Saturday, August 28, 2010

Review - Handoff (Kindle Edition)

I just finished a Kindle book called "Handoff: The Only Way to Win the Race of Life," by Jeff Myers. It's a gem of a book on making an impact on the lives of others, encouraging younger leaders, and leaving a legacy to the next generation. This short book is a great resource for anyone who wants to be a positive influence in the life of others, and a definite must-read for older leaders. It's currently available at deep discount at Amazon ($1.77), which is sufficient reason to download the free Kindle reading software on your PC, Mac, iPhone or Android.

Jeff Myers does a great job in "Handoff" in describing the need, the challenges, and effective methods for investing in the lives of others and for passing the baton to the next generation. What's great about this book is that it shows tremendous heart and understanding of the challenges faced in mentoring or coaching today's younger generations. What they need and what they are looking for in relationships is really quite different from the way us older folks viewed those who went before. Myers writing style is very conversational, clear, encouraging, and practical. Instead of speaking down to the reader or to those we seek to invest in, he shows great humility and respect for all involved. The book is written from a Christian perspective, and does draw some examples from the life of Christ, but the principles and practices described in this book are of broad applicability in education, parenting, the workplace, as well as in a ministry or discipling environment.

Jeff starts out the book with his own story of failure as a teacher to really impact the lives of others, then skillfully breaks his thoughts down into chapters that include:

* What the Winners in the Race of Life Do Differently
* Feed the Giver, Starve the Taker
* Why the Next Generation is So Hard to Reach
* What the Next Generation is Not Telling You
* Those Who Stumbled: Dealing With the Pain of Being Left Out
* Finding - and Sharing - the Meaning in Your Life Experiences
* Planting Seeds of Blessing
* Riding the Bicycle: Six Steps to Building Trust with the Next Generation
* Lessons from a Sled Dog: Discovering what you Cannot NOT Do
* Living to Be, Not to Have
* How to Get the Attention of the Next Generation (Without Yelling)
* Three Ways to Have a Lasting Impact on Others, Starting Today
* Mary Poppins was Wrong: How to Make Your Mess Your Message
* Shutting Up: How to Stop Giving Advice and Start Having an Influence
* Fourteen Questions to Unleash the Potential of Those You Influence
* Confronting Failure: What to Do When the Next Generation Blows It
* How to Conquer Worry and Fear by Surrendering the Outcome to God
* Compound Influence: The Secret to an Enduring Legacy
* The Final Secret to Finishing Strong in the Race of Life
* What on Earth do We Do Now?

Each chapter is short, six to eight pages, and each naturally flows into the next. As a young boomer (oxymoron?) I really needed to hear the hard words of learning to shut my mouth and not try to fix their problems, of the importance of building relationships and trust, and how to ask FAR more questions and really help others to think about and solve their own problems. The goal in mentoring or being a leader is not to reproduce ourselves in others, but to bring out the very best in who they already are. He gives some extremely useful and practical tips - for example not just telling us to encourage others, but that when we encourage them we should strive to be as specific as possible in pointing out the good we see - this helps others see and develop their gifts.

Handoff is currently available as a regular hardcover or as a deeply discounted Kindle book. With 41 out of 43 reviews giving 5-stars, I'm surprised this book isn't more popular.

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