My 3 Favorite, Perspective Altering Books

A room without books is like a body without a soul
— Marcus Tillius Cicero

I'll admit it...In high school (and in college if we're being honest), I absolutely hated reading.  Maybe it was my ignorant youth or simply laziness, but nothing sounded worse than reading for pleasure.

Well fast forward a decade or so, and I consider myself a book connoisseur.  Call me old fashioned, but there is nothing like a good book to stimulate the mind.  A book takes us in places that visual arts simply cannot.  

I consider the following the books some of the most important ones you can read.  They are all entertaining, and all 3 have positively affected my life...Read them and prepare to have you mind blown!


 

1) The Talent Code 

If I was going to give one book to an aspiring coach or trainer, this would be it.  Well written, entertaining, and insightful, The Talent Code examines exactly where talent comes from.  For years the idea of exceptional performers being "gifted" and just "naturally talented" has been promoted throughout our society.  But what if I told you that wasn't entirely true?

the_talent_code.jpg

Why do certain places in the world seem to have an inordinate amount of talent?  For example, think Brazilian soccer players, or Russian tennis players.  Why are they more talented?  Especially when they don't have any additional resources, and are often economically disadvantaged.

Author Charles Duigg examines these locations and what they have in common.  The ingredients that actually make up talent.  Among the many things they have in common, one of them....**SPOILER ALERT**....is a concept called deliberate practice.   Deliberate practice is the notion that its not just the length of your practice that matters, but HOW you practice.  This concept was first introduced by Swedish psychologist Anders Ericsson (those damn Swedes are always so practical!) and has changed the way I teach as a performance coach.  This one is a must read!

Takeaway Point 

Talent isn't decided in the womb.  We can all get better through deliberate practice.  This applies to our career, music, sports, or any task where being great is the desired result.

 

 

2) The Power of Habit

                    The Habit Loop 

                    The Habit Loop 

Ever wonder how some people can break bad habits, while others seem to never be able to? Author Charles Duhigg interviews everyone from neurological scientists to former NFL coach Tony Dungey in order to find out why.

What's great about this book is that it's the first of its kind to thoroughly investigate what causes habits, and present them in a concise, and entertaining manner.  Duhigg explores what is known as "the habit loop", basic progress that is the origin behind all habits.

As you can see in the picture, habits are based off:

  1. A Cue 
  2. A routine 
  3. A Reward 

Understanding how habits work are the first step to changing them.  As performance coach, I am in the business of changing habits, so I find this book invaluable.  This book is great read for anyone in a similar field, or anyone who wants to know a little more about human psychology. 

Takeaway Point 

Bad habits aren't necessarily eliminated, they are changed.  Affect the "routine" part of the habit loop, and you can turn a bad habit into a good one.  

 

 

3) Essentialism 

What if I told you, you could accomplish more by doing less?   Thats what the book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less will tell you.  This one was my first audiobook, and one of my favorites.

 Author  Greg McKeown goes against the common practice of saying "YES" to everything that comes our way. This is extremely common in American Business culture.  How many of you say YES to a project, when you know it doesn't align with your goals?  How many of you say YES to attending a meeting you really don't need to be at?

McKeown presents the argument that saying no to the non-essential things and yes to the essential things will progress you much further in life.  In one part of the book, he challenges you to "edit" your life just as if you are editing a motion picture. Focus on the important scenes, and and out the scenes that don't add to your story.  He even gives you techniques that tell you how to gracefully say NO when presented with a proposition.

Takeaway Point

Take control of your life and do the stuff that really matters....My favorite quote from Essentialism sums it up, "Remember that if you don't prioritize your life, someone else will".

 


Now that you guys have a background on these books, I encourage you all to go grab a copy and read them.  Hardcopy, Kindle, Audiobook....the method doesn't matter.  What does matter is that you take the time to. educate yourself, and expand your intellectual horizons...Happy reading everyone!