On the Bookshelf: Character Building

UPDATED: May 11, 2024
PUBLISHED: September 9, 2011
On the Bookshelf: Character Building

Small choices make the difference between dealing with life’s challenges and thriving in spite of them. Whether your challenge is overcoming a bad habit or leading a company through a difficult time, your character determines the way you handle it. From the books on the SUCCESS Bookshelf this month, you’ll learn how to create positive habits, improve your leadership abilities and help your children develop the character traits they need to become leaders of the next generation.

The Entitlement Trap: How to Rescue Your Child with a New Family System of Choosing, Earning, and Ownership

by Richard and Linda Eyre

Penguin Group, 2011

Bestselling parenting authors Richard and Linda Eyre say after a decade of speaking to parents about their kids, they have come to understand one thing in particular: Parents everywhere are much the same. Parents everywhere want to give their children a chance to reach their full potential.

But too much giving can lead to sense of entitlement. This well-organized book is a step-by-step primer for parents who want to transform their children from feeling—and acting—as if they are entitled to the world into individuals who “own” their successes, failures and values.

—Wendy Rudman

Noteworthy Quote:

“Good parenting should mirror the real world and thus prepare kids to live in it.”

A couple things you’ll learn from this book:

► A perception of ownership is essential to avoiding the entitlement trap.

► Allowances foster an I-deserve-it mindset that may keep your child from thriving.

Web Exclusive: Read “How to Find a Child’s Missing Shoes and Other Entitlement Issues” by featured SUCCESS bloggers Richard and Linda Eyre

Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success

by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan
and Al Switzler

Business Plus, 2011

The authors of Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success contend that change is a science and therefore requires the scientific methods of observation and planning. With decades of research behind them, they present a new perspective on the difficult, and sometimes seemingly impossible, process of changing human behavior. Using this data, along with examples of real people struggling with common challenges, the authors offer helpful, relevant insights on the science of transformation.

A particularly refreshing observation is their argument that changing unhealthy or ineffective habits doesn’t hinge on willpower. When we try and fail, most of us figure we’re too weak and simply didn’t want it badly enough. The authors call this view “tragically wrong.” Success, they argue, also depends on learning new, valuable skills and building a healthy support system.

To initiate any transformation, the authors urge readers to treat change as an experiment in which they are both scientist and subject. Taking a scientific trial-and-error approach rather than an approach that relies upon willpower gives you the ability to observe and learn from your own behavior—and then to adjust your tactics and try again.

The final chapters of the book are perhaps the most clear and useful, offering actual analyses of how to change habits within the realms of career, weight control, finances, addiction and relationships. If you’re ready to break bad habits and create new, positive habits, this book is one you’ll want to check out.

—Kari Barlow

Noteworthy Quote:

“When it comes to personal change, you don’t have to be pushing yourself to the limit all the time. You need to focus only on a handful of moments when you’re most at risk.”

A couple things you’ll learn from this book:

► You can’t change deeply entrenched habits without a little help.

► You can interrupt impulses (aka habits) by connecting with your goal at
crucial moments.

Derailed: Five Lessons Learned from Catastrophic Failures of Leadership

by Tim Irwin, Ph.D.

Thomas Nelson Inc., 2009

In the midst of a self-absorbed, famous-for-nothing culture, Derailed sheds light on how all-too-human vulnerabilities such as pride, entitlement and a lack of humility can destroy careers. Irwin examines the rise and fall of six top-level CEOs whose slow-motion train wrecks caused more than career derailment. Irwin calls for all leaders to keep power and the responsibility that accompanies it in perspective.

—Erin K. Casey

Noteworthy Quote:

“Character expressed in the form of authenticity, wisdom, humility and courage must ultimately form the substance of who we are, if we want to have great impact.”

A couple things you’ll learn from this book:

► A mentor is not a therapist but someone to challenge us to be better.

► Humility at work means we are coachable; it has nothing to do with age or position.

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