2012 in review of

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 13,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 3 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

Published in the UK

A few months ago, someone had discovered my review of All is Grace, a memoir from one of my heros, Brennan Manning. Upon discovering it, a publishing partner from the UK wanted to post my review as part of their print magazine sent to all of their stores. They shared the PDF with me, and I wanted to share it with you all as well. Click below to get the PDF.

DPS - Brennan Manning Editorial

Latest Musical Obsession(s)

I listen to music all the time; always adding artists to the list to try out. No matter how much music I listen to in a given time, I always have one artist or group I am currently obsessed with. No matter how much music I come across and try in a week, there is always some one I cannot stop listening to. Here is a list from current back as long as I can remember... 1. - current obsession - Mumford & Sons (favorite songs: Little Lion Man, The Cave, Roll Away Your Stone, and White Blank Page) [youtube=] 2. William Fitzsimmons (Kylie, Problem of Pain, After Afterall, Heartless, and Passion Play) [youtube=] 3. City and Colour (Save Your Scissors, Constant Knot, Casey's Song, Like Knives, and Confessions) [youtube=] 4. The Glorious Unseen (Close to Your Heart, Hear Our Prayers, Tonight the Stars Speak, All Around, and Take Whats Left of Me)

5. Ray Lamontagne (How Come, Barfly, Three More Days, Trouble, and Let It Be Me)

6. Damien Rice (Cannonball, The Blowers Daughter, Professor, Volcano, and 9 Crimes)

Book Review To Come

Many of you know I am a book review blogger for Thomas Nelson, and I just discovered what the next book will be. Free Book by Brian Tome is on its way to me. Keep an eye on for the review to come.


LISTENING TO: Headphones (Self-Titled)

READING: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Review of "Derailed" by Tim Irwin

Derailed by Tim Irwin is the vaccination every leader needs but rarely gets, and the reason it is so rare is because it stings a bit. Irwin takes traces of common factors of decline for leaders of large and recognizable corporations and forms a powerful vaccination sure to immunize you from your own downfall as a leader.

The overall intention of this book is clear. It reveals certain vulnerabilities if left unattended can and will lead to ‘derail’. Character is the impetus for everything we do, and Irwin is clear in stating that the greatest impact of our leadership can always be traced back to our character.

The first ingredient in this vaccination is 5 parts profile. The reader is given a glimpse of 6 high level leaders who have derailed due to a character flaw left unattended. These profiles are written to not only commiserate with each fallen leader, but to identify with one or more of them. You quickly discover where this book may be leading you once you read these profiles.

A quick explanation of derailment follows. There are 5 stages to the process of an eventual derailment: Failure of Self-/Other-Awareness, Pride Before the Fall, Missed Early Warning Signals, Rationalizing, and Derailment. It is revealed how if left ignored, these stages happen almost effortlessly.

Irwin develops 4 dimensions of character each leader, no matter the capacity, should develop and maintain: Authenticity, Self-Management, Humility, and Courage. The explanations of these dimensions are the alcohol swab before the injection.

Injection: the derailment factors to be aware of if your leadership lacks any of the aforementioned character dimensions. The healing vaccination Irwin provides in this book necessarily is applied with a sting.

The book is closed with a soothing band-aid in a description of the ways to stay on the track without derailing. You can still be a dynamic leader if you do not ignore the danger, face the sting, and move forward. Irwin closes this book with a great look at how this is accomplished.

I received this book for free in exchange for a review to be written for Thomas Nelson publishing, but knowing what I know now, I would have paid a good amount to gain the tools provided in the reading of it. No matter the capacity in which you lead, this book will serve you very well in forming a long-lasting leadership wherever you are. It is the vaccination every leader needs.

The Story of Christmas - review

The Story of Christmas is retold by Gwen Ellis as a book for children. Beginning with the story of John’s birth to Zechariah and Elizabeth and leading seamlessly into the foretelling Jesus’ birth, there is a quick interaction perfect for children to engage. It is not made very clear why John is so important to the greater story of Jesus. So that clarification may be left to the reader.

The layout of the words, while short and quick, is a bit awkward. The sentence flow can be a bit confusing for the audible reader due simply to the line breaks on the page. I read it out loud as though reading to son or daughter and stumbled over the line breaks a few times. It is important to stress it is solely due to the line breaks of the layout and nothing to do with the grammar of the writer.

At the bottom each second page, there is a question to prompt discussion with whomever you are reading. They engage the reader and listener with the heart of what the story really addresses. There would be a pretty strong disservice to overlooking the questions to skirt you way to the end.

The game in the back is a good idea to challenge the reader and listener to determine whether or not they could put the entire story in the right order using only pictures illustrated by Steve Smallman. Overall, the illustrations are lively and appealing to children. It is bright and attractive. All the characters look incredibly similar, and that is not a comment on the reality they are all Caucasian save one lone wise man. The reality is the characters all have the same nose and face with different hair color.

The accompanying DVD begins with an obvious menu created in iMovie, which automatically brings to mind something I could do on my macbook in my home office. It is a little off-putting.

The story chapters on the DVD are quite short. One may say they are shorter than the average child’s attention span. A little more effort could have been made to make each story open up more.

The DVD goes beyond the story portrayed in the book, extending into the story of Jesus as a boy teaching in the temple. There is a quick retelling of the temptation of Jesus as well as a very brief unfolding of the entirety of Jesus life of healing and teaching.

I cannot recall the last time I heard the term CD-ROM, but the DVD does have a CDR option available on it complete with printable coloring pages and a couple computer wallpapers if you are interested. The pictures are primarily of animals, and the wallpapers are open to taste.