April 2019 Favorite Books
I make it a point to finish at least 50 books a year (dozens more go unfinished and become relegated to the back of my kindle/bookshelf) and keep a running list of what I’m currently reading on Goodreads. While every book has taught me something, there are certain authors whose works have had a meaningful impact on the way I think and live my life. Below is a selection of my recent favorites and a brief explanation of how and why each one has significantly affected my thoughts and actions.
Damn Good Advice (For People With Talent!) - George Lois
Passion. Wisdom. Dynamo. George Lois is one of the most brilliant minds in advertising history and has never been afraid to say or do what he wants, even if it pisses off a client (because in the end, they all know he’s right). As someone who’s naturally verbose, I especially admire his talent for communicating entire messages in nanoseconds.
Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration - Ed Catmull
This is the story of Pixar told by its co-founder, Ed Catmull. While it is a book about management, the lessons embedded in the history of Pixar’s creation and evolution are really principles that are applicable to anyone interested in leadership, breaking conventions, and producing ideas that are truly great.
How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life - Scott Adams
This is a book about failures. Scott Adams tells us about the multiple ventures at which he’s failed and how they taught him the lessons that ultimately led to his extreme success, all through the humor and wit of a cartoonist’s voice. A great reminder that a circuitous path does not equate wasted time or energy.
Tribe of Mentors - Timothy Ferriss
Mentors are everything, and you don’t need to find one in real life to learn from them. If nobody around you is inspiring you, this compilation of interviews and life advice from 130+ of the world’s top performers (in diverse fields) is bound to do so. I listen to the accompanying podcast, as well as the Tim Ferriss Show, nearly every day to get a daily dose of motivation from the best in the world.
This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn To See - Seth Godin
I first discovered Seth Godin through one of his interviews on The Tim Ferriss Show and quickly devoured as much of his work as I could find. His unconventional views on marketing— primarily that marketing should stem from empathy for what people want and need and not simply be used as a greedy tool by which to dupe people into buying what we want to sell— has had a huge impact on me as an artist and creator.
The Art of Mental Training: A Guide to Performance Excellence - D.C. Gonzalez
Our mental states affect every decision we make, and those decisions affect how we perform in life. This book is a concise and effective work which covers the basics of sports psychology, mental training exercises, and peak performance methods. Whenever I apply these methods, my self-belief, confidence, mental toughness, and performance ability invariably increase.
Money: Master The Game - Tony Robbins
Despite the negative connotations the word “money” evokes, this is not a book about buying a mansion, flashy cars, or luxury handbags. Understanding and mastering personal finance is a means of achieving security, independence, and freedom in your life. As a longtime Tony Robbins fan, I was thrilled to first discover the world of finance through his voice in this must-read book for anyone looking to take control of their financial future.
Think and Grow Rich! - Napoleon Hill
Again, this is not a book about money, materialism, or superficiality. This is the mother of all personal success books and teaches fundamental principles that can be applied to high achievement in any field. For anyone looking to grow as a human being, Napoleon Hill’s philosophy can be used to attain what is desired.
Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! - Richard P. Feynman
Science has never been my strong point and, as a result of that, I largely dismissed the entire subject matter from my awareness for most of my life. A few years ago, I started to deliberately ask people with very different interests than mine to recommend their favorite books so I could discover new topics. This book, recommended by my mathematician uncle, showed me that there is just as much passion, beauty, and creativity in science as there is in art and led me to read several other scientifically related books afterwards.
Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity - David Lynch
I tried for years to establish a meditation practice but never managed to keep it up regularly until I read David Lynch’s book. Perhaps it was solidarity inspired by hearing an account of how meditation helped a fellow artist in their creative work that finally made me commit; in any case, I’m grateful I did and now have a tool to help me stay grounded no matter what is going on in my life or work.