Updated 11/11/2022: As somebody who is obsessed with leadership, personal development, positive thinking and trying to find new ways to be my best self, I love reading and thought I would share what has been on my shelf. My brief reviews will not do the titles justice, but I would recommend any of books on this list as worthy of your time. For several of the authors, I recommend you dive into their libraries for more great titles.
If you have any suggestions along these lines that you would recommend I read, I would love to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Happiness Project - Gretchen Rubin. Is there a way to create more happiness? Interesting quest as the premise of this book. Good tips about resolutions, priorities, choices and willpower. Very much enjoyed Gretchen's reading style and message about being intentional. Also appreciated seeing how something I may think is no big deal might be a very big deal to somebody else's happiness, and vice versa.
- Make Time - Jake Knapp, John Seratsky. Some solid hacks here from guys behind some big-time Google apps. Love how they talk about social media feeds, and some other mindless time sucks, as "infinity pools." No, we don't have to have our faced buried in our phones whenever we are un-engaged - there are better things to do and that alone has freed up time for me!
- Undistracted - Bob Goff. Love all of Bob's stuff - he's a foundational figure for me alongside Jon Gordon and John O'Leary. This is another great message about keeping your eye on what really matters and how it is so easy to be distracted by things that don't. Funny, moving, motivating, I here for all of it. And he's accomplished so much, with so much humor and good spirit, it makes me feel like a giant slacker!
- Mulitpliers - Liz Wiseman. So many "aha!" moments in this one and like me, I'm sure you will identify those people in your career who have been Diminishers and those who have been Multipliers. Also makes me cringe a bit to look back at times I've unknowingly been a Diminisher, and also proud of those times I've kind of been a Multiplier. Many great stories of leaders to emulate.
- Covert - Bob Delaney. Super fun read about New Jersey State Trooper Bob Delaney who goes undercover in the mafia. His work led to numerous arrests and gained national attention. The mafia stories are good, but the most fascinating part is his dealing with the aftermath and mental trauma of being in a situation where any moment his life could be in danger. He went on to be a long-time NBA official.
- Never Split The Difference - Chris Voss. Great advice from one of the FBI's leading negotiators. Some awesome techniques that can work in just about any situation. Most memorable line in the book: you don't rise to the occasion, you fall to the highest level of your preparation.
- How To Be Like Walt - Pat Williams. An amazing look at the life of Walt Disney and how you can take principals that made him so successful and apply them. The writing and reporting in this book are wonderful and I learned so much about Disney that I didn't know before. He was a fallible man like all of us, which makes him that much more fascinating.
- Heart of Business - Herbert Joly. Thanks to Lloyd Lewis for a great recommendation - this is one of the best business/leadership books I have ever read and I could not put it down. Joly writes about creating human magic and being a purposeful leader in an inspiring way and I cannot wait to apply his teaching to my business and partnerships. One of the few books I have bought I know I will read again soon.
- Fans First - Jesse Cole. I loved "Find Your Yellow Tux," but I loved this one even more. This not only shows how to go above and beyond expectations, but to take creativity and customer experience to places people would not consider feasible. It is no wonder this organization has created raving fans. After I ordered this, somebody from the Bananas called me to ask me if I liked the book - amazing! Who does that?
- At Your Best - Carey Niewhof. The concept of "time management" has always baffled me - this is a great book in helping you get your hands around the minutes and hours of when you're at your best during a day. Understanding your own rhythm helps you schedule when to tackle certain things - and when not to!
- Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom. "Giving is living." Thanks to old friend Alan Vitello for the recommendation. We all get wrapped up in material things and our careers, but at the end of the day, it's in creating loving relationships where people live forever.
- In Awe - John O'Leary. John is magically inspiring in this practical guide to living with wonder and finding joy every day. Look for the good, expect amazing and see what happens. The story of his doctor who said "how lucky am I to get to meet John O'Leary today!" makes you want to be THAT guy.
- The Hero Code - Admiral William McRaven (USN Retired). If you've not seen Admiral McRaven's keynote about changing the world by making your bed, watch it now. This book is a quick read and an awesome reminder you don't have to be a Navy SEAL to be a hero - we can all be heroes if we follow a code. I wish Admiral McRaven would be the President of the U.S.; he is one badass leader.
- The Storyteller - Dave Grohl. Feels like you are sitting in a bar with a buddy over beers, but the stories just happen to be from some iconic rock 'n' roll moments. Other takeaway is, if you're fully dedicated to your craft, whatever it is, and don't ever consider a "Plan B," your chances for success rise significantly.
- Ride Of A Lifetime - Robert Iger. Incredible behind-the-scenes stories ABC/Disney/Pixar. Great lessons in not being afraid to take risks because greatness never comes from playing it safe.
- Miracle Equation- Hal Elrod. Super inspiring and a favorite. Listened to audio book, then had to buy paperback so I could take more notes. Built my daily mantra for my new business from the template here.
- Find Your Yellow Tux - Jesse Cole. A favorite. If you do not know about the Savannah Bananas baseball club, you are missing out. Jesse is fun and brilliant and should be next MLB Commissioner. Don't stand still - stand out!
- Extreme Ownership - Jocko Willink, Leif Babin. Sure, these Navy Seals are the baddest of the bad asses, but their toughness and lethal skill are just parts of their success. Their real success comes from developing strong leadership.
- The Garden - John Gordon. I have been a Jon Disciple for years from the moment I picked up “The No Complaining Rule” years ago. This is another gem in Jon’s library that I ripped through in three days.
- Dream Big - Bob Goff. Bob is a tremendous writer as he makes you feel like he is sitting across from you while you read this. You can practically hear him laugh and feel him smile. Cannot go wrong with any of his stuff.
- Powerful Homes - Matt Guarino. This one is framed as primer for real estate investing, but it is way more. The leadership and integrity this books shows through real life stories apply to any business.
- Soundtracks - Jon Acuff. Terrific read about how what we tell ourselves, our “Soundtrack” ripples across our entire life. Shocking that you might be listening to bad soundtracks without even knowing it and if you can recognize those bad soundracks, you can replace them, which will impact you and those close to you.
- Bomber Mafia - Malcolm Gladwell. As an aviation and WWII dork, this was a fascinating study in the power dynamics of US air power and how developing technology led to both victory and the unimaginable destruction of countries.
- Killing Jesus- Bill O 'Reilly, Martin Dugard. Super interesting to hear pieces of the “Greatest Story Ever Told” that I had never heard before. An investigative journalist approach that was a cool twist.
- Think Again - Adam Grant. A favorite and highly recommend. So many interesting insights in why looking at things different is critical. Took a lot of notes and had a lot of "a-ha!" moments. I'm a huge fan of Adam's - he's a great LinkedIn follow.
- Steel Fear-Brandon Webb, John David. The lone novel on this list. Set on a US aircraft carrier, it was a nail-biter and I enjoyed it in the vein of the Tom Clancy barn burners.
- Atomic Habits - James Clear. Small changes can make a seismic difference over time. Provides nice strategies for finding the willpower to be consistent.
- When - Daniel Pink. Super interesting study of how much timing, action and inaction matter way more than I ever expected in regards to behaviors and success.
- Why Customers Leave (And How To Win Them Back) - David Avrin. This one has it all – humor, research and insights. You will slap your head with “oh, crap, I’ve done that” and it will motivate you to be better.
- Living Joy - Chris Stefanick. Love all of Chris’ stuff. He is always a positive shot in the arm that motivates me use Jesus to find a better version of myself.
- You Turn - Ashley Stahl. A lot of hard-learned lessons shared here. Always interesting to hear somebody reach a peak only to fall to unexpected depths then find a redeeming calling.
- Into His Likeness - Dr. Edward Sri. Interesting questions about how you incorporate spirituality in daily life and making prayer a conscious choice.
- The DNA Of Leadership- Myron Beard, Alan Weiss. This should be required reading for any supervisor. Wish I would have had this book on my desk 30 years ago, I would have avoided so many mistakes.
- The Motive - Pat Lencioni. A fable that resonates because you will recognize all the characters from any workplace. Shows how attitude and grit can overcome negativity. Love all Pat’s stuff.
- American Icon - Bryce Hoffman. Fascinating story of the revival of the Ford Motor Company. Leadership lessons from Alan Mulally are awesome. He is a generational business leader.
- The Beer Option - Dr, Jared Staudt. A fun read that ties together beer, monks and Catholicism in a way that makes you feel you are sitting with a good bud in a cool pub.
- The Science Of Getting Rich - Wallace D. Wattles Bruce Van Horn. Amazing the original text for this was written in 1916 and the lessons still hold up as well as any book on this list.
- Common Path To Uncommon Success - John Lee Dumas. It is not an impossible dream to build a successful podcast business – like anything it means embracing the grind. Although the landscape feels so much more crowded since he wrote this, there are good tips and templates I "borrowed" for the Making Our World Better podcast.
- Forward - Dr. David Jeremiah. Another great reminder you can choose your reactions to situations and it is a choice to see things positively and move forward.
- Less Than A Minute To Go - Dr. Bill Thierfelder. Cool tips on visualizing success and some exercises you can use to make progress towards being better at whatever it is you want to improve on.
- Tom Petty And Me - Jon Scott. Quick read with fantastic behind-the-scenes of the music biz in the last 70’s. Incredible to think if not for one raving record exec’s persistence, many of us might have never heard of TP and the Heartbreakers.
- Big Money Energy - Ryan Serhant. Energetic read about how you can try the fake-it-until-you-make-it act, but in the end, there is no real substitute for talent, passion and hard work. And there is always room to have fun.
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another.” 1 Peter 4:10
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