Warning! Reading books is a mind-altering experience! Ralph Waldo Emerson knew as much when he wrote, “The Mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.”
Indeed. That’s why leaders, who are responsible for solving difficult problems and challenging the status quo, would do well to become voracious consumers of books, for books, as Seth Godin brilliantly put it, are “souvenirs of ideas.”
And leaders need all the souvenirs they can get!
So, I thought I’d share my big fat stack of books to read.
Maybe some of the books on my list are of interest to you. I hope they are.
I’d also love it if you could share your insights on great books you’ve recently read and/or books you can’t wait to read.
Let’s get started…
My Stack of Physical Books
The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel Levitin
This book comes highly recommended and I’ve already begun to read it. It promises to give me a better understanding of how our brain works best and how we can sharpen our thinking, make better decisions and organize our lives. All this in the hope of improving our effectiveness in a world of ceaseless sensory and informational overload. Can’t wait!
StandOut 2.0 by Marcus Buckingham
I’m looking forward to this tome because I totally missed the first installment and I have yet to take the StandOut 2.0 assessment. I am eager to see how the results of this newer evaluation mesh, or possibly conflict, with my results from my StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment. Should be interesting!
The 100 with 10 Extra Speeches: Insights and Lessons from 110 of the Greatest Speakers and Speeches Ever Delivered by Simon Maier and Jeremy Kourdi
As you know public speaking is an impactful skill, and learning how to say it is just as important (if not more important) than what you say. Here’s a compilation of the 100 greatest speakers of all time—from antiquity to Barrack Obama. This is more of a reference volume but I’m looking forward to learning more about these speaker’s specific techniques and the speeches they crafted. If I can master and practice 10% of what I learn, it could be life changing.
Psycho-Cybernetics: A New Way to Get More Living out of Life
This is an old classic from 1960 and a long-time bestseller and pre-cursor of the self-help genre. Written by Maxwell Maltz, a cosmetic surgeon who came to realize that beautifying the outside could not bring happiness to his patients until they improved their self-image, he wrote this book to share his ideas on how to achieve that. It’s been a while since I read it and I’m drawn to revisit his ideas again.
F*ck Feelings: One Shrink’s Practical Advice for Managing All Life’s Impossible Problems by Michael Bennett, MD and Sarah Bennett
The irreverent title drew me. Looks like this psychiatrist and and his comedy writer daughter are looking to keep things real, and I like that. Too many books are about perfect leaders. Perfect projects. Perfect endings. But life is far from perfect. F*ck Perfect! It’s about time someone had the guts to delve into the messy and frustrating side of things. Unafraid to use F-bombs this comedy-psychiatrist duo delve into meaty topics such as self-improvement, self-esteem, communication, love and much more. Should be a humorous and enlightening read (to say the least).
Primed to Perform: How to Build the Highest Performing Cultures Through the Science of Total Motivation by Neel Doshi and Lindsay McGregor
Lot’s of new science is emerging about human behavior and this book seems to dive right into it, and looks to have some brilliant ideas on how we might use this to our advantage. With it’s enticing and promising title, and endorsements by Prof. Adam Grant and Patrick Lencioni, I just had to pick it up. If this book can deliver on 50% of what it promises, how can business owners, entrepreneurs and managers ignore the advice in its pages. We shall see. Stay tuned.
The Challenger Customer: Selling to the Hidden Influencer Who Can Multiply Your Results by Brent Adamson, Mathew Dixon, Pat Spenner and Nick Toman
I’m super excited about what the sales experts at the CEB have cooked up for us. Their last book, The Challenger Sale, was a sensation and sparked a revolution in the world of B2B selling. Now they report back on their study of the buyer side of the equation. Looks like the way big organizations make big buying decisions has changed, with enormous implications for B2B sellers. We ignore this at our peril. I’m a big fan of the CEB and when they talk, I listen. Can’t wait to start devouring this book.
My Audio Book List
That’s the physical book list so far, but maybe you’re like me, and want to squeeze every last bit of learning out of every possible moment of every day. That’s where audio books come in—when I’m driving, at the gym, out jogging or doing chores, I’m plugged into Audible.
Here’s the list of audio books that will be my companions in the coming weeks:
Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help Not Hype, by Jay Baer
The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among Primates, by Frans B. M. Waal
Eisenhower in War and Peace, by Jean Edward Smith
Get Up! Why Your Chair is Killing You and What You Can Do About It, by James A. Levine
How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain, by Gregory Berns
Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius
That’s my stack. It should last me till summer.
What does your stack look like?