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Profile for M. Morris > Reviews


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M. Morris RSS Feed (Austin, TX USA)

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Embracing Disruption: A Cloud Revolution Manifesto
Embracing Disruption: A Cloud Revolution Manifesto
Price: $2.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple, straightforward, and hugely helpful!, June 1, 2013
Until I read this book, I hadn't seen this series of important issues covered *anywhere* in such a simple and straightforward way. While the book did leave me with a couple of unanswered questions, it's friendly, accessible, and contains information that is essential to understanding what is usually a pretty complex set of issues. Now, it's a lot easier to see how they all fit together. Thank goodness, because dude, I've been looking for something like this.

Embracing Disruption explains how disruptive technology and the Cloud have landed us in a new world where we must understand what's going on and protect our freedoms in order to live in a better, stronger, more expressive society. If you've had trouble following the news items about tech and privacy and Internet freedom, this is a really good place to start!

The Fear Project: What Our Most Primal Emotion Taught Me About Survival, Success, Surfing . . . and Love
The Fear Project: What Our Most Primal Emotion Taught Me About Survival, Success, Surfing . . . and Love
by Jaimal Yogis
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.85
75 used & new from $4.01

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Venture out, challenge your comfort zone, and embrace your fears, January 9, 2013
Jaimal Yogis' book is a series of stories peppered with research and wonderful insights about coping with fear. He talks about some truly daunting life situations, but also the life situations many of us find ourselves in -- falling in love, having children, creating art. One of my responding thought processes while reading it was that we *must* venture out, we *must* challenge our comfort zone -- because that's what courage is, and what being human is, and it's how we fuel creativity and diversity and learning and growth. Embracing fear is an art, and this book is a very nice way to start that adventure.

He writes: "In almost all primate species -- and we are one -- there is a phenomenon scientists call voluntary dispersal or voluntary transfer. A monkey, usually around adolescence, will leave the safety of his or her clan and family to go and mate with a monkey from another area, a huge risk. The monkey must leave the familiarity and safety of the clan, travel alone, and expose itself to what may be an abusive or dangerous group of monkeys. Romeo seeking Juliet is the prime human example of this, and while the importance of this brazen act is likely to keep us from all dating our cousins, it may be one of the origins of what we call courage."

In the next paragraph, he quotes Robert Sapolsky: "...We do know that following this urge is one of the most resonantly primate of acts. [snip] To hell with logic and sensible behavior, to hell with tradition and respecting your elders, to hell with this drab little town, and to hell with that knot of fear in your stomach. Curiosity, excitement, adventure -- the hunger for novelty is something fundamentally daft, rash, and enriching that we share with our whole taxonomic order."

What are we if we don't indulge urges like these -- curiosity, excitement, adventure? These are the stories of idols in all cultures. I'm not saying that fame is the reason to indulge them, but I am saying that perhaps if courage and creativity and daring-do are the things that amaze human beings, and human beings have the urge for courage and creativity and daring-do... perhaps courage and creativity and daring-do are something we are made for.

Walking with Justice: Uncommon Lessons from One of Life's Greatest Mentors
Walking with Justice: Uncommon Lessons from One of Life's Greatest Mentors
by Mollie Marti
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $21.65
53 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Story, December 28, 2011
Mollie Marti has written a beautiful book. It's full of emotion, a reminder of what it means to be human and compassionate -- very heartfelt, well-written, and I'm pleased to have come across it. Thank you, Mollie, for sharing it with us!

We Are All Weird
We Are All Weird
by Seth Godin
Edition: Hardcover
48 used & new from $0.31

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great treatise on diversity, September 21, 2011
This review is from: We Are All Weird (Hardcover)
I was so delighted to read this book. I live in Austin, where the motto is "Keep Austin Weird" -- and so I resonate quite powerfully with Seth's message here. It's a celebration of human diversity and a long-overdue rejection of the idea that "normal" or "mainstream" is any kind of ideal. Like a previous reviewer, I had previously integrated the sex-positive message that no one is normal -- and I'm thrilled to see that being spread to more corners of the world via business and marketing. Who cares about normal? Nobody's really as normal as they think (or try to be).

We have the tools now to connect with our dozens of tiny tribes, every one of them strange and new and interesting. It's time to quit hollering at the masses and start pow-wowing with the weird.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 22, 2011 10:57 AM PDT

End Malaria
End Malaria

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Excuses, September 6, 2011
This review is from: End Malaria (Kindle Edition)
This book contains great contributions from smart authors -- they'll inspire you to do better work, become an artist and a leader, and truly make an impact in the world. I loved it, and that's a fact. But to be honest, that's not why you should buy it.

Almost anyone reading this can spare $20. If you can't (and please think seriously about it if you think that's the case), you can afford 20 minutes of emailing and tweeting and blogging about it. Every sale of this book saves lives -- real people's lives -- and that makes it a no brainer. If 100,000 books get sold, 4 million lives get saved. You have no excuse to bow out; your internet connection suggests that your life is full of luxuries that most of us will likely take for granted. $20 is a few cups of coffee. Buy the book. Benefit from the content. And make the difference.

Read This Before Our Next Meeting
Read This Before Our Next Meeting

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is saving my sanity, one meeting at a time, August 3, 2011
In the short time I've had this book, I've been shocked at how much it's changed the way I deal with other people.

I don't work at a big company. My meetings are really only for 1 or 2 people most of the time, with occasional split coordination between 3 or 4. I thought, well, I'll read it anyway and see what I learn.

I learned a LOT.

This book isn't just for that companies that have meetings of 10 or 20 people at a time -- it's for microbusinesses and solopreneurs, too. It's great material for anyone who works on a project with even just one other person. When I started doing what Al said to do, all my interactions improved because I was saving everyone a little more time, a little more money, and a little more sanity. It gets better than that, though.

This book has saved me anxiety every day since reading it, because I understand better how to make meeting-related decisions. Frankly, when you work for 1 or 2 people at a time, most decisions are meeting-related; they're all decisions about how to communicate about a project. What has proven delightful is how smoothly things run when you use Al's template to avoid even the shadow of traditional meetings, at any cost.

This book has brought an enormous amount of clarity to my understanding of meeting culture, including personal/professional responsibility in collaborative efforts. This book says, Take responsibility and make the decision. It says, Don't pass the responsibility onto a group of people and slow everything down -- unwittingly or otherwise. It puts the meeting instigator on the hook for the success of the meeting and the impact of the meeting on the company's health.

I'm on the hook for every meeting I do or do not hold, and I don't even mind. I feel more in control of my own productivity, I feel like I'm improving everyone else's ability to do what they do... and it's absolutely fantastic.

Anything You Want
Anything You Want
by Derek Sivers
Edition: Hardcover
44 used & new from $7.38

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nutritious & inspirational business manifesto, June 29, 2011
This review is from: Anything You Want (Hardcover)
I loved this little book! It's really easy to read, there's no fat or filler, and it gets straight to the point. Derek's insights are wonderfully clear and they leave you with a GREAT mindset for doing the work you really want to do.

I was really delighted by this. I think it might be my favorite from the Domino Project so far.


8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, Remarkable Release of This Text, May 25, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Self-Reliance (Kindle Edition)
This is such a beautiful release for a long-loved book!

My favorite parts of this book -- the cover, which is stunning and makes the book itself a covetable collectable, and the way the text is laid out inside. Emerson's essay is interspersed with experiential quotes from many familiar names (Steven Pressfield, Henry Ford, Chris Guillebeau, Pace and Kyeli Smith, Pam Slim, Mark Frauenfelder, dozens more names you'll know by heart). What a remarkable way to present this piece!

This is a book you'll want to keep by your bed -- or gift to someone important to you.

Do the Work
Do the Work

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Mojo, No Sugar-Coating, Excellent Companion to The War of Art, April 20, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Do the Work (Kindle Edition)
I read The War of Art (Steven's previous book on this subject) last year, and I loved it. Recently I picked up the audiobook and listened it through, and I loved it the second time, too. I have the occasional small disagreement with Pressfield's worldview, but never enough to take issue with his approach -- and The War of Art has been an enormously positive influence on my mindset and my work (over and over). I was excited when I saw that Do the Work was coming down the line, and my feelings on it are almost entirely positive.

An interesting note: As of this writing, all the 1-star reviews for Do the Work are about someone having received this book without ordering it. Some may have hit the pre-order button when the ebook was free and then forgotten; some may in fact have received it as a glitch on Amazon's part. But those negative reviews still have to do with the delivery system, not the actual content of the book. This seems a bad basis for a book review. So my review is about the content. ^_^

I am surprised to have found that it's NOT necessary to read The War of Art before reading Do the Work. Pressfield periodically reflects back to The War of Art for important preceding information (which he repeats, rather than just referencing), and a new reader will enjoy this book just as much if she reads it first instead of second. (I love this, because of course it makes it easier for me to recommend the book to others.) And even as someone who'd read The War of Art originally, the repeated bits (surprisingly!) didn't annoy me; they only served to reinforce the material, which was a nice effect.

Do the Work is like a workbook -- like a seasoned veteran holding your hand through trial and tribulation. Read it from cover to cover, but then pick up any project and let it guide you from beginning to the end. Through Resistance's clutches and out the other side!

Pressfield says in the beginning that Do the Work is created in the parlance of writing, but I'm not sure that warning was needed -- he gives dozens of non-writing-related examples throughout the entire book. He may have started with writing, but from my perspective, the book has very little bias towards writing projects.

A few of my favorite parts throughout: The section on creative panic. His in-depth description of the (imagined) creative crash of Herman Melville on the way to completing Moby Dick. (This made me giggle.) And Pressfield's bit of graduation speech at the end? Quite an excellent experience!

If I have any issue with Do the Work, it's that Pressfield begins by describing the artist's territory as fundamentally adversarial. Later on, it becomes more clear why he might be doing this -- Navy SEALs are put through as much hell as possible early on, to see if they will give up the fight before actual lives are at stake. Is it possible that he is putting the reader in this position, too? Art often IS war. The down and dirty, in-the-trenches, professionals-only quality of The War of Art is why I fell in love with Pressfield a year ago. As Do the Work progressed, I found him just as willing to describe the surprising benefits and creative power of ASSISTANCE as he was to describe the fundamental malignancy and evil of RESISTANCE. So in the end, I was cool with it. It served a purpose.

There is no sugar-coating here. There's LOTS of powerful mojo. Artists are well-served by the warrior mindset, and in the end, Pressfield is creating warriors with this book.

Poke the Box
Poke the Box
by Seth Godin
Edition: Hardcover
141 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Why Poke the Box Is Better, March 18, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Poke the Box (Hardcover)
I have a great deal of respect for the work Seth Godin does, and it's not hard to maintain when he continues to produce such interesting, useful, people-oriented and change-making initiatives. Poke the Box is the most recent, and paired with the Domino Project, I consider it the most impressive.

I feel this way not because the content is all that different or more extensive -- it's not. Anyone who has read Linchpin and Tribes will find Poke the Box deliciously familiar, yet still new and very pointed. Poke the Box is better because the content is far more concise than previous books, and Seth has used it to zoom in on a facet of Linchpin that absolutely had to be discussed further: Initiative.

The Linchpin release had us brainstorming ways to get people interested in reading a 245-page book because we knew it would change their work forever. But Poke the Box tops out at 85 pages... and its execution is far more focused than Linchpin's was. To someone daunted by pages, Poke the Box is almost a no-brainer. Yes, it's a different product. But for someone who has long elevated the values Linchpin promotes, for someone who wants this material to spread to as many people as possible, Poke the Box is the perfect catalyst.

If you haven't read Seth Godin before, or if you've read everything he's written -- read this book now. It will make a difference.

A few of my favorite bits:

Make your schedule before you start, and don't be derailed. For those of us who work for ourselves, this is an interesting trap! We work for ourselves because we want creative flexibility, and while that flexibility can produce amazing results, it can also trip us up if we're not careful. You must always show up, you must always work hard, and you must never allow yourself excuses that put you off schedule. We've all done it -- and we all know that we can do better. (More on page 19.)

It's hard to find smart people willing to start useful projects. Not only does that make it easier to get over the hump and start something exciting -- there's so little competition! -- but you can draw your confidence from the realization that not everyone can bring themselves to do what you do. If everyone else is afraid, but you push through, you're a superhero. (More on page 28.)

It's scary to try something new. Failure is always hovering nearby, taunting us and turning us away. But the hardest part of doing great work is entertaining that very first failure. Once you get through that, you can get on to the next attempt. The more failures you experience, the closer you are to success -- no matter how you define it. (More on page 42.)

Failure is a relief. Failure means you've done it, you've succeeded at failing -- and it's time to move on to the next try. This is wonderful, because the more failures you accumulate, the closer you are to the prize. No one wins without a few bumps and bruises, a few battle scars. Go out and get yours, make them really mean something, and display them with pride. (More on page 54.)

The Dandelion Method: Promiscuous starting, and promiscuous shipping, is the goal. A dandelion throws seeds as far and as numerously as it can. Most of them will fall somewhere they can't grow, and that's okay... because some of them will fall somewhere they can grow. Throw out as many seeds as you can, grow thousands, millions, billions of dandelions. (More on page 71!)

After you've read Poke the Box, there's a fantastic workbook they've put together that is highly worth printing and keeping around. There's also a fantastic interview with Seth Godin at Rise To The Top with David Siteman Garland. My favorite comment from the interview: Failureful. At the end, the person who failed the most... WINS.

Five stars, and thensome.

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