Top 10 Books of 2015

top 10The following list of books were not necessarily written in 2015. They were the books that I read in 2015 that influenced me the most. I thought you might enjoy them too or at least consider putting them on your reading list, or read them once again. Enjoy.

  1. Lincoln on Leadership, Executive Strategies for Tough Times, Donald T. Phillips
  2. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
  3. The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, Siddhartha Mukherjee
  4. Believer, My 40 Years in Politics,  David Axelrod
  5. Creativity, Inc.,: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, Ed Catmull with Amy Wallace
  6. Lean In, Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, Sheryl Sandberg
  7. The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, Marie Kondo
  8. StrengthsFinder 2.0, Tom Rath
  9. What Would Ben Stein Do: Applying the Wisdom of a Modern-Day Prophet to Tackle the Challenges of Business and Life, Ben Stein
  10. Business Model Navigator, 55 Models That Will Revolutionise Your Business, Oliver Gassman, Karolin Frankenberger, Michaela Csik

How Can We Be Sure When to Trust?

 

Last week’s post review the book The China Study which provides seemingly credible evidence advocating for a plant based diet to avoid and even cure disease. A quick internet search will uncover passionate arguments for and against a plant based diet.

So how can we know? When do we know? What is right? How can we use information? What should we do?

It’s important to find out how research is conducted and who sponsors the research. All research will have some holes in it. All research can be disproved in some way. So what are we to do when we are at the crossroads and need to make decisions?

  • Understand as much as possible about the study and the motivation of the study as possible
  • Determine if the study and the advocates of the study are trustworthy

 

 

  • Do your best to understand the world view of those advocating the study
  • Evaluate the information against your own beliefs, awareness, experiences
  • Have open conversations with people that both support and discredit the cause. Listen deeply to their responses and opinions. Use the information to inform your beliefs. Listen with the intent to learn and understand.

Your own, thoughtful, informed courageous opinion is necessary and required when evaluating data, people and situations. Keep questioning, listening, learning and challenging.

 

The China Study

The China Study thoughtfully, engagingly brings the reader along on the journey of winding roads the authors travelled to ultimately write this book.

As you read the China Study you just can’t help but increase amount of plants in your diet. The wisdom of Moms everywhere to ‘eat your vegetables’ just has to be true. The joy of incorporating plants into your diet that you grow yourself or can visualize coming from the beauty of nature is uplifting. The endless colorful, tasty possibilities of meals you can create and eat from available, seasonal plants is just fun.

T. Colin Campbell PhD, with the support of his son, co-author Thomas M. Campbell II MD, iterate the progressive and sometimes painful path of change in the food industry. They courageously discusses how powerful people and agencies go to great lengths to protect their interests. T. Colin Campbell vulnerably discloses how he, at times in his career, would make statements he knew were not entirely true. He justified his endorsement, while not directly scientifically accurate, weren’t exactly inaccurate, and wouldn’t do any real harm. In addition, there were career benefits to having published statements which would allow him to further his research and cause.

This is a courageous book.

A quick internet search on this topic will release a violent debate. There are strong credible arguments advocating for many diets, Atkins, Weston Price, Raw Milk, Weight Watchers, the American Heart Association, The American Cancer Society, etc and they seem credible. How can we assess what’s right? How do we know which methodology to follow? There are claims the opposing party is motivated by greed and money. Are we all motivated by greed and money? Is money always bad? Are we bad when we have money and use money? Is it ever ok to use money? When is the use of money good? When causes are poor and struggling are they noble? Do causes lose their nobility when their cause gains momentum and the now have money?

Whom do we trust, when do we trust and how do we know our trust is well-placed?

T. Colin Campbell and his son point out something I learned early on as a junior marketing manager and later as a more established business professional – it’s possible to use statistics to justify any cause. When looking at statistics it’s imperative to look under the covers and determine: who paid for the study? what methodology did they use? What did the control group consist of? What factors were included? What factors were excluded? Does this analysis make sense? Why or why not? Is the assessment still relevant based on today’s environment? It is not wise to accept statistical data on face value. I also believe that organizations, corporations and people are doing the best they can with what they know and the influence they have. Violent arguments and passionate protecting of interests is to be expected with any monumental change.

So how do we assess what is right? How do we know what to do? How do we do the right thing with something as primal and basic as food?

Check next week’s post to learn more . . .