11.5 books that changed my life

This is in no particular order of magnitude of saving and who cares anyway as it’s all my own subjective opinion.

1. Brene Brown – Daring Greatly, this was the first book of Brene’s that I read and I finally understood what vulnerability meant and it was OK to be vulnerable, in fact, more than fucking OK, it was or is essential. Bravery isn’t being tough, it’s being able to remove the masks we put up to protect us from being truly who we are.

2. Darren Hardy – The Compound Effect, wow, this book is great for one HUGE thing, that is to understand just how essential and momentum building doing regular small daily things are, taking the baby steps to success, rather than trying to make giant leaps.

3. Seth Godin – The Purple Cow, I love Seth’s stuff and The Purple Cow is simple and at the same time brilliant, it is about how to stand out and more importantly how to be different. A field of brown or black and white cows is unremarkable, but if one of those cows is purple, then it is remarkable. We need to be remarkable.

4. Chip Conley – Emotional Equations, a great book that puts difficult emotional things into equations that makes it amazingly easy to understand emotions more.

5. Simon Sinek – Start With Why, this has to be one of my all time favourites, it is the bedrock of life, what matters is why we do what we do, not what we do.

6. Seth Godin – What To Do When It’s Your Turn, a book I return to time and time again as an inspiration to do, simple as that.

7. Prof Steve Peters – The Chimp Paradox, this is like opening Pandora’s box, once you understand all about the chimp brain and how to manage it, and the paradox of how essential it is to us, then this book changes your life completely.

8. Cal Newport – Deep Work, I have changed how I work completely from reading this book and it has enabled me to do focused work that I have struggled to achieve all my life. I am now building a whole project around this and other stuff that compliments this.

9. Yuval Noah Harari – Sapiens, this was at some stages a depressing read, but a magical book that tells the story of us – homo sapiens.

10. Shawn Achor – The Happiness Advantage, where Shawn rightly tackles the notion of success = happiness as it is most definitely the other way round, happiness leads to success and happiness is a choice we can all make. This is a brilliant book and changed my mindset forever.

11. Brene Brown – Braving The Wilderness, one of 3 books of Brene’s that makes my list, this is the last one I read and is her best yet for me, I’m amazed that I added it here before Rising Strong, which was also life changing on how to dig deep into emotions and write a different story. But this one pips it for me. It is about true belonging and the thing is true belonging requires us to be who we are, and that takes huge bravery.

11.5 Brene Brown – The Gifts of Imperfection, I say 1/2 as I am listening to it still on Audible. But another amazing book and dealing with the whole shit storm that is perfectionism and how we use it to avoid blame, judgement and attention, another mask to avoid being vulnerable and stepping into the ring.

There are a few more, but odd numbers make for more interesting lists and there is only so much to digest at one go. Happy reading.

Ok, one more Viktor Frankl – Man’s Search For Meaning, this is the story of how Viktor survived the horrors of Auschwitz by having a meaning and purpose to his life, those who didn’t, simply perished. A truly emotional, amazing and life-changing read. We can’t achieve our life goals and live a fulfilled life without meaning.

Oh, OK, and…Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits… – so much to say here, but the real stand out is habit 5 (I think), Seek First to Understand, this has taught me all about empathetic listening and it is one of my current goals to try to master this. We all want others to understand us, and that requires us being able to listen with empathy.

Ok, stop now!!

What would you add to the list or maybe none of these would be on yours?

Don’t wait for them


Today I was at the RSA in London to listen to Simon Sinek speak, I love his stuff and have been massively inspired by his ‘Start With Why’ and ‘Leaders eat last’ books.

He spoke about how we all have a responsibility to change and help the failed generation, especially the millennials and how we need more empathy in society, something that I blog about regularly. The need to deal with our addictive society, especially our smartphones.

We feel the need to have them with us constantly and especially many derive their worthiness from their superficial connections to ‘friends’ via the devices.

Who is going to put them down and stop looking at them? We will wait for ‘them’ to do it first.

Since reading the brilliant ‘Deep Work’ by Cal Newport, I have switched off every single notification on my phone and removed many Apps that were simply a non-productive, meaningless distraction. Over 4 weeks now and nothing bad has happened, in fact, the opposite, I am more productive, happier and still connected to the people who matter in my life. More connected to the people who I cherish the most.

In fact, I used to charge my phone twice a day, now a single charge lasts all day!!

We live in a world where most are waiting for ‘them’ to fix all the challenges, problems or lead us. To be the first to act.

The people who are leading us are a reflection and manifestation of the world that we all live in.

We get the leaders we collectively deserve. If we all want instant fixes and instant gratification, how can we expect our leaders to think long-term? If we skip listening to others as we check who’s just liked the picture we posted of our cat, then can we expect others to listen?

What if instead of blaming ‘them’, we became accountable for what we do?

We can either spend a lifetime waiting for ‘them’ or we could spend a lifetime becoming the thing that we want and inspiring others to follow. If everyone took that approach change would happen and rapidly. It is no good waiting for ‘them’ as they just might not get it or ever change.