Decisive: A Book Review

Decisive- A Book Review

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This book digs into the science and psychology of good and bad decision making. I chose this one for our challenge, this year, because leaders are always making decisions. We also help the youth we lead with their decisions too. The Heath brothers use the acronym WRAP to remember the different steps we can take to help us arrive at a good decision.
Widen your options
Reality-test your assumptions
Attain distance before deciding
Prepare to be wrong
Each of these steps is a chapter, with different techniques you can use for that step, plus several case studies to help you see what it looks like in real life.

Overall rating out of 5 stars

I give this one 4 stars. It may just be because I’m re-reading this, but it felt like it had more case studies than I needed or wanted to read.

Leadership Skill Lessons (5 out of 5 Stars)

As I mentioned earlier, leaders make a lot of decisions and some of them are tough. I really liked many of the strategies suggested in this book.
Find someone who’s solved your problem. Learning from someone who has been where you are can really help you put things in perspective.
Consider the opposite. With this one, you purposely seek out people who disagree with you and learn from their perspective.
Ooch. This is a funny word that means to implement only part of your decision or to make a small test run to try it out.
10/10/10 How will you feel about taking this action ten minutes after? 10 months after? 10 years after?

LDS Youth Leader Lessons

There are a couple takeaways from this that I have found very helpful when it comes to working with youth.
  1. Teenagers tend to make either/or decisions, which is as narrow as it gets when it comes to options. One thing that we can do for them is ask them to imagine one of those options is no longer available. Then, what would they do? This helps them to broaden their options.
  2. They shared a study that demonstrated that people are more likely to make a decision when they have enough options. Here’s what happened in their own words:

“One day, the store set up a sampling table with different kinds of jam, and customers loved it; another day, the store set up a table with 24 different kinds of jam, and it was even more popular than the first. The surprise came at the cash register. Customers who’d chosen among 6 jams where more likely to actually buy a jar of jam than customers who’d chosen among 24! It was fun to sample 24 flavors, it seems, but painful to pick among them. The choice was paralyzing.”

This is why when we plan activities, I always suggest 3-4 ideas when they get stuck. One idea is too narrow and they will simply make an either/or decision. A larger number can be too much to process and paralyze them. 

Now it’s your turn. Did you read Decisive? What stood out to you?


The Five Levels of Leadership: A Book Review


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The Five Levels of Leadership- A Book Review

The author, John Maxwell, walks the reader through the five levels of leadership and how to achieve each one.
Level one-Positional.  You’ve been appointed to a leadership position, but have no influence or relationships with those you lead. You have trouble getting people to follow you.
Level two– Permission. You’ve developed relationships with people, which means you have some influence over those you lead. People follow you because they want to.
Level three– Production. People follow you because of what you have done for the organization. Things get done and goals are reached.
Level four– People Development. You develop other leaders and empower others. People follow you because of what you have done for them.
Level five– Pinnacle. This is the hardest level to reach. When you’ve reached level 5, you develop leaders who develop other leaders. People follow you because of who you are and who you represent.

Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Leadership Skill Lessons (5 out of 5 stars)
Aside from the five levels, there are a few key points you should know from this book.
  1. You are at a different level of leadership with every person in your sphere of influence. r example: To a brand-new Beehive, you’re a level 1 leader. As you get to know her and build a relationship with her, you can move on to level two and on.
  2. Every time you move to a new position of leadership, you start at level one. If you move on to a new calling, you start out on level one with those in your care. However, it’s much easier to work your way up the levels once you’ve done it before.
  3. Level one leaders have the hardest time working with volunteers, young people and the highly educated. These three groups of people tend to be more independent.
  4. The five levels are building blocks, rather than rungs on a ladder. You have to maintain what you’ve accomplished on past levels to make progress.
LDS Youth Leader Lessons
We all start out at level one when called as a youth leader. This can make it very difficult to lead the youth, because we, most likely, don’t have relationships with any of them. No relationships=no influence. No influence means that the youth are less likely to follow you because they are in one of those more independent groups I mentioned above.
To truly be an effective youth leader, you need to work your way to level four. One of our responsibilities is to teach the youth leadership skills. We are developing future church leaders. It doesn’t get much more exciting than this!
This means that the faster you progress toward level 4, the more effective you will be as a youth leader. He provides homework assignments at the end of each level’s section to help you to progress to the next level.
Did you read The Five Levels of Leadership? What stood out to you? 

Young Women Activities: A Book Review

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Young Women Activities_ A Book Review


This is a great catalog of activities and all of them are based on the young women values. Some of the activity ideas include:

  • Adopt a grandma
  • Christmas caroling in the Summer
  • Pre-General Conference Activity
  • Making a scripture file
  • Learning car maintenance

As you can see there’s a lot of variety in the activity choices. Each activity has the values listed with it, so young women could write it up as Personal Progress experience. There are 87 ideas for activities in all, so you could use this book for a whole year and still have some ideas left. This book is great for Beehives, who benefit from having a menu of options when it comes to planning activities. With Mia Maids and Laurels, I would recommend using this less often. This is an easy way to plan and carry out activities with a purpose. The girls could even identify a need and there’s a good chance that they will find an activity that is a good match for that need.

Overall rating 4 out of 5 stars

Leadership Skill Lessons


LDS Youth Leader Lessons

This book will help youth leaders work with their class presidencies to plan activities with a purpose and will help them get past getting stuck at the question: What do you want to do for activities?

Did you read this book? What did you think of it?

Get February’s book:

3 Books You Should Read (January through March 2016)

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I’m excited for a new year of exciting possibilities on the blog, personally and as a leader. This year, I will be providing a monthly book review of a book that relates to working with youth or leadership in general. I thought that I could stretch the idea further and provide the reading list to you ahead of time so you can read along with me, if you would like. Here are the titles for the first quarter of the year.

Three Books You Should Read

Young Women Activities by Jennifer Jackson and Beth Lefgren (January)

A pretty good “library” of ideas for activities based on Personal Progress. It’s always helpful to have a “library” of ideas for youth to choose from when they get stuck on what they want to do for activities

The Five Levels of Leadership by John Maxwell (February)

This is the first book I read about leadership and it’s a great one. It took me some time to absorb the first time, so I could stand to re-read it. It also teaches basic key principles of leadership.

Decisive by Dan and Chip Heath (March)

This book is all about decision-making: how to make your own decisions and how to help others make decisions. In the process of what we do in the youth programs of the church, we make a lot of decisions. Sometimes it’s difficult to guide teenagers through the decision-making process. Having a few tips and tricks handy helps.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on these books! I hope you will join me!

What books about working with youth or leadership are you reading this year? I would love to add them to my list!