Book Summaries

I’m focusing this section on my “Core Books” list [in “Core Books” below]. It’s an adaptation of one of  Mortimer Adler’s seminal ideas. All are continual learning platforms for me, and worthy of repetitive review. There are 28 now. Also I’ve included my “current reading”[also below] list of subscriptions/dailies, etc., which I’ve updated quarterly since the 1980’s. This list is much smaller now of course. And also because of technology, it’s much easier to obtain what you want/need.  Similar to the posted set of teaching Photos elsewhere on this site, I’ll rotate these core book reviews, one by one, every few weeks. Will keep the total Book summaries posted, to  c. 10, of the hundreds I have elecronically, using each to provide an example of the possibilities of this powerful, essential, if sometimes burdensome, Forum process.

For years I subscribed to monthly book summaries, and found that very worthwhile…provoking new thoughts, for choosing a new book that fit the Forum Selection Criteria  [see poster #218], or recommending one to heavy readers in any current Forum [There are always several!!]. Two such subscriptions I’ve found useful are: Audio-tech Business Book Summaries, and Soundview  Executive book Summaries.

If you would like  to see if I can locate other summaries [ hard copies or electronic], in my office, other than those eventually shown below, not all are shown of course, call or email, and I’ll check.


The Pearl is one of the few “classic Literature” books we read in normal Forums. It’s short, with remarkable transportable lessons, always provokes a wonderfully relevant discussion, and many leadership insights. I’ll share two presentation because , like all the “core” books covered in the Forum, it gets handled very differently, as well as superbly, by various participants. There is also a cartoon example, on one of Steinbeck’s themes,  in The Pearl, posted in that section.


The Pearl, John Steinbeck   ISBN 0-553-23974-0

  • He became curiously every man’s enemy. The news stirred up something infinitely black and evil in the town. (23)
  • For it is said that humans are never satisfied, that you give them one thing and they want something more.  And this is said in disparagement,  whereas it is one of the greatest talents the species has and one that has made it superior to animals that are satisfied with what they have.  (25)
  • It is said that humans are never satisfied, that you give them one thing and they want something more. (25)
  • By saying what his future was going to be like, he had created it. A plan once made and visualized becomes a reality. (29)
  • Luck brings bitter friends. (34)
  • But let one man step out of the regular thought or the known and trusted pattern, and the nerves of the townspeople ring with nervousness. (41)
  • You have defied not the pearl buyers, but the whole structure, the whole way of life, and I am afraid for you. (54)
  • He looked into his pearl to find his vision. (71)


THE PEARL – John Steinbeck ISBN 0-553-23974-0

I. Overview:

Steinbeck’s classic story of a Mexican pearl diver and family, with dreams, who finds a huge pearl that dominates and changes their lives. Can be (should be) read on many levels. Relates to views on those in authority, spousal relationships and treatment, minorities/ghettos, merchants/commercialism, greed, anger, the lottery, success, family and neighbors. Is much deeper than it seems, is an easy read, often read but superficially years ago.

II. Questions/Topics

1. Goals. Dreams. Hope, – The importance/burden of having. Are they positive/negative/both.

2. The dignity of Work. – How it changes. Relation to “job.”

3. Instincts. – Do we listen? How finely tuned are they?

4. Minorities. – Ghetto. Oppression by merchant/professional class. Breaking out of the Ghetto. Where are Ghettos today?

5. Material Goods. – How much do we need? When is enough too much? Negotiation.

6. Other Pearls. – They come in many forms, sizes, at odd times. What are our pearls? Or potential pearl? What motivates/drives/obsesses us?

7. Music. – Its use as an integrating part of story. Good and bad.

8. Great Literature. – Good example that is easily assimilatable. The teaching value of literature that isn’t directly related to what we do. Multiple levels of reading.

9. Spousal Communication and Growth. – Heard? When? What is breakthrough?

10. Mirror. – Reflects the way we act sometimes. How we treat other people. How we react to circumstances or to opportunities.

11. Personal Growth & Change. – Comfortable? Could it have been easier? Is it inevitable?

12. The Pearl. – Does it change? Or go away? Is it a pearl for everyone?

13. Losses. – How do we bear? Can we avoid?

14. Authority Figures. – Characterization. Perception.

15. Middle Ground. – Kill or be killed, rich or poor, family or alone?

16. Other Points. – We never get them all. Especially from great art.

III. Integrating Themes (#162)

1. Change 23. Stories

4. Pitcher/Catcher 24. Fun

17. Communications 28. Self-determined

19. Responsibility

IV. Syntopical Effort (#109)

1. Presenters and Exercises – Almost always…, it’s easy to link The Pearl to

2. Output – Because The Pearl is an easy “icon,” it often shows up in various gifts several speakers or experiences in games. or works of art.

Core Books

Current Reading

Managing Transitions – William Bridges

Leadership is an Art – Max DePree

A past LLF attendee, and friend called, Craig Lavino, sharing the original/current value of this book and its author’s presence/interaction to him.

Since I had just met with Dr. Carl, in Phoenix several times, I too was prompted to dig out this “summary” [actually have several of them] and re-experience it’s lessons

Am sharing one of the reviews for your possible benefit.

The Theft of the Spirit

preload preload preload