“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” -? Neil Gaiman, Coraline
I read a lot of books each week. I tend to spend $1,000+ on books each month, which is a lot, and it’s a habit I started several years ago.
At Microsoft I had to figure out how to learn faster, how to play the game, and how to play the game better. I had to cover a wide range of topics and ideas from personal growth to business strategy to leadership and technology.
And, aside from my mentors and amazing colleagues, books turned out to be the surprisingly best way to do that.
Authors that love their space can be really good at creating a mental model, walking through a system, building a shared vocabulary, while sharing insights along with key principles, patterns, and practices.
Talk about a huge advantage when it comes to learning any topic.
I find that, like success, books are a numbers game and I have to go through a lot to find the gems of insight and the useful knowledge nuggets.
Here are the 3 best books I read in 2022…
1. Be Your Future Self Now
Be Your Future Business Now by Dr. Benjamin Hardy is jam packed with insights and actions on the science of Future Self.
Your future drives your present. Your thought, feelings, and behaviors are not dictated or driven by your past—they are pulled forward by your future.
One of the most important ideas is that we can change a lot more over 10 years than we think we can. Another big ideas is that the more empathy we build for our Future Self, the smarter actions we will take today.
So dreaming a bigger better future for yourself becomes the blueprint for your goals, motivation, and productivity today from taking care of your health to learning new skills and abilities.
But perhaps the most powerful idea is that we can change our personality.
As a disruptive idea, let’s take the Big 5 personality traits. Imagine that in terms of Extraversion you are more solitary/reserved, but you want to shift to more outgoing/energetic.
Or imagine that in terms of Agreeableness that you want to shift from critical/rational to more friendly/compassionate.
Dr. Hardy shares the scientific insights that empower you to choose who you will become.
At Microsoft, I’ve done a lot of work on my Future Self, including shifting my personality, before Future Self was really called out as a thing, so it’s nice to have the science packaged nicely all under one umbrella.
As an innovator at heart, I’ve always been shaping the future and bridge between the Current State and Future State.
And at Microsoft, there is a strong parallel between Future Self and how I’ve been helping leaders become their Future Business now, while running their current business.
I recommend the book for anybody who wants to truly transform themselves to become the greatest version of themselves and have the modern science on their side.
Here is my book summary of Be Your Future Self now: Be Your Future Self Now Book Summary
2. The Heart to Start
The Heart to Start by David Kadavy is a beautiful book about helping makers and creators stop procrastinating and start creating.
While sharing his personal journey, Kadavy frames the challenge really well around two scenarios:
- You do nothing more than fantasize and never start.
- You start, but lead yourself to burnout.
You can tell that Kadavy wrote while in the zone with his inner muse on his side, as he poured out his soul to help every dreamer become a better doer.
Here’s what Seth Godin had to say about The Heart to Start:
“The Heart to Start is solid advice from David Kadavy. It’s not too late.”—Seth Godin
Which also reminds me of George Eliot’s quote about realizing your dreams:
“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Eliot
While I think the title of the book is a play off of Guy Kawasaki’s Art of the Start, it reminds me of Steven Pressfield’s The Wart of Art because of how Kadavy addresses “resistance”.
Actually the book is a symphony of both, and more, and creates a very special place through his voice and his personal story and the way he brings his ideas to life.
3. DotCom Secrets
DotCom Secrets by Russell Brunson really surprised me. I had skipped the book multiple times because of the cheesy title, and I actually thought it was about building a late 90’s eCommerce site.
But I read it after a friend recommended it, and it turned out be one of the best “evergreen” books about mastering online business end-to-end.
So many books are piecemeal or filled with fads and trendy tactics without any long-term strategy or continuity.
It was actually a very refreshing book among a sea of books on entrepreneurship written by an actual entrepreneur from the school of hard knocks.
As a metaphor, a lot of books on entrepreneurship feel like they promise to teach you how to drive, but then show you how to brake, or how to clutch, or how to signal, or maybe reverse. DotCom secrets was more like hopping in the car with a seasoned driver that walks through how to actually operate the car in real-world scenarios.
Brunson has a trilogy of books that put the whole puzzle of entrepreneurship together, but I started with DotCom Secrets to lay the foundation. I did find it helpful to read Brunson’s book Traffic Secrets in parallel, because I had question around strategies for traffic.
Again, I didn’t like the book title, but I found the advice inside to be priceless and enduring. Well, to put a price on it, one of the exercises in the book that Russell Brunson walks through that’s very good is something he says he walks through in his $100,000 consulting day.
Burnson gets hired by the big shops to change their game in terms of traffic and sales funnels.
He even helped Tony Robbins sell his book Money Master the Game.
If you’re going from employee to entrepreneur, this book is for you.
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