Two Big Little Books

June 13, 2008

If you liked The Go-Giver, here are two other short, positive-message, parable-style books that have come out in the past few months that you might enjoy. I loved em both. (In fact, if you hunt, you’ll find my endorsement printed inside each.)

Both are short, one-afternoon reads that contain big insights.

The Pep Talk

I’m not big on sports stories (although in our house we often quote Tom Hanks from A League of Their Own: “There’s no crying in baseball!”). Still, this one is special.

The Pep Talk takes a familiar idea—the underdog team galvanized to triumph by an inspiring locker-room homily—and breathes new life into it. The talk itself and story of the team’s win are lovely in their own right, but it’s in the aftermath of the big game, an aftermath that stretches long years into the boys’ adulthoods, that the story’s twists reveal an unexpected depth of meaning.

If this were a film, Act I would be the story you expect. Act II would surprise and intrigue you, and Act III would be the ending that would blow your mind.

The Fourth Secret

How do you say those three little words that mean so much? No, not those three words — I’m speaking of a different and more challenging triad: “I was wrong.”

There are few things as liberating as the willingness to freely admit a mistake. And what could be simpler? Still, it seems to be one of the rarest acts of leadership. The Fourth Secret (full title: The Fourth Secret of the One Minute Manager) offers a beautiful recipe for how to apologize, in the form of a modern-day parable (fiction) wrapped around a quite moving Abraham Lincoln vignette (factual).

The book is cowritten by my dear friend and amazing literary agent, Margret McBride, and the legendary Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One Minute Manager. The title alludes to the “three secrets” of that classic: one minute goals, one minute praisings, and the one minute reprimand. The very definition of compelling simplicity. I loved this book when I first read it in the eighties, and I didn’t see how any other book could live up that standard, let alone take the idea further. Happily, Blanchard and McBride could, and did.

  • http://www.lukemelia.com Luke Melia

    Ordered a copy of The Pep Talk. Looks like a good match for my startup!