“Reading one book is like eating one potato chip.” Once you start reading, you can’t stop. Looking back, it was a busy year, but if you don’t make time for continuous learning and self improvement, you can’t fully grasp new ideas and appreciate outside-the-box thinking.

I narrowed down 2018 to my 10 favorite books that inspired and challenged me, both as a driven advisor CEO and as a human being, and I’m hoping they’ll do the same for you in 2019. I believe each one reflects a long-held mantra I hold close to this day: “If it’s not broken, break it.”

Before I jump into my favorite books of 2018, I have to mention my favorite productivity tool. Blinkist is an online book service that provides the audio Cliff’s Notes version of some of the best nonfiction out there. You glean the core ideas from some of the best books available today broken down into bite-size portions. They offer a free trial, but the paid version is only $70 per year, and if you haven’t tried it yet, it’s the best $70 you’ll spend.

Happy reading!


1. Think and Grow Rich

By Napoleon Hill

One of my favorite books of all time.

The definition of an “oldie but a goody,” Think and Grow Rich was originally published in 1937. It’s built on Hill’s earlier book, The Law of Success, where he created 16 “laws” to follow to achieve success. In Think and Grow Rich, Hill turns those laws into 13 principles (e.g., “desire” and “faith”) that can lead you to success if you focus on long-term goals and the positive aspects of life.

Buy it on Amazon here. (Audiobook available)

2. WTF: What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us

By Tim O’Reilly

Bots. Artificial intelligence. Big data. Tim O’Reilly makes the case that the future is only scary if we peg technology as a threat. He challenges businesses to better incorporate technology to provide solutions and improve human experience, not just to cut costs.

Buy it on Amazon here. (Audiobook available)

3. Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man’s First Journey to the Moon

By Robert Kurson

I didn’t realize during the Cuban Missile Crisis just how close we came to total human annihilation.

Apollo 8 is the historic mission of 1968 that carried three Americans to orbit the Moon for the first time in history. All the while, those three astronauts carried the heavy weight of a nation’s struggle against the Soviets and the pressure to fulfill JFK’s promise by the end of the decade. Hundreds of hours of interviews with the three astronauts, their families, experts and NASA staff provide the recount of the brave and dangerous mission.

Buy it on Amazon here. (Audiobook available)

4. Ego is the Enemy

By Ryan Holiday

Your ego is your biggest hindrance, obstacle, hurdle, roadblock, etc. (see thesaurus for “enemy”). Former director of marketing at American Apparel, Holiday proves that ego will prevent you from reaching your full potential at every stage if you don’t conquer it. It’ll cause you to ignore your faults when you’re at your high and get stuck when you’re at your low. Holiday profiles famous figures like Bill Belichick and Eleanor Roosevelt who all conquered their egos at some point and reached success.

Buy it on Amazon here. (Audiobook available)

5. Being Mortal

By Atul Gawande

A practicing surgeon and bestselling author, Gawande argues that when it comes to topics surrounding the elderly, aging and death, medicine and the human spirit seem to be at odds. He gives examples of more socially fulfilling models for helping the dependent elderly or people in hospice care. The end of life doesn’t need to be filled with railed beds, isolation and sufferable procedures.

Buy it on Amazon here. (Audiobook available)

6. Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work

By Whitney Johnson

Don’t be afraid to break the rules. In fact, go past that. Make up your own rules. This mindset of disruptive innovation and the ensuing success can be yours. Johnson shows you how to apply that thinking to your business, career and life.

Buy it on Amazon here. (Audiobook available)

7. How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence

By Michael Pollan

LSD was – at first – an intriguing discovery to researchers, scientists and doctors in the 1940s who believed it had potential to uncover insights on consciousness and provide relief for the mentally ill and addicts. Then the 1960s happened. And research stopped happening. Until now. Pollan takes you through the history of psychedelics and their potential future as a microscope into human consciousness.

Buy it on Amazon here. (Audiobook available)

8. Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs

By John Doerr

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If it matters, measure it.

Venture capitalist John Doerr introduced the Objectives and Key Results approach (OKRs) to the founders of Google in 1997. They ran with the approach and Doerr’s $12 million investment, transforming the startup without a business plan into, well, Google. The OKR method focuses on objectives outline our goals and results define how they’ll be achieved.

Buy it on Amazon here. (Audiobook available)

9. Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life

By Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus

This books spells out five dimensions that make up a meaningful life: health, relationships, passions, growth and contribution. Millburn and Nicodemus walk you through the changes each of them took in their respective lives within a two-year span. They went from from unfulfilled crack-cocaine users to overall happy human beings just by focusing on improving those five dimensions.

Buy it on Amazon here.

ron carson scott ford the sustainable edge

10. Sustainable Edge: 15 Minutes a Week to a Richer Entrepreneurial Life

By Ron Carson and Scott Ford

Can you blame me for wanting to take the chance to promote my book? 🙂 Scott Ford and I collected some of our best personal anecdotes to help you achieve goals with your business, team, clients and personal life. Fifteen-minute exercises at the end of each chapter will challenge you on the Business Implementation Quotient Grower process. It’s a short, easy read that I hope will inspire you to grow your firm in new ways this year.

Buy it on Amazon here. (Audiobook not available)


00376563 – 01/10/19

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