The Actionable Questionnaire with Dianne Coppola

Published on
September 3, 2015
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Dianne Coppola is a voracious reader and a veteran of 22 Actionable summaries. We decided to catch up with this Actionable Book Club member to learn more about her passion for books.

What’s your all-time favourite book?
Mitten Strings for God – Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry
by Katrina Kenison (2000). This book arrived in my life when my sons were 8 and 6 years old and was perhaps the first book I read about slowing down and savouring the simple moments in life. The author’s reflections came from her heart and were beautifully written. In the often hectic days of motherhood, the book’s stories were a welcome oasis of calm and inspiration which I cherished and reread frequently. I still pick it up occasionally to remind myself of what’s really important in life.

Has a book ever changed your life? If so, tell us about it…
My other all-time favourite book, and the one that has definitely ‘changed my life’ is the classic by Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (1989). From my first read, I was in awe of the timeless wisdom embedded within each of the seven habits and took concrete action steps to help me develop and integrate those habits into my personal and professional life. I developed a personal mission statement and created a one page template to help me articulate my goals and guide weekly planning. Today I constantly tell others about ‘scheduling the big rocks instead of sorting gravel’ and reference his techniques and habits in a goal-setting workshop I created and run.

Do you read books outside of the business/professional development genre?
Oh yeah, I read all kinds of books! Mysteries and detective novels, political intrigue, historical fiction especially about medieval England and the monarchy and anything by Ken Follett. I thoroughly enjoyed all the Harry Potter books and Tolkin’s The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings (I read them aloud to my two boys when they were young lads).

Kindle or traditional paper books… which do you prefer?
While I have a Kobo reader, I really prefer traditional paper books. There’s something about the feel of paper between your finger tips and the visual cues you get from knowing how far in you’ve read and how much further you have to go. Plus, I love funky bookmarks!

Tell us about your reading routine. (i.e. Time of day, favourite spot, snack, drink…)
I typically read in the evening before bed when the house is quieter although occasionally I snatch a half-hour over the lunch hour. Sometimes on the weekends, I’ve been known to hunker down for a couple of hours in the afternoon – usually that is when I’m pleasure reading (as opposed to reading business books for information/knowledge).

In the evening I usually read stretched out on my sofa although occasionally I will migrate to my leather recliner. On a summer afternoon I prefer to be out on my deck in an Adirondack chair. And if on vacation, then you’ll find me pool or beach side on a chaise lounger!

I’m not one to munch very often when reading although I have been known to nosh on sunflower seeds or popcorn occasionally. My nighttime reading beverage is usually Earl Grey tea and during the day it’s usually lemonade, iced tea or a cranberry-soda spritzer.

We’re all about action. How have you implemented an idea from one of the books you’ve summarized and how has it helped to transform your life?
Wow…so many actionable summaries and Insights to choose from! However, I think the one that has really helped me create positive change in my life came from 99U’s Maximize Your Potential. The biggest takeaway from that book was about ‘embracing BETA mode’. I am a self-described perfectionist with a highly attuned attention-to-detail approach to tasks. As such, I can often ‘sweat the small stuff’ when it really isn’t necessary. Giving myself permission to embrace BETA mode has helped me to put my work into circulation when it reaches ‘good enough’ status instead of perfection status. And while I haven’t tracked it, I believe this is saving me time and energy that can be better utilized on other things.

Finally, what are you reading at the moment?
For pleasure I just finished reading John Grisham’s The Broker. For the ABC I’m mid-way through Dianna Booher’s What More Can I Say? Why Communication Fails and What to do About It.

To learn more about the Actionable Book Club and add your name to the wait list, click here.