1. “Grit:The Power of Passion and Perseverance” by psychologist Angela Duckworth shows the key to success isn’t talent or I.Q. but a combination of passion and persistence known as “grit.” Chapter 7 alone - “Practice” - is worth the price of the book. I read “Grit” while I was in a training program for a strenuous cycling event, and after reading about the way “gritty” people approach practice I changed how I was training for my event. Elite performers practice differently than other people - they engage in deliberate practice to work on their weaknesses or to reach specific objectives. In the case of my cycling training, after reading “Grit” I approached training with more intensity, doing focused drills and exercises to build my leg strength, cardio, and mental toughness.
2. “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu. This book is the most popular and well-known written work on warfare strategy and tactics. Attributed to Sun Tzu, a high-ranking Chinese general, this ancient treatise has profoundly influenced military thinking, business tactics and legal strategies. This book contains 13 sections pertaining to different aspects of warfare. This hardcover edition published by Arcturus is a uniquely attractive, classy edition. Learn the lessons in “The Art of War” and you will be prepared to defeat your competition.
3. “A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life” by Brian Grazer & Charles Fishman. Brian Grazer - one of Hollywood's most successful producers (The Da Vinci Code, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Splash) – explains how curiosity is the secret to his success. For decades, Grazer has been holding what he calls “curiosity conversations” with accomplished people. He has interviewed Dr. Jonas Salk, F. Lee Bailey, Isaac Asimov, Daryl Gates, Carlos Slim (at the time, the richest man in the world), two CIA directors, and other luminaries outside the field of entertainment. Grazer pays close attention to how these accomplished people see the world. In the process he gains creativity, insight and inspiration. “A Curious Mind” makes a strong case that curiosity is more important than intelligence or persistence or connections. Some people might feel Grazer comes across in this book as an arrogant name-dropper. That's a fair criticism. But when a hugely successful person reveals his success secrets, it’s worth paying attention to.
4. "The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Questfor Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics" by Daniel James Brown is the dramatic story of an unlikely group of nine boys from the University of Washington who overcame extreme adversity to win a gold medal in rowing in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. How these working class boys – the sons of fishermen, loggers, miners, and manual laborers – prevailed over rowing teams from elite Eastern colleges and went on Olympic glory is an unforgettable story. I couldn’t put down the final chapters.