What we’re reading right now

Anne Lamott once said, “Books help us understand who we are.” Each week we’ll introduce you to the world-class team at Masterworks through the books they love, in a series called What we’re reading right now.

In an earlier life, Dave Raley started and ran a skate company in Southern California. Today, he’s a husband, a father of two precious girls, a church elder, a photographer, and at Masterworks he’s one of our Executive Vice Presidents.

Here’s what Dave’s reading right now:


Read This Before Our Next Meeting by Al Pittampalli


Anyone in the corporate world would benefit from this book. Al Pittampalli attacks meetings as they exist in our organizations today — he explains what’s wrong with meetings, how they generally waste massive amounts of time, but also the less obvious but more dangerous cultural implications that a bad meeting culture creates. You can read (or listen to) this book in about an hour, and you should do that today. Here’s an excerpt to tease you:

One mediocre meeting after another quietly corrodes our organization, and every day we allow it to happen.

If an operating room were as sloppily run as our meetings patients would die. If a restaurant kitchen put as little planning into the meal as we put into our meetings, dinner would never be served.  Worst of all, our meeting culture is changing how we focus, what we focus on, and what decisions we make.

Abraham Lincoln: Lessons in Spiritual Leadership by Elton Trueblood


I’m in the early chapters of this one, but it came as a recommendation from our president Steve Woodworth. Elton Trueblood gives a nuanced perspective of Lincoln’s personal spiritual formation through the crucible of emancipation, the Civil War, losing a son, among other deep tragedies. I’ve always tended to view Lincoln in a simplistic light — that he was a man of pure conviction who had the resolution to do what was right despite opposition. But this book is showing me the more nuanced truth — that the incredibly tough decisions that Lincoln made were hardly clear, constantly second-guessed, and demanded an extraordinary trust in God.

Next time you have a difficult decision to make, you’d do well to refer to this book. Imagine being faced with making the decision to send your country to war with itself — including the incredible levels of death and destruction that this meant? And to stick with that decision for years, despite constant second-guessing and anguish. Wow, I have a lot to learn from the lessons of Lincoln’s spiritual journey!

The Year Without Pants by Scott Berkun


Don’t be fooled by the great title — the subtitle is WORDPRESS.COM and the future of work. I picked up this book because Masterworks has a significant number of remote employees and I wanted to see what I could learn about continuing to make our remote working culture an asset.

What surprised me was that while the book does talk about remote work, it’s an insightful study of the work culture at Automattic (the company who built WordPress, the popular blog/website platform). Scott Berkun also dives into the nuances of building a small team at the company.

As always, I’m happy to answer any questions you might have — email me at draley@masterworks.agency. Or you can always catch up with me on Twitter — @daveraley.