On this page you’ll find an ever growing menu of suggestions and recommendations of books, people, articles, documentaries and more that you can tap into to help with your own growth and learning. Take it, or leave it. Read a little, read a lot. Watch a little, watch a lot. Either way, anything listed here is something that I think can provide value or help to someone out there.

By the way, here’s a great lesson I’ve learned about books in just the last couple of years. I grew up loving books. I love having books, magazines, papers, and I love reading whenever I can. But I used to stress if I started a book, or even a magazine, and couldn’t finish it. Well guess what, there’s no rule or law that says we have to read a book in its entirety. It’s great if we do. But if we don’t, that’s ok too.

As Naval Ravikant stated so perfectly in his appearance on the Tim Ferriss podcast, “we are taught at an early age that books are sacred”, and therefore we feel we need to finish them. But alas, there’s no rule that says we must. Read what you can, read what you want from a book. If time becomes an issue and you don’t finish it, that’s ok. If you don’t like it after two or three chapters, that’s ok. Start a different book. Books are our best source of learning and information. Gobble them up, whenever you can. But you don’t have to read every book cover to cover. To me, books are like relationships. Not every relationship works, not every one is all that great. But I still learned something from every relationship I’ve ever had. Books will do the same, even if they’re not that good, even if you don’t finish it. You’ll still learn something.

Now go start (or continue) reading.

Leila Janah Interview

Sure, we can read more about Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos and Sheryl Sandberg, or listen to another Tony Robbins video. But often the best wisdom and guidance comes from people we’ve never heard of. If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, if you want some new, grounded perspective on building an impactful business or career, or if you just want to learn about human connection, this interview of Leila Janah (by Tom Bilyeu) will rock your world. Listen while working out, while getting ready for work, while winding down your day, and I promise you’ll learn something that will positively effect your business and life.

Terry Crews

Terry Crews on The Tim Ferriss Show

I typically don’t call out specific episodes of a podcast for recommendations, but in this case I need and want to. One of the best podcasts I’ve listened to in the past 6 months when it comes to broad insight and wisdom for living a good life is Tim Ferriss’ recent interview of actor and former athlete Terry Crews. Crews is energetic, authentic, full of passion and gratitude, and he really nails it as he shares stories from his life that impart wisdom we all can use. I listen to a lot of these types of podcasts and if I had to recommend one for anyone to listen to just to get some nuggets to better their life, this is it.

Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss

We all have different definitions of success. We all have different ways we realize fulfillment. We all have different ways we deal with difficult circumstances. Different things drive and support and inspire each of us. That’s why Tim Ferriss’ latest book, Tribe of Mentors, is such a valuable resource to have.

Tribe of Mentors is more compilation than original prose, almost 600 pages of advice and wisdom from 140 different people. Some of them are very famous (Ashton Kutcher, Jimmy Fallon, Tim McGraw), some are relatively well known (Marc Benoiff, Brene Brown), and some aren’t known much at all outside of their industry or close circles (ever hear of Esther Dyson or Steve Aoki?). But all of them have reached distinct levels of success and fulfillment in their lives. And in this book they answer 11 questions posed to them by Ferriss, giving feedback and advice on things ranging from what habit has most improved their life in the last 5 years to what book or books have impacted them the most.

The beauty of this book is that we get 140 different perspectives. As readers we’re getting answers and stories from all types of personalities from different backgrounds and industries and experiences.

Ferriss often says one of the best pieces of advice he’s ever received is to remember that we are the average of the 5 people we surround ourselves with most, that we are influenced and shaped and molded by our mentors and those closest to us. The purpose behind this book, he says, is to provide his readers with the wisdom and advice of some of the most fulfilled people he knows from all over the world. Props to him for getting this together and giving it back to all of us. I read the answers from 4 or 5 people a week. Some resonates. Some doesn’t. The parts that do help me a lot. Fresh stories, different perspectives, tangible actionable steps to take. Give yourself a gift and pick up Tribe of Mentors.

Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss
 
 
 

History Books by Ron Chernow

The biggest lesson and takeaway I have from all the biographies and history books I’ve read over the years is that everyone has flaws. Everyone, including our historical heroes, makes mistakes. I know we don’t read as many big books as we used to. Time is precious, and we have an abundance of things coming at us, from content to responsibilities. But if you get a chance, try to soak in a biography on a historical figure sometime. Ron Chernow’s books on George Washington (Washington, A Life), Alexander Hamilton (same name) and Ulysses S. Grant (Grant) show all the warts. These were once in a generation, transformational men, but they each had flaws, particularly Hamilton and Grant. The takeaway: even our heroes made mistakes. Even those who succeed on many levels fail on others. We’re human, we stumble, we makes mistakes. The bigger question should always be, what do we learn from our mistakes and do we do better next time.

Marie Forleo

Marie Forleo often has excellent guests for her online show, Marie TV.  Some of the guests turn in a great interview.  I had low expectations going into watching/listening to this one with Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame.  But Gilbert nailed it on a few of the topics, especially regarding Fear.  Tune in just before the 3:00 minute mark and listen to Gilbert’s approach and outlook on Fear. Bam, she nails it.

Podcasts

I have wanted to recommend several podcasts for awhile now, but before I do I want to plug podcasts in general. Listen to them, use them. Podcasting is expanding as a medium which means we’re getting more and more access to intelligent, accomplished, wise people.

Tap into podcasts so that you can listen to the wisdom and insights daily or weekly of those who have experience, who have stories. It’s like going to a training class for free. And you can do it on your own time. I listen to podcasts as I drive, work out, go for walks, as I do work around the house. It’s mostly free access to information we never had before unless we read books or paid for expensive classes. Some of my favorites include The Tim Ferriss Show, The James Altucher Show, Entre Leadership and the Lewis Howes Podcast (you can find each of these on Stitcher). They have excellent guests, some big name and some you’ve never heard of but who are equally impressive. They always share stories and experiences that no classroom setting can match. But whatever your taste, find some that you like and listen when you can. We can use podcasts to learn or just to entertain us. For me, podcasts are one of the tools and results of modern technology that provide a lot of value and benefit.

NOTE: I typically just Google and find podcasts directly thru a browser and stream them (only because I have unlimited data on my phone plan). But you can also download the Stitcher app and get access to hundreds of podcasts thru that.

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

Some of the best things in life come by accident. I was killing an hour at a Books A Million in Texarkana, TX, waiting for my friend to get out of work, when I came across the book Originals on one of the New In Paperback tables. I didn’t know anything about Grant at the time, but the subtitle (How Non-Conformists Move the World) grabbed me and after looking at the description of each chapter I bought it. It hasn’t disappointed.

Not only is the book a gift to its readers, but so is Grant. I’ve since watched two of his TED Talks online and listened to him on a podcast. The co-auther of Sheryl Sandberg’s new book, Option B, Grant does a lot of research on Original thinkers, on creative ideas, why some of those ideas fail, why some make it, and the work that’s required to bring them to fruition. And he doesn’t do it thru boring data. Grant presents most of his messages thru real life stories (examples include the inception of the show Seinfeld, songs by Mozart, paintings by Picaso, patents by Edison).

When people ask me what I do I don’t just say that I teach people about Leadership. I also say that I help people to look at and think about things a little differently. That’s exactly what Grant does in Originals and in his talks. You just look at things differently after reading or listening to him. Read the following excerpt to see why.

From the book: It’s widely assumed that there’s a tradeoff between quantity and quality — if you want to do better work, you have to do less of it — but this turns out to be false. In fact, when it comes to idea generation, quantity is the most predictable path to quality. “Original thinkers,” Stanford professor Robert Sutton notes, “will come up with many ideas that are strange mutations, dead ends, and utter failures. The cost is worthwhile because they also generate a larger pool of ideas — especially novel ideas.”

It doesn’t matter what you do for work or what your passions are, this book will change your outlook and approach to things. Jump in if that interests you.

Originals
How Friendships Change Adulthood

How Friendships Change in Adulthood by Julie Beck

“Saying Happy Birthday on Facebook, favoriting a friend’s tweet — these are the life support machines of friendships. They keep it breathing, but mechanically.” — excerpt from How Friendships Change in Adulthood (Julie Beck), originally published in The Atlantic in October, 2015.

I came across this article recently at the suggestion of a blogger I follow, started to read it, and I couldn’t stop. It’s by far the most thought provoking piece I’ve ever read on the subject of Friendship, and maybe one of the most moving I’ve ever read period. Why? Because Friendships are such a big part of who we are as people. They never trump family or someone’s kids or significant other. But that’s the point. Friendships take work and effort and genuine caring. Do you ever keep someone you don’t really like as a friend. Probably not. But the ones you like, you care about, who inspire you, yes, we will put in that effort when we can.

The friendships we form as kids and as young adults and the ones we maintain well into adulthood — they can be the marrow of our character, of the people we are and want to be.

Read this. I’ll promise it’ll get you to think. A lot.

Read Now

Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius

Trust me if someone had told me even a year ago that I’d be reading this book I would have thought they were crazy. Not a chance. But here I am, every morning, picking it up shortly after waking up and reading a passage or two. That’s it, just one or two (they range in length from a couple of sentences to full blown paragraphs). Sometimes I’ll read it a little before bed too, but I prefer it in the morning when I’m getting my thoughts together for the day.

Meditations is a collection of writings by the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180). It’s basically his journal, where he wrote and collected his thoughts and emotions. He did not write it as a book and never intended it for publication. But the scholars who brought it to life in a book have done us all a huge favor. The wisdom is astounding and it’s absolutely applicable to today’s life and world. It’s easy to comprehend and staggering in how real and powerful a lot of his messages and lessons are.

I was never really into philosophy but I’ve slowly come to learn some of the benefits of it and of Stoicism, especially since implementing so many life changes starting in 2016. You can skim it for less than a minute a day and I promise you that you’ll benefit. Give it a shot.

PS — for more information on Stoicism, Google Ryan Holiday and either check out one of his books or listen to him on a podcast (many are available online). He’s not 100% my cup of tea, but a lot of what he says and shares and teaches is very helpful and practical when trying to enhance our day to day life.

Meditations
The War of Art

The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield

Procrastination. Self doubt. Criticism. Fear. Self-medication. Isolation. Victimhood. These are just some of the components The War of Art author Steven Pressfield describes as the Resistance, that unseen but powerful force that works to undermine us all in our journeys to creativity and art. Pressfield’s premise: we all have a calling on this earth, something we’re good at and supposed to do and provide to others. But the more we heed that calling, the more we will encounter the Resistance. What is the Resistance? It’s any and everything that will get in the way of us realizing and providing value.

No less than 10 of the artists and entrepreneurs I’ve been reading and listening to in the past year have recommended The War of Art, and I’d been meaning to get it for months. Finally on a recent Friday night I picked it up at the bookstore. By Sunday morning I had finished the book (The Legend of Bagger Vance, Gates of Fire)) and was thinking of ways I could combat the Resistance I know that I face every day. Pressfield (also known for authoring books such as The Legend of Bagger Vance and Gates of Fire) gives us some suggestions, the strongest of which is that we have to become Pros. Amateurs succumb to the Resistance, but Professionals do not. They show up every day, they work, they fight thru it, no matter what the circumstances. This book makes you think, it makes you aware, and while Pressfield makes it clear that our battles with the Resistance are challenging, he also illustrates that they’re also very winnable. Read this book sometime and you’ll know why that’s so important.

My favorite quote and one of my guiding principles in life:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat”. — Theodore Roosevelt

How To Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie

This book is on my short list of must read books. An absolute essential and timeless guide to how to relate to, connect with and influence others around you. The lessons in this book are just as relevant and just as critical today as when the book first came out in 1936. Probably even more so given the fast pace of our world today and the short attention spans of people. If I could only give one book as a gift, especially to those just starting out in the professional world, this might be it.

Dale Carnegie