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.
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.
Meet the enemy: Your ego. Our guide, Ryan Holiday, wrote one of my favorite books of 2015: The Obstacle Is the Way. Ego Is the Enemy is now one of my favorite books of 2016. It’s fantastic. Big Ideas we explore include: defining ego, becoming more than a flash in the pan, finally answering the question of whether it takes 10,000 or 20,000 hours to attain mastery, the virtue and value of staying true to your own path and making it rather than faking it.
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.