Jocko Willink and Leif Babin were two of the most senior (and decorated) SEALS on the ground in the most intense battles of Iraq. In this book they share their leadership lessons on how U.S. Navy SEALs lead and win. It’s an intense, impactful read. Big Ideas we explore include a definition of Extreme Ownership, the fact that there are no bad teams, only bad leaders, how to prioritize and execute and remembering that discipline = freedom.
In today’s world, the road to character has a much less defined map than the road to external success. In this thoughtful, penetrating book, New York Times op-ed columnist and author David Brooks walks us through the evolution of our culture away from a character ethic toward a society all about what he calls the “Big Me.” And, of course, he shows us the way back to character. Big Ideas we explore include résumé virtues vs. eulogy virtues, answering the summons, conquering yourself, living for holiness and becoming strongest at your weakest point.
In this book, Michelle Gielan takes her background in broadcast journalism (as a CBS News anchor) and combines it with her background in positive psychology to show us how we are ALL broadcasters. Big Ideas we explore include the 3 key factors that account for 75% of success (!), power leads and how to use them, rational optimism vs. irrational optimism, fact-checking your story to find fueling facts that catalyze rather than paralyze and how/when to H.A.L.T.!
Angela Duckworth is the world’s leading authority on the science of grit. In fact, she pioneered the field and, as Daniel Gilbert says on the cover: “Psychologists have spent decades searching for the secret of success, but Duckworth is the one who found it.” In this Note, we explore the two facets of grit (hint: passion + perseverance, why they’re important and how to cultivate them.
Did you know there's a science of hope? Yep. And Shane Lopez is the world's leading researchig studying the science of hope. This book is an inspiring look at the buts of bolts of cultivating hope. Big Ideas we explore include differentiating hope from fantastizing and dwelling, the three keys to hope (goals + agency + pathways) , futurecasting, sirens, when/where plans and why hope is so important for leadership.
Creativity with a capital C—the type of Creativity that changes the world. How can we go about cultivating it in our lives? That’s what this book is all about. Our guide is the legendary psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Big Ideas we explore include defining true Creativity, focusing our attention and being willing to be kinda weird, the one personality trait all Creators have in common (hint: complexity!), creating rhythms and the nine elements of flow and how to tap into it!
What were you born to do? As you might have guessed, that’s what this book is all about. Our guide, Chris Guillebeau, gives us a bunch of helpful tips and strategies to help us find the work we were meant to do. Big Ideas we explore include how win the career lottery (hint: think JOT-MONEY-FLOW), playing the elimination game, remembering that if Plan A fails you still have 25 other letters, Warren Buffett on goals, and getting good at quitting.
Dan Pink is an incredibly engaging writer and this book is fantastic. In this book, he tackles human motivation and, as the sub-title suggests, tells us “The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.” Here’s his Twitter summary: “Carrots & sticks are so last century. Drive says for 21st century work, we need to upgrade to autonomy, mastery & purpose.” Big Ideas we explore include understanding Motivation 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 along w/how to upgrade our operating system, why Autonomy is so important, The Three Laws of Mastery and discovering our Purpose via a big question and a small one.
New Zealand’s national rugby team The All Blacks are arguably THE greatest team ever. In this book, James Kerr unpacks what makes them so great and how we can lead + create a Legacy. Big Ideas we explore include the fact that Better People Make Better All Blacks, Kiwi Kaizen, embracing expectations and leaning into the power of Loss Aversion (remember: no pressure, no diamonds), hitting the psychological gym and answering a couple questions that will help clarify YOUR legacy.
Anders Ericsson is the world’s leading scientist studying expert performance—looking at how, precisely, the people who are the best in the world at what they do became the best. In this Note, we take a quick look at The Gift that we all have that’s the key to our potential greatness, HOW to go about tapping into the benefits of that gift via a certain type of practice (forget naive practice and go for purposeful + deliberate!), the fact that there is no such thing as a “10,000 Hour Rule,” and why we should be called Homo Exercens rather than Homo Sapiens. :)
Ever wonder how your brain works while you’re at work? And, even more importantly, how you can OPTIMIZE how your brain works while you work? If so, this is the book for you. Big Ideas we explore include the importance of prioritizing prioritizing (aka quit blowing your brain up), how to decrease your IQ by 15 points (hah—seriously—here’s how to be 3 times less effective than someone stoned! :0), why your basal ganglia is awesome, and how to rock the seesaw that is your limbic system + prefrontal cortex.
Neil Pasricha is a fascinating guy. A Harvard MBA and director of leadership development for Walmart who gave one of the most popular TED talks ever and published The Book of Awesome which sold 1m+ copies. This book is a fun, quick-read packed with great Ideas. We cover: The Big 7 ways science says we can boost our happiness, waking up with an Icky Guy (the good kind), how to add an hour to your day, a great question to tap into your purpose and wisdom from the greatest physicist ever (hint: create momentum).
Black holes. Just contemplating the sheer, fierce power of them is awe-inspiring, eh? Isaiah Hankel tells us that although physicists used to think that everything got destroyed in a black hole, now they believe that it’s less about destruction and more about *transformation.* And shines some light on the power of focusing on our purpose with black hole intensity. Big Ideas we explore include sheep vs. strategists, figuring out your ikigai (= why you get up in the morning), the fascinating endurance of rats with hope, the first two steps in greatness and moving from vision to decision.
Jim Afremow is one of the world’s leading sports psychologists and this great book is packed with Big Ideas. We explore: the vision of a champion (and how to fuel it), what mental toughness *really* is, how/why to be ugly but effective, how to evaluate yourself (3 q’s: good + better + best), and creating sustained obsession as you take the champion’s honor pledge.
Adam Grant is one of the world’s leading management thinkers and the top-ranked Professor at Wharton. He’s also a great writer. In Originals, we take a look at “How Non-Conformists Move the World.” Big Ideas we explore in the Note include vuja de, creating a ton of stuff, activating your GO! system when fear strikes, the fact that venting just fuels anger (and why empathetic anger is where it’s at), and how proper revolutions are less about cataclysmic explosions and more about long, controlled burns.
Amy Cuddy is awesome. Her TED talk is the 2nd most popular ever. This book is just as good. Learn the science of cultivating your personal power to bring your boldest self to your biggest challenges. Big Ideas we explore: self-affirmation theory, priming + nudges, the magic of expanding your body to increase your power, iHunch (how’s yours?), and the boldest you.
Want to learn about the science of successful learning? Then this is the book for you. Written by a story-teller and two of the world’s leading cognitive scientists who have dedicated their careers to mastering memory + learning, the book is packed with wisdom on what works and what doesn’t. Big Ideas we explore include mastery vs. fluency, the power of active retrieval (aka “the testing effect”), explaining stuff in your own words and the wisdom in the adage that whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.
Eat Move Sleep. The simple, powerful keys to optimal health and well-being. We talk about these fundamentals ALL the time and this is my new favorite book on health. Big Ideas we explore include 10,008 hours and 36 minutes (the magic # of elite performance), candy for cancer cells, the power of measuring whatever it is you want to improve, how to buy willpower at the store, and a vaccine for the common cold.
Are you fully charged? Tom Rath tells us it’s all about what we do DAILY and that if we want to improve the quality of our lives (and sense of aliveness!), we need to focus on optimizing three key conditions: Meaning + Interactions + Energy. Big Ideas we explore include the meaning equation, doubling down on your talents, embracing the 500 million moments of our lives, and The iPhone Effect.
This is the second of the three books currently in 99U Book Series. (We cover them all.) Big Ideas we explore in this one include putting yourself into permanent beta, making a decision and then working hard to prove yourself right Peyton Manning style, expanding the amplitude of the waves you make and becoming the Better You.
This is the third installment in 99U’s book series on the “missing curriculum” for creative leaders. Like the other two, it’s a collection of short essays by great leaders + creators + writers. The content is organized in four domains: 1) Defining your purpose + 2) Building your product + 3) Serving your customers + 4) Leading your team. Big Ideas we explore include purpose, eating your own dog food (aka making something YOU are excited to use), serving profoundly, character as your #1 asset and the power of just getting started!
If you’re looking to optimize your day-to-day-productivity, this collection of wisdom from some of the world’s leading creative gurus via 99U is a fantastic place to start. Big Ideas we explore include the importance daily routines, the most important thing you can do to boost your productivity, how screen apnea leads to things you don’t want and why rats love to check email.
Do you want to reach your potential? If you’re reading this then the answer seems clear. The path to do so is pretty obvious as well: We must grow. And, as Maxwell advises, we must be intentional about it. Big Ideas we explore include a couple uber-powerful questions, Discipline as the bridge btwn your goals and accomplishments, trade-offs, and the magic of “Do it now!”
Carol Dweck is one of the world’s leading researchers on the science of motivation. This book is a collection of brief essays on various aspects of “self-theories.” It’s essentially a bridge between her extensive academic research studies and her popular book Mindset. It’s amazing. Big Ideas we explore include the two frameworks (entity vs. incremental) and their two goals (performance vs. learning), attributional retraining (aka learning the best way to respond to failure!), and moving from contingent self-worth to wholehearted self-esteem.
Little bets. Peter Sims tells us they’re a LOT wiser than bet-it-all-and-pray big bets. He shows us the wisdom of the little bets approach via fascinating stories highlighting the extraordinary success of everyone from Chris Rock mastering a performance to Pixar creating their ingenious films. Big Ideas we explore include how to build our growth mindset muscles, going from suck to unsuck, smallifying, creating small wins and doing things to discover things.