James Kouzes and Barry Posner are two of the world’s preeminent researchers on leadership. This is the 25th anniversary, fifth edition version of their best-selling classic that has sold over 2 million copies. One of the things I most like about this book is the fact that it covers the SCIENCE of leadership. Kouzes and Posnar have been conducting empirical research for over three decades. Big Ideas we explore: The 5 Practices (<— key word!) of Exemplary Leaders, the foundation of leadership (= credibility which = …), Law #2: DWYSYWD, and the best-kept secret of leadership = …
How would the boldest, most authentic, best version of you act? Now a good time to be that? (A: YES! "Fake it until you become it.")
Cal Newport is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Dartmouth who went on to MIT for his Ph.D. and is now a Professor at Georgetown. In this book, Cal shares the top ideas he gleaned from interviews with non-grind Phi Beta Kappa members at elite schools across the country. They had to perform well AND they had to achieve those results without grinding away. Their practices, although discovered independently, reflect the same wisdom shared in the science books. It’s great to see the overlap. Big Ideas: pseudo-work vs. real work (and a secret formula), conquering procrastination, when/where/how long should you study?, #1 way to learn (and #1 trap), the importance of spacing out your work and the power to choose your future via excellent grades.
Nutrition. It’s easy to get lost in the labyrinth of conflicting science. In this class, we focus on the 2 facts Michael Pollan tells us we can all agree on and then look at how to eliminate the primary causes of disease caused by our modern diets. Optimizing our health, energy and happiness starts at the end of our fork!
Shawn Stevenson is a health coach who has one of the most popular health & fitness podcasts out there called The Model Health Show. This is a short, quick-reading, funny and practical little book featuring 21 tips on how to optimize your sleep. Big Ideas we cover: #1 tip: value your sleep (it’s the secret sauce), avoid the blue lights, adenosine (did you know how caffeine really works?), staying cool, getting your vitamin G and creating PM rituals.
Jean-Paul Sartre was a French philosopher, novelist, playwright, and critic. He was a leading intellectual of the 20th century and the leading proponent of existentialism. This short book is a transcript of a speech Sartre gave in 1945 to address many of the critics of existentialism. It’s a *remarkably* lucid, concise exposition on the primary tenets of existentialism—even more remarkable given the fact that Sartre gave this lecture without notes. Big Ideas we explore: Anguish + its antidote, passion vs. choice, quietism vs. commitment, the stern optimism of existentialism and moral choices as a work of art.
Unless you're looking to be mediocre, focus more on your talents than your weaknesses. Forget about being well-rounded and focus on being the best version of you.
Christopher McDougall is a brilliant story teller (and author of Born to Run). In this great book, he weaves together a number of different narratives, with an emphasis on two: one about an extraordinary wartime adventure on Crete and the other about Natural Movement. In the process, he shares a ton of Ideas on how we can each tap into the extraordinary superpowers latent within. Big Ideas we explore include the ancient Greek meaning of the word “hero,” the mantra of the hero, why weeds + fat are optimal fuel and a great test.
This is the classic text on the psychology of persuasion. Robert Cialdini is a professor of both psychology and marketing at Arizona State University. He’s one of the world’s leading experts on the psychology of persuasion. The book is simultaneously kind of a consumer protection guide (how not to be duped) AND a manual for marketers (how to sell your stuff!). Cialdini has identified six core psychological principles of persuasion. We take a quick look at each, how they can be used for good or ill and how to apply the wisdom to our lives today.
You know how long Google kept Gmail in Beta mode? 5 years. Only after MILLIONS of people used and loved it did they declare beta complete. We need to put ourselves in permanent beta mode!
Katy Bowman is the world’s leading biomechanist—helping us apply wisdom from that domain to optimizing our lives. This is a great, quick-reading, smart and funny look at how we can optimally transition from sitting all.day.long to creating a standing and dynamic (<— key word!) workstation to help us optimize our whole-body health. Big Ideas we explore include whether or not sitting is the new smoking, checking in to see if we’re active yet also sedentary, the 3 M’s of movement, working out our eyeballs, what sea turtles can teach us about our sleep and how to have the best ideas.
Katy Bowman is one of the world’s leading biomechanists—helping us integrate proper body movement to optimize our well-being. She has a great podcast + blog you might enjoy as well. This book is packed with a ton of exercises and plenty of info on the science of biomechanics to help us pay more attention to the loads we’re putting on our bodies throughout the day so we can get in harmony with how our bodies were designed to move. Big Ideas we explore include moving your TRILLIONS of cells, why movement > exercise, why walking is the secret sauce, and how to take a forest bath.
Charisma. The idea that you’re either one of the lucky few born with it or not is a MYTH. Fact is: We can all cultivate our personal magnetism. In this fun, quick-reading, compelling book, Olivia Fox Cabane walks us through the practical application of the art and science of deliberately dialing our charisma up. Big Ideas we cover: The Big 3 of charisma: Presence + Power + Warmth (and how to boost each), what gets in the way (and what to do about it), the power of visualization (#1 tip) and more.
Here's a quick look at some of Warren Buffett's thoughts on goal setting. In short: Identify 25 important life goals. Identify the top 5. Throw away the rest and get to work!
John Maxwell is one of the world’s leading authorities on leadership. He’s trained millions (literally) of leaders and has written over 50 (!) books that have sold over 13 million copies—this one alone has sold over 3 million copies. After a super quick look at the 21 Laws, Big Ideas we explore: The Law of Process (aka: Leaders are learners), the foundation of leadership (= trust), leaders are practical AND visionary, the law of victory (!), and your legacy—what will people say when you die? + What’s your “life sentence”?
When you look at EXTRAORDINARY performers do you find yourself saying, "Wow. They must have been born with something special?" If so, remember: SO WERE YOU.
Epictetus is known as one of the world’s leading Stoic philosophers. (Along with Seneca and Marcus Aurelius, the three make up a very interesting bunch.) Epictetus was a former slave turned philosopher who lived from 55-135 (a little later than Seneca and before Aurelius). This book is a transcription of the informal lectures Epictetus gave to his students. It’s awesome. Big Ideas we explore: why Hercules needed challenges (and so do you), what figs can teach us about greatness, the good + the bad + the indifferent and how to tell the difference, “impressions” and the tricks they play, and the fact NOW is the time to live this stuff.
Did you know there’s a science (+ art!) to learning? Yep. In this class, I’m excited to share some of my favorite Big Ideas on how to learn + make things stick–efficiently! Whether you’re a student, parent or life-long learner, I hope you enjoy!
Eric Goodman is the creator of Foundation Training. If you’ve ever had back or neck or other physical pain, this book might be just what your doctor forgot to order. And, of course, if you’re just looking to take your energy to the next level, this is a gem. In the Note, we take a quick look at why gravity + sitting/bad posture = compression and why that’s so bad plus how to deal with it as we become fluent in a new movement language and have fun becoming perpetual motion machines.
Wonder what the iconoclast’s brain looks like? Well, that’s what this book is all about. Our guide is Gregory Berns, one of the world’s leading pioneers (iconoclasts?) in the field of neuroeconomics. Berns is a professor in the department of Psychiatry and Economics and at the Goizeta Business School at Emory University. This book is a fascinating look at the three primary facets of the iconoclast’s brain (perception + courage + social skills), brought to life via research studies and biographical sketches of modern iconoclasts. Big Ideas we cover: how to change the way you see the world, how to control your fear and how to build your social skills (hint: be a good human).
Dallas and Melissa Hartwig tell us good food passes four tests. Here they are.
The Purpose Formula has three parts. How do you fill in the bubbles? Where do your skills and joy meet the world's needs?
Warren Bennis is one of the world’s leading authorities on leadership. This is, as Peter Drucker puts it, his “most important book.” Big Ideas we explore include the basic ingredients of leadership (#1 = Guiding Vision!), the importance of self-invention (hint: write your own story!), the power of trusting ourselves, choosing to express ourselves rather than prove ourselves, how to cultivate trust, and becoming a world-class leader.
Welcome to OPTIMIZE Airlines. Please fasten your seatbelts and... remember that if cabin pressure changes you need to give yourself oxygen before trying to help others!