Tools of a Rainmaker
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121-180 CE) was the sixteenth emperor of Rome — and the most powerful man in the world by far. Yet he was also an intensely private person, with a rich interior life and one of the wisest minds of his generation. He collected his thoughts in notebooks, gems that have come to be called his Meditations. Never intended for publication, the work has proved an inexhaustible source of wisdom and one of the most important Stoic texts of all time.
In often passionate language, the entries range from one-line aphorisms to essays, from profundity to bitterness. This annotated edition offers the definitive translation of this classic and much-beloved text, with copious notes from world-renowned classics expert Robin Waterfield. It illuminates one of the greatest works of popular philosophy for new readers and enriches the understanding of even the most devoted Stoic.
This is an incredible book. It is actually a translation of the journal of Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor, found after his death. His journal is a reflection of how to live a well-lived life that is free of drama and unnecessary friction. So good.
Gary John Bishop
This is a pragmatic book regarding how to get out of your own way. Everyone needs to get out of their own way. Listen to this on Audible. It is Gary himself. God, I love this man’s accent.
This book will show how to stop doing what does not work and double down on what does.
Every human being has the capacity to improve and become the best version of themselves. This work is never complete. This book is an incredible hack to improve a person by getting rid of bad habits and building new ones. I love the concept of habit stacking. This is a trajectory-changing book.
Incredible book about how to shape group culture (safety/purpose/vulnerability).
If you do not work on shaping your team's culture (mindset), you may miss your goal, miss fulfilling your legacy, and may increase the unnecessary friction/drama of your team or organization.
This book was written by a man who has truly been-there-done-that. He has seen under a lot of “hoods” of companies, successful ones and less so. And he seems to walk his talk.
Hundreds of practical lessons, and each is a gem: how to build strong teams, accountability, focus, transparency, awareness, and make decisions.
Check out Ray Dalio on LinkedIn for daily doses of wisdom.
Drucker is considered the father of management. He was in the right place at the right time with the right perspective. I believe so many are quoting Drucker without mentioning him, which is unfortunate. The main topics are time, attention, focus, priorities, and decision-making.
The essential basics of management are right here. Drucker was perhaps not as people-focused as I would like to see but look at how far back this was written.
After several decades of research, a Stanford University psychologist discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In her brilliant book, she shares how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how a person thinks about our talents and abilities. Those with a fixed mindset — those who believe that abilities are fixed — are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset — those who believe that abilities can be developed.
One’s mindset shapes the now and the future. People need to realize that how they look at life, work, problems, and the world around them matter. No one needs fixing. A person has a fixed or growth mindset. Choose carefully.
Honorable mention - Angela Duckworth - Grit.
Emotional Intelligence meets leadership.
Great leadership requires strong Emotional Intelligence. Daniel Goleman did not invent Emotional Intelligence, but like Ryan Holiday, he took some good ideas, distilled them down to the level of understanding of the common man, and changed the trajectories of many. And Daniel has great hair, especially when he was younger.
Scaling Up is an in-depth primer on how to address each of the ten Rockefeller Habits and scale a business.
Few companies properly scale. This framework seems to work very well by getting the important things front and center and a cadence going. This framework focuses on people, strategy, execution, and cash. It is essentially getting the right people doing the right things right. Here's my analysis on how to implement the principles from Scaling Up.
(The accompanying Checklist may also be found under the Items section of this webpage)
This seems to be an extremely solid biography of Steve Jobs. It helps explain the man, the myth, the legend. Good things can come from learning what made some people great as well as their vices/blind spots.
This is the ultimate sales book designed to get to the heart of the issue/situation, identify a good from a bad situation, and how to take action.
The lessons are important because most consultants/people in sales are too quick to jump on the first “solution” that presents itself, doing business with people who lack the capacity to really get what is offered. This book helps open up the mind and door to looking for the red or yellow lights and taking action early when it matters most. If you are in sales, this book will be trajectory-changing.
W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
Create an uncontested market space where you and your brand are it. By the way, a “red ocean” is one filled with competition (blood). A Blue Ocean is wide and open without competition.
This is the ULTIMATE strategy book.
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is a powerful fable and model. It offers principles that truly work and work really, really well when adopted.
One just needs to do the work to increase the good friction and decrease the bad. Bring together people who can truly work together despite their differences towards a common purpose/objective that is meaningful. This is a never-ending challenge that is worth endeavoring.
Personal Accountability is the foundation to living well and aligning people to a vision.
With Personal Accountability, everything is possible. Without Personal Accountability, so much is wasted. Great questions begin with “what or how,” contain an “I,” and focus on action. Simple. Effective.
By this book and at the same time, invest in a small handheld mirror so that you may view the one person you can influence most.
- Fix your posture (reinforcing loop)
- Care for yourself the way you care for others
- Stick with people who want the best for you
- Improve your own game instead of playing others’
- Teach your children to abide by society’s rules
- Get your house in order before criticizing others
- Focus on a higher purpose, not instant gratification
- Find and live your personal truth
- Learn to be a good listener
- Define your problem precisely to make it manageable
- Accept that inequality exists
- Take time to appreciate the good things in life
“Too much security is dangerous.” This is the perfect follow-up to his prior book: 12 Rules for Life.
I love Jordan Peterson’s work. His books and his videos are so pragmatic, unapologetic, in your face, researched, down to earth, and his thinking WORKS. Too much order can be as bad as too much disorder. Be grateful in spite of your suffering.
Tom Rath and Don Clifton
This is a powerful little book about how to positively impact others.
- By what name do you like to be called?
- What hobbies or interests do you like to talk about a lot?
- What increases your positive emotions or “fills your bucket” the most?
- From whom do you most like to receive recognition or praise?
- What type of recognition or praise do you like best? Do you like public, private, written, verbal, or other kinds of recognition?
- What form of recognition motivates you the most? Do you like gift certificates, a title for winning a competition, a meaningful note or e-mail, or something else?
- What is the greatest recognition you have ever received?
The lessons are important because many people (perhaps most) do not know what kind of day to have until someone does or says something positive. And…I believe too many people are selling their souls at work by working in organizations that lack the basic understanding of how to honor the greatness in others. The following question set should be recorded and updated periodically for each team member. This should be part of onboarding.
Credit/Source – How Full Is Your Bucket? Expanded Anniversary Edition (p. 66). Gallup Press. Kindle Edition.
“Gallup Recognition Interview Questions” – page 87 – from “How Full Is Your Bucket” by Tom Rath & Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D.
Don Miguel Ruiz / Don Jose Ruiz
1. Be impeccable with your word.
2. Do not take anything personally.
3. Do not make assumptions.
4. Always do your best.
5. Be skeptical, but learn to listen.
Because every human being deserves the freedom that the five agreements can help provide.
Radical candor is the ability to care personally and challenge directly is essential for high-performing teams. This is about speeding up feedback loops. This is about caring enough to say and do something. Most do not nor will.
Continuous improvement, emotional safety, the ability to care personally and challenge directly…That is the definition of love in a team.
He offers higher ground leadership. I still remember when I first cracked this book. It spun my world around. Authenticity…service…truth-telling…love…effectiveness…I had “whybedo” (Why-Be-Do) on my license plate for several years after reading his book.
Inspiration: to breathe life into is soul-based. Motivation is fear-based. Choose carefully.
Dr. Jason Selk
I believe resiliency is best learned in the real world. But if one were to read a book about how to improve resilience, this would be the book to read.
This book shares how to focus on solutions instead of problems. Simple yet brilliant.
Everyone needs to learn how to get out of their own way. Systemically focus on what you can do, not what you cannot do.
Simon Sinek nailed it "The Infinite Game".
The best “games” are continuously-evolving and never-ending with a higher purpose.
Life is more than just profits. Just remember... Profits (short-term) are important too: no people, no numbers. No numbers, no people. Profits keep the wheels turning. I think Apple models this well.
Jeffrey Sugerman, Mark Sullard, Emma Willhelm
DISC is a tool for measuring Behavioral Style that is a powerful way to understand oneself and others. This is a really good book that takes eight primary DISC Behavioral Styles, defines them, and then shares the strengths and potential blind spots of each. This is a must-read.
DISC is a universal language created to better understand how a person and others behave (how they do what they do). This is a powerful concept/model that works well for self and interpersonal awareness.
Conan O’Brien and Jack White
This video embodies the concept of simplicity/minimalism. Listen to the first four minutes, and I think you will get it. There is a truth to how Jack White does his work. And Conan O’Brien is of a similar mindset. Jack White has a code that is his and his alone. He does not care what others do. He cares what he does and how he does it.
I respect Conan O’Brien and Jack White. The principles, the honesty, the approach by both (particularly Jack White).
"Technology is a big destroyer of emotion and truth. Auto-tuning doesn't do anything for creativity. Yeah, it makes it easier and you can get home sooner; but it doesn't make you a more creative person. That's the disease we have to fight in any creative field: ease of use." - Jack White.
Full disclosure... I am not the biggest fan of Jack White’s music. BUT. I love how he does what he does. He does not take the easy way - he does not use auto-tune. He respects and embraces the struggle. And he could care less what others think.
I recently found out he drives a Tesla so his stock went down a bit for me.
Joney Ive and Marc Newson
This video is an incredible interview with Joney Ive and Marc Newson on design.
If you only listen to parts of this, listen to:
- The beginning
- 4:30 - They hate the same thing
- 16:50 - Sense the degree of care - incredible.
- 17:30 - “How something is finished on the inside - you can argue that you will never see that…Part of the human condition is that we sense care…Sometimes it is easier to realize you sense carelessness. We are surrounded by a manufactured environment, so much of it testifies to a complete lack of care…”
Books: The Radical Leap/Radical Edge/Greater Than Yourself
Read these books several years ago, and I periodically pull them out again for a refresh. So damn good. Inspiration…cultivate love…generate energy…inspire audacity…provide proof…extreme leadership… All in a fable format set in San Diego. Not the biggest fan of fables, but Steve Farber does it well and San Diego is one of my favorite places.
Books and Blog
Robert Greene has written several bestsellers and is a tremendous influence to many, including Ryan Holiday. His content focuses on strategy, power, and seduction.
- 48 Laws of Power
- The Laws of Human Nature
- The Art of Seduction
- The 33 Strategies of War
Books / Content & Blog
Ryan Holiday was mentored by Robert Green. Holiday is a young, sharp man and seemingly a good guy. He has taken several Stoic Philosophies/Philosophers and essentially rewrote them into modern-day English so that people can relate to them.
His books rock:
- The Obstacle is the Way
- Ego is the Enemy
- Stillness is the Key
These are card decks designed to get people talking which is incredibly effective.
People need to lighten up and get to know one another.
This is the checklist that when a team/company can honestly say they have everything checked, they are likely growing their business exponentially.
Who does not want to scale their business or at least grow in a manner that is consistent with their dreams/desired trajectory using a systematic process that is proven to work? (By the way - Checklist item 1 - The executive team is healthy and aligned - this is The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.)