the books behind success
To me, the best books are those that teach us something—a new approach to business, the biography of a great leader or a spiritual practice to live by. Books like these have shaped both my professional and personal life in profound ways. If you are on the hunt for a good read, here are a few of my favorites:
1. Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters, by Meg Meeker
I have three children at home—two beautiful daughters in middle and high school, and one son already half out the door to college. My son and I bond over the usual suspects: football, UFC, lacrosse, cars and the like. Raising a boy is easy. (And even when its not, at least it is predictable in light of my own experience as a teenage boy.) Raising little girls is something different altogether. This book will teach you all the unspoken things a little girl is really asking for when she is upset, the importance of pragmatism and grit, and how to fight for her in a way that teaches her to fight for herself. Relating to a child whose gendered experience of the world is unfamiliar to your own can be challenging, but this book offers some great tips for communication, role modeling and unconditional support for the little girls who have your whole heart.
2. Anything by Wayne Dyer
Literally anything. Dr. Wayne Dyer is a popular name in the self-help field, specializing in spiritual growth through meditation, and his popularity is well deserved. His easy-to-read guidebooks and instructional videos explore the conflict between our egos and our divinity, teaching us that the borders between what we have and who we are belong to the ego, while the true self—the divine self—exists without borders. I love his work because it inspires us to realize ourselves without limitations, and as a result, it inspires us to manifest our dreams in reality. He also teaches us to take control of our destiny by taking accountability for our past, no matter how hard that past may have been. When we learn to view past traumas as the necessary stepping-stones to present enlightenment, we own our history and transform our future. These concepts are the cornerstones of my office. By accepting accountability and manifesting our reality, there is no limit to what we can achieve.
3. The Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramahansa Yogananda
A copy of this book was distributed to everyone present at Steve Job’s funeral, by his request. If that isn’t recommendation enough, I don’t know what is. A few of my employees bought me this book for my birthday last year, and it has proven to be one of the best gifts I have ever received. This humble and witty autobiography illustrates Yogananda’s growth as a spiritual teacher and explores the concepts of self-realization and self-actualization that would become his greatest teachings. It is no wonder Steve Jobs chose this to be his last gift to the world.
4. The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle
All those who know me well know that I believe in the power of mind over matter. All our experiences of pain and victimhood are experiences of the mind alone, and if we don’t mind, they don’t matter. This is because, as Eckhart Tolle teaches in The Power of Now, we are already whole; it is only the mind that tends toward the fractures of lack or loss. Tolle further explains that the mind is the natural enemy of enlightenment. When we are not fully present, our brains are in a constant state of fearful chatter as we work on the logic of livelihood and survival. But when we quiet the mind and connect to the present, we tap into the deeper truth of our oneness with all things, and we make big changes in our relationships, our health and our lives for the better.
5. How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie
A classic in sales and business in general, this book wins longest shelf life in my library. It may be an oldie, but it’s such a goodie that I make it mandatory reading material for all my sales representatives. Imagine the last party you attended: who was the most interesting person you met? In all likelihood, this person was also the one who made you feel like YOU were the most interesting person at the party. This is the theme of How to Win Friends in a nutshell. When we are other-oriented, others orient themselves toward us as well. While this book is full of quick-draw communication techniques like using someone’s name consistently and asking thoughtful questions about their interests, it also insists that all your interactions must be 100% genuine and compassionate. As the old saying goes, no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.