by Ninja Master Mark Fisher
It’s no secret I’m a continuing education junkie.
Since the summer of 2010, I’ve tried to read at least two books a week. Many weeks I’ve managed three, and of course some weeks I’ve barely been able to read. But I do keep at it. I genuinely believeconsistent ongoing education is the common denominator of high achievers (TWEET THAT SHIT!).
I think it’s a very reasonable guess to say I read around 120 books a year. As I’m now almost three and a half years into this experiment, I can safely estimate I’ve read over 400 books in that time. And I was already a big reader before I decided I would try to read two books every week.
I have read a fuck ton of books. Consequently, I’m often asked if I have any book recommendations.
To keep it bite size, this first part will touch on Personal Development, Cognition, Leadership, and Awesome Shit That Doesn’t Fit In Categories. When we next meet, I’ll give you more insight into my personal education hacking tips, as well as give you my picks for Training, Nutrition, Training/ Nutrition For Fitness Professionals, and General Business.
Happy reading! And be sure to pop into the comments and leave your personal favorites!!
Heaven!! (If it were better organized…)
Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl – A classic. Frankl’s tale of finding transcendence in the holocaust will put your speeding ticket and asshole boss into perspective.
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz – Simple, readable, actionable. A handbook for a beautiful life. If you read it and enjoy it, I would also recommend Mastery of Love, another book by the author about relationships.
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle – Beautiful and inspiring book about mankind’s potential for a shift in consciousness. I know, I know, it sounds corny. READ IT. If you like it, read his first book Power of Now which truly changed my life at the age of 22.
The Prophet by Khalil Gibran – Amaaaazing. Spirtual wisdom told in a simple poetic style.
No Excuses! by Brian Tracy – My favorite Brian Tracy book (and I’ve read almost ten). The self help guru gives you all his good shit in here. I also like Brian Tracy because he ends his book titles with ENTHUSIAM (Goals!). I like my self help book titles like I like my musicals… Oklahoma!!!
How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie – Stephen Covey may call out this book out in his famous 7 Habits of Highly Effective People as manipulative, but Carnegie’s book has stood the test of time for a reason. It’s training in social graces for the naturally awkward.
Daring Greatly by Brené Brown – Really smart thoughts on vulnerability. This book would be painfully touchy feely if the author wasn’t such an obviously canny, no-bullshit kinda gal. Great insights here about gender specific concepts of shame.
Influence by Robert Cialdini – OMGGGG read this book or I fucking hate you. Not only a must read for marketers, but a must read for anyone who is curious how marketers make them do shit. Sneaky bitches…
Switch by Chip and Dan Heath – Great book about why change is so hard and what to do about it. Long story short, you have an intellectual “rider” on top of an “emotional” elephant, and the elephant often gets away. Complement this with their excellent other books, Made To Stick and Decisive, or with Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow.
Willpower by Roy Baumeister – Ever wonder why you do dumb shit late in the day when you’re tired (eat the cake, cheat on your wife, shoot your neighbor)? You’re ego depleted SON. You need some sugar up in that brain. This book, like half of all books I’ve ever read, will tell you about a marshmallow experiment. There are kids involved.
Nudge by Thaler and Sunstein – Great book on how to subtly encourage good behavior without imposing decisions on other people. Other good books in this general genre include How We Decide, Blunder, and Why We Make Mistakes.
Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman – One of the first books in the positive psychology movement, Seligman teaches you all about learned helplessness, a state where you don’t give a shit because you’ve given up hope your actions will affect your outcomes. Also talks about why women tend to get depressed more easily than men, but does so in a science-y not sexist way (RUMINATION IN THE HIZOUSE).
Business Stripped Bare by Richard Branson – My fucking hero is Virgin founder, business icon Richard Branson. I know, I’m such a cliché. I also LOVED his Screw It, Let’s Do It, and Like A Virgin.
Leadership and Self Deception by The Arbringer Insitute – GREAT book about how people (and leaders) get in their own way when trying to lead. You can’t help (or lead) someone you have any contempt towards.
On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis – Maybe my single favorite book on leadership. Anyone who wants to be a leader would do well to read this book.
Delivering Happiness by Tony Hseih – Much of MFF was born out of this book. This is the book that showed me that creating a culture and a business would be the most fun, difficult, and rewarding thing I could possibly do with my life.
Tribal Leadership by Dave Logan et al – Awesome book about how organizations often develop different tribal mentalities based on their world view (loosely, “Life sucks,” “I suck,” “You suck,” “Everyone besides us sucks,” “Everything is AMAZING!”).
Awesome Shit Without Categories
Outliers by Malcom Gladwell – Gladwell takes the Horatio Algier self-made-man- concept to SCHOOL. People are more of a product of their culture and environment than they often realize. Take THAT Robber Barons!
We Are All Weird by Seth Godin – The “It’s ok to call your gym a Ninja Clubhouse” book. Seth Godin is one of my favorite writers on marketing and being an artist in business. I’ve read almost all his books, and also strongly recommend Tribes, The Dip, and Icarus Deception.
A Theory of Everything by Ken Wilber – Wanna talk ambitious? Holy fuck. Wilber’s theories about sequential memes of human pyscho-spiritual evolution have been a huge influence on how I look at the world.
The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle – Turns out most of our concepts around talent are cultural myths. Amazing analysis of what mastery is and how to get it. If you enjoy this book, also check out Talent is Overrated, The Genius in All of Us, and Perfect Practice.
Imagine by Jonah Lehrer – I’m sad to say this book got pulled off the shelf because the author inexplicably made up some Bob Dylan quotes. This is a real shame, as the theory of creativity put forth in the book is pretty intriguing AND actionable. Some tasks require right brain creativity (free association, outside the box, have a drink, smoke a joint, take a nap) and some tasks require left brain creativity (grind it out, hustle your ass off, drink some coffee, take some speed). While the book has received a fair share of criticism (no doubt in part because of Lehrer’s WTF-did-you-do foolishness), I still think it’s a useful paradigm.
How About You?
Those are my favorites, but I too am always looking for more great books! What have you read in the above categories that have blown your mind? Sharing is caring! Leave us a comment so we can all put it on our reading lists!