How to live your best life: My book list for 2018 and 2019

Outside of my mentors and defining moments, books have accelerated my learning both professionally and personally and I truly believe that reading is the single most important thing you can do to better yourself.  As Warren Buffett put it best, “If I could have one superhuman power it would be to: “Read Faster”.  

I think about it like this: If people the likes of Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, etc…. all read fifty books a year, then there is clearly value in reading. But yet, 1% of working professionals read more than 25 books a year. This blew my mind and made me think about how maybe Bill, Warren, and Jeff are no different than me you. And the only difference between them and us is their mindset. So, if we as humans want to reach our potential, then why not follow in the footsteps of others that have not just reached their potential, but changed the world. 

Today, I am sharing with you my 2018 Book List along with my 2019 Book List. The books I read in 2018 impacted me in so many ways and I believe it can do the same for you. At the bottom, I will give you a sneak-peak into my reading list for 2019. If you don’t have time to read, NO worries-just follow my blog! Throughout the year,  I will be posting a summary and my own takeaways on each of the books below on my site.

2018 Book List with a summary of each book:

Creating competitive advantage: Give Customers a Reason to Choose You Over Your Competitors by Jaynie Smith

As a sales leader, this book can help you with positioning your product. I also found value in this book as a simple adult living a normal life because it discussed the concept of creating a competitive advantage, and I believe that as humans we all have our own competitive advantage. This book can help you discover what that is, and then put it into practice. It is easily, one of the best sales books I have ever read.

Everything has two handles by Ronald Pies

As an avid follower and believer of the stoic philosophy, this book is a modern-day guide to fully understanding the Stoic principles. Most books written on Stoic Philosophy can be hard to follow, and Ronald does a great job of bringing real-life stories into each principle he lays out in the book.

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

This is a classic stoic book, and a must read if you are truly looking to follow the ways of the Stoics. To be honest, it is hard to follow, but I enjoyed it. It is a true philosophy book and it is not a book you can read once. You will find yourself coming back to it many times in your life. 

Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son by George Horace Lorimer

Recommended by Ryan Holiday from his book list, this book is a fast read that teaches you about some great life lessons. It is a fictional story written in the early 1900s about a father writing to his son while he is away at school.  It is written in a way that can be a little hard to understand in my opinion, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a ton of value in this book.

Wonder by RJ Palacio

In a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, this is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope. R.J. Palacio has called her debut novel “a meditation on kindness” —indeed, every reader will come away with a greater appreciation for the simple courage of friendship. Auggie is a hero to root for, a diamond in the rough who proves that you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out. 

High-Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way by Brendon Burchard

In this book, Brendon Burchard shares with you his research of high performing people whether business professional, athletes, or executives. After years of research, he identified six habits of these individual people and gives you a step-by-step on how to implement them into your daily life. If you want a great self-help book then this is the book for you!

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

If you are looking to read a book that can teach you how to “think differently” and challenge the status quo to truly reach your potential then this is the book for you. In Originals, he again addresses the challenge of improving the world, but now from the perspective of becoming original: choosing to champion novel ideas and values that go against the grain, battle conformity, and buck outdated traditions. How can we originate new ideas, policies, and practices without risking it all? Easily one of the best books I have read, and trying to find a spot for it on my top 10 list.

Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court by John Wooden

This is a step by step guide about how John Wooden became one of the greatest coaches of all time. He shares with you actual notes, and thoughts from his days of coaching the UCLA Bruins. Wooden is one of the staples of great leadership and if you want to actionable takeaways on how to be a better leader and human this is the book to read.

Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle

It’s no wonder that The Power of Now has sold over 2 million copies worldwide and has been translated into over 30 foreign languages. Much more than simple principles and platitudes, the book takes readers on an inspiring spiritual journey to find their true and deepest self and reach the ultimate in personal growth and spirituality: the discovery of truth and light.

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry

My third book read on the concept of Emotional Intelligence and it is by far the most actionable book you can read. The book is really fast and easy, and it is written in a way where you can fully understand the concept of emotional intelligence. If you want to forego the scientific understanding of EQ this book is much more practical and will give you solid takeaways to start improving your EQ today.

Education of a coach by David Halberstam

A biography on Bill Bellichek that goes beyond just Bill as a person, but allows you to understand how he became the person he is today. It goes back to his childhood and takes you through a journey to understand how he rose the ranks of the NFL to become arguably the greatest coach of all time.

The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership by Bill Walsh

Bill Walsh was most famous for his tenure as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. In his time, he transformed the 49ers from a below average franchise into an NFL dynasty.

After his coaching days, he gave Steve Jamison (Author – most notably wrote a ton of books on John Wooden) an exclusive interview to learn about his principles and techniques. This book walks us through Bill’s entire coaching career with real-life stories, practical tips, and step-by-step leadership advice directly from Bill Walsh.

Win Forever: Live, Work, and Play Like a Champion by Pete Carrol

An autobiography on Pete Carroll’s coaching experience from USC to coaching the Seahawks to a Superbowl championship. Towards the end of the book, Pete shares a story when starting as head coach of the Seattle Seahawks. He was asked which is better: Winning or Competing. It was a simple response to him…COMPETING.

When I read this, I knew two things instantly: Pete Carroll is my spirit animal, AND we share a similar philosophy on life and leadership. He believes no matter where you came from or what situation you find yourself in today, win or lose you can always compete and always improve. This is the exact idea of my mindset I call Day One. We all face many setbacks in life and have bad days, but it is always OK because tomorrow when we wake up, it is day one. You get the opportunity to compete again. A must read book for all leaders. 

Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant by Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne

In this perennial bestseller, embraced by organizations and industries worldwide, globally preeminent management thinkers W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne challenge everything you thought you knew about the requirements for strategic success. Recognized as one of the most iconic and impactful strategy books ever written, Blue Ocean Strategy, now updated with fresh content from the authors, argues that cutthroat competition results in nothing but a bloody red ocean of rivals fighting over a shrinking profit pool. Based on a study of 150 strategic moves (spanning more than 100 years across 30 industries), the authors argue that lasting success comes not from battling competitors but from creating “blue oceans”―untapped new market spaces ripe for growth.

Radical Candor by Kim Scott

Radical Candor is a simple idea: to be a good boss, you have to Care Personally at the same time that you Challenge Directly. When you challenge without caring its obnoxious aggression; when you care without challenging its ruinous empathy. When you do neither it’s manipulative insincerity.

This simple framework can help you build better relationships at work, and fulfill your three key responsibilities as a leader: creating a culture of feedback (praise and criticism), building a cohesive team, and achieving results you’re all proud of.

FDR by Jean Edward Smith

One of today’s premier biographers has written a modern, comprehensive, indeed ultimate book on the epic life of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In this superlative volume, Jean Edward Smith combines contemporary scholarship and a broad range of primary source material to provide an engrossing narrative of one of America’s greatest presidents.

2019 Book List:

Biographies/Memoirs:

Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. by  Ron Chernow

Andrew Carnegie by David Nasaw

Washington: A life by Ron Chernow

Eisenhower War and Peace – Jean Edward Smith

Cant Hurt Me – Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins

Personal History by Katharin Grahm

America’s Coach: Life Lessons & Wisdom for Gold Medal Success: A Biographical Journey of the Late Hockey Icon Herb Brooks by Ross Bernstein

Leadership Books:

Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World by Tim Ferris

Measure what Matters by John Doeer

Lead with Boundaries Results, Relationships, and Being Ridiculously in Charge by Henry Cloud

The Strategy Paradox: Why Committing to Success Leads to Failure (And What to do About It) by Michael Raynor

Who says elephants can’t dance by Louis. V. Gerstner

The Carpenter by Jon Gordon

True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership by Bill Sims

Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough

Power of moments by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

You are a badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero

Average is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation by Tyler Cowen

The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed by Jessica Lahey

Talk like TED by Caremine Gallo

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

High Output Management by Andy Grove

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

Dare to Lead by Brene Brown

Other:

Sapien by Yuval Harari

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. Vance

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Courage Under Fire by James Stockdale

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine

 

 

3 thoughts on “How to live your best life: My book list for 2018 and 2019

  1. Hi, Mr. Brandwein,

    Many thanks for commenting favorably on my book, “Everything Has Two Handles.” I’m glad to hear that you are an avid follower of Stoicism, and that my book helped convey some aspects of Stoicism in a clear way.
    I’m wondering if you would be OK with my posting your comment on the Amazon website that displays my book. I would not do so, of course, without your permission. If you are not comfortable with that, it’s fine–my Stoic habits of mind will mitigate any disappointment!

    Best regards,
    Ron Pies

    Ronald W. Pies, MD
    Author: Everything Has Two Handles; and The Three-Petalled Rose.

    P.S. The Three-Petalled Rose is a synthesis of Judaism, Buddhism, and Stoicism. I’d be happy to send you the PDF of the book if you care to see it.

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