A good book is one of my favorite things! As a kid there was a well-worn path between my house and the local library! As an author, I know what goes into refining a message. It is a gift when I think of the years of experience and research that go into writing a book. You get the benefit of a life time of experience to digest in a few hours. With summaries, you get only a tiny fraction of the riches.
Each of my dozen Non-leadership Leadership books has profoundly impacted my life. What do I mean by the title non-leadership leadership books? Each impact leadership in a very deep way, but do not have leadership in the title. I have read several of them over and over! These are not in any special order.
Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World—and Why Things are Getting Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling. Rosling was a Swedish physician who researched what was happening worldwide. At the beginning of his book, he shares a 13-question quiz that most people get primarily wrong. I did a video review of the book, which you can see here. I suggest a different title: Ten Instincts that Sabotage Our Critical Thinking. Very eye-opening.
Breath: The New Science of an Old Art by James Nestor
I’ve read this book three times. For this type of book, it is very readable and entertaining. I ‘practice’ breathing most mornings. It is one of the most important things I do. Nestor is a curator of the history of the power of breathing. He also provides a comprehensive summary of the types of breathing. Also, see my video review of this book here.
Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart by James Doty, MD This is a well-written and lovely autobiographical story. Doty is now the leader of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education
Power vs. Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior by David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D.
This topic speaks so closely to the concepts informing Spiral Impact. I didn’t think I’d learn anything – though I did! The book is grounded in research using kinesiology. The first few chapters are dense with research, then it eases up a bit. Very insightful.
This Naked Mind by Annie Grace
Alcohol is a fascinating thing. It is one of the top three toxic & addictive substances out there. Alcohol is the source of 1.4 million deaths in the US in the first two decades of this century. Yet, our culture promotes it and thinks something is wrong with you if you don’t drink. While not an over-the-top drinker during the pandemic, I felt my two glasses of wine a day were controlling me. When something is controlling me – I don’t like it. But I didn’t feel out of control enough to start going to ‘those’ meetings. I read this book, and it immediately impacted me – without guilt and shame. I quit for a year and a half. Now, I have an occasional glass of wine. I do like having a Naked Mind! The book is fantastic. Annie Grace also has 100 days of online support. Note, I don’t ever buy this book to give to someone; it must be wanted. I’ve told numerous people about it; It also has a potent impact on them!
Outwitting the Devil by Napoleon Hill
Napoleon Hill is famous for “Think and Grow Rich.” Andrew Carnegie challenged Hill to study highly successful people; his well-known book is the result. “Outwitting the Devil” is a follow-up book that Hill’s family held unpublished for 72 years for fear it would ruin his reputation. Note Hill uses the term ‘Devil” to denote falling victim to negative thoughts and habits.
Journey to the Heart of Aikido: The Teachings of Motomichi Anno Sensei By Linda Holiday and Anno Sensei This book isn’t for everyone. BTW, I just took my Third Dan Black Belt test in Aikido. I found Linda’s book an exquisite compilation of her sensei’s teaching on the deeper side of Aikido. He studied directly with the founder of Aikido.
10x Is Easier Than 2x: How World-Class Entrepreneurs Achieve More by Doing Less by Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy
While the target audience is entrepreneurs, all leaders could benefit from these principles. I am still working through the ideas in this book. A couple of the basic premises are that stopping 80% of what you are doing now will help you progress much faster toward your goals. I also find their concepts of past-self and future-self intriguing—very practical guidance.Also, a reminder that the past doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you.
The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance by Josh Waltzkin
You may have heard of the book and movie Searching for Bobby Fischer about the child chess prodigy Josh Waitzkin. Josh won eight National Championships in chess. He then abandoned chess when the book (written by his father) caused a media frenzy around him. Serendipitously, an introduction to Tai Chi Chuan then captivated his attention. This book is about his deep study and learning process. Another book is very aligned with my Spiral Impact method.
Brain Energy – A Revolutionary Breakthrough in Understanding Mental Health-and Improving Treatment for Anxiety, Depression, OCD, PTSD, and more by Christopher M. Palmer, MD – Mental health is a topic that everyone needs to be aware. I originally heard Palmer on a podcast and found him riveting. He is a Harvard psychiatrist providing research on how many common physical health disorders are linked to brain energy and mental illness. Perhaps the answers to our mental health crisis can be found on our plates.
Spiral Impact: The Power to Get It Done with Grace by Karen Valencic
I must include my book here. How we interact with people, events, things,and even ourselves determines our ability to collaborate and innovate with conflict. This book guides you on transforming resistance/conflict and opens a path to freedom. The content is grounded in the martial art, Aikido, the Art of Reconciliation or Peace.
Antifragile: Things that Gain by Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Joe Ochman, et al
To be Antifragile is beyond resilience. I am reading this now. I love the premise, and my work with Spiral Impact® is aligned. I’ll be writing about this more!
What really good live changing non-leadership leadership books can you add!? I’d love your recommendations!
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