The Obstacle Is The Way (Book)

I got this book suggested by someone who used to be a D1 kicker on the football team in the ACC, built and owns a multi-million dollar business, is a scratch golfer, travels on the national squash team, and for fun plays tennis at a remarkable high level. He said that this was the best book he read for athletes and high-performers and re-reads the a couple times per year. Naturally I bought the book, loved it, re-read it, and made my Junior Davis Cup team read it in lead up to our World Championship….

Ryan Holiday, the other of this book, divides the book up in three main chapters: 1) Perception, 2) Action, and 3) Will. He subdivides each of these topics in smaller chapters where he breaks down the definition and provides examples of past leaders, generals, athletes, etc. who have lived these values. This book is very easy to read, the examples he provides are enjoyable and diverse, and a great book to take change your perspective on your job, personal life, and day to day. Enjoy!

Flow Genome Project; Jamie Wheal and Steven Kotler on altered conscious state and stealing fire

Michael Gervais is a world-class psychologist who has worked with world class athletes, musicians, entrepreneurs, and more. In his podcast he interviews some of the best performers in their field to decode the many paths toward mastery and provide applied practices that we can all use to be and do more in our lives. Jamie and Steven together wrote the book Stealing Fire together and have independently written a lot of books on flow, the zone, mindfulness, peak performance, and all other altered conscious states. These guys are really cool as they have taken it upon them to uncover that mystery of these altered states athletes, concert goers, and others have enjoyed. In this conversation together with Michael they begin to talk about their background and how and why they got their lifelong interest in these desired feelings high performing people are looking for and/or already doing.

A Man’s Search For Meaning (Book)

This book is one of the most suggested books to read by high performers. In many ways I think people who perform a lot under stress like this because it provides perspective, but it also provides a solution of how to handle the worst parts of your life and/or career that every person goes through. The author, Viktor Frankl, is a jewish psychologist that survived the Holocaust. He was located in four different concentration camps, including Auschwitz, over a span of four years. In this book Frankl writes about his and other experiences in the concentration camps and the psychological affect it had on the people around him. He aims to describe the scenes in those camps during WWII as objectively as possible to provide further insight on how he got to his philosophy (logo therapy). The books describes the brutal scenarios of not knowing the fate of your loved ones, the horrid living circumstances, the verbal and physical abuse, suffering from malnutrition, dealing with diseases, and more. His conclusion is that people who still find and know their meaning, even in the worst of times, will be resilient and have a more fulfilled life. In the second chapter Frankl talks about logotherapy, Frankl own philosphy which is based off of existential analysis (will to meaning). In this chapter Frankl argues that striving to find a meaning in one’s life is the primary, most powerful motivating and driving force in humans. His experience and that of others around him during WW II provide substance to his claims. 

This is a great book that can serve many lessons for the reader. It’s a quick read and an encapsulating read

Better Decisions (Article)

McKinsey is the world’s leading management consulting firm serving 70% of the Fortune 1000 and has produced more CEOs proportionally in large scale corporations than any other company in the world. Their website also provides articles, insights, and case studies on topics such as leadership and  organizational structure. In this case, have you ever wondered how to avoid poor decision maker as a leader? This insight provides a 5 minute read on the main issues that has an influence on decision making: bias, deciding types, deciding behavior, and organizational decision making. With each issue they provide a short infographic and/or explanation. In addition, for every issue they provided a link to a case study explaining it’s importance when making decisions as a leader within an organization. This is why they call it a quick briefing in five, or a fifty-minute deeper dive!

I’m Right, You’re Wrong (Podcast)

Using science and storytelling, Hidden Brain reveals the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, the biases that shape our choices, and the triggers that direct the course of our relationships. We all know that person who is so stubborn, hard to convince, and not always easy to be around. This podcast might help you understand those people and how to deal with them. Cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Tali Sharot and podcast host Shankar discuss, from a scientific perspective, on how people are influenced and why they are willing to defend their opinions regardless of the facts provided. Tali reveals which tactics persuasive people use when they want to provoke action or inaction in others (such as getting people to vote or trying to have people avoid getting the flu shot). Tali and Shankar also talk about examples and solutions on how you can convince or influence someone regardless of the level of stubborness. (Hint, tell a story and elicit emotion to those you speak to). A helpful exercise they explained which I thought was useful is the surprising popular vote exercise; it helps you figure out who in your group might truly be the expert and who is bs’ing. Great podcast and helpful for any parent, professional, or stubborn person who is trying to understand him or herself.

Ray Dalio; the Steve Jobs of Investing (Podcast)

Tim Ferris, best-selling author and investor, deconstructs world-class performers from eclectic areas in his podcast to extract the tactics, tools, and routines you can use. Ray Dalio is founder and CEO of one of the biggest hedge funds Bridgewater Associates and author of the book Principles. In this podcast Ferriss and Dalio talk about a wide variety of topics. The conversation starts with talking about Dalio’s background growing up in New York and how he was interested in finance from a young age. Part of the conversation is about the book “Principles” Dalio wrote and why it has been crucial for his success. One of the principle Ferriss and Dalio discussed extensively is ‘pain+reflection = progress’. Bridgewater is known for a meticulous and specific culture in which Dalio explains their meritocratic environment and its tools + protocols the 1000+ employees comply and adhere to. The conversation switches into a more personal topic where both Ferriss and Dalio share their experience with depression. The final parts of the conversation center around Dalio’s idea of what generates happiness and his approach to investing.

Dr Alan Watkins; Being Brilliant Every Single Day (Video)

Ted speakers are specialists in their field and talk about their specific topic. Topics range from psychology, nutrition, science, leadership, etc. Executive coach and neuroscientist, Dr. Watkins, talks about how to perform at your best every single day by training consistent breathing. Watkins brakes down how to understand your consistent performance: to change performance you have to change behavior, which influences your thinking, which is dependent on your feelings, which is a reaction from emotions, and emotions come from your physiology. So you have to become aware and control your physiology which is possible when controlling your heartbeat and thus your breath.

The Science of Breathing: How Slowing It Down Can Make Us Calm and Productive (Article)

Forbes Media is a global media, branding and technology company, with a focus on news and information about business, investing, technology, entrepreneurship, leadership and affluent lifestyles. In this article, contributor Seth Porges simplifies the explanation of how our autonomic nervous system works, it’s ties to stress and anxiety, and how breathing can be used as a solution to get rid of those unpleasant feelings. When stressed and anxious the sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight part of our nervous system) reacts causing body reactions such as shortage of breath and tensing of your muscles.  Porges writes that slow, consistent, and deep breathing can slow down all bodily functions leaving you in a calmer and more controlled state. Dr. Gerbarg suggests coherent breathing as a daily practice, such as slow and long breaths of about 10 to 12 seconds, can significantly improve your ability to deal with feelings such as stress, depression, and anxiety.

How To Strengthen Your Mind, Body, and Spirit Like a Navy Seal (Video)

Big Think  aims to help you move above and beyond random information, toward real knowledge, offering big ideas from fields outside your own that you can apply toward the questions and challenges in your own life. This video you will hear from David Goggins, former Army Ranger and Navy Seal, who believes that to grow one person must be look to put him or herself in uncomfortable situations on a consistent basis. Goggins tells his story of when he experienced when the mind, body, and spirit were at one as he finished a 100 mile race.  

Harvard Psychologist: “Why You’re Not Achieving Your Goals” (Article)

The World Economic Forum carefully blends and balances the best of many kinds of organizations, from both the public and private sectors, international organizations and academic institutions. The Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. Harvard Social Psychologist, Amy Cuddy, has focused most of her career on research why people do or do not achieve their goals. This article writes about the importance of enjoying the process and not setting unrealistic poorly planned goals. In stead, she advises, chop up a big goal into a string of daily or weekly goals that are easier to accomplish.  The article provides a link to a video of Amy Cuddy personally explaining this issue.