Book: Become What You Are by Alan Watts

Alan Watts is one of my favorite authors/thinkers. I recently stumbled on this book of his in a podcast, and immediately ordered it. Fittingly, it has a mirror front and center in the book. One of my favorite personal sayings is:

The world is a beautiful mirror.

Dan Friesen

On page 10 of this book, Watts cites these words:

The perfect man employs his mind as a mirror; it grasps nothing; it refuses nothing; it receives, but does not keep.


I think I could reflect on that statement for years, and probably spend the rest of my life learning how to live it out.

This book lands on my list of books to re-read for sure. In Watts unique style, it is packed with thought-provoking ideas. Enjoy.

Book: Natural Brilliance by Paul R. Scheele

Paul Scheele is a genius. I’ve had the privilege of spending time with him and learning from him in person. He possesses a special kind of magic. He has training in NLP and hypnosis and roots that go back to involvement in the early career of Tony Robbins.

Natural Brilliance suggests that we all possess the ability to powerfully shift the course of our lives.

Overcome any challenge…at will

Paul R. Scheele

When we address a challenge in our life, we typically only look at two perspectives. Our present state of pain and some possible future positive state. We compare those two perspectives and then take a small step toward future positive. The moment we take that step, we realize that there are some future negatives we have not considered. Furthermore, there are present positives we have not considered. So we get lured back and enter a stuck state where we vacillate between present and future states.

The book shows you how to address those stuck states from the natural brilliance you already possess.

This is a read-and-do kind of book. Take your time going through it and put into practice what you learn. It offers practical shifts to the way you live.

Friday Challenge: Unity

Dr. Cialdini talks about the timeless principle of unity. The important distinction is that a relationship of unity does not look at whether or not I am like someone else. It looks for a relationship that says I am of someone else.

Have you taken the time to ask yourself what you might think, do, or believe if you were of someone or something else?

Book: Stillness Is The Key by Ryan Holiday

Ryan Holiday continues his thoughtful and meaningful writings from Stoic philosophy. This book is a nice addition to his work, building off from the themes he set in The Obstacle is the Way, and Ego is the Enemy.

In a busy and noisy world, it is hard to find peace and quiet. It is even harder to find that peace and quiet internally. Ryan unpacks sound strategies that make peace possible, and demonstrates how that peace can have profound impact on personal growth and performance.

Book: Stealing Fire by Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal

This is book #6 on my top ten list.

The official website of the book has a robust description, including this excerpt:

Over the past decade, Silicon Valley executives like Eric Schmidt and Elon Musk, Special Operators like the Navy SEALs and the Green Berets, and maverick scientists like Sasha Shulgin and Amy Cuddy have turned everything we thought we knew about high performance upside down.

Instead of grit, better habits, or 10,000 hours, these trailblazers have found a surprising short cut. They’re harnessing rare and controversial states of consciousness to solve critical challenges and outperform the competition.

Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal

I will warn you that this book deals with altered states of consciousness. It takes a close and evidence-based look at how human beings enter a state of flow individually and in collectives. It uncovers the restorative, empowering and addictive nature of this state.

I will only ask you this. Once you have read Stealing Fire, please comment below by sharing what you do or have done to enter a state of flow.

Enjoy the read!

Book: Pre-Suasion by Robert Cialdini

I am a student of influence and persuasion. Dr. Cialdini is the world’s leader on research in this arena. I have had the privilege of working with him in person and have a personally signed copy of this book in my possession.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is ever in a situation where you are either the deliverer or recipient of a message in which persuasion is necessary.

“‌The guiding factor in a decision is often not the one that counsels most wisely; it’s one that has recently been brought to mind.‌”
‌Dr. Robert Cialdini‌

Examples: Parents, employees, students, CEOs, salespersons, human beings, etc.

If you find yourself in any of those categories, read this book. What you are exposed to before a message has a massive impact on how you will receive the message.

Reading this book altered the way I think about my work as a public speaker. It informed a bunch of the training programs I facilitate. It changed the way I parent my children.


Book: The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell

I read this for the first time as a very young man. I really did not have a clue what leadership was about. 

John Maxwell is the master of lists and sub-lists. You will find this book packed with great information. I would recommend reading with a pen in hand, ready to take careful notes.

With a list of 21 Laws, there is a sense that this book is really broad. Some overlap slightly. All of them have value, and are actionable. 

My personal highlight:

Law 15: The Law of Victory
-Leaders Find a Way for the Team to Win

I have had the privilege of coaching sports for my kids for many years. Many times, I have heard other coaches use the popular refrain “The most important thing is having fun”. These  are usually coaches whose team is doing a lot of losing. Why does anyone play any game without an intent to win? It seems pointless. So manage your team well. Find a way to win. Celebrate winning. Everything about leadership becomes easier when you and your team are winning.

The most important thing IS having fun. I completely agree. And you will have a lot more fun if you are winning.