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Leadership 101

How to inspire and empower people to do great things

Leadership is all about inspiring and empowering people to do great things. In this class, we’ll explore the fact that leadership starts by leading yourself as we identify your noble purpose, chisel your foundation, create a compelling vision, embrace the process, and do what you’re here to do. We’ll also look at the power of charisma, the neuroscience of being an iconoclastic leader, and discuss the best-kept secret of leadership to help you create your legacy.

Locked 101 Classes

Lead Yourself First 101

How to inspire leadership through solitude

Mike Erwin joins us as a guest teacher for this class! CEO of The Character Center, co-founder of the Positivity Project, and co-author of the book Lead Yourself First, Mike is passionate about inspiring leaders across the country. His secret sauce to leadership? Solitude! (More specifically, freedom from the input of other minds.) In this class, Mike debunks the assumption that great leaders must always be accessible and uncovers the personal + organizational benefits of leaders who seek out periods of solitude. Want the competitive advantages of clarity, creativity, emotional balance + moral courage? Get your solitude on!

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Leadership

In Turbulent Times

Doris Kearns Goodwin has been studying presidential history and leadership for five decades since she first became a professor at Harvard. She has won a Pulitzer Prize and her bestseller Team of Rivals was the basis for Steven Spielberg’s Academy Award–winning film Lincoln. In this book, she walks us through four case studies in leadership: Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson. If you enjoy studying leadership like I do, I think you’ll love this book as much as I did. Big Ideas we explore include the one quality all of our very different leaders possessed (hint: FIERCE AMBITION), Lincoln's commitment to growth ("I must die or be better"), the importance of a growth mindset, acquiring virtue Teddy Roosevelt style and the importance of finding ways to relieve stress.

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The Leadership Challenge

How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations

James Kouzes and Barry Posner are two of the world’s preeminent researchers on leadership. This is the 25th anniversary, fifth edition version of their best-selling classic that has sold over 2 million copies. One of the things I most like about this book is the fact that it covers the SCIENCE of leadership. Kouzes and Posner have been conducting empirical research for over three decades. Big Ideas we explore: The 5 Practices (<— key word!) of Exemplary Leaders, the foundation of leadership (= credibility which = …), Law #2: DWYSYWD, and the best-kept secret of leadership = …

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Lead Yourself First

Inspiring Leadership Through Solitude

Solitude. It’s the secret sauce to leadership. But... In their great book Raymond Kethledge and Michael Erwin tells us: “Solitude is a state of mind, a space where you can focus on your own thoughts without distraction, with a power to bring mind and soul together in clear-eyed conviction. Like a great wave that saturates everything in its path, however, handheld devices and other media now leave us awash with the thoughts of others. We are losing solitude without even realizing it.” Big Ideas we explore include the big 4 of solitude (clarity + creativity + emotional balance + moral courage), the threats from our "Input Age," how MLK and Eisenhower used solitude, FOMO (get over it!) and how to change the world (starting with YOU!).

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The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

Follow Them and People Will Follow You (10th Anniversary Edition)

John Maxwell is one of the world’s leading authorities on leadership. He’s trained millions (literally) of leaders and has written over 50 (!) books that have sold over 13 million copies—this one alone has sold over 3 million copies. After a super quick look at the 21 Laws, Big Ideas we explore: The Law of Process (aka: Leaders are learners), the foundation of leadership (= trust), leaders are practical AND visionary, the law of victory (!), and your legacy—what will people say when you die? + What’s your “life sentence”?

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On Becoming a Leader

Warren Bennis is one of the world’s leading authorities on leadership. This is, as Peter Drucker puts it, his “most important book.” Big Ideas we explore include the basic ingredients of leadership (#1 = Guiding Vision!), the importance of self-invention (hint: write your own story!), the power of trusting ourselves, choosing to express ourselves rather than prove ourselves, how to cultivate trust, and becoming a world-class leader.

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The Effective Executive

The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done

Peter Drucker is considered the father of modern management. This book was originally published in 1967. It’s *remarkably* well written and lucid. And, of course, packed with Big Ideas on how to optimize our effectiveness. We cover the 5 key practices/habits of the effective executive: time (first things first; second things never!), contribution (what can you contribute?), strengths (make yours productive; make weaknesses irrelevant), concentration (the secret to effectiveness), decisions (boundary conditions help).

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600+ PhilosopherNotes: 6-page PDFs + 20-minute MP3 breaking down the Big Ideas from the world's best books. 50+ Optimal Living 101s: fun, practical, hour-long classes to help you Optimize every facet of your life. 1,000+ Heroic +1s: inspiring, impactful and practical micro-lessons you can apply to your life today. And every (!) day.

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PhilosophersNotes

Principles: Life

Ray Dalio is one of the most successful people alive. In fact, Time magazine says that he’s one of the 100 most influential people on the planet while Fortune magazine tells us his company (Bridgewater Associates) is the 5th most impactful private company in the U.S. and Forbes tells us that he’s one of the 100 wealthiest people on the planet. All of which makes Dalio, to use his words, “believable” when it comes to discussing how to get what we want in life and work. Enter: Principles. Big Ideas we explore: how to evolve, what’s most important, meet the shapers, Principles #1 (Embrace reality and deal with it) + #2 (5-Step process to getting what you want in life), and the two AI’s: Artificial Intelligence + Ancient Intelligence.

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The Leader Who Had No Title

A Modern Fable on Real Success in Business and in Life

Robin Sharma is one of the world’s top leadership experts. He’s also an extraordinarily inspiring guy. This is an inspiring fable about a disillusioned former veteran (Blake) who meets a mysterious mentor (Tommy) who introduces him to four exceptional leaders who change his life. Via this fun cast of characters, Robin downloads his ENORMOUS array of wisdom on leadership + personal greatness. Big Ideas we explore: the four keys to leading without a title, how to flip the leadership switch, the power of moving thru fear and embracing adversity, a simple way to optimize your relationships, and training like an athlete to achieve your personal greatness.

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Extreme Ownership

How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win

Jocko Willink and Leif Babin were two of the most senior (and decorated) SEALS on the ground in the most intense battles of Iraq. In this book they share their leadership lessons on how U.S. Navy SEALs lead and win. It’s an intense, impactful read. Big Ideas we explore include a definition of Extreme Ownership, the fact that there are no bad teams, only bad leaders, how to prioritize and execute and remembering that discipline = freedom.

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Executive Toughness

The Mental-Training Program to Increase Your Leadership Performance

Jason Selk is one of the world’s leading peak performance experts. His tagline? “The relentless pursuit of greatness.” If that appeals to you, you’ll love this book. It’s *fantastic*! Big Ideas we explore include the difference between Process and Product Goals, a 100-second mental training workout, why your self-image matters and the REMARKABLE benefits of writing down your goals.

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It Worked for Me

In Life and Leadership

Colin Powell is a retired four-star general in the United States Army and has earned numerous military, civilian, and foreign honors. He served four presidential administrations in a variety of roles, most recently as Secretary of State from 2001 to 2005. In this great book, he shares the wisdom he gained that, as per the title, worked for him in life and leadership. It's fantastic. Big Ideas we explore include a super-quick look at his Thirteen Rules, the power of perpetual optimism (it's a force multiplier!), starting with "It can be done" (but making sure we're optimists and not stupid :), entering the Zone of Calm (essential for a leader), the fact that good leaders know that good plans are revised immediately, and how to deal with fear and failure.

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Louder than Words

Harness the Power of Your Authentic Voice

Todd Henry tells us that history’s most impactful humans all had a unique, powerful, authentic voice. This book is all about helping us harness the power of OUR authentic voice. Three keys: Identity + Vision + Mastery. And, we’ve gotta learn how to own the Big U as we run our own race, have fun in monk mode and practice action + patience.

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Influence

The Psychology of Persuasion, Revised Edition

This is the classic text on the psychology of persuasion. Robert Cialdini is a professor of both psychology and marketing at Arizona State University. He’s one of the world’s leading experts on the psychology of persuasion. The book is simultaneously kind of a consumer protection guide (how not to be duped) AND a manual for marketers (how to sell your stuff!). Cialdini has identified six core psychological principles of persuasion. We take a quick look at each, how they can be used for good or ill and how to apply the wisdom to our lives today.

PhilosophersNotes

Making Hope Happen

Create the Future You Want for Yourself and Others

Did you know there's a science of hope? Yep. And Shane Lopez is the world's leading researchig studying the science of hope. This book is an inspiring look at the nuts and bolts of cultivating hope. Big Ideas we explore include differentiating hope from fantastizing and dwelling, the three keys to hope (goals + agency + pathways) , futurecasting, sirens, when/where plans and why hope is so important for leadership.

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Noble Purpose

The Joy of Living a Meaningful Life

William Damon is one of the world’s leading scientists studying human development and the psychology of morality. In this book, he gives us a guide to discovering and creating our noble purpose. Big Ideas we explore include making a distinction between noble and heroic, the ultimate purpose formula, 9 tips on how to cultivate your noble purpose, the one phrase your advisor should whisper in your ears when you’ve achieved ultimate success, and how to create true, sustainable happiness.

+1s

#68 Law of Leadership: DWYSYWD

Do *You* Do What You Say You Will Do?
Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner are two of the world’s leading academic researchers on the science of leadership. They offer us a few
Locked +1s

#69 Making New Commitments

What to Do When You Need to Adjust Course
In our last +1, we talked about doing what you say you will do. DWYSYWD. Super important if you want to establish a foundation of
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#88 Hope: Leadership’s Secret Sauce

How to Increase Engagement from 1% to 69%
While we’re chatting about the science of hope, let’s focus on a key leadership stat. First, imagine yourself as a leader. (Which, of
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600+ PhilosopherNotes: 6-page PDFs + 20-minute MP3 breaking down the Big Ideas from the world's best books. 50+ Optimal Living 101s: fun, practical, hour-long classes to help you Optimize every facet of your life. 1,000+ Heroic +1s: inspiring, impactful and practical micro-lessons you can apply to your life today. And every (!) day.

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Locked +1s

#221 Think Win/Win +

Habits #4 + #5 of Highly Effective People
Continuing our series on Stephen Covey and his awesome book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, today we’ll look at Habits #4 + #5: Think
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#223 Sharpen Your Saw Again (Please)

Habit #7 of Highly Effective People
Today we wrap up our tour of the 7 Habits. One more pop quiz. Can you recall each of the prior 6? … Insert Jeopardy music here while you
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#244 Extreme Ownership

Navy SEAL Wisdom on Leadership
U.S. Navy SEALs Jocko Willink and Leif Babin were two of the most senior leaders on the ground in the most intense battles of Iraq. They
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#245 On a Bad Team?

SEALs Say: No Bad Team, Just Bad Leaders
In our last +1, Navy SEALs Jocko Willink and Leif Babin told us that leadership is all about EXTREME Ownership. No excuses. No blaming.
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+1s

#274 The Power of Micro Wins

Wisdom from the Head of Research at Harvard Biz School
Continuing our theme of spending time with some of the best productivity thinkers on the planet, let’s cruise on over to Harvard Business
+1s

#282 How to Be Charismatic

Science Says: Presence + Power + Warmth
Charisma. Most people think it’s something you either have or you don’t have. But… That’s a myth. As Olivia Fox Cabane tells us in
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#333 The Empowerment Dynamic

vs. The Dreaded Drama Triangle
David Emerald wrote a great little book called The Power of TED*. TED stands for “The Empowerment Dynamic.” David calls its opposite the
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#410 Command & (/or) Obey

It's Always Your Call, Boss
In Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche tells us: “He who cannot command himself should obey. And many can command themselves, but much is
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#422 Levity + Gravity = Buoyancy

To Sell Is Human — The New ABCs
Dan Pink tells us that To Sell Is Human. Although only 1 in 9 Americans is technically in sales, he says that the other 8 in 9 spend a ton
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#433 Unilaterality

Think: Extreme Ownership Relationship Style
The other day Phil Stutz and I were having another great coaching session. Side note: My stack of notes from our chats is getting so thick
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#446 The Law of Psychological Reactance

The Importance of Reinforcing Autonomy
Have you ever heard of “The Law of Psychological Reactance”? I hadn’t heard of the phrase until I read Instant Influence by Michael
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#475 Want Recognition?

Focus on Being WORTHY of It
Continuing our good times with Confucius, here’s one of the gems from his Analects that has tattooed itself on my brain since I read it a
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600+ PhilosopherNotes: 6-page PDFs + 20-minute MP3 breaking down the Big Ideas from the world's best books. 50+ Optimal Living 101s: fun, practical, hour-long classes to help you Optimize every facet of your life. 1,000+ Heroic +1s: inspiring, impactful and practical micro-lessons you can apply to your life today. And every (!) day.

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#510 Demonstration vs. Instruction

Which One Do YOU Think the World Needs More Of?
Wallace D. Wattles was an old-school Philosopher-Optimizer who wrote The Science of Getting Rich. He also wrote a little book called The
Locked +1s

#576 Soul Force

How’s Yours?
The other day in one of our coaching sessions, Phil and I talked about “soul force.” We arrived at that powerful phrase via a very
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#592 Cog vs. Linchpin

Which Are You?
Seth Godin wrote a great book called Linchpin. In it (and throughout the rest of his massive body of work), he makes a distinction between
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#614 Trust Thyself

Every Heart Vibrates to that Iron String
In our last +1, we talked about the fact that (as per Seneca’s wisdom), we need to let go of “the world’s opinion of you—it’s
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#619 How to Win Forever

After Losing for Over 15 Years
In our last couple +1s, we had fun hanging out with Jerry Rice and scoring some touchdowns. Let’s continue our sports theme for a bit
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#638 Yes Lives in the Land of No

Want a Big YES from Life?! Embrace the No's.
In our last +1, we talked about mastering Ownish and noticing when we slip into Victimese. (We also talked about going all in and mastering
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#648 Making Money BECAUSE You Sleep

Sleeping with Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett
In our last +1, we talked about setting your “work-down” alarm so you don’t need to set a “wake-up” alarm. (For what time did you
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#661 Navy SEAL Cookie Jars

David Goggins on Becoming Superman
In our last couple +1, we talked about flipping the switch and going from our version of Clark Kent to our version of Superman. How? Stand
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Personal development made simple so you can flourish in energy, work, and love. Today.

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#694 (Heroically) Fierce Ambition

What Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and FDR Had in Common
The other day I received a nice little gift from Cal Newport. In fact, it was one of my favorite gifts ever. A book. But not just any book.
Locked +1s

#772 Let’s Try to Be Optimists

But Try Not to Be Stupid
Let’s wrap up our quick look at Colin Powell’s thoughts on the power of grounded optimism with one more gem. This one’s from Rule #4
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#824 Being the Change

YOU Want to See in the World
I just finished reading Eknath Easwaran’s brilliant biography on Gandhi called Gandhi the Man. I HIGHLY recommend it if you’d like to
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#825 An Enraged Mister Rogers

Channeling His Fierce Love
In our last +1, we talked about being the change we want to see in the world. I asked: What change DO you want to see? (Well… What is it?!
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600+ PhilosopherNotes: 6-page PDFs + 20-minute MP3 breaking down the Big Ideas from the world's best books. 50+ Optimal Living 101s: fun, practical, hour-long classes to help you Optimize every facet of your life. 1,000+ Heroic +1s: inspiring, impactful and practical micro-lessons you can apply to your life today. And every (!) day.

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Locked +1s

#882 How to Win Friends and Influence People

Rule #1 (STOP Criticizing!)
In our last couple +1s, we had fun taking beams out of our own eyes (rather than worrying about the motes of dust in others’ eyes) while
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#1028 Serving vs. Pleasing

Goeswith Hatred and Misunderstanding
Phil Stutz and I recently celebrated our 3-year coaching anniversary. I think we’ve missed one of our weekly sessions since that very
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#1034 Moral Authority

The Highest Form of Leadership Influence
I’m a big fan of John Maxwell and his extraordinary books on Leadership. So… When I saw he had a new book out, I immediately got it.
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#1054 On Humility

Thinking of Ourselves Less
This morning I was reading John Maxwell’s new book on leadership called Leadershift. He was talking about the importance of humility and
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#1055 When 1 + 1 = 4

Let’s Pull Together!
Not too long ago, we talked about the fact that 1 + 1 doesn’t always equal 2. In fact, as Ellen Langer tells us, the answer to the
Locked PhilosophersNotes

EntreLeadership

20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches

I just love his no-nonsense, straight-to-the-point approach. His words pack a wise punch. We already profiled another one of his great books, The Total Money Makeover, and I’m excited to have some fun taking a quick peek at a few of my favorite Big Ideas from this equally great book: EntreLeadership, where he shares his best “practical business wisdom” he’s learned “from the trenches.” Big Ideas include understanding that you are the problem (and the solution!), the importance of passion and vision, and how it takes about fifteen years to be an overnight success. Good stuff!

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Welcome to Harry Potter #4. It’s time for the Quidditch World Cup, the Goblet of Fire, and the Triwizard Tournament. And... Voldemort’s back. Emerson and I had fun hammering through this 752-page tome a little every night. Even just picking up the book and asking him how we’d get through it was a lesson in breaking down big goals into bite-sized small wins! Big Ideas we explore include: The commitment with which you need to enter your name into the Goblet of Fire, two quick tips on how to win a battle with a dragon, how to deal with critics, the magic of the Pensieve (and the fact you already have a magic wand), embracing our complexity Dumbledore style and the power of courageously confronting reality.

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Instant Influence

How to Get Anyone to Do Anything—Fast

I got this book after reading Dan Pink's To Sell Is Human. As he says in the front-cover testimonial: "The rare book that is both practical and profound." If you'd like to, as the sub-title suggests, get anyone (including yourself!!) to do anything (fast!), then I think you'll enjoy the book. Big Ideas we cover include: the 3 guiding principles and the 5-steps of the Instant Influence process, the law of psychological reactance (and how to avoid it! hint: focus on autonomy!), and creating an action plan plus a personal contract to rock it.

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Leadershift

The 11 Essential Changes Every Leader Must Embrace

This is our 4th Note on one of John Maxwell’s books. We also have Notes on The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, and How Successful People Think. John is one of my absolute favorite writers and teachers. His books are *ridiculously* packed with Big Ideas. (Like, jumbo-ridiculously packed with practical wisdom.) As we’ve discussed, he’s one of the world’s leading authorities on leadership. He’s sold over 25 million copies of his dozens of books that have been translated into over 50 languages. His organizations have also trained leaders in EVERY single country around the world. This is his most recent book, written after FIFTY (!) years of leadership. As per the sub-title, John walks us through the “11 Essential Changes” he has made and that he encourages every leader to embrace. Big Ideas we explore include a quick look at the 11 essential leadershifts, layered learning (compound those +1s!), consistency (how to pay the price of leadership), moral authority (the highest form of leadership!), and the Clock + the Compass (how to fulfill your destiny TODAY).

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The Art of Connection

7 Relationship-Building Skills Every Leader Needs Now

Michael Gelb is one of the world’s leading creativity teachers. He’s also a qi gong and aikido master who wrote one of my favorite books: “How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci.” In this book, he teaches us the art of creating connection. Big Ideas we explore include how to optimize our ability to connect (practice with the little moments!), The Pygmalion Effect (aka the self-fulfilling prophecy), the importance of centering for conflict resolution, and how our addiction to digital devices (ADD) is leading to attention deficit disorder (ADD) which is leading to troubles in connecting and what to do about it.

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The Common Denominator of Success

Laws of Leadership, Volume IX

This is a dinky little pamphlet of a book based on a speech Albert E.N. Gray gave to a group of Prudential Life insurance agents back in 1940. It’s packed with goodness and is uber-popular. In this Note, we define The Common Denominator of Success, identify the power of purpose and the fact that your future is formed by your habits.

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The Other 90%

How to Unlock Your Vast Untapped Potential for Leadership and Life

Newsflash: You're only using 10% of your potential. Max. Good news is Robert Coopers' got a lot of awesome Ideas on how we can rock "the other 90%"! In this Note, we’ll look at the power of syntropy (entropy = a tendency for things to break down whereas syntropy = the tendency for things to perfect themselves), lighthouses (know your values and be a lighthouse, not a weathervane) and other such goodness.

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600+ PhilosopherNotes: 6-page PDFs + 20-minute MP3 breaking down the Big Ideas from the world's best books. 50+ Optimal Living 101s: fun, practical, hour-long classes to help you Optimize every facet of your life. 1,000+ Heroic +1s: inspiring, impactful and practical micro-lessons you can apply to your life today. And every (!) day.

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The Right Kind of Crazy

A True Story of Teamwork, Leadership, and High-Stakes Innovation

Adam Steltzner is the right kind of crazy. How else do you figure out a sky crane to drop a rover on Mars? (Hah.) In this book, he walks us through "A true story of teamwork, leadership, and high-stakes innovation." Big Ideas we cover include the power of holding on to the doubt (#HOTTD!), embracing the Dark Room, working out and shopping at Radio Shack on Mars.

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You Are the Leader You’ve Been Waiting For

You are the leader you’ve been waiting for. And, this great little book by Eric Klein provides some valuable insights on how to step into that role and rock it. If you’d like to enjoy high performance and high fulfillment at work, I think you’ll dig it. Big Ideas in the Note include understanding what Authentic Leadership is and how to have it, the importance of values + gifts + calling and how to quit being a Lotus Eater or Burnout as we become a blessing to the world.