Just Off My Bookshelf: Desert Queen

I believe it’s important to read and learn about cultures and people we do not know. Particularly other nations, minorities, and women. With this goal in mind I just finished the book Desert Queen by Janet Wallach. It’s a biography about a women name Gertrude Bell and her engagement with the people, politics, and culture of the Middle East.

Gertrude was a wealthy woman from Britain who spent many of her years traveling the desert and living among the elite men in Arabia. It is impressive to learn the significant impact she had on the future of Iraq–especially as a woman in the Middle East in the early 1900’s. The books is full of information about the culture of the Middle East the determination of the human spirit–its flaws and its strengths.

A few quotes:

“Obstacles were made to be overcome.”

“She would find the untried and persevere to overcome it; otherwise, it was hardly worth doing.”

“There had never been an independent Iraq…Now she was not only deciding a country; she was devising its shape and determining who would lead it, how it would be governed, who would be included in its citizenry, what would be its law and institutions.”

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

One of the hidden responsibilities of leadership is the constant demand to make decisions. Leaders have to maintain a capacity to make decisions that resolve conflict, provide clarity, and define purpose. That is why wisdom is such a vital component to leadership.

Someone who is wise has the “power of discerning and judging properly as to what is right or true.”  Gaining wisdom is an important element to strengthening your leadership. When Solomon was faced with the daunting task of leading, his primary request to God was for wisdom (1 Kings 3:9). To this day God continues to generously give wisdom to those who ask:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. -James 1:5

In all of the various leadership qualities and attributes you are working to improve, don’t neglect the practicing of asking your heavenly Father for heavenly wisdom.

Just Off My Bookshelf: The Half Has Never Been Told

In a few words…

The Half Has Never Been Told by Edward Baptist is a well written book that tells the story of the atrocities of slavery, the forced migration of slaves to Southwest America, the entrepreneurial enterprises that caused the migration, and the financial impact on America’s economy. Edward Baptist provides a fresh perspective, heart-wrenching stories, and interesting facts in our country’s history.

A few quotes…

“It was very strange for such white men to sing ‘Oh, Susanna, don’t you cry for me’–a story of an enslaved man trying to find his true love, who’d been taken to New Orleans…”

“The Woolfolks also shipped slaves across the Chesapeake to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Employees there offloaded enslaved passengers by night and marched them east up Pratt Street through the heart of today’s downtown Baltimore.”

“[Slaves] hoped that in that future, children or children’s children–their own blood–would be free. For this future to arrive, however, someone had to survive.” (on why slaves who didn’t fight back were just as strong as those who did)

“Slavery undermined freedom’s future for whites as well as blacks.” (Abraham Lincoln)