Wake Up! It’s Book Review Monday – Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success by Phil Jackson

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.  In light of this, on Monday’s I will be reviewing a book that has impacted me.

Today’s book is Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success by Phil Jackson and Hugh Delehanty. If you are a 90’s bulls fan. READ THIS BOOK. 

Brief Summary:

This book is a memoir of Phil Jackson’s time playing and coaching in the NBA. He shares his stories of playing with the Knicks, leading the 90’s Bulls to 6 rings and reviving his coaching career with the 2000’s Lakers to win 5 rings. Throughout the book, he ties into each story his 11 principles of leadership that he believes guided him to coaching his teams to 11 championships.

Things I learned from this book:

Lead from the inside out:

This is Phil’s first leadership principle. He believes that most leaders try to do whatever everyone else is doing, or the latest management technique. Instead, he says just lead from the heart and be authentic.

I found this as the single most important and most natural principle to master to become a great leader. Though I like to read and learn about leadership, nothing will stop me from just being me and leading with my heart. One of the things I have learned over time is that trust is an essential factor in leadership. Nobody wants to work for someone who is fake or acting like they are someone that they are not. When you lead from the heart people will trust you. It’s that simple. 

When I think about the people I lead at work, I don’t view them as employees or co-workers; I see them as humans that have given me the opportunity to help them reach their potential not only in work but in life. I care about their success and work as hard as I can to make them feel that we are in this together.  I hope that every rep I lead feels that we shared unique experiences and moments that will create a life-long bond. 

The road to freedom is a beautiful system:

As we all know, Phil Jackson was a big believer in the triangle offense. What he loved most about it was that it gave players a system in which to operate, but also let them use their own instincts and knowledge to decide what pass or shot to take in the heat of the moment.

What I took away from Phil was that you must train the entire team to use one effective framework/system that can help them do their job in the way you believe is best. How they operate within the framework or system is up to them. As a leader, I can quickly identify each rep’s strengths and weaknesses within the system to help them be better.  For example, I have a framework on how to run an effective demo. It is not a script or a word for word guide. It is a simple framework that helps guide the rep from beginning to end of a call. The rep has their own talk track that they can insert into the framework, and I believe that if they follow the process, they will be successful in the role. 

Focus on the spirit, not the scoreboard:

Teams are at their strongest when they give up self-interest for the greater good of the team. Here is a story Phil shares in the book about the importance of working as a team:

“The Samurai wanted to teach his sons the power of teamwork. So he gave each of them an arrow and asked them to break it. No problem. Each son did it easily. Then the samurai gave them a bundle of three arrows bound together and asked them to repeat the process. But none of them could. “That’s your lesson,” the samurai said. If you three stick together you will never be defeated.”

This taught me that if the team wins or lose, we win or lose together. From the first day I led a group of people, I made it clear that there was no individual person (including me as the leader) who was greater than the team. It seems like a simple concept to some, but Phil made me realize that it was one of the important things I had to make clear to my team as the leader.

I also learned the best way to hold an employee accountable is to have their teammates hold them accountable. Although I am technically the leader, my title has no meaning. In my mind, we are all teammates, and I am not the only one responsible for holding each employee accountable. The entire team is.

Tribal Leadership and becoming a stage 5 team:

In the book, Phil discusses the concept of “tribal leadership” and the 5 stages that every team must achieve to eventually reach their potential.  After reading it, I made stage 5 as my team’s vision statement (our end result). Below is my team’s vision statement:

We are dedicated to team pride and the overriding conviction that “we are great, not they are great, or I am great.” This team requires common beliefs and shared visions, and the bigger the challenge, the more powerful the team. Our long-term vision is to achieve a rare stage characterized in teams with a sense of innocent wonder and the strong belief that “we no longer are just great, BUT life is great.”

How has this book impacted me?

Phil made me realize that individuals can have all the talent in the world, but they will never achieve the level of success a fully cohesive team can accomplish. As a leader, your responsibility is to get a group of individuals to act as a team and believe in one common goal. If you can do that, your team will achieve success.

This was one of the first books I read when I became a sales leader, and to this day I incorporate the principles mentioned above into my day to day leadership (I only discussed 3 out of the 11 principles because they resonated with me most).  I still have a lot to learn, but thanks to Phil I have the foundation of my leadership philosophy. 

Now Wake up! It’s Day One. Buy Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success here

Wake Up! It’s Book Review Monday – Grit

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.  In light of this, on Monday’s I will be reviewing a book that has impacted me.

Today’s book is  Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth. What you will read below will not do this book justice. You must read it yourself. This is one of the most important books ever written, and it will change the way you think.

Brief Summary of Grit:

The author, Angela Duckworth, is a psychologist who has dedicated her career to studying the idea of grit. In her book, she discusses why grit is essential to achieving your potential and uses her research and interviews with people who she says are grit paragons (athletes, business leaders, etc.) to help solidify her findings.

She starts her psychology career while doing a study on West Point. She tries to understand why only 1,200 out of 14,000 are asked to enroll and how out of those 1,200 only 1 of 5 cadets make it to graduation. What she learned was that the scoring system that West Point uses does not accurately predict who the best candidates are. She finds that what predicts the best candidates is who is truly passionate and willing to persevere through the grueling task to become a cadet. Her research tells her that our potential is one thing, but what we do with it is another. She goes on to explain that what makes you successful is not about how “smart” you are, but how gritty. 

Things I learned from this book:

Effort Counts Twice

Duckworth shares an equation that is “Talent x Effort = Skill, and Skill x Effort = achievement which means effort counts twice. She shares a countless number of interviews and research studies of “Grit Paragons” who prove her equation. This equation tells you that while you can be the most skilled and talented person in the world at your craft, you can still fail because you did not put in the effort. A pretty simple concept right? How many people do you know who have all the talent, but fail? 

What is Grit and how is it measured?

Grit is not just as simple as working really hard. It is something you develop over time and actually grows with age. There are two parts to grit: Passion and Perseverance. Duckworth explains that grit is about working on something you care about so much that you are willing to stay loyal to it and strive for the same top level goal for a long period of time. 

How do you become Gritty?

You work to improve and develop the 4 physiological assets below:

Interest

The foundation for achieving your potential is rooted in what interests you. Duckworth explains that it takes time to find out what you are interested in, and most of us give up too quickly on things. She discusses the motto “Follow your passion,” and believes that we should rephrase it to “Foster your passion” because it takes time to find out what you are genuinely interested in. 

Practice

Most of us practice our craft and spend time working on our own personal or professional development, but why do we fail to achieve the highest standards in our fields? Well, Duckworth explains that the grit paragons she interviews didn’t just practice they deliberately practiced. To them, every day was a new day to improve from yesterday, and they were relentless with being better than yesterday.

Purpose

Duckworth describes purpose as a critical aspect of grittiness. To have a real passion for something you have to first be interested in what you are doing, but to deepen your passion you have to feel your work is important not to just you, but others.

Hope

To Grit paragons, hope means that if I give today all the effort I have, then I will be better off in the future. Duckworth shares a compelling statement that when I read it made me think differently:

Instead of “I have a feeling tomorrow will be better” you must say “I resolve to make tomorrow better.”

How to create a culture of Grit at work and for your kids?

1. Create your own life philosophy

This revolves around building out your core values, your vision, your purpose, your end result. Once you do you should talk about them, and live them every single day.  Every conversation you have with your kids or employees is centered around these items. 

2.  Duckworth developed a concept that she uses in her family called the “Hard Thing Rule”

  1. Everyone in the family has to do something hard
  2. You have to finish what you start
  3. No one gets to pick the hard rule for anyone else

How has this book impacted me?

This book changes the way I think about success and how I achieve it. If I make a career out of doing something I genuinely love, practice really hard every day, believe that this is my calling, and know that if I put in a full effort that I will be better off in the long run… I will achieve my own definition of success. Duckworth shared with me how simple achieving success in life can be and it has nothing to do with how smart you are.

As a parent, I have no greater responsibility than to teach and guide my son to his potential in life. I am going to use the ideas, stories, and concepts I learned in this book to be a better parent and that impact is extraordinary. As my son enters school, he will be taught that his effort is more important than getting an A, B or C on his test. Twenty to thirty years from now I believe this book will make the world a better place.

Now, WAKE UP! It’s Day One. Are you ready to become a Grit Paragon? May the choice be with you. If you have decided YES, Buy the book here and also check out her non-profit Character Lab to find out how she is changing the way we educate kids.

Wake Up! It’s Book Review Monday – Today We Are Rich

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.  In light of this, on Monday’s I will be reviewing a book that has impacted me.

Today’s book is Today We Are Rich: Harnessing the Power of Total Confidence by Tim Sanders.

Brief Summary:

Tim Sanders was an early stage member of Broadcast.com (think Mark Cuban), and he was a former executive at Yahoo! Today, he is an international speaker, consultant, and author. In his book, Tim shares with us his personal story of moving back home to live with his grandmother while he was going through some hardships. While back home, he learns from his grandmother the 7 principles of “confident living.” He shares personal stories about each principal and how they can be used step-by-step to overcome obstacles to become more confident and achieve your full potential.

Things I learned from this book:

Feed the mind

This is one of the easiest things to do but yet so difficult. Tim simply explains that we must reduce or eliminate the things in our lives like social media, news, and friends that gives you negative thoughts. No surprise here, but by doing this it will increase your overall happiness and positivity. Tim was way ahead of his time considering I read this book about 7 years ago which makes social media look like an infant. As we enter 2018, it is more vital than ever to try to eliminate the crap out of your mind. Here are some tips I learned from Tim:

  • Write down everything you read, listen to, and watch. You will be shocked at how much unnecessary crap you are wasting your time with.
  • Once you have seen all the crap, you can start reducing it one by one. For example, cut people out of your life who are negative, and delete friends on social media who are constantly creating drama and creating negative thoughts in your head.
  • Spend your time reading books, editorial pieces from credible authors, and watching credible shows which discuss solutions instead of problems. 
  • Avoid waking up and looking at your email or social media. The first thing you see every morning should be something positive.
  • Keep an ongoing journal in your mind or on paper of successful things that happen and use that as a way to combat negative or self-doubting thoughts.

Move the Conversation Forward

To me, this is an essential skill to have and the #1 principle you must be able to master. I personally took this principle as the idea of how to take a conversation with yourself or someone else and find the good in it. It reminds me of the many times, we get caught up in a conversation and drown ourselves in the problem instead of looking for a solution. I see so many people do this and it creates a downward spiral that leads to taking no action.  

Tips from Tim about how you can continue to move the conversation forward:

When processing the information it comes in four ways, and you should frame every bit of information:

  • Good – Either for you or for someone or something you have an interest in
  • Neutral – No direct effect on you or one of your interests
  • Get Busy – Adversity you need to respond to
  • Bad – A irrevocably negative effect on you or one of your interests

Use Willis Carrier’s (Founder of Carrier – Air Conditioning) advice to move the conversation forward:

  • Define the worst case scenario
  • Accept it as survivable
  • Make a good goal of beating it

Always be Prepared

  1. Become an expert in your craft:

A few easy ways to do this is to read books in your field, network with other individuals in your field and find a mentor or mentor an individual who works within the same industry. How many people do you know do any of those three things? To be honest, I know very few people.

  1. Practice, Practice, Practice:

Run through the presentation as it actually will be. Every detail of the presentation should be precisely the same when you are practicing. From the setting to the running through the entire presentation it should all be done as if you were presenting live.

  1. Expect the unexpected:

Something I have learned time and time again is that nothing goes according to plan. We should always prepare for “objections” or potential challenges we will run into and assume the worst case scenario. It is very important especially for sales and business. I know personally that I have fallen into this trap thinking a call would go one way and I was not prepared for the objections that came up. Though my reps don’t like when I seem pessimistic on a deal, I am just trying to prepare for all scenarios so we can win the deal.

How has this book impacted me?

One of the particular ideas expressed in this book, “move the conversation forward”, really moved me. Ever since reading it as a young professional it made me rethink the way I communicate with others and the ways I talk to myself subconsciously. Over the years, I have been trying to understand and learn as much as possible about the human mind and how we can control our thoughts. It has led me to a philosophy called Stoicism that I now consider a big part of my life professionally and personally.  

I read this book twice in my life: once as an early professional, and again as a sales leader. I personally use three of the seven principles discussed in the book every single day and I credit them to a lot of the early success I’ve had in my career. The best part is that the principles can be implemented by anyone and when they are, they can change your life and your career.

Now, WAKE UP! It’s Day One. Buy “Today We Are Rich” here and check out Tim’s other books, all of which are great. If you are not a book reader but enjoy great content, follow Tim’s blog here: http://timsanders.com/blog/

How to live a better life: Read books from my book list 2017/2018

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 you could read every book ever written in one lifetime, you would acquire so much knowledge and perspective it would be like living a billion lifetimes. How valuable and powerful would that be?

Today, I am sharing with you my 2017 BookList along with my 2018 Booklist. The books I read in 2017 impacted me in so many ways, and I believe it can do the same for you. In 2018, I will be reading another 25 books, and at the bottom, I will give you a sneak-peak on my reading list for the new year. 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.

At the bottom, please feel free to write any book recommendations you have or simply share your thoughts on any of the books below!

2017 Book List:

GIVE AND TAKE by Adam Grant

Adam Grant walks us through research and real-life examples about how “givers” in the long run tend to be more successful than “takers.” He further explains, there are three types of people givers, matchers, and takers. No surprise here, but you want to be a “giver” if you truly want to be “successful.” He shares techniques and stories about how you can become one and continue to be one throughout your life.

MINDSET: The New Psychology of Success by  Carol Dweck

Carol Dweck states in her book a simple concept. The view you adopt of yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. According to her research, we have two mindsets: Fixed and Growth.

Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman

I was recommended this book that teaches you everything you will learn in an MBA program. An MBA costs A LOT of money, and arguably are only valuable because of “networking,” not the actual content you learn. If you can’t or don’t want to attend MBA school, this book is a great crash course on how to operate a business.

SHOE DOG by Phil Knight

This is one of my all-time favorites. It is a memoir written by Phil Knight(Founder of Nike) as he takes us on the journey from the days before starting Nike to becoming one of the most iconic brands in the world.

MIRACLE MORNING by Hal Elrod

Hal Elrod has become a keynote speaker, author, ultramarathon runner, and the creator of The Miracle Morning routine which thousands of people use every day.  He shares with you the Miracle Morning routine, and how this accident changed his life for the better, and how we can all persevere through the most desperate moments of our lives.

GRIT by Angela Duckworth

If I had the chance, Angela Duckworth is one of the top 3 people I would want to meet. She shows anyone striving to succeed—be it parents, students, educators, athletes, or business people—that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a unique blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.” This is #2 on my top ten list, and I highly recommend you read this book. I believe, it is one of the most important books ever written.

ELON MUSK – TESLA, SPACE X AND THE QUEST FOR A FANTASTIC FUTURE by Ashlee Vance

This is a biography of Elon Musk, and the author shares with us his journey to accomplish his life goal: To Die on Mars.

POWER OF HABITS – Charles Duhigg

You want to achieve your goals. Weight Loss? Promotion? Addiction? In the book, Charles Duhigg talks about how it all starts with Habits. He does an incredible job of giving you real-life examples and actually action items you can take away to create habits that can change your life.

THE CHALLENGER SALE by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson

In my opinion, the most critical sales book to ever be written. I have read this book three times and will reread it in the future. If you are in sales, marketing, operations, or a business owner. Read this book. It will teach you how you should message to your prospects and customers in the new era of technology.

BEST TEAM WINS by Adam Robinson

My CEO Adam Robinson has built Hireology into a leading HR tech software company. He shares his knowledge on how to hire the best people for your organization. The book is fantastic because if you are a business owner, HR, or hiring manager, you can use his step-by-step guide to start hiring better people today.

RELENTLESS by Tim Grover

Tim Grover was the athletic trainer for Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Dwayne Wade. Three of the greatest basketball players to ever play the game. He shares his techniques in this book, and after you read it. Damn, you will be FIRE UP, and ready to achieve anything. Trust me.

THE EVERYTHING STORE – JEFF BEZOS BIOGRAPHY by Brad Stone

This is the best biography on Jeff Bezos I have read to date. It is very in-depth look from his days before Amazon to his time now as the wealthiest person in the world.

NEW SALES SIMPLIFIED by Mike Weinberg

Easily one of my favorite sales book. Mike Weinberg was a very successful sales person selling B2C products (which is as tough as it gets) along with other unique sales jobs. He found a way to be successful at all of them, and in his book he shares his techniques.

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE by Daniel Goleman

Everyone knows that high IQ is no guarantee of success, happiness, or virtue, but until Emotional Intelligence, we could only guess why. Daniel Goleman’s brilliant report from the frontiers of psychology and neuroscience offers startling new insight into our “two minds”—the rational and the emotional—and how they together shape our destiny.

GENERATIONS by William Strauss and Neil Howe

William Strauss and Neil Howe share with us the history of America as a succession of generational biographies, beginning in 1584 and encompassing every-one through the children of today. Their bold theory is that each generation belongs to one of four types and that these types repeat sequentially in a fixed pattern. The vision of Generations allows us to plot a recurring cycle in American history — a cycle of spiritual awakenings and secular crises — from the founding colonists through the present day and well into this millennium.

THE OBSTACLE IS THE WAY by Ryan Holiday

#3 on my top 10 list. This book introduced me further into the idea of stoicism. It is absolutely incredible. It has also been very popular in the NFL, as coaches have tried to adopt a “stoic” philosophy for their team. If you want to improve yourself and accomplish anything in life, read this book.

PRESENTATION ZEN by Garr Reynolds

Best-selling author and popular speaker Garr Reynolds is back in this newly revised edition of his classic, best-selling book, Presentation Zen, in which he showed readers there is a better way to reach the audience through simplicity and storytelling, and gave them the tools to confidently design and deliver successful presentations.

EVERYBODY WRITES by Ann Handley

Everybody Writes is a go-to guide to attracting and retaining customers through stellar online communication, because in our content-driven world, every one of us is, in fact, a writer.

EGO IS THE ENEMY by Ryan Holiday

Many of us insist the main impediment to a full, successful life is the outside world. In fact, the most common enemy lies within our ego. Early in our careers, it impedes learning and the cultivation of talent. With success, it can blind us to our faults and sow future problems. In failure, it magnifies each blow and makes a recovery more difficult. At every stage, ego holds us back.

MANS SEARCH FOR MEANING by Viktor Frankel

Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival.

CREATIVITY INC. by Ed Catmull

Ed Catmull is the Co-Founder of Pixar, and in his book, he shares the story and lessons he learned while building Pixar.  More specifically, he explains Pixar’s unique leadership practices that made them one of the most innovative and successful companies the world has ever seen.

THE ART OF POSSIBILITY by Benjamin Zander and Rosamund Stone

Benjamin Zander’s experience as conductor of the Boston Philharmonic and his talent as a teacher and communicator with psychotherapist Rosamund Stone Zander’s genius for designing innovative paradigms for personal and professional fulfillment. They give you 12 practices that can help you unlock your potential. This book is incredible, and I highly recommend.

THE ENERGY BUS by Jon Gordon

The Energy Bus, an international bestseller by Jon Gordon, takes readers on an enlightening and inspiring ride that reveals 10 secrets for approaching life and work with the kind of positive, forward thinking that leads to true accomplishment – at work and at home. Jon infuses this engaging story with keen insights as he provides a powerful roadmap to overcome adversity and bring out the best in yourself and your team. When you get on The Energy Bus, you’ll enjoy the ride of your life!

GIRAFFES CAN’T DANCE by Giles Andreae

A children’s board book that has an incredible message that sadly we forget as we get older. The book is #5 most sold on Amazon. Highly recommend for you as an adult, and your kid.

WOODEN ON LEADERSHIP: How to Create a Winning Organization by John Wooden

John Wooden’s goal in 41 years of coaching never changed; namely, to get maximum effort and peak performance from each of his players in the manner that best served the team. Wooden on Leadership, explains step-by-step how he pursued and accomplished this goal. Focusing on Wooden’s 12 Lessons in Leadership and his acclaimed Pyramid of Success, it outlines the mental, emotional, and physical qualities essential to building a winning organization, and shows you how to develop the skill, confidence, and competitive fire to “be at your best when your best is needed”–and teach your organization to do the same.

2018 Book List:

Biographies:

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 by Jean Edward Smith
FDR by Jean Edward Smith

Books on Leadership:

Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World by Tim Ferris
Win Forever: Live, Work, and Play Like a Champion by Pete Carrol
Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant by Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
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
Education of a coach by David Halberstam
The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership by Bill Walsh
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
Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry
Power of moments by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle
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
High-Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way by Brendon Burchard
Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant
Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court by John Wooden

Books on Sales:

The Ultimate Sales Machine: Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies by Chet Holmes
Creating competitive advantage: Give Customers a Reason to Choose You Over Your Competitors by Jaynie Smith

Other:

Sapien by Yuval Harari
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. Vance
Wonder by RJ Palacio
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son by George Horace Lorimer
Courage Under Fire by James Stockdale
Everything has two handles by Ronald Pies
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius