Category Archives: Resources

10 Books that Will Improve Your Life

Every year I read at least 50 books. With so many goods ones even at one per week it seem to make hardly a dent. My reading focuses on personal development, history & biography, business, and literature (my guilty pleasures are detective and historical fiction).

10 Books that Will Improve Your Life

While I generally keep abreast of current works, I also look back to see what older books and classics I have missed. Here are the best:

Personal Development:

The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

While I do not agree with their separation of the mental and emotional spheres, Loehr and Schwartz’s case studies of how they guide people to live more in concert with their values and aspirations is full of ideas for helping you do the same. About a month ago I began following their diet plan to increase energy and it works.

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall

Not just for runners, it is an inspiring story of human potential, how to get physically fit, and why conventional wisdom sometimes is wrong. Were it not for Melanie’s concern about family time, it might have motivated me to become an ultra-marathoner.

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

THE CLASSIC BOOK ON FINDING MEANING IN YOUR LIFE. Holocaust survivor Frankl examines the internal struggle that led some people to not only endure the concentration camps but find significance to life beyond physical survival. (For a vividly shocking portrayal of what American and British soldiers found when they liberated the camps read Rick Atkinson’s The Guns at Last Light.)

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

I wrote an entire blog post about this remarkable book. Suffice it to say if you want to be an Intentionalist it is required reading.

Against Fairness by Stephen Asma

Asma’s insightful investigation into the ethic and impact of fairness will cause you to think a second time. If you believe fairness should be a societal principle, you have no better opportunity to exercise and strengthen your values than by trying to refute his argument.

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History and Biography:

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson

This Don Quixote-like story of the American ambassador to Nazi Germany belies many of the beliefs about the lead up to World War II and societal mores in the pre-war world. It will help you better distinguish between myth and fact throughout your life.

Dreadnought by Robert K. Massie

Ostensibly about the naval arms race in the decades prior to World War I, in reality it is a study in diplomacy. A fascinating illustration of how the good and bad inclinations of individuals can be governed or given free reign so as to mobilize nations and their people to peace or war.

Triumph: The Untold Story of Jesse Owens and Hitler's Olympics by Jeremy Schaap

Too often knowing the details of a legendary person’s life diminishes his greatness. Jesse Owens’s humanness and authenticity secure his rightfully mythic stature.

Joseph Haydn: His Life and Works by Jeremy Siepmann

Books about composers and musicians are incomplete without illustrative musical accompaniment. This audio books brings to life the splendor of Haydn’s music and his human decency.


Business and Entrepreneurship:

The People's Tycoon: Henry Ford and the American Century by Steven Watts

You cannot understand business without knowing Ford’s impact. He made all the classic entrepreneurial mistakes yet became fabulously wealthy. Neither fawning nor condemnatory, Watts deftly shows genius is no guarantor of success or virtue and populism no assurance of justice.

What books did you read this year that you recommend

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Please Take My 2014 Readers Survey

Just like I recommend you periodically evaluate your life and progress toward your goals, it is time for me to do the same with my blog. I want it to make it better and more relevant to your needs and interests. To do this, I need YOUR input. As a result I have put together my 2014 Readers Survey.

2014 Readers Survey

Would you help me by taking a few minutes to answer six questions? You will also be helping yourself because I can make my content eve more relevant and interesting for you.

Your input is important to me. The survey is easy to fill out. Results are completely anonymous. I cannot find out who said what. It will take less than three minutes of your time.

Thank you in advance for helping me.

An Indispensable Resource on Military Leadership Lessons

Recently I commented to a friend that I admired his reading business books. Although they have valuable ideas, the writing is less than enthralling. You probably don't have nearly as much time to read as you'd like. But having come across a series of short books containing practical leadership lessons embedded in captivating narratives I knew I had to tell you about them. I mentioned one of them, Patton in my list of the 10 best books I read last year.

I've read five of the 14 biographies in Palgrave Macmillan’s Great Generals series. Written by some of the best military historians, such as Alex Axelrod, Donald A. Davis, H. Paul Jeffers, and Jim Lacey, all were outstanding. Each takes about 7 hours to read or listen to. They cover the subject’s early life, military career, and civilian life after the army if he had one, emphasizing the qualities each general groomed in himself, how he worked with mentors, the significant mistakes he made, and how he overcame them.

Leadership and Personal Development

While its goal is leadership development, the series is equally valuable as a personal development tool.

Rather than proclaiming their subject’s greatness, each general’s eminence becomes self-evident as his story unfolds.

Having read these, I personally recommend:

An Indispensable Resource on Military Leadership Lessons Marshall (Great Generals)

An Indispensable Resource on Military Leadership Lessons Bradley (Great Generals)

An Indispensable Resource on Military Leadership Lessons Pershing (Great Generals)

An Indispensable Resource on Military Leadership Lessons Stonewall Jackson (Great Generals)

An Indispensable Resource on Military Leadership Lessons Patton: A Biography (Great Generals)

I plan to read the other nine, which are:

An Indispensable Resource on Military Leadership Lessons Custer (Great Generals)

An Indispensable Resource on Military Leadership Lessons Washington (Great Generals)

An Indispensable Resource on Military Leadership Lessons Sherman (Great Generals)

An Indispensable Resource on Military Leadership Lessons Andrew Jackson (Great Generals)

An Indispensable Resource on Military Leadership Lessons LeMay (Great Generals)

An Indispensable Resource on Military Leadership Lessons MacArthur (Great Generals)

An Indispensable Resource on Military Leadership Lessons Grant (Great Generals)

An Indispensable Resource on Military Leadership Lessons Robert E. Lee (The Great Generals)

An Indispensable Resource on Military Leadership LessonsEisenhower: A Biography (Great Generals)

My email to Palgrave Macmillan wasn't answered, but it appears the series is ongoing so hopefully it will come to include General Henry “Hap” Arnold, General Winfield Scott, and General Matthew B. Ridgway.

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I'm curious to know if you have read any of these already and if so what you think about them.

What is your biggest challenge to reading more?

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Improve Your Motivation at Practically No Cost

Passionate as I am about classic movies, I could not miss the opportunity to see To Sir With Love on the big screen. An iconic film of the mid-1960s, it embodies the hope of its time.  New approaches to chronic societal challenges will make a better world. Powerful in its simplicity, it provides the most inspiring motivation.

Improve Your Motivation at Practically No Cost

If you have not seen this diamond, it stars arguably the greatest actor of the latter half of the 20th century, Sidney Poitier.  He plays a new teacher (Sir) at an East End London school attended by kids no other school would tolerate. Perhaps timeworn by today’s standards, such a topic was groundbreaking in 1967.

Okay Rabs, so it is great. But why should I care about a half-century old movie?

None One Is an Endless Well of Motivation & Self-Inspiration

While we do not need to be told about the qualities it takes to succeed, we all need to be reminded.

To Sir With Love kindles a fire of awareness as to why certain characteristics are crucial to success.  Especially as a human being, we need:

  • Integrity
  • Mutual Respect
  • Self-Discipline
  • Persistence
  • Humility

It vividly demonstrates:

  • The Difference One Person Can Make
  • The Importance of Mentorship
  • How to Handle Celebrity

And one more . . .

The most poignant moment in the movie occurs when the students refuse to personally deliver flowers to the funeral of their classmate’s mother because his father is black. They refuse to risk the social stigma. When the camera cuts to a close-up of Sir, he does not lash back at them. This despite their ridiculousness assertion he cannot understand what they would go through. Rather, he engages in a moment of quiet contemplation. Finally, he responds by thanking them for their explaining the situation to him.

Sidney Poitier vividly demonstrates the power of empathy over the desire for personal vindication.

Whether you have previously seen To Sir With Love before, rent, stream, or somehow see this movie. It will boost your motivation, propel you into action.

How do you remind yourself of the qualities you are grooming in yourself?

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Veterans Program Launches Today!

I am thrilled to announce the launch of A HIGHER CALLING – Chaplains for Veterans

Round-the-clock chaplain access to veterans and their family members
Helping Hand for Veterans

By dialing toll-free, (800) 80-VETS-4 [800-808-3874], any veteran from World War II to the Gulf Wars can speak to a chaplain. So can their family members. They will not be asked in which branch they served, whether they were wounded or disabled, what type of discharge they received, or if they have a religious affiliation. They will have to answer only one question:

“How may I help you?”
For many service members a chaplain was their lifeline at a time of dire need. Spiritual crisis, emotional trauma, physical debility, a chaplain is there for active duty personnel. But such difficulties do not end when a veteran sheds his uniform for the last time. Confronted with transitioning to civilian life, the need for chaplain support can be greater. But . . .

  • Active duty chaplains are busy taking care of their soldiers, Marines, sailors, airmen, and Coastguardsmen. Many of them are deployed with their people. They simply cannot shoulder the responsibility of caring for veterans.
  • The Veterans Administration does not have enough chaplains to minister to the patients in their hospitals, let alone their clinics and other facilities.
  • Wounded Warriors, The Soldiers Project, and other worthwhile organizations are taking care of the critically wounded, physically and emotionally, or training heath care professionals to do so better.

What about the veterans who do not have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or are not disabled to the point where they rate care at a VA facility? To where can they turn at a moment of crisis and know they can speak to someone who understands their situation, has shared their experiences?

Two of my colleagues, Father Christopher Allen and Dr. Bryan Dove, and I started A HIGHER CALLING – Chaplains for Veterans to fill this gap. You can learn more about this exciting new venture at the website for the Institute for Living Intentionally.

Do you know a veteran who needs help? Pass along our number, (800) 80-VETS-4 [800-808-3874]. Heck, tell anyone who is willing to listen we are here to help veterans and their families.

Would you like to support our work? Come on active duty with us. You will not have to go to boot camp and have a drill sergeant scream at you day and night (unless you want to – we will arrange it)! By contributing a minimum of $18 per month, the cost to help one veteran, you can enlist in A HIGHER CALLING – Chaplains for Veterans Active Duty Program and be our partner in helping veterans secure a share of the American dream they fought to preserve. Donate here.

Please pass our number along to one veteran that you know and then join us on Active Duty here! Comment here.


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