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.
The gut. That’s where all the health magic (or challenges!) begins. Alejandro Junger is a cardiologist turned functional medicine doctor who created the incredibly popular Clean Program. We covered his first book Clean and now for a spotlight on the Clean Gut. Big Ideas we explore include symptoms vs. root causes (paint any brown leaves green lately?), how food’s shelf life correlates with yours, your 2nd brain, nutrigenomics, gluten (the ubiquitous poison) and step 1 to cleaning things up (hint: remove toxic triggers).
ACT. That’s where it’s at. This is our second Note on Russ Harris and his great introduction to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. (Check out the Notes on The Confidence Gap as well.) In this book, Russ walks us through how we get caught in the happiness trap and, more importantly, how to free ourselves. We’ll take a quick look at the myths of happiness, the six principles of ACT, how to deal with emotional quicksand, how NOT to visualize (and what to do instead), and writing down your values (<— science says that’s wise).
Eleanor Roosevelt served as the First Lady for 12 years—through her husband Franklin D. Roosevelt’s terms as President during the Great Depression and World War II. She went on to play a leading role as a diplomat in the United Nations was one of the most loved and influential women of the 20th century. This book is a beautifully written, inspiring look into “Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life.” Big Ideas we cover include how to conquer the great enemy (fear), Eleanor’s Top 4 Big Ideas on Time Management 101, holding the tension between our dreams of perfection and reality while making all life one big adventure.
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.
Jim Rohn was one of the 20th century’s leading personal development gurus—influencing everyone from Tony Robbins to Darren Hardy. He wrote and taught in a simple, conversational, down-to-earth style. Reading this book feels like sitting down and having an inspiring chat with one of the best old-school coaches out there. Big Ideas we explore include the formula for success (+ the 2 easies), how to unlock your potential, character = chisel, and the key to perseverance.
Daniel Goleman is a former New York Times science writer and author of the uber-bestselling book Emotional Intelligence. In Focus, we look at the underlying neuroscience of attention. We need to start by realizing that the strength (or weakness) of our attention is at the core of E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. we do. Everything! Which is why Goleman calls it “the hidden driver of excellence.” Big Ideas we explore include rumination vs. reflection, the three foci of willpower, smart practice and hitting the mental gym.
Joan Vernikos was the former Director of NASA’s Life Sciences Division. Basically, she was responsible for understanding how to optimize the health and well-being of our astronauts. In this book, she walks us through how our sedentary lifestyles are surprisingly similar to the gravity-free lifestyles of astronauts in space. Just as an astronaut’s health rapidly deteriorates outside of gravity’s pull, OUR health erodes when we adopt a sedentary lifestyle. Big Ideas we cover include Gravity 101, why gravity is so N.E.A.T., how to build G-Habits and why your telomeres don’t like you sitting so much.
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.
This is a dinky little pamphlet of a book based on a speech Albert E.N. Gray gave to a group of Prudential life insurance agents back in 1940. It’s packed with goodness and is uber-popular. In this Note, we define The Common Denominator of Success, identify the power of purpose and the fact that your future is formed by your habits.
Russ Harris is one of the world’s leading authorities on one of the most cutting-edge forms of therapy known as Acceptance and Commitment Training, or ACT for short (pronounced like the word “act” not A.C.T.). In this book, Russ tells us that we’ve been following the wrong rule book if we want to dial in our confidence. We explore The Golden Rule of confidence (and 9 other rules), why we need to defuse from our negative thoughts NOT try to eliminate them, how to have instant success (presto!), and how to move from FEAR to DARE as we live the great adventure that is our lives.
This is a surprisingly awesome book—a fable about a young captain who spends time with a master and commander who reveals the secret code of rockin’ it. It’s kinda like if a Navy SEAL wrote The Alchemist or The Way of the Peaceful Warrior or The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari. Big Ideas we cover include: U.P.E.R.S.I.S.T. (the code to being unstoppable), the 2 limitations in life, how to discover your why, how to plan in 3-D, and the magic pill you need to take.
This book is very different than the types of books I usually focus on. It’s not “self-development” per se; it’s more like “state-development”—as in, the optimal politics for our nation and world. The main thrust of the book is that we are entering a revolutionary time, the era of “Great Connection.” His primary focus is on a macro level. In our Note we focus on how we can apply this wisdom on an individual level. Big Ideas include a look at the #1 illness of our era and how to deal with it, why we need Hard Gatekeeping, the difference btwn complicated and complex and building a 10,000 year clock while answering the call to revolution.
Seneca was an old-school Roman statesman and one of history’s leading Stoic philosophers. In this book he tells us that life is only short if you don’t know how to use it and also gives us some tips on how to deal with challenging times and cultivate tranquility. Big Ideas we explore include making T.O.D.A.Y. the day, how to deal with being exiled (never know when it could happen ;), and why flexibility is the virtuous road to tranquility (and how to avoid the detours).
Russell Simmons is often called the godfather of hip-hop. He’s a fascinating guy and entrepreneur. This book is a quick, straight-to-the-point guide to meditation written in a style that makes you feel like you’re having a chat with Russell. Super simple, fun, practical. Big Ideas we explore include: how to deal with the #1 excuse for not meditating, and the #2 excuses + how meditation benefits your focus + creativity and how make your amygdala quit acting like an annoying car alarm.
This book is a scientific look at Purpose by one of the world’s leading developmental psychologists—a powerful look at how to cultivate purpose in our children (and, for that matter, ourselves) and why it’s so important. Big Ideas we explore include a definition of what it means to be purposeful (and a look at the alternatives), the #1 thing that gets in the way of discovering and creating purpose, 9 key things parents can do to help their kids with purpose, why entrepreneurial spirit is so important and a four-word mantra to reduce timidity and build courage and confidence.
William Damon and Anne Colby are two of the world’s leading researchers in the field of moral psychology. They’re both Professors at Stanford and have been married for 30+ years. This is a thoughtful and thought-provoking book that challenges the “new science of morality”’s view that morality is essentially biologically and socially determined. Damon and Colby argue that we all have the power to cultivate our more noble, moral possibilities. Big Ideas we explore include a quick look at our moral exemplars, moral agency, and the three virtues we want to cultivate: Truth + Humility + Faith.
Jim Afremow is one of the world’s leading sports psychologists. We covered his first book The Champion’s Mind. This one is kinda like part 2 in which we look at how the Champion responds to the inevitable (!) setbacks faced on the road to greatness—using those setbacks as opportunities to bounce back and make a sweet comeback. Big Ideas we explore include seeing setbacks as challenges rather than threats, outperforming our contracts, practicing ’till you can’t get it wrong, and the 3 P’s of peak performance.
Sir John Hargrave is a funny guy and this book is awesome. If you’re a bit of a geek (or if you’re married to one!) looking for a fun, grounded, super practical take on how to get your mind right so you can do what you’re here to do, I think you’ll love this book. Big Ideas we explore include: how to develop Jedi-like concentration, how to debug your mind, creating a vision of the best version of your life 10 years from now (and why it matters), how to make your life a masterpiece.
Living Forward is a powerful little book all about helping us figure out our Life Plan--which is, essentially, the vision for every aspect of our lives and our plan to make it a reality. The book is the result of a collaboration between leading publisher and author Michael Hyatt and his coach Daniel Harkavy. It’s basically like having one of the world’s leading life coaches walk you through the Life Planning process he’s used with thousands of his clients. Big Ideas we explore include The Drift, your life GPS, pull power, soul oxygen and the Law of Diminishing Intent.
William Damon is one of the world’s leading scientists studying human development and the psychology of morality. In this book, he gives us a guide to discovering and creating our noble purpose. Big Ideas we explore include making a distinction between noble and heroic, the ultimate purpose formula, 9 tips on how to cultivate your noble purpose, the one phrase your advisor should whisper in your ears when you’ve achieved ultimate success, and how to create true, sustainable happiness.
Stephen Covey passed away in 2012. This book was published posthumously and features a collection of wisdom focusing on the fact that private victory precedes public victory. Primary greatness. It’s all about what’s on the INSIDE. Covey tells us there are 12 levers of success—each with its own chapter in this great book. Big Ideas we explore include: Esse Quam Videri (“to BE rather than to seem”), Virtues: meet your parents, say “YES!,” your high-tech power saw and living in crescendo.
Want to make your relationship work? Then you’d be wise to turn toward the world’s leading researcher on the science of what makes love work: John Gottman. This book has sold over 1 million copies and it’s easy to see why. Big Ideas we explore: How Gottman can predict divorce with 91% accuracy (in < 15 minutes), a quick look at the 7 principles, the power of cherishing your partner, turning toward (and not being a tech rat), how to solve the solvable problems and starting “I love you” with the “I.”
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.
Sian Beilock is one of the world’s leading researchers studying the science of optimal performance. In this book, she walks us through a range of research studies she and her colleagues have conducted to help us get a better understanding of why, under pressure and when it matters most, some of us choke. And, of course, Sian provides a range of tips on what we can do about it. Big Ideas we explore: the what and why of choking, the ultimate choke vacuum, practicing under pressure, an antidote to exam choking, and a bunch of little tips on rockin’ it.