Enjoy These Books I Love!

Many books have been instrumental to my personal and professional development. The best of these combine valuable information with a writing style that’s actually fun to read. Here are some of my favorites.

The Answer to How Is Yes, by Peter Block

Peter Block will get you thinking differently about, well, the way you think. I read this book right before I started my business, and I give it a lot of credit for helping me to think bigger and have more confidence in what I could achieve. It grounded me in what was most important in both my personal and professional worlds. Don’t read this book if you don’t want to ask yourself deep questions, think big thoughts and challenge plenty of assumptions.

Three Deep Breaths, by Thomas Crum

If you want to feel greater calm in a stressed out world, then this book is for you. I recommend it to almost all of my clients, friends, people I meet on the street. It is an easy read – 100 pages of a fable about a guy who learns to take three deep breaths to reduce his stress. It sounds simple, and the beauty of it is that it is both simple and effective. I use the techniques almost every day, and I’m calmer and happier for it.

Getting Things Done, by David Allen

I don’t know that I would quite go along with David Allen’s sub-title of “Stress-Free” productivity, but this book does deliver excellent tips and tools for how to get more things done in less time with less stress. I think his greatest gift is in helping the reader find ways to eliminate the clutter that exists in our brains as we try to remember all of the things we have to do. If you can clear your brain and concentrate fully on your task at hand, you will be much more productive. David Allen shows you how to do just that.

Crucial Conversations, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler

Who wouldn’t want to be better at handling high pressure, emotional conversations? I use this book all the time with the managers and executives I coach. “How should I confront my manager?” “I’ve got a peer who is doing something that really bothers me. What should I do?” There are tons of challenging situations that my clients discuss with me. In every one of them I use the tools from this book.

It's Your Ship, by Captain Michael Abrashoff

I’ve read a lot of books on leadership. This is the best combination of entertaining, fun to read and absolutely top quality leadership advice I’ve seen. The author is a former captain in the Navy and his stories are both fascinating and chock full of tremendously valuable leadership lessons. I would be proud to work for anyone who exhibited half of the leadership qualities that are portrayed in this book.

Leading Change, by James O’Toole

This book was one of the earliest influences on my views on leadership. It shows just how much integrity great leaders can possess and fills me with a deep desire to live up to the standards set by those great leaders. It is filled with lessons that will certainly make leaders more effective, and equally or more important, these lessons are grounded in a compelling moralistic philosophy.

Authentic Happiness, by Martin Seligman

Everyone has a range of happiness that they can achieve. Seligman teaches his readers how to live at the top of their range. How can being happier on a regular basis not be at the top of everyone’s priority list? Seligman is the father of positive psychology, the movement that examines optimal human functioning as opposed to mental illness. This book gives you specific concepts, tools and actions you can use to live a happier life today and for the rest of your life.

Good to Great, by Jim Collins

The thing that amazes me about this book is its versatility. It tells its readers about the commonalities among large companies that had been good for many years and then made a leap to great. Yet, even though the companies that are described in the book are all big, recognizable companies, the lessons can be applied to small businesses, start-ups or individual teams within global corporations. I certainly use the concepts in how I think about and build my own business.

A Yellow Raft in Blue Water, by Michael Dorris

I read this as part of one of my favorite undergraduate Psychology courses in college. Don’t be scared off by that. It’s a very enjoyable novel. The reason it was part of a psych class curriculum is that it does a brilliant job of showing the reader how differently the same events can look when viewed from different perspectives. It is an enjoyable and gripping novel that changed the way I view relationships and other people’s actions.