I have waited quite some time for another book by Paul Dickson. In a previous blog, I discussed the virtues of his book about Bill Veeck, one of the great showmen in baseball history. You can read my blog about that book by clicking here.
I am happy to wait. Not rushing to get a book to press helps ensure that it will be more comprehensive, accurate, and of higher overall quality. To that end, it appears that Dickson has succeeded with his newest, Leo Durocher: Baseball’s Prodigal Son (New York: Bloomsbury, 2017).
In a review written by Edward Kosner in the Wall Street Journal (March 18-19, p. C9), entitled “The Devil at Short,” he heaps high praise upon the book by stating, “All of this contributed to the legend that Mr. Dickson has so adroitly researched, annotated, and debunked. The authenticated Durocher turns out to be even more fascinating – and impressive, in a way – than the mythical one.”
Durocher was one of the last player-managers we had in baseball. He was a shortstop by position. As a teenager, I remember that he became the manager of the Houston Astros, which was very funny to me, because he absolutely hated playing in the Astrodome when he managed other teams. And, here he was managing IN the Astrodome!
He was certainly a crafty manager. One of the great sportscasters of all time was Lindsey Nelson. In his book, Hello, Everybody: I’m Lindsey Nelson (William Morrow, 1985), I remember that he said if he had ONE game he had to win, he would pick Durocher to manage it. He believed that he might steal it, or finesse it, but he would win it. That is quite a statement to make, showing confidence in a manager who never won a World Series game!
As the WSJ review points out, “Leo the Lip was a brawler, a womanizer, a prankster, a compulsive gambler – and a Hall of Famer.”
If you like historical baseball, and enjoy biographies about some colorful people, I am sure this book is for you.
In 1981, Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson published The One Minute Manager. It is one of the best-selling and most translated business books of all time. Since then, Blanchard has published many variations on the subject. All of these begin with a fable, followed by specific applications, concepts, and teaching points that are relevant to the story.
So, it was interesting to see that last week, another version of this book cracked the Wall Street Journal best-selling business book list (September 17-18, 2016). The New One Minute Manager (William Morrow, 2015) came in at # 10 on the list.
Like its predecessors, the book begins with a fable. However, it acknowledges changes in the work environment that were not present or profound in 1981. These include the role of technology, limited resources, globalization, instant communication, and structured markets.
Blanchard, (pictured to the right) who typically publishes a new book each year, is also the founder of the best-selling leadership program in the marketplace, entitled SL-II. Johnson (pictured to the left) is an M.D., and has authored more books on aspects of management than medicine. His most famous is Who Moved My Cheese, about organizational change, which Randy Mayeux presented at the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas a number of years ago.
I am personally tired of the “fable followed by learning” content of business books. They served their purpose, and we should move on. But, obviously I am in a minority. Readers still have an appetite for them, as evidenced by the status of this book one year after its publication.
At the August 1 First Friday Business Book Synopsis in Dallas, I will present the hot best-seller by Edwin L. Battistella entitled Sorry About That (Oxford University Press, 2014), followed by a bonus program designed to help us do that better,.
Who is Edwin Battistella?
Edwin Battistella teaches linguistics and writing at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, where he has served as a Dean and as Interim Provost. Sorry About That is his fourth book, all of which have been published by Oxford University Press. He also wrote Do You Make These Mistakes in English? (2009), Bad Language (2005), and The Logic of Markedness (1996).
Why is this book worth our time?
We all need to learn how to apologize better. As you read this, how many times today did you say or hear, “sorry,” “sorry about that,” “I’m sorry,” “so sorry,” or other variants on the theme? And, were you or the other really sorry? If you were, did you sound as if you were? Have we said those words so many times that we have forgotten how to say them when we genuinely mean it?
We need to SOUND as sincere as our meaning. First, however, we need to know how to give a genuine and sincere apology. I have no interest in helping anyone sound genuinely sorry who is not actually so. I like to help people who are genuinely sorry sound genuinely so.
In this book, Battistella analyzes the apologies given by of politicians, entertainers, business executives, and others, in order to show how the language we use creates sincere or insincere apologies. Early reviews suggest that this book is effective in connecting actual apologies with the larger social, ethical, and linguistic principles which underlie them. For a complete review of the book written by Barton Swaim, published in the Wall Street Journal on June 17, 2014, click here.
Particularly impactful to me is the idea that when we avoid naming the cause behind our apology, we sound insincere and inauthentic. This is just one of several items in the book that may be news to you.
This book reminds me of two other good works about apologia. One is from Ken Blanchard’s One Minute Manager series, entitled The One Minute Apology: A Powerful Way to Make Things Better, co-authored with Margaret McBride (William Morrow, 2003). Another was a more academic piece by B.L. Ware and Wil Linkugel that you can read by clicking here that develops four strategies for defending yourself.
This is quite a book. We can all benefit from it.
I look forward to talking about with you in August.