As a key part of coaching, I often recommend books to bring fresh ideas and new thinking into an engagement. My recommended reading list has expanded over the last 28 years, but the top 5 have held their ranking for a while. All of the books listed below continually and consistently help my clients shift their thinking about the life and work they have to the future life, relationships, and work they want. The content is compelling, and most have stood the test of time, bringing relevance and "a-ha" moments to both men and women. I urge you to choose at least one and see how it enriches your personal and professional development, aids your life planning for the year ahead, and changes your interactions with the people around you almost immediately.
1. Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl Originally published in 1946, Man’s Search for Meaning details the harrowing experiences of author and psychologist Viktor Frankl during his internment in Auschwitz concentration camp during the Second World War. While the subject might turn you off or make you feel depressed, I urge you to move past those thoughts and consider what might be one of the most inspirational and important reads of your life. It offers insights into how human beings can get through unsurvivable situations, come to terms with trauma, and ultimately find meaning in their experiences. This has been my #1 for over 30 years and continues to hold true for me and many others.
2. The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander
This book provides a series of strategies that will invite possibility into every aspect of your life. By putting these strategies into practice, you can fuel your creativity, enhance your problem-solving skills, and deepen your relationships with others. I recommend this book for change agents looking for new solutions to old problems, anyone hoping for more abundance in their lives, and those wanting to transcend limitations. Most likely, you fit into one (or more) of those categories.
3. The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer
While not an easy read, this book is all about YOU: your feelings, thoughts and consciousness. Examining different spiritual practices, Singer, the creator of a leading-edge software package that transformed the medical practice management industry and founding CEO of a billion-dollar public company, explains how you can navigate your own mind, get in touch with yourself, and become your own master to ultimately achieve enlightenment. If you have spent the first half of your life focused on the external success metrics of society (and who hasn’t?), it may be time for you to consider new mastery of yourself and new success metrics for the back half.
4. Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
By now, you probably have heard of this author and may have watched her very famous Ted Talk about vulnerability. If not, it’s time for you to consider this book that explores how embracing your vulnerability and imperfection is necessary for achieving new levels of engagement and social connection. Explaining your deep-seated reasons for shame and embracing your vulnerability provides excellent guidance for a better private and professional life. I use this with individuals, leaders, and entire teams alike. I strongly believe that many of the ideas in this book, if accepted broadly, could help solve the most complex issues we have on the planet.
5. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's research on "optimal experience" revealed that what makes an experience genuinely satisfying is a state of consciousness called flow. During flow, people typically feel deep enjoyment, creativity, and total involvement with life. This book teaches you how by ordering the information that enters your consciousness, you can discover true happiness, unlock your potential, and greatly improve the quality of your life — with intention instead of by chance.
My signature approach to consulting and coaching is Deep Work Fast, which dictates that I continue to curate the best thinking, tools, and experiences for my clients. I want you to have the life you want in real life, not just in your head. Creating a happy life and work you LOVE, not just a few good moments, requires a consistent challenging of your normal thinking and constant shifting and refining of behavior and choices. I put forth these books for you to use on your quest to be satisfied and enjoy your life and work every day. Stop settling and playing small. Let’s do this!