book review

[Book Review] One in a Billion

by Nursetopia on August 18, 2016

OneInABillionOne in a Billion: The Story of Nic Volker and the Dawn of Genomic Medicine, authored by Mark Johnson and Kathleen Gallagher, is a true story of a boy with a never-before discovered disease after the finished Human Genome Project, leaving cardiac physiologists an opportunity to map the boy’s genome for sequence errors. In the writing vein of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacksit reads more like fiction and will keep your attention through the end.

I devoured this book in about six hours. It is masterfully written, includes brilliant views of science and medicine and patient/family perspectives, displays a prime example of Moore’s Law (of economics and rapidly developing technology), and is thought-provoking regarding ethics surrounding entire genome sequencing. It is enthralling at times like a mystery and heart-tugging to read of a mother’s unwavering love and advocacy of her son with the only recorded instance of the disease. I particularly loved how the mom’s Caring Bridge journal entries were woven throughout the story to give patient/family perspective alongside medical discussions.

With the ever-increasing need for nurses and all healthcare professionals to understand genetics and genomics, this is a lovely educational book that is also easy to pack for a weekend beach vacation. It really is that good!


[Book Review] It’s My Pleasure

by Nursetopia on August 17, 2016

IMG_0906Dee Ann Turner, Chick-Fil-A VP of Corporate Talent, details her organization’s service and wow-culture in It’s My Pleasure: The Impact of Extraordinary Talent and a Compelling Culture. Named for a saying that’s the norm in the food chain that now permeates businesses everywhere, It’s My Pleasure shares lovely stories of the people making Chick-Fil-A a powerhouse business continuing to innovate and wow customers.

Because Chick-Fil-A knows the people doing the work matter, they take great measures to steward their people – hiring the right people and then growing those people into their leaders at every level of the business. It’s refreshing to see often word-only business concepts like “loyalty” in a different way through Turner’s examples of how the company creates raving fans not only in their customer base but within their ranks, as well. And while most of us rarely consider dining in a fast food chain as a great “experience,” Chick-Fil-A works for just that purpose, delivering “second-mile service” rooted in deep faith principles.

Easily read in an afternoon, if you’re curious about culture change and how great organizations practically implement unparalleled service, It’s My Pleasure is the book for you.


[Book Review] Life to the Max

by Nursetopia on August 16, 2016

LifetotheMaxLife to the Max is a digital sampler of several of author Max Lucado’s books. With six chapters from six different books, you’ll get a flavor of Lucado’s inspirational yet challenging writing. From doubt and fear to servanthood and excellence, it’s pretty amazing how much information these six seemingly-small chapters contain.

You can easily finish Life to the Max in under an hour as the select chapters are brief (but powerful), and if you’ve never read Max Lucado, this easy read will likely lead you to just the right starter-book of his, no doubt aligned to a Life to the Max sample chapter.


[Book Review] Emotional Intelligence 2.0

by Nursetopia on August 15, 2016

Few things determine success like emotional intelligence (EQ) – being able to recognize personal emotions as well as the IMG_0897emotions of others and manage those emotions within the environment or to attain the goal-at-hand.

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 is Travis Bradberry’s and Jean Greaves’s first update in several years to their sentinel book. It’s a compact book with many brief chapters (2-4 pages each) separated into the four EQ skill sections of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. The book – when purchased new – includes a link to a free EQ test to assess strengths and opportunities for improvement, which can be especially helpful when reading the various sections.

As a leader I’ve seen great people with strong work skills crumble under the inability to recognize their emotions and get lost within them in critical moments or their inability to manage the emotions of others in tense moments, losing the leadership reigns. I have pointed many people to this book, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend it if it wasn’t helpful personally. Recognizing and managing emotions in self or others is a key skill any leader should possess, and this book can absolutely assist with that in those struggling as well as those looking for reminders and perhaps new, practical skills to continue in successful work.


[Book Review] Brilliant Mistakes

by Nursetopia on August 14, 2016

Brilliant MistakesBrilliant Mistakes is authored by Paul J.H. Schoemaker and narrated by Dave Courvoisier. With nearly five hours of audio, this book will keep your attention with great stories like finding the Beatles to the development of immunology and discovery of penicillin to Steve Jobs’s happenstance interest in calligraphy that revolutionized computer fonts.

Schoemaker does a lovely job discussing the types of mistakes – tragic, serious, trivial, and brilliant, and there are plenty of quotes that will spur you on when you’ve failed 573,298 times. He purports that companies must speed up deliberate and purposeful mistake-making to accelerate success, and that mistake-making risk must be diversified – just like finances. The more risk averse you are, the more you must diversify and, thus, make more mistakes. It’s counterintuitive because mistakes made together often have a synergistic hedging effect than a single mistake. Organizations that leverage frontline associates to generate and try ideas in work or those with robust R&D departments are the ones that most benefit from this concept as literally hundreds or thousands of ideas spread the risk of “mistakes” across a broad “area.” To be successful in failing frequently, organizations must deliberately hardware mistake-making and learning from them to accelerate the business or mission.

Brilliant Mistakes is chock full of great information. Pick it up or download the audio version for practical ideas and inspiration for “successful failing.”


SoupSoup: A Recipe to Nourish Your Team and Culture, by Jon Gordon, is a simple, easy-to-read (or listen to) book. It provides basic organizational culture strategies through the “stirring” story of a young female CEO struggling to revitalize her company only to realize the key ingredients after talking with the Grandma-in-Chief at Grandma’s Soup House, a nearby restaurant always with a bustling crowd.

The foundational leadership concepts are simple enough for novice leaders and powerful, quick reminders for expert leaders. It resounds that the person stirring the soup matters and that relationships (e.g. people) are the root key to everything we do in business and service. While the table of contents is long, each chapter lasts only a few minutes; you can finish the book in about 2.5 hours, and since the chapters are short, it is an easy book to read while commuting.

While it wasn’t a part of my business school curriculum, I am sure it is a part of someone’s, and this would be a great book for any new leader or a new leader development book club. All-in-all, Soup is an imaginative read with practical implications.


[Book Review] Mistakes I Made at Work

by Nursetopia on August 12, 2016

MistakesIMadeAtWork_croppedI’ve done quite a bit of reading over the last few months, so it’s time to catch up with some book review posts! If you’re looking for a “new” book to read (or not), get cozy because there are several reviews heading your way via Nursetopia. So let’s get started!

Mistakes I Made at Work: 25 Influential Women Reflect on What They Got Out of Getting it Wrong is edited by Jessica Bacal; I opted for the audiobook version (narrated by Karen Saltus), which I was able to finish over about 2.5 hours while traveling. “Finish” is the correct word because I, unfortunately, have a hard time stopping any book I start; I wish I had the mental fortitude to have stopped this one, though. I kept thinking, “It will get better…one more chapter.” [sigh] It never got better. Each chapter focuses on a different businesswoman and a key mistake she indicates shifted her career in some way. I found the stories of the mistakes to be rather shallow in description at times and a bit choppy to listen to.

I was really looking forward to reading the book as I have an interest in “mistakes” and “failures” that propel entrepreneurs and innovative ideas forward. I was hoping to get encouragement from successful women’s stories of mistakes and missed opportunities, but I was only left hoping for an end to the book. I do believe the book would have been much better if the chapters were actually read by the different women, sharing their stories in their own voices.

From the Amazon reviews of this book, my opinion – to pass on Mistakes I Made at Work – is the minority voice. Still, I think there are several other books about springboard failures that would be much better investments of your time and focus.


photo-27I spent the majority of last week at a training about lean tools and concepts. At the beginning of the class, the instructor asked how many people volunteered for the class as opposed to how many were “voluntold” to attend the class. I was definitely a volunteer for the class, seeking it out to learn more about my organization’s use of these lean concepts, and I thoroughly enjoyed the class.

I had an entire class on operational efficiencies in graduate school, but it wasn’t tailored to health care, and there were few examples that I could extrapolate at the time as most of my colleagues were heavily focused on mechanical industries. I have always been drawn to systems and processes, though, and I now see more of that graduate class influenced my current work than I previously realized. After the lean class, I now have very clear examples of lean work in health care, formalized and workable tools, and terms to go along with current work. I nerded out the entire time; it was a blast.

After the course, I borrowed Everything I Know About Lean I Learned in the First Grade, written by Robert O. Martichenko, from the instructing department’s lending library. It caught my eye simply because it looked like an easy and intriguing read. And it definitely is.

Even after 28 hours of lean training, the book delivered easy to understand concepts and examples to further bolster my lean learning. It was fun to see lean principles at work in an elementary school, and I know I will think about many of the examples as I walk through my children’s school in the future. Complete with illustrations, brief paragraphs, and summary sections, the book is an easy two-hour read that will get you thinking about lean principles everywhere in business, no matter the industry.

Two complexly simple themes throughout the book are:

  • Lean is not about tools; lean is about thinking. 
  • ‘Why’ is more important than ‘how.’ 

I am going to keep chewing on these and keep them at the forefront of my mind. Overall, this is a quick and thought-provoking read. You should check it out.


inPractice® Oncology Nursing has a brand new textbook resource available to help nurses at the bedside or chairside. Broken into clinically relevant segments and chock full of evidence-based practice guidelines and information, inPractice® Oncology Nursing has chapters upon chapters of education, laid out in bite-sized pieces, which is perfect for just-in-time expert information. The graphic-heavy content has a hint of Pinterest for oncology professionals, making the content easy to grasp and retain. All evidence-based guidelines and reference journal articles are hyperlinked throughout the online text, so nurses can quickly go straight to the evidence as well as national practice-guiding documents across topics. In addition, the content itself is hyperlinked, so nurses can scan from issue to issue if they’d like to learn more about certain topics. With a robust table of content, inPractice® Oncology Nursing is a comprehensive oncology nursing textbook like no other.

I had the privilege to be a part of this ground-breaking oncology nurse textbook development. I love the combination of strong content with aesthetically-pleasing, easy-to-understand graphics that help support the content. I can attest to the strength of the information as all references and guidelines were thoroughly checked and then each chapter was passed through a rigorous peer review process. And since this textbook is online, updates are a breeze. In fact, inPractice® Oncology Nursing has been published since the end of February 2014, and my section (on survivorship) has already had content updates based on new evidence in the field. Now that is timely, accurate, and reliable oncology nursing support.

Check out the new resource, and if you’re attending the 39th Annual Oncology Nursing Congress in Anaheim, May 1 – 4, you can stop by the inPractice® exhibit booth to talk with some of the experts and learn more about the textbook that is helping redefine oncology nursing education.

Disclosure: I served as a section editor and chapter author for inPractice® Oncology Nursing. I was compensated for my involvement to develop the resource. All thoughts here are my own. I did not receive remuneration to share my thoughts. 


Screen Shot 2013-08-21 at 9.11.37 PMThanks to a few friends who’ve read the book, I picked up and finished the audio version of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop TalkingIt is sooo good.

I am definitely an introvert, and this book validated a lot about my life and work. A lot. The audio book is nine CDs – close to 11 hours of content. The chapters are full of rich stories and interesting studies about introverts and extroverts. Some of my favorite concepts covered include the case study on Harvard Business School, discussions about “the road to Abilene” (a fav paradox), “the winner’s curse,” the Roosevelt’s – an introvert/extrovert couple, psuedo-extroversion (which I completely relate to), and debate about open floor plans in the work environment.

I definitely recommend this book for both introverts and extroverts. Have you read it? What did you think?

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