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.
Art and fear. (You may have noticed they go together.) This is a quick-reading (122 pages), witty, real look at the process and challenges of making art. Of course, I think the biggest art project all of us can ever engage in is the creation of our own optimized and actualized lives, so we’ll be focusing on Big Ideas we can apply to our lives today including: quitting vs. stopping, fast vs. slow, 50 lbs, the importance of progress, naive passion vs. informed passion and how to get work done like a PRO!
What do you think about excellence? Do you think it’s primarily driven by natural, inborn talent? Or, do you think that it’s primarily driven by effort? Matthew Syed tells us that’s a very important decision that has a broad impact on how we show up and shows us how to Bounce into our highest potential. Big Ideas we explore include: the iceberg illusion, 1 million balls, doublethink and the importance of purposeful practice + the growth mindset.
John Maxwell is one of the world’s authorities on leadership. He’s sold over 25 million (!) books. This is a quick-reading 127 pages packed with wisdom and Big Ideas on Maxwell’s eleven essential types of thinking—ranging from Big-Picture thinking to Realistic Thinking and everything in between. Big Ideas we explore include the power of targets for focused thinking, becoming a possibility thinker and anxietivity—how creativity and anxiety go together.
Failure. Some of us lean into it and learn as much as we can from it, and some of us prefer to avoid thinking about it and/or pretend it never happened. As you may guess, one approach leads to dramatically better performance over the long run. (Hint: Seeing failure as feedback + learning opportunities is a very wise idea.) Big Ideas we explore include a quick look at the aviation vs. health care industries, the importance of quantity of work if you want quality, marginal gains, cognitive dissonance and pre-mortems.
Brendon Burchard is one of the most popular motivation and business marketing experts in the world. (To put it in perspective: He’s one of the Top 100 most popular public figures on Facebook and has twice as many fans as Tony Robbins.) This book is packed with Big Ideas. We explore the root of the word motivation, how to spark + sustain + amplify our motivation, eliminating digital addictions, and creating out own motivation manifesto.
Shane Snow is a journalist and entrepreneur who takes us on a fascinating tour of “How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success.” The book is packed with stories capturing the ascent of everyone from young Presidents, Jimmy Fallon, and Elon Musk—and, of course, the “Smartcuts” they used to get there. Big Ideas we explore include: the power of progress, failure as feedback, creating a deep reservoir, stripping away the unnecessary and 10Xing our thinking.
As millions of people would agree, Malcolm Gladwell is an extraordinarily (!) captive writer. This is another one of Gladwell’s gems—packed with riveting stories that challenge our notion of what it means to be an underdog and how, as the sub-title suggests, we can embrace our misfit status as we master the art of battling giants. It’s awesome—especially if you’re looking for a fun, entertaining read that’s packed with wisdom but delivered in a delightful package. Big Ideas include the fact that David SHOULD have won, full-court presses, the inverted U, earning courage and desirable difficulties.
This is an old-school mental training book written for athletes in 1999. When Kenneth Baum wrote it, the mind-body connection wasn’t as well-established as it is now so many of the ideas he shares were cutting-edge at the time. Big Ideas we explore include the power of a desire inferno, DROPing into WOOP, power talk, 26,000 breaths a day, and Maslow’s warning.�
Deep Work. It’s the key to how you get So Good They Can’t Ignore You—which, of course, is the title of another one of Cal’s great books. Big Ideas include Deep Work vs. Shallow Work, how to give your neurons a workout, cleaning up attention residue, the four rules of deep work, finding the routine that works for you and learning how to shut down completely.
Dr. Daniel Amen MD is one of the world’s leading psychiatrists. He’s a clinical neuroscientist (love that phrase!) who has performed 115,000+ SPECT scans on his patients’s brains. (That’s a lot.) This book captures what he’s learned about optimizing our brains, why it’s important and how to do it. Big Ideas we explore include #ANTspray, wisdom from Fat Freddie the penguin, how hungry your brain is (did you know it’s 2% body weight but uses 20-30% of calories consumed?), and a bunch of other goodness. More goodness: http://changeyourbrainbook.com
Ready to attend The School of Greatness? Awesome. Lewis Howes shares his lecture notes from 200+ interviews with extraordinary humans for his uber-popular podcast. Lessons include Creating a Vision + Turning Adversity into Advantage, and Flexing Your Hustle Muscle. To greatness!
Want to get Bulletproof? Then Dave Asprey is your man. An uber-successful entrepreneur who weighed 300 lbs before bio-hacking his way to optimal awesome, Dave gives us a guide to upgrading our lives. Big Ideas include the 10 Diet Myths, inflamma, fruitsandvegetables, and making health a means to a much bigger end.
The Rise of Superman. What an awesome title and vision. Steven Kotler is one of the world’s leading authorities on the science of flow. He created the Flow Genome Project that is all about “decoding the peak performance state of flow.” (<—Awesome.) In this book we take a peak at how we can get our greatness on. Big Ideas include a quick look at flow and how to hack it, achieving mastery sans misery, using fear as a compass and how to do the impossible.
Todd Henry tells us that history’s most impactful humans all had a unique, powerful, authentic voice. This book is all about helping us harness the power of OUR authentic voice. Three keys: Identity + Vision + Mastery. And, we’ve gotta learn how to own the Big U as we run our own race, have fun in monk mode and practice action + patience.
Test: "I'll give you two marshmallows if you wait 20 minutes or you can have one now." How pre-schoolers responded to that predicted their SAT scores at 16, their BMI at 30 and brain health at 50. (WOW.)
Be quick!! But don't hurry. John Wooden repeated that all.the.time to his players in every.single.practice. We need to live with intensity (!), fully showing up and playing at the edge of our abilities WHILE staying centered. Andy Hill walks us through how he learned how to do that playing under Wooden during their dynasty days.
In The Talent Code, Dan Coyle introduced us to the power of myelin and its role in creating world-class performance. In The Little Book of Talent, he shares 52 uber-practical tips on how to improve our skills. Big Ideas we explore include how to actually deliberately practice (hint: find your sweet spot), the most important skill (hint: get good at actually practicing), playing mental movies, adopting a blue collar mind set and thinking like a gardener while acting like a carpenter.
Gabriel Oettingen is one of the world’s leading researchers in “The New Science of Motivation.” The basic idea of the book is captured in a clever image on the cover: Rose colored glasses with one lens cracked. Oettingen walks us thru the compelling research that demonstrates the power of seeing both the positive AND the challenges. When we contrast our wishes with the obstacles to their attainment we, almost magically, catalyze an extraordinarily higher level of performance.