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Locked Philosophers Notes

The Trust Edge

How Top Leaders Gain Faster Results, Deeper Relationships, and a Stronger Bottom Line

David Horsager is a business strategist, entrepreneur, professor and author who researches and speaks on the bottom-line impact of trust. His clients range from Toyota, Verizon, and the New York Yankees to FedEx, Nationwide, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. As per the inside front flap of the book, David tells us that the foundation of genuine success is TRUST. In the book, he walks us through the 8 Pillars of Trust. As you’d expect, the book is PACKED with Big Ideas and, as always, I’m excited to share some of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!

Locked Philosophers Notes

Skip the Line

The 10,000 Experiments Rule and Other Surprising Advice for Reaching Your Goals

James Altucher is an entrepreneur, active angel investor, writer, podcaster, stand-up comedian, and chess master. This book is FANTASTIC—perfectly capturing his eccentric, iconoclastic style while challenging A LOT of the cultural norms we think are fixed in stone which, in fact, ARE NOT. As per the sub-title, “Skip the Line” is all about “The 10,000 Experiments Rule and Other Surprising Advice for Reaching Your Goals.” As you’d expect, it’s PACKED with Big Ideas and, as always, I’m fired up to share some of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!

Locked Philosophers Notes

Stay Sane in an Insane World

How to Control the Controllables and Thrive

Greg Harden is one of the world’s greatest peak performance coaches. He spent over 30 years building champions at the University of Michigan where he worked with 400 future professional athletes, 50 NFL first-round draft picks, and 120 Olympians from over 20 countries. Harden has worked with both Tom Brady and Michael Phelps—two of the greatest athletes of all time! In this great book, he walks us through the most life-changing Big Ideas he teaches his peak performers to help them go to the next, NEXT level while showing us how we can do the same. I loved the book and highly recommend it. Let's jump straight in!

Locked Philosophers Notes

Above the Line

Lessons in Leadership and Life from a Championship Program

This is our first note on Urban Meyer, one of the most successful NCAA football coaches in history. It’s kind of like a mash-up of elite football coach Pete Carroll’s Win Forever and elite CrossFit coach Ben Bergeron’s Chasing Excellence in that, like Bergeron, he shares his leadership lessons in the context of a single season but only, like, Carroll, he does it on the football field. It’s a FANTASTIC, hard-hitting book packed with wisdom and Big Ideas. If you’re into sports, leadership, and/or mental toughness books (or all three of those!), I think you’ll love it.

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Locked Philosophers Notes

Burn the Boats

Toss Plan B Overboard and Unleash Your Full Potential

Matt Higgins is a FASCINATING human being. He was raised in poverty by a single mom, dropped out of high school at sixteen, then wound up getting his law degree and became the youngest press secretary to the mayor’s office in New York City history. Then he helped lead the effort to rebuild the World Trade Center site before becoming an executive for the New York Jets. THEN he became a guest shark on Shark Tank, an executive fellow teaching at Harvard Business School, and has invested in some of America’s most beloved brands through the investment firm he co-founded. In this book, he tells us how he did it while sharing a TON of inspiring stories about others who went ALL IN on their dreams. It’s fantastic. I highly recommend it. The sub-title of the book is “Toss Plan B Overboard and Unleash Your Full Potential.” That, of course, reminds me of the sub-title of OUR book: Areté: Activate Your Heroic Potential. The book is PACKED with Big Ideas and I’m excited to share some of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!

Locked Philosophers Notes

Breakfast with Seneca

A Stoic Guide to the Art of Living

I got this book immediately after seeing Tom Morris’s strong recommendation of it in his new book Stoicism for Dummies. It’s FANTASTIC. I can still *vividly* remember reading his Letters from a Stoic nearly 25 years ago (on a boat in the Mediterranean!) not too far from where Seneca wrote the letters 2,000 years ago. This book is now one of my all-time favorite books on Stoicism. It made me fall in love with Seneca. In fact, as you know if you’ve been following along, I’ve often said that Epictetus is my favorite teacher and Aurelius is my favorite leader but... Seneca is a fascinating blend of BOTH of their BEST qualities. I think he’s now my favorite Stoic. The book is PACKED (!) with Big Ideas. We’ll barely scratch the surface of its wisdom before we run out of space/time but I’m excited to share some of my favorites so let’s get to work!

Locked Philosophers Notes

Wooden on Leadership

How to Create a Winning Organization

John Wooden is one of my all-time favorite Heroes. As you know if you’re a sports fan, he’s considered THE greatest coach of the twentieth century. His UCLA Bruins won a staggering 10 NCAA National Championships in 12 years. They also had an 88-game winning streak and won 38 straight NCAA tournament games. Wooden only had ONE losing season in his entire 41-year coaching career. And, that losing season came in his FIRST season coaching high school basketball. As you’d expect, this book is PACKED (as in PACKED!) with Big Ideas. My copy of the book is absurdly marked up and we will only scratch the surface of all the wisdom in it so, if you feel so inspired, I HIGHLY recommend you get a copy today. With that, let’s get to work.

Philosophers Notes

Stoicism for Dummies

As you know if you’ve been following along, Tom Morris is one of my ALL-TIME favorite teachers. As I mentioned in the SIX other Notes we’ve created on his great books, Tom has two PhD’s from Yale—one in Philosophy and the other in Religious Studies. He was a beloved philosophy professor at Notre Dame for 15 years. This book is fantastic. It isn’t for “Dummies” though. Tom and his co-author, fellow academic philosopher Gregory Bassham, do a great job of rigorously covering the history and practical application of Stoicism while injecting plenty of humor along the way. It’s arguably THE most thorough overview of Stoicism you’ll find. I highly recommend it if you want a deeper dive. As you’d expect, the book is PACKED with Big Ideas and I’m excited to share a few of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!

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Locked Philosophers Notes

The Power of One More

The Ultimate Guide to Happiness and Success

Ed Mylett is, as per the inside flap of the book, “a highly successful entrepreneur, performance coach, bestselling author, and one of the world’s most inspirational public speakers.” This book is the inspiring and practical distillation of 30 years of his accumulated wisdom. The thesis of the book—that you might just be “ONE More” thought/idea/action/habit/relationship away from FUNDAMENTALLY changing your life reminds me of Jim Rohn’s idea about combination locks. More about that in the Note. The book features 19 chapters on everything from “One More Identity” (chapter #1!) and “One More Dream” (#7) to “One More Goal” (#9) and “One More Habit” (#12). It’s fantastic. As you’d expect, it’s PACKED with Big Ideas. As always, I’m excited to share a handful of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!

Locked Philosophers Notes

Unlocked

Embrace Your Greatness, Find the Flow, Discover Success

George Mumford is an incredibly humble, Heroically wise human being who beautifully embodies the wisdom he shares. This is the second Note we’ve done on one of his great books. The first was on The Mindful Athlete: Secrets to Pure Performance. As we discussed in that Note, George was Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant’s mindfulness coach. Phil Jackson brought him in to help take the Chicago Bulls to the next level then did it again when he was coaching the Los Angeles Lakers. As per the introduction, this book is all about how to “unlock” your inner greatness. It’s fantastic. It’s packed with Big Ideas and I’m excited to share a handful of my favorites so let’s jump straight in.

Locked Philosophers Notes

Read This Book Tonight To Help You Win Tomorrow

Get Mentally Primed To Perform Your Best

Dr. Rob Gilbert has been teaching sports psychology since 1979. And, he’s been dominating a daily inspiring message for OVER 30 YEARS. This book, that was recommended to me by my dear friend Brian Cain, is a SUPER conversational, quick-reading look at how to, as per the sub-title, “Get Mentally Primed to Perform Your Best” by, as per the sub-sub-title, “Using Inspirational Stories, Practical Sports Psychology Tips and Over 120 of the Greatest Motivational Sports Quotes. It’s packed with Big Ideas and I’m excited to share a handful of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!

Locked Philosophers Notes

Winning

The Unforgiving Race to Greatness

Tim S. Grover is the preeminent authority on the science and art of achieving physical and mental dominance. He has worked with THE most elite basketball players in history. In this book, he shares his fierce wisdom in the context of stories about Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant as he RELENTLESSLY makes the point that “Winning” (with a capital “W”) is, shall we say, not for the faint of heart. If you’re feeling inspired to feel the INTENSITY of an ALL IN human being, I think you’ll love it. As you’d expect, the book is packed with Big Ideas. Let’s get to work.

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Locked Philosophers Notes

Beyond Possible

One Man, 14 Peaks, and the Mountaineering Achievement of a Lifetime

Nirmal "Nims" Purja is a celebrated Nepali climber who holds a number of mountaineering world records. He served in the British Armed Forces as a Nepalese Gurkha and then as a solider in the Special Boat Service, an elite special forces unit of the Royal Navy. He holds the record for fastest ascent of all 14 mountain peaks that are 8,000+ meters above sea level (as captured in the documentary, 14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible). This book is packed with Big Ideas and inspiring stories. I'm excited to share a few of my favorites so let's jump straight in!

Locked Philosophers Notes

The Creative Act

A Way of Being

Rick Rubin is an iconic music producer. He’s worked with some of the most successful musicians in the world—from Adele, Tom Petty, and Johnny Cash to the Beastie Boys, Jay-Z, and LL Cool J. He’s also the co-founder of Def Jam Recordings and former co-President of Columbia Records. And, he’s a Transcendental Meditation practitioner who writes with the same lucidity as Yuval Noah Harari whose preferred flavor of meditation happens to be Vipassana. This book is the distillation of the wisdom he’s gained working on himself and his craft over the last forty years. It’s PHENOMENAL. I highly recommend it. From the minimalist cover to the short, pithy micro chapters (both of which inspired my book Areté), the book itself is a work of art. It’s packed with profound wisdom on how to create great art and how to make your life your ultimate masterpiece. I’m excited to share some of my favorite Big Ideas so let’s jump straight in.

Locked Philosophers Notes

Be Useful

Seven Tools for Life

Arnold Schwarzenegger is a FASCINATING human being and this is a fantastic book. I basically read it in one sitting one fine Sunday in between supporting Emerson during one of his recent chess tournaments. I watched Arnold’s inspiring documentary on Netflix so when I saw he released this book, I immediately got it, read it, and here we are. I highly recommend the book. Unless you’ve been in seclusion in the Himalayas for the last fifty years, you know who Arnold Schwarzenegger is. The young Arnold dominated the bodybuilding world then he became a leading man in Hollywood before serving for eight years as California’s 38th governor. In this book, he tells us about the seven tools he encourages us to use to create a life of deep meaning and purpose and to, in short... BE USEFUL. The book is packed with Big Ideas. I’m excited to share some of my favorites so let’s get to work.

Locked Philosophers Notes

The Mental Game

Winning the War Within Your Mind

This is the seventh book in Darrin Donnelly’s Sports for the Soul series. We’ve covered all of them so far. As I said in the previous Notes, I basically read the first six books in a single week. They are all AWESOME. In addition to brilliantly integrating ancient wisdom, modern science and practical tools in a grounded yet inspiring way, Donnelly has a gift for weaving that wisdom into a great sports story—which is why I’m such a big fan and highly recommend the books for you and your sports-loving friends and family and colleagues. This book features a professional golfer who is struggling to make it on the PGA Tour. He has the opportunity to spend time with one of the greatest golfers of the era who gives him some life-changing wisdom. It’s FANTASTIC. Super inspiring, quick-reading. Pure gold. Get a copy here. As you’d expect, the book is packed with Big Ideas. As always, I’m excited to share some of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!

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Locked Philosophers Notes

The Wisdom of the Bullfrog

Leadership Made Simple (But Not Easy)

This is our fourth Note on one of Admiral McRaven’s great books. As we discussed in the previous Notes, as a four-star admiral, McRaven’s final assignment was as Commander of all U.S. Special Operations Forces. He served as a Navy SEAL for 37 years. By the time he hit 34 years of service, he was officially anointed as the “Bull Frog”—the longest serving frogman and Navy SEAL on active duty. This book, as per the title, is wisdom from this legendary bullfrog. McRaven distills leadership into its most fundamental components, delivering on the subtitle: “Leadership Made Simple (But Not Easy).” As you’d expect, it’s PACKED with practical wisdom.

Locked Philosophers Notes

Lessons for Living

What Only Adversity Can Teach You

I consider Phil Stutz my spiritual father and feel blessed to have had nearly 450 1-on-1 coaching sessions with him over the last seven years.

My collection of notes from those discussions is, by far, my most prized and valuable possession.

As I was reading this book, I was struck by the fact that this might be as close as anyone who hasn’t worked with Phil directly will get to working 1-on-1 with him.

As you’d expect, this book is packed with Big Ideas on how to embrace, as per the sub-title of the book, “What Only Adversity Can Teach You.”

If you’re a fan of Phil, I think you will absolutely LOVE the book.

Let’s jump in!

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Greatest Year Ever 101

Activate Your Heroic Potential + Make This Year the Greatest Year of Your Life

In Greatest Year Ever 101, we’ll help you activate your Heroic potential so you can fundamentally and PERMANENTLY change your life as we make this year the greatest of your life!

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Greatest Year Ever 101 - Part II: Practice

How To Use the Heroic App To Activate Your Heroic Potential

In Part II of Greatest Year Ever, Brian shows us how we can use the Heroic app to activate our Heroic Potential and make this TRULY the greatest year of our lives.

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Locked Philosophers Notes

Call Sign Chaos

Learning to Lead

General Jim Mattis is the former Secretary of Defense and one of the most formidable strategic thinkers of the twenty-first century. He wrote this book with Bing West, a former assistant secretary of defense and combat Marine. This book is, as per the back cover, “a clear-eyed account of learning to lead in a chaotic world” in which Mattis “recounts the foundational experiences and lessons he learned over four decades and in three wars. It is a journey about learning to lead at every level, with insights equally applicable to the military, to business, and to individual growth.” I got this book on the recommendation of a new, dear friend who happens to be a long-time student (and Heroic Coach) who also happens to be a commanding officer in the U.S. military. It’s an absolutely FANTASTIC memoir packed with wisdom on how to lead—which is why it has nearly 5,000 5-star reviews. The book reminds me of two other memoirs by military leaders I admire: Admiral William McRaven’s Sea Stories and General Colin Powell’s It Worked for Me. It also reminds me of Phil Knight’s memoir Shoe Dog and Ray Dalio’s Principles. And... For related books on leadership, check out our Notes on General Stanley McChrystal’s Leaders: Myths and Reality plus Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Leadership in Turbulent Times. As you’d expect, this book is packed with Big Ideas. I’m excited to share some of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!

Locked Philosophers Notes

The Soul of a Butterfly

Reflections on Life’s Journey

Muhammad Ali was a magnetically charismatic heavyweight champion turned humanitarian. Wikipedia tells us that he was nicknamed “The Greatest” and that “he is regarded as one of the most significant sports figures of the 20th century and is often regarded as the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time. In 1999, he was named Sportsman of the Century by Sports Illustrated and the Sports Personality of the Century by the BBC.” He wrote this book with his daughter Hana Ali in 2004. He was 62 at the time. He died at the age of 74 in 2016. It’s a fantastic autobiography in which we learn about the struggles he faced as a Black man living in the segregated South and the courage and commitment with which he strived to live a life of integrity and love. I highly recommend it as both a great, inspiring biography of one of the most beloved (and polarizing!) figures of the 20th century AND as a means to learn more about the challenges we continue to face in creating a just society. The book is PACKED with Big Ideas and I’m excited to share some of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!

Locked Philosophers Notes

You Owe You

Ignite Your Power, Your Purpose, and Your Why

I got this book after one of the members of our Heroic community encouraged me to spend more time exploring and sharing wisdom from Black authors.

She recommended some books and told me that I’d LOVE Eric and his wisdom.

Thanks, Miata! You were right! :)

Eric Thomas is a FASCINATING human being.

As per his bio on the back flap, he is “part coach, part preacher, all grind.”

He’s one of the world’s best-known motivational speakers. Better known as ET, he’s inspired millions of people with his creative style and high-energy messages.

His raw authenticity is incredibly compelling and this book is fantastic. (Get a copy here.)

The book is PACKED with Big Ideas and I’m excited to share some of my favorites, so let’s jump straight in!

Locked Philosophers Notes

Embrace the Suck

The Navy SEAL Way to an Extraordinary Life

I got this book (along with a dozen others!) after reading Admiral Manazir’s great book Learn How to Lead to Win. It’s a FANTASTIC, quick-reading, laugh-out-loud funny addition to our growing pantheon of Navy SEAL books. David Goggins wrote the foreword to the book. He and Brent were in the same SEAL class (235) and they both share a fondness for hard-hitting, no-nonsense wisdom delivered with an ample share of f-bombs. As you’d expect, the book is packed with Big Ideas. And, as always, I’m excited to share some of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!

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Locked Philosophers Notes

Learn How to Lead to Win

33 Powerful Stories and Leadership Lessons

Mike Manazir (“Muh-naw-zur”) is a Retired US Navy Admiral and Top Gun Fighter Pilot. I got this book on the recommendation of a new, dear friend who happens to be a Commanding Officer in the US military (and a Heroic Coach). My friend recommended Jim Mattis’s book on leadership (Call Sign Chaos) and that book was so good that I asked him what *other* books on leadership he’d recommend. He immediately told me about this one. I immediately got it. Manazir was one of his cherished mentors. After reading this great book, I can see why. The book is, as you’d expect from the title, all about helping us learn how to lead to win. It’s part memoir, part leadership manual—featuring 33 powerful stories from Admiral Manazir’s life and the lessons he gained along the way. It reminds me of another memoir by another Navy Admiral I admire: Admiral William McRaven’s Sea Stories. In fact, as I type that, I realize that this book is kinda like a hybrid of McRaven’s memoir AND his latest book called The Hero Code. Mash those two books up and swap out the SEAL stories for a Top Gun Fighter Pilot’s and voilà—you get this book. As you’d expect, the book is PACKED with Big Ideas. I’m excited to share some of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!

Locked Philosophers Notes

The Circadian Code

Lose Weight, Supercharge Your Energy, and Transform Your Health from Morning to Midnight

Satchin Panda is one of the world’s leading researchers in the field of circadian biology. This book is a FANTASTIC distillation of what he and his colleagues have discovered and how we can apply those insights to our modern lives. I highly recommend it. Want to, as per the sub-title of the book, “lose weight, supercharge your energy, and transform your health?” Then pay attention to your body’s infinitely wise internal clock!! As Dr. Panda tells us: “The Circadian Code is a revolution in the way you think about diet, exercise, work, learning, and technology. Instead of counting calories or limiting food choices, you will learn that there is a right time to eat so that you can actually burn calories while you sleep. There is also a best time of day to exercise, to work, and to rest. Your body already knows this code: you just have to become aware of it and then follow its rhythm.” I’m excited to share some of my favorite Big Ideas so let’s jump straight in!

Locked Philosophers Notes

15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management

The Productivity Habits of 7 Billionaires, 13 Olympic Athletes, 29 Straight-A Students, and 239 Entrepreneurs

Kevin Kruse is a Forbes Leadership columnist and successful entrepreneur. He’s built and sold several multimillion dollar technology companies, winning both Inc 500 and Best Place to Work awards along the way. He’s also written a number of bestselling books. I got this book after a long-time student and Heroic Coach connected me with Kevin. Apparently my new friend was being interviewed by Kevin about his new book on creativity for a Forbes article. At the end of their chat, my new friend told Kevin that he should check out Heroic. And, apparently, he had JUST signed up for Heroic the day before. (Awesome.) This book, as per the sub-title and intro quote, is all about the top productivity habits of some of the world’s most productive and successful people. It’s written in a straight-forward, conversational style. There’s a reason it has over 1,400 reviews—it’s fantastic. It’s packed with Big Ideas. I’m excited to share some of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!

Philosophers Notes

Heroic Coach

Activate Your Heroic Potential and Empower Others to Do the Same

Welcome to the Philosopher’s Note on our Heroic Coach invitation letter. Although people have told me I need to do a Note on my own book when it comes out (planning to!), this is the first Note I’ve done on my own work. (Hah!) We figured it would be fun to QUICKLY capture the power of our Heroic Coach program in the context of a Philosopher’s Note. So... Here we are. The letter is, essentially, an invitation to join our scientifically-validated 300-day program to learn how to activate your Heroic potential WHILE learning how to empower *others* to do the same so we can change the world together—starting with you and me and all of us—TODAY. In the letter, I make the VERY important distinction that, whether or not you *think* you are a “coach” ... you are. I’m excited to share exactly what the 300-day program is all about and WHY it has been so transformative for so many people, so let’s jump straight in!

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Locked Philosophers Notes

Never Finished

Unshackle Your Mind and Win the War Within

David Goggins is an inspiring human being. If you don’t mind the f-bombs that go with his unapologetic, iconoclastic (goosebumps) ALL IN commitment to being, as he puts it, THE hardest motherf*cker EVER, then I think you’ll love this book as much as I did. It’s the second one of Goggins’ books we’ve featured. Check out the Notes on Can’t Hurt Me to learn more about his Heroic story and to get more wisdom on how to “Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds.” This book is PACKED with Big Ideas. We’ll barely scratch the surface of everything we could have discussed. Let’s get to work.

Locked Philosophers Notes

Prosperity, Plenitude & Infinite Possibilities

This is the second Note we’ve done on one of Michael Beckwith’s books. Our first Note is on his great book Spiritual Liberation. I got this little booklet in a very big box of books the team sent me (thanks, Jana!) based on recommendations from our community. I’m a big fan of Michael Beckwith. In fact, Alexandra and I used to go to his Agape Spiritual Center in Santa Monica shortly after we got together 15+ years ago. I recently worked on a bunch of Notes on Yogananda’s books. Beckwith reminds me of him. He also reminds me of the old-school New Thought leaders whose torches he carries in his own unique way—including Ernest Holmes who founded the Science of Mind churches into which Beckwith was originally ordained. And, of course, any book on the spirituality of prosperity makes me think of Eric Butterworth and his Spiritual Economics (and Discover the Power Within You). This is a TINY little booklet that is based on the live transcript of a class Beckwith taught and “is designed as a prayer, reference, practice and activation manual.” I hesitated to do a Note on it. But... It’s packed with Big Ideas that will provide a great springboard for us to connect to wisdom from other Notes I’ve created over the years so here we are. LET'S GO!

Locked Philosophers Notes

Brain Energy

A Revolutionary Breakthrough in Understanding Mental Health--and Improving Treatment for Anxiety, Depression, OCD, PTSD, and More

This is a VERY important book that has the potential to revolutionize the way we approach mental health care. For years, we have talked about the importance of getting our ENERGY optimized so we can show up powerfully in our Work and in our Love. We’ve also discussed the fact that our PHYSIOLOGY drives a *LOT* more of our PSYCHOLOGY than most of us think. This book provides the underlying theoretical framework that ties all that wisdom together. Christopher M. Palmer, MD, is a Harvard psychiatrist and researcher working at the interface between metabolism and health. He’s an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and has held leadership roles at Harvard, McClean Hospital and nationally. In this thoughtful, scientifically-grounded book, Palmer shares his “theory of brain energy” that, in short, establishes the fact that “mental disorders are metabolic disorders of the brain.” THAT, my Heroic friend, is a VERY (!!!) Big Idea. Let's jump in and discuss why this theoretical framework matters AND discuss some practical Ideas on how we can apply the wisdom to our lives TODAY.

Locked Philosophers Notes

It’s Just a Thought

Emotional Freedom through Deliberate Thinking

Tom Sterner is one of my favorite writers and thinkers. This is the third Note we’ve created on one of his great books. We started with The Practicing Mind and then featured Fully Engaged. This is a quick reading, 120-page book (that I read in a couple hours before the family got up on Monday morning) all about, as per the sub-title, how to create “Emotional Freedom through Deliberate Thinking.” It’s fantastic. I’m excited to share a handful of my favorite Big Ideas so let’s jump straight in!

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Locked Philosophers Notes

Leaders

Myth and Reality

I got this book after I saw General Stanley McChrystal’s blurb on the back of Ryan Holiday’s Lives of the Stoics. I read it in one 8.8-hour Deep Work-filled day. It’s fantastic. McChrystal uses Plutarch and his profiles of some of history’s most prominent figures as his inspiration and focuses on thirteen leaders in six pairs plus one standing alone. Almost all leadership books are prescriptive in nature. This book is not. Rather than make us believe that there’s a nice, simple recipe for leadership, McChrystal, Eggers and Mangone present us with the “myths” of leadership and the MUCH MESSIER “realities” of leadership. After the profiles of the thirteen leaders, the authors present the three myths of leadership and their new definition of leadership. We end the book with the sober recognition of just how complex, dynamic and context-specific good leadership is. It’s a challenging, important book that’s difficult to distill into a nice and tidy and practical 6-page Note but I’m excited to share some of my favorite Ideas as we all continue to step up into our own idiosyncratic expressions of Heroic leadership. So... Let’s get to work!

Locked Philosophers Notes

The Awakened Brain

The New Science of Spirituality and Our Quest for an Inspired Life

Did you know that there’s a “Science of Spirituality”? Yep. There is. It’s fascinating. And, Lisa Miller is the pioneering researcher who created the field. This book is the distillation of her decades of work to help us apply her research to our (Heroic!) “Quests for an Inspired Life.” Lisa is also the founder and director of the Spirituality Mind Body Institute, the first Ivy League graduate program in spirituality and psychology. And, she is the New York Times bestselling author of The Spiritual Child and a professor in the clinical psychology program at Teachers College, Columbia University. As you’d expect, the book is packed with Big Ideas. I’m excited to share some of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!

Locked Philosophers Notes

The High 5 Habit

Take Control of Your Life with One Simple Habit

This is Mel Robbins’ second book. We featured her first book called The 5 Second Rule which is A W E S O M E! When I saw she had written this one, I was excited to get it. It is also A W E S O M E! If you’re familiar with Mel, you know she’s one of the leading voices in personal development and transformation. She’s changed millions of lives with her books, podcast, and online courses. In fact, Mel coaches more than 60 million people online every month and videos featuring her work have more than a BILLION views, including her TEDx Talk called “How to stop screwing yourself over” which is one of the most popular of all time. One of the reasons she’s so beloved is because she’s so incredibly real. This book features the High 5 Habit for which the book is named AND a dozen other life-changing tools AND at least that many stories about her own (Heroic!) challenges and how she’s used these tools to flip the switch and create a life of deep meaning and joy. The book is packed with Big Ideas and I’m excited to share a handful of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!

Locked +1s

#1727 WAKE UP!

This Isn’t a Dress Rehearsal

In our last few +1s, we spent some time having Breakfast with Seneca and David Fideler.

As you may recall, we started by reminding ourselves that EVERYTHING (!) is on loan from the universe and that (important fine print in our contract with life!), one day (sooner than we’d like!) it will ALL need to be returned.

Then we learned the fascinating fact that the Stoics were called “progressors”—reflecting their humility in recognizing that NONE of them were perfect but ALL OF THEM were FIERCELY COMMITTED to actually PRACTICING their philosophy and striving to MAKE PROGRESS in moving from Theory to Practice to Mastery.

Today we’re going to continue that chat then we’ll move on to some other great wisdom from this great book.

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Locked +1s

#1726 A Student of Stoicism

Is Called "The Progressor"

In our last couple +1s, we deliberately repeated our exploration of some wisdom from one of my new favorite books on Stoicism: Breakfast with Seneca by David Fideler.

I read the book in basically one sitting. I felt like I was having breakfast with TWO dear friends: Seneca AND David Fideler.

It’s the kind of book I was sad came to an end. It felt like the nearly three-hour breakfast I recently had with a new friend (Billy Donovan—the head coach of the Bulls) that came to an end because he had to get going to get to the next city for their next game.

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#1725 Breakfast with Seneca

A Stoic Guide to the Art of Living

In our last +1, we explored some Stoic (Memento Mori!) wisdom.

More specifically, we opened to Page 5 of our Philosopher’s Notes on Breakfast with Seneca by David Fideler.

As you may recall, Fideler tells us: “One of my favorite Stoic ideas is that everything we have, or believe that we possess, is just ‘on loan’ from the universe. Everything. And one day, all those things will need to be returned.”

That’s a REALLY powerful idea and an even MORE POWERFUL practice.

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#1724 Stoics Say: It’s ALL On Loan

& Will Need to Be Returned

In our last few +1s, we had fun with some wisdom from a Heroic friend of mine as we set up our new batphones to receive calls from our daimons at 212-451-2000.

As you may recall, I shared the fact that I changed the last four digits of my number from “2000” to “2255” as a reminder of my commitment to create FIVE Volumes of Areté--each with 451 Ideas.

Fun fact…

I actually just did the math on when I’ll hit 10,000 Heroic +1s.

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#1723 451° x 5 = 2255°

Areté Math: Volumes I, II, III, IV, and V

In our last couple +1s, we’ve been having fun with a brilliant idea from one of my brilliant friends.

As you may recall, he encouraged a team at his alma mater to remember that the Hero’s phone number is 212-451-2000.

Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Fire is ignited at 451 degrees. Swords are forged at 2000+ degrees.

I then shared how I changed my Identity from “Heroic Φ-CEO” to “Heroic Φ-CEO = 212-451-2255” to include this Heroic phone number as a playful, inspiring reminder of my friend, our friendship, and our shared Mission to serve those we lead Heroically.

I also mentioned the fact that I changed the last four digits of my number from “2000” to “2255.”

Why did I do that?

For one simple reason I’ll tell you about in a moment.

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#1722 My New Batphone #

Is… 212-451-2255

In our last +1, you got a new batphone with your new Heroic phone number.

It’s 212-451-2000.

You want to make sure you trade contact info with your daimon and then keep that batphone on and ready to answer the call to your next Heroic adventure at all times of the day and night.

You never know when your daimon might need to get in touch with you. 🤓

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#1721 The Hero’s Phone #

Is… 212-451-2000

The other day I was trading texts with a friend of mine who happens to be an elite military officer.

He told me that he recently visited his alma mater and was asked to give a talk on Resilience/Antifragility.

Apparently, he talked about the hero’s journey and all that.

He also talked about the importance of activation energy and showing up with an intensity for life.

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#1720 Respect Everyone

Fear No One

I’m typing this at 7:25 p.m. CT lying in a queen-sized bed at a Marriott in Houston next to Emerson while Mommy is reading a story to Emerson with Eleanor lying next to her in a bed in Austin.

My daimon just told me: Savor this!

The first day of tournament play is over at the Texas State Chess Tournament. Emerson is currently tied for first place with another kid in the Elementary School Championship Division.

We just got back from Dave and Buster’s where we had some fun playing a few games. Last year’s edition of that trip is what led to a sacred moment with a family we talked about in the book.

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#1719 The Two Cornerstones of Competitive Greatness

Enthusiasm & Hard Work

I’m typing this at 10:22 a.m. CT on Saturday, March 2nd, 2024.

Emerson just won his first match in this year’s Texas State Championship.

Last year, he won the JV division. This year he’s in the Championship division.

As I’ve said many times before, our just-the-boys weekend trips to his chess tournaments are tied for first as my ABSOLUTE favorite thing in the world.

NOTHING beats driving a few hours with him talking about life then joyfully unpacking our stuff in the hotel (we move in as we bring all our own food for the weekend!), calling mommy at night so she can read to him with Eleanor before bed then falling asleep holding hands.

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#1718 My Mother-in-Law Says…

“Something Is Different with Brian!”

In our last +1, we talked about my Micro-Moments of Awesome with Eleanor and her FIVE “Big Hug with Eleanor” Target Swipes that led to an all-time total of 596 Hugs with her tracked in our Heroic app.

🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 .

That’s 51 hugs.

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#1717 “Big Hug with Eleanor”

Target Swipe x 5 = 596!

I’m typing this seconds after my little Heroic angel, Eleanor Grace Johnson left my office.

I was working on the Philosopher’s Note on James Altucher’s great book Skip the Line when I felt a tap-tap-tap on my shoulder.

I looked around and saw a 7-year-old little girl (who’s not so little anymore!) wearing her new USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH hat, beaming at me with a huge smile on her face.

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#1716 “Savor, Savor, Savor!”

My New Mantra

I’m typing this minutes after going on a quick walk on our trail with Emerson.

Technically, I was walking and he was riding his sweet lime green bike. (The same bike that made a cameo in this +1 on how we’re helping our kids practice Targeted Thinking!)

Emerson is now 11 years old. Eleanor is 7.

And…

I’m finally REALLY getting the absolute truth in the adage that all wise parents say to those of us just embarking on the parenting journey…

“SAVOR YOUR TIME WITH YOUR KIDS.”

“It goes FAST!”

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#1715 When Opportunity Knocks…

ANSWER!

In our last couple +1s, we’ve been exploring some wisdom from Greg Harden’s great book, Stay Sane in an Insane World.

Today we’re going to spend a little more time with the guy who has coached HUNDREDS of THE BEST ATHLETES in the world while he was at the University of Michigan—including 400 future professional athletes, 50 NFL first-round draft picks, and 120 Olympians from over 20 countries.

PLUS a couple of GOATs…

Tom Brady and Michael Phelps.

Activate Your Best. Every Day.

Personal development made simple, so you can flourish in energy, work, and love. Today.

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#1714 Give 100%, 100% of the Time

The Hallmark of a Champion

In our last +1, we talked about the ONE-TENTH OF A SECOND Greg Harden gives us to whine before we flip the switch and get back to showing up as our best, most creative and Heroic selves.

00:00.10

😲 🤯

You get your stopwatch out and time yourself the last time YOU allowed a gap to show up between who you’re CAPABLE of being and who you were ACTUALLY being?

ONE-TENTH OF A SECOND.

Note…

That goes fast.

😉

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#1713 00:00.10

That’s How Long You Get to Whine

Not too long ago, I asked you: “What’s your recovery time?”

As you may recall, we talked about my AM protocol-ritual of reading the notes from my prior 1-on-1 session with Phil Stutz in between our weekly connections.

In that recent set of notes, I reflected on the discussion Phil and I had about how important it is to QUICKLY recover when you get knocked off center.

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#1712 Wooden's ULTIMATE Lesson?

Demonstration (Are YOU a Noble Exemplar?)

In our last several +1s, we’ve been mining some wisdom gold from John Wooden’s GREAT book Wooden on Leadership.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the tour through his playbook to activate our Heroic potential (aka Competitive Greatness!) as much as I have.

Today, we’re going to wrap up the tour.

It’s time to talk about…

THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT OF LEADERSHIP!

Let’s get to work.

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#1711 Does the Fight Continue?

Constant, Relentless Industriousness & Enthusiasm

In the last several +1s, we’ve been exploring wisdom from John Wooden’s GREAT book Wooden on Leadership.

Today we’re going to continue that discussion.

We’re going to talk about one of THE most important qualities of success.

Let’s get straight to work.

Activate Your Best. Every Day.

Personal development made simple, so you can flourish in energy, work, and love. Today.

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#1710 What Wooden Told His Players

Right Before They Entered the Arena

In the last few +1s, we've been exploring some wisdom from the guy ESPN says is THE GREATEST COACH of the 20th century—which makes him, arguably, the greatest coach ever.

We started with his definition of success as we talked about the summit of his Pyramid.

As you may recall, Wooden defines success as “peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.”

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#1709 Your #1 Job As a Leader

“Make Greatness Attainable by All”

In our last couple +1s, we’ve been exploring wisdom from Coach John Wooden’s GREAT (!) book Wooden on Leadership.

Let’s continue.

Today we’re going to chat about the #1 job of a leader.

Let’s get to work.

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#1708 The Pyramid of Success

The 15 Virtue-Blocks => Competitive Greatness

In our last +1, we talked about Coach Wooden and his BRILLIANT book, Wooden on Leadership.

I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend that book for everyone who is a leader.

Which…

To be clear…

Includes YOU.

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#1707 Competitive Greatness

The Summit of Wooden’s Pyramid of Success

We’ve mentioned John Wooden a couple times over the last handful of +1s.

Let’s spend some more time with the Wizard of Westwood.

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#1706 Be Coachable

Are You?

As you may recall, not too long ago we chatted about our family trip to watch the Chicago Bulls play the San Antonio Spurs.

We were blessed to be connected with Billy Donovan, their head coach, via a couple of new friends (thank you, Gina and Arturas!).

Billy was kind enough to hook us up with some tickets and then he and I got to hang out for a few hours the following morning chatting about leadership and all things Areté and Heroic.

It was a fantastic weekend.

Now…

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#1705 Coach Wooden Playing Chess

Process >> Outcomes

In our last +1, we talked about Emerson’s remarkable chess gains that came as a by-product of his even more remarkable commitment to an astonishingly simple training protocol.

As you may recall, he and his coach (love ya, Nick! 🙌) decided that he would do one hour of tactical puzzles on ChessTempo.com.

EVERY.
SINGLE.
DAY.

Emerson showed up and did that hour of chess puzzles…

EVERY.
SINGLE.
DAY.

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#1704 How to Go NEXT LEVEL

In Life’s Most Important Games

Not too long ago, we chatted about Emerson’s loss to a brilliant 9-year-old kid in one of his tournament chess matches.

We talked about the fact that that loss, for whatever reason, catalyzed a level of clarity in Emerson’s mind that, if he wanted to go to the next level in his chess performance, he’d have to change the way he was training.

It also catalyzed an EVEN MORE aggressive timeline on which he wanted to hit his goal to become a chess master.

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#1703 Do It Now! (Part II)

Inspired? Dominate!

In our last +1, we talked about your Recovery Time.

Pop quiz…

How fast can YOU recover from life’s inevitable glitches?

THAT is one of the most important skills we can ever develop.

Activate Your Best. Every Day.

Personal development made simple, so you can flourish in energy, work, and love. Today.

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#1702 What’s Your Recovery Time?

Play the Speed Is a Force Turnaround Game

As you know if been even remotely following along, Phil Stutz is my coach, honorary spiritual father, and Heroic Yoda.

Phil and I have connected 1-on-1 nearly 451 times over the last 7+ years. No other person has had a deeper impact on me and my thinking than Phil.

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#1701 Checklists

How’re Yours!?

I’m typing this at 11:32am CT on Thursday, February 22nd, 2024.

I’m in seat 3F on Southwest Flight #1956.

I’m heading to Norfolk, Virginia to spend some time with CAPT Dave Pollard and 50 of his top (Heroic!) leaders on the USS GEORGE HW BUSH—the U.S. aircraft carrier that helped defend Ukraine.

We’re minutes away from take off and I can see the captain and co-pilot in the cockpit.

You know what they’re doing?

They’re LITERALLY going through their final checklist.

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#1700 Go YOU!

And… Congrats Chiefs!

In our last +1, we talked about the Super Bowl.

The kids and I enjoyed watching the first half then went to bed. I very much enjoyed getting a 93 sleep score and waking up feeling Zesty and ready to dominate and win MY Super Bowl. 🤓

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#1699 YOUR Super Bowl

Actualized vs. Entertained

I’m typing this at 6:51 a.m. the morning after the Super Bowl.

Emerson and Eleanor and I stayed up a little late (7:30 pm) watching the first half of the game. It was awesome.

Activate Your Best. Every Day.

Personal development made simple, so you can flourish in energy, work, and love. Today.

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