A full-time leader, one of my greatest needs is knowledge and continuing education. With that in mind, I read one or two books a month, spanning topics such as Leadership, Creativity, Biographies, Human Psychology, Branding and Innovation. Here's an up-to-date, ranked list of those whom have impacted and influenced me the most. Some of these I return to regularly and read again and again. Here’s my top 50-ish:
The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer // This book changed my life and transformed my understanding of who I am.
Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life by Richard Rohr
The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni
Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. by Brené Brown
Silos, Politics and Turf Wars: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
The Five Temptations of a CEO: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni
Traction: Get a Grip On Your Business by Gino Wickman
Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam Grant
Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit
Originals: How Nonconformists Move the World by Adam Grant
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
Just This: Prompts And Practices For Contemplation by Richard Rohr
Ego Is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Theil
Shoe Dog: A memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight
Who: The A Method for Hiring by Geoff Smart and Randy Street
Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
Get A Grip: How to Get Everything You Want from Your Entrepreneurial Business by Gino Wickman and Mike Paton
Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It...and Why the Rest Don't by Vern Harnish
Meetings Suck by Cameron Herold
David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell
Zag: The Number One Strategy of High-Performance Brands by Marty Neumeier
Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big by Bo Burlinggham
- Updated July 27, 2019 --
In addition to books, there's so much wonderful dynamic content, ideas and interviews continuously flowing through Podcasting. Here's a few I recommend and listen to regularly:
WorkLife with Adam Grantn // Brilliant academic on the science of human systems. Be sure to check out the April 2, 2019 episode on “An Office Without Assholes.” This episode actually helped me come to terms with some assholes I needed to confront in my life.
2 Dope Queens by WNYC Studios // Phoebe and Jessica are funny. They’re black. They’re BFFs. And they host a a live comedy show in Brooklyn. Join the 2 Dope Queens, along with their favorite comedians, for stories about sex, romance, race, hair journeys, living in New York, and Billy Joel.
Reply All by Gimlet Media // A podcast “about the internet” that is actually an unfailingly original exploration of modern life and how to survive it.
Women at Work by The Harvard Business Review // Women face gender discrimination throughout our careers. It doesn't have to derail our ambitions — but how do we prepare to deal with it? HBR editors Amy Bernstein, Amy Gallo, and Nicole Torres tell stories about their own experiences, and give lots of practical advice to help you succeed in spite of the obstacles. Check out this episode on: There’s More to Gender Than “Man” and “Woman”
Broken Record with Malcolm Gladwell and Rick Rubin // They dissect some of the greatest records, artists and stories of all time. Be sure to check out the two-part episode with Questlove, where he breaks down the making of D’Angelo’s Voodoo record and also the critical feedback President Obama gave him after DJ-ing the biggest party in the history of the White House.
Making Sense with Sam Harris // Join neuroscientist, philosopher, and meditation guru Sam Harris as he explores important and controversial questions about the human mind, society, and current events. Be sure to check out his interviews with Adam Grant on “Understanding Humans in the Wild” and with Rebecca Traister on “Is #MeToo Going Too Far?”
On Being with Krista Tipett --> check out episodes with Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant, and one with Richard Rohr
Invisibilia by NPR --> check out the episode on The Culture Inside (exploring implicit bias)
The Future of What by Kill Rock Stars' Portia Sabin // Music industry topics deconstructed
The Nod by Gimlet Media // The Nod tells the stories of Black life that don’t get told anywhere else, from an explanation of how purple drink became associated with Black culture to the story of how an interracial drag troupe traveled the nation in the 1940s.
Still Processing by The New York Times // A culture conversation with Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham
The Science of Success by Matt Bodnar --> Check out July 19, 2018 episode on Making Smart Decisions When You Don't Have All The Facts
Heat Rocks with Morgan Rhodes and Oliver Wang. // Join music writer Oliver Wang and music supervisor Morgan Rhodes each week as they invite their favorite artists, critics and scholars for in-depth conversations about the albums that shape our lives.
99% Invisible by Roman Mars // Design is everywhere in our lives, perhaps most importantly in the places where we've just stopped noticing. 99% Invisible is a weekly exploration of the process and power of design and architecture.
The Tim Ferris Show // The New York Times calls Tim a cross between Jack Welch and a Buddhist monk. He deconstructs world class performers from eclectic areas (investing, chess, pro sports, etc.), digging deep to find the tools, tactics, and tricks that listeners can use. Be sure to check out his rare interview with Jim Collins.
Radical Candor // Expanding on the transformational book “Radical Candor” by Kim Scott, it’s a show about how not to hate the boss you have...or be the boss you hate.
Dear HBR // With empathy, experience, and humor, veteran Harvard Business Review editors and co-hosts Alison Beard and Dan McGinn explore solutions to your workplace dilemmas. Bolstered by insights from guests and academic research, they help you navigate thorny situations to find a better way forward.
The RobCast with Rob Bell --> Full disclosure: this one gets into religion, Christianity and questioning all of it.
- Updated July 28th, 2019 --
Experts and Advisors
These people are experts and advisors I've collected along my journey that've significantly impacted me, my leadership and development, and also my teams, people and my business. I consider all of them personal friends, and I highly recommend all of these, without exception.
Serilda Summers-McGee // Founder and CEO of Workplace Change, Serilda is the City of Portland’s Chief Human Resources Officer. She’s previously held down roles as Director of Human Resources for The Oregon Department of Education, she headed Diversity and Recruitment for Kaiser Permanente, served as Assistant Dean at Reed College and more. A Jedi and expert teacher in all things related to People, Leadership, HR, Diversity and Policy. // changetheworkgame.com
Ellie Byrd // Ellie is the Founder and CEO of ForumSherpa, an executive leadership organization that provides tools and services for high-functioning peer teams called Forums. As a Forum specialist, Ellie spends the majority of her time traveling the world and working with teams of CEO’s, Presidents and entrepreneurs. She’s a certified E:OS (Traction) facilitator. // forumsherpa.com
Mario Schulzke // A longtime friend, mentor and marketing genius, Mario's passion and determination has inspired me in more ways than I can count. Along with Chris Corbin, Mario’s also part of The Western Writers League, where we collaborate on individual essays on topics of growth, learning and creativity. // mario.to
Kasia Rutledge and Rakeem Washington // Kasia and Rakeem are an incredible two-person team who lead interactive workshops on race, equity and inclusion. Their workshops focus on building understanding and skills to recognize when oppression is happening, increase awareness of power and systemic structures, identify one’s role and ability to engage, and develop hands-on tools to help interrupt and address racism. They unpack white privilege, microagressions, inter-sectionalism, white power and more, providing practical tools and practices to improve organizations and teams of people. // firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
My Writing Team
These people help, encourage and challenge me to be a better writer. They’re my x-factor. I am eternally thankful.
Michelle Goldstein // A brilliantly creative writer, Michelle leads all copywriting endeavors at Marmoset, and provides editing, ideation and wonderful critical feedback for virtually all of my writing. If you think my writing is good, it’s because of Michelle. // mmchelle.com
Rachel Schmidt // Rachel’s experience running a digital marketing agency, along with her passion for being part of something meaningful, provides a perfect sounding board for the topics I choose to explore. Rachel manages a variety of projects with me, both at Marmoset and with other community activities I participate in. She edits and helps improve my writing in more ways than I can list.
Chris Corbin // in 2018 Chris Corbin, Mario Schulzke and myself formed a writing group, for collaboration, accountability and to have a medium to deepen our friendship together. We call it The Western Writers League. Moreover, Chris is a kindred spirit — constantly seeking out new ways to learn, grow and improve our individual selves, along with our communities. Chris runs a brand agency based in Bend, Oregon and is a cuddle bug. // chriscorbin.me
I've had the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of groups, associations, and have served on a few boards. No organization has greater contributed to my continual development -- both as a human and as a leader -- than the Entrepreneurs' Organization.
Entrepreneurs' Organization (known widely as EO) is a global non-profit organization, whose stated mission is to "Engage leading entrepreneurs to learn and grow." Originally known as Young Entrepreneurs' Organization, it was founded by Verne Harnish in 1987 and now has more than 10,000 members globally.
My local chapter in Portland, Oregon is a vibrant community of more than 100 active and engaged Founders, CEOs and Leaders with more learning and connection opportunities than I could have ever imagined. EO has been and continues to be a critical part of my continued growth and development. eonetwork.org
Yes, I'm a music guy. It's an undeniable, inseparable part of my DNA. I own six different vintage sound systems -- mostly from the 70's, all of which have turntables, receivers and are fully powered-up and ready to go. So here's what regularly gets the most spins on my turntable -- and on my Spotify.
This is my boy, Desmond, when he was about one year old. He inspires me daily to be the best dad I can be.