Jon Kabat-Zinn is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts and one of the world’s leading advocates for mindfulness training. He’s demonstrated the phenomenal health benefits of integrating meditation into our daily lives and in this Note we’ll learn about meditation—what it is, how we can rock it and what we can gain from doing so.
Why Meditate? According to Ricard, the ultimate reason is to transform ourselves so we can transform our world. That works for me! In this Note, we check out my favorite Big Ideas on working out our mindfulness muscles, looking at the power of neuroplasticity and highlighting the fact that it’s *all* about the consistent practice, working on our consciousness thought after thought and emotion by emotion.
Edward L. Deci is one of the world’s leading researchers on human motivation and this book is *packed* with scientific wisdom—exploring what we know about the power of intrinsic motivation (vs. extrinsic motivation), the importance of autonomy (vs. being controlled) and the need for authenticity (vs. alienation). Hint: If you want happiness, focus on relationships, personal growth and making a contribution; don’t go after fame, wealth and beauty.
Why Your Life Sucks. That has to win the award for best title ever. Cohen is a very funny man. He’s also super wise and a great story teller and this book is packed with goodness on how we can unsuck our lives. My favorite Big Ideas (that we cover in the Note) include everything from tuning in to radio station “KNOW,” hiring your own thought bouncer and remembering to nourish your spirit.
Willpower. It’s ESSENTIAL to optimizing our lives. In fact, in their *great* book, Willpower, Roy Baumeister (one of the world’s leading scientific researchers on self-control) and John Tierney (science writer for the New York Times) tell us that “Improving willpower is the surest way to a better life.” In this Note, we’ll learn how to eat our way to willpower (seriously), how to exercise our self-control muscles, why “precommitment” is so important and how to win the willpower game with bright lines and a great offense. :)
John Wooden. He’s arguably the greatest coach EV-ER and this book is essentially one Big Idea after another. Wooden is all about the fundamentals and in this Note we’ll explore a few of my favorite Big Ideas on his old-school wisdom—from the fact that full effort = full success to the importance of becoming a realistic optimist.
One of the world’s leading experts on creativity, Eric Maisel is a psychotherapist who works exclusively with artists. As the sub-title suggests, this book is set up as “A Year’s Worth of Inspiration and Guidance” and provides insight into everything from dealing with anxiety to taking the next baby step and having patience. Plus, you’ll learn a new power mantra for creating. :)
Twyla Tharp is awesome. One of the greatest choreographers in the world, she’d created more than 130 (!!!) dances for her company as well as for everyone from the Joffrey Ballet to London’s Royal Ballet. In this great book,. Twyla shares some uber-Big Ideas on how we can develop our Creative Habit to more consistently rock it.
You might have caught Sir Ken’s genius energy in his brilliant TED talk. Not only is he one of the world’s leading experts on creativity, he’s an all-around cool guy and... he’s a KNIGHT! How cool is that?! That’s pretty saucy I say. :)
Sri Swami Satchidananda was one of the world’s greatest yoga masters and teachers. This book is organized as a daily inspirational guidebook and it’s packed with 365 wisdom gems. In the Note, we explore Big Ideas ranging from the importance of being bold and strong to the power of making a lot mistakes.
Wonder where happiness comes from? So does Jonathan Haidt, one of the world’s leading positive psychologists and Professor at the University of Virginia. In this phenomenal book, Haidt looks at ancient wisdom and modern wisdom as he tests some happiness hypotheses and comes up with his ultimate hypothesis. In this Note, we’ll check out the dynamic between you and your elephant, the magic pill that is meditation, and the mojo of virtue.
Michael Ray is a Professor at Stanford’s Business School who teaches creativity in business. This book shares the lessons from that remarkable class and points out the fact that our “Highest Goal” is all about connecting to and living from our highest truths all the time. In this Note, we’ll take a look at how to get out of “the cruel grip of society” as we travel our own path and let the material bounty be by-products of our spiritual awesomeness. :)
Barry Schwartz tells us that some choice is obviously good but too much choice can actually stress us out! The book is packed with powerful wisdom—much of it counterintuitive. In the Note, we'll explore the difference between being a “Maximizer” vs. a “Satisficer” and why we want to shift from always needing the “absolute best” to being happy with “good enough” as we develop our gratitude and quit comparing ourselves to other peeps. Powerful.
Habits. They’re powerful. And, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg is a very cool look at why we have them, how they work, and what we can do to change them. The book is an incredibly well-written, fun read and it’s packed with great stories and wisdom and I think you’ll dig it. In this Note, we’ll take a quick peek at the basic aspects of a habit loop (cue + routine + reward), how you can get a cue, what a keystone habit is (and why you should care), the importance of believing you can change and the fact that every habit is malleable. Fun!
Tom Morris is my favorite living philosopher. As a former Professor at Notre Dame with a dual Ph.D. in Religion and Philosophy, he blends old school, rigorous philosophy with amodern sense of fun. In this Note, we have fun getting our wisdom on with his “7 C’s of Success”: Conception, Confidence, Concentration, Consistency, Commitment, Character and a Capacity to Enjoy. Good times.
Michael Bernard Beckwith. Alexandra and I love him and his wisdom. He’s a model of integrated spirituality for us one of our absolute favorite teachers. In this Note, we’ll take quick at his powerful “Life Visioning Process” and have some fun getting our wisdom on with Big Ideas ranging from The Four Stages of Evolutionary Growth to unplugging from the Internet and plugging into the “Inner-net.” Good stuff!
Carol Dweck, Ph.D is a Stanford Professor and one of the world’s leading authorities on the science of motivation. She tells us that our “mindset”—how we see the world—determines a *huge* part of our overall happiness and well-being and achievement. In this Note, we’ll explore the difference between a “fixed mindset” and a “growth mindset” and some Big Ideas on why we want to learn how to live from a growth mindset. And, of course, how to do it!
Are you suffering from “excusitis” or living on “Someday Isle”—you know, where you’ll get around to living your greatest life “someday”? Brian Tracy says we need to vote ourselves off that island and in this Note we’ll check out some of my favorite Big Ideas on how he says we should rock it—from understanding the root of negative moods (it’s all about blame) to thinking long-term (the happiest/most successful see the big picture!) to the importance of setting goals and taking purposeful action.
This is a great book. In Rethinking Depression, Eric Maisel presents an incredibly persuasive case for how medicalized we’ve made the normal human emotions of sadness, anxiety and other unfun feelings (and how dangerous that is) while giving us an existential handbook on how to deal with life’s challenges by creating an authentic life packed with meaning. In this Note, we check out the fact that unhappiness happens while learning how to create our “existential ideal” as we make meaning in our lives! (And, therefore, a *lot* more happiness.)
Exercise. At this stage—especially if you’ve read many of these Notes!—we KNOW it’s important. This book tells us WHY. John D. Ratey is a genius from the Harvard Medical School (well, technically he’s a Professor of Psychiatry there :) and his book is *packed* with goodness. If you’re looking to understand the “Revolutionary new science of exercise and the brain” then Spark is for you.
Written in 1859, this is one of the classics of self-development. Smiles focuses on character development, hard work and perseverance rather than the get-it-quick-fluff found in so much of modern self-dev. In the Note, we’ll explore a bunch of Big Ideas including the power of diligence and how to make happiness a habit!
How’d you like the scientific low-down on how to effectively set goals and succeed? Well, Heidi Grant Halvorson, the young Positive Psychology superstar, gives you the goods in this awesome book. You might be surprised by what you learn. It’s not all about vision boards and visualization (obviously). In the Note, we’ll explore all kinds of Big Ideas, including the fact that we need to have a specific, difficult (but attainable) goal we believe we can achieve AND awareness of all the challenges that stand in our way. Powerful stuff.
Joel Fuhrman, M.D. is a nutritional science rock star. As one of the world’s leading medical doctors, he is leading the charge in helping us understand how nutrition impacts our well-being. Super Immunity is PACKED with goodness and, as the sub-title points out, provides us with “The Essential Nutrition Guide for Boosting Your Body’s Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger, and Disease Free.” In this Note, we’ll get our wisdom on as we check our Dr. Fuhrman’s food pyramid, learn about the power of cruciferous veggies (seriously amazing), get our GOMBBS on as we unleash our healing potential!
Russell Simmons. Part vegan-yogi. Part pop icon. 100% awesome. (And *really* funny. :) In PN - Volume I we did a Note on his great book Do You! and I’m excited to share some of my favorite Big Ideas from this fun weekend read as well. Favorites include getting on the right train, becoming a business yogi, the power of hard work, and cleaning out the junk mail in our minds!
Colvin tells us talent is overrated. (As you may have gathered from the title. :) Where’s it at? 10,000 hours of deliberate practice, yo. That’s the bedrock on which greatness is developed. In this Note, we’ll check out The Mozart Myth (you think he was born great?! Think again!) to falling on your butt 20,000 times, and we’ll have fun seeing how we can create our own personal greatness.