’t take enough of them!!  But, it has been an eventful year and one that compels me to be grateful for so many things:

1) Medical advances – It seemed like the year of surgeries for the Gallagher’s and close friends.  Mom had knee replacement. Our friend, Stan Buck had major brain surgery to remove a cancerous tumor.  My brother had major heart surgery to basically rebuild his heart, and we finished out the year with Brendan having wisdom teeth pulled.  All of them are recovering well. 25 years ago, these stories likely would have been quite different.

2) People who inspire me – There are many who do inspire me.  This year, the ‘top’ inspirer would be Adam Ward, a friend and co-worker who inspired me to run my first 5K and subsequently, 3 more after that! 

3) Work that I love – I really do enjoy the work that I do.  Too often in today’s economy folks may be doing things that they just don’t love. 

4) Safe air travel – I had to log over 160 flight segments in 2011 and each of them landed the same way they took off!

5) Family  – Saving the best for last…Frankly, my wife, Chris and boys sacrificed this year as a result of #3 above.  They have been very gracious in affording my the opportunity to fulfill my purpose. 

There are many more things like time spent with friends (see photo above from WVU homecoming game! – Let’s Go Mountaineers!!) that I need to be grateful for all the time.  

So, what are you grateful for in 2011?  Take some time to reflect on this.  You will find it rewarding.

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.