How I find Great Books

A friend and I were talking the other day and he mentioned a few of the books I had recommended to him that he had just finished. He was telling me all the stuff he was learning from them and we began discussing the implications of them in our lives.

Then he asked me, “How do you always recommend great books?”

I thought that was an interesting question and so we spent some time talking through my thought process on which books to buy, read and recommend. At the conclusion of this conversation he encouraged me to share this with you so that you might be able to apply them as well. Continue reading

What I am reading: Lessons from Wooden

John Wooden was an amazing basketball coach. I always admired him because while he cared about winning he also spent much of his time helping his men develop character. His book helps frame up some of the things he has learned over the years and outlines his approach to his coaching career.  He hits 2 main points over and over again. While he does not list then in this way they are present throughout his writing.


  1. Lessons he learned from his father.
  2. Lessons he learned from observation.

These 2 types of lessons are extremely valuable when considering his definition of success. To Wooden success is doing your absolute best effort. Winning a game or even championship may come as a result of your best effort or it may not. Ultimate success however is not determined by the terms of points or sales. Those things may mean a goal was achieved but do not indicate the success that matters at the end of your life.

Lessons from his father.

You can see the influence of his father in this statement taken from page 145 when he says “my dad taught me not to measure in comparison to others but rather on the quality of my efforts to improve.” Clearly that impacted his understanding of what success really was. He speaks of it being an evolving concept that took a stronger hold as he got older.

Lessons from observation.

Throughout the book he speaks of times in his career when he did things wrong or when he adjusted things as he moved on as well as understood people. On page 146 he says, “For a period of years at UCLA I was guilty of worrying over some issues that I could do nothing about.” However, he continues, “Eventually, I overcame it…” This is the important because it lends to never stop learning. (That is another post altogether.)

Throughout the book He continually makes statements of wisdom that I believe come from one of either of these sources. Here are a few of my favorite.

  • If you can’t control your emotions, your emotions will control you. (27)
  • Self-control contributes to consistency in all areas that matter. (40)
  • In any context, what happens after a missed opportunity, mistake or failure is crucial. (71)
  • Effort is the measure of a man. (85)
  • While I could nourish and test character, give the young man a chance to show character, I was not able to instill character where it did not exist. (104)
  • Have the courage to be yourself; have the intelligence to make yourself as good as you can be. (146)
  • Adversity thins the ranks of your competitors. (153)
  • Passion is temporary. (171)
  • The force of character is cumulative. (192)

What is it to you?

  • Read the whole book. If you think any one of the statements above is true or applicable to where you are or where you want to go then you need to read this book. The value in it is tremendous.
  • Teachings of your father. Revisit all the things that you learned from your dad. Some he may have said and others he may never have said but were shouted loud and clear by his actions. These are sometimes the more important lessons that take us years to comprehend.  Revisit these lessons and think on them and how they have impacted your life.
  • Lessons from observation. Your observations could be in hindsight of any of your experiences or from those experiences that you have observed others going through. Thinks through those days and moments that shaped who you are and how they have impacted your life.

Do you have the answers?

source: Riofage

Having the answers means you have the KNOWLEDGE.

When you hear at knowledge the first thing that comes to mind, at least for me, is information. Knowing a lot of information is great except if it is all about something that does not matter. The biggest question here is not do you have knowledge but do you have knowledge about the right things?

Having the right knowledge leads to things. Here are the biggest of them.

  • Proficiency. When you have the right set of knowledge it leads to the opportunity to be the best at what you do. When you have the knowledge you can build those around you and under you.
  • Having the Answers. When you have the knowledge you have the answers. when people need answers they will come to you because you know. This will consistently grow your impact. More people have questions then we tend to think. They are just not always sure who to ask. When you make yourself available with knowledge you will gain an audience quickly.
  • Teaching others. Your influence grows the more you can explain to others not only what to do but why to do it. As you grow in your knowledge and your ability to transfer that knowledge to others you will have more and more opportunities to do so.

Most likely we have all heard someone say,

If you know what to do you will always have a job, but if you know why to do it you will always be in charge.

This is important because what you know matters just as much as what you can do. Doing is a huge part of working at your job, but knowing has a bigger part in leading.

So how do I gain Knowledge?

There are a few easy ways to gain that knowledge that will position you as with proficiency so that you can have the answers as well as the teaching opportunities to impact others.

  • Reading. Do not just read the stuff that is required but also find the cutting edge stuff in your field. You should be going through books on a consistent basis. Devouring these books will only serve you as your mind continues to process what needs to happen and makes available to you the opportunity to inflict change rather than be changed. If you are looking for help finding great books check out how I do it.
  • Mentors. That’s right, plural. There are two main types of mentors that you can grab. The first type of mentor is the one who is just a few steps in front of you. This mentor will be of great value to you as they have just lived what you are going through. Here you want to ask them the small what ifs?, when do I’s?, and how do I’s? The small things are a large part of the conversations. However, with the second, you call big. This guy is, as Tim Ferriss says, your Ubermentor. With this mentor you are consistent discussing the big picture of where you want to go and who you want to be. Your Ubermentor should be someone who embodies your end result. Between the two mentors, your knowledge will just continue to grow.
  • Questions. Simply put, if you want to be the guy everyone around you or under you asks for answers you have to be willing to find the guy above you that is that same guy. That person may or may not be your next step mentor but when you need answers you must know where to get them. This will come into play huge when you do not know the answer to someone’s question. When you know where to find it and can get back to them, you maintain the position of being the guy with answers.

If you can be the guy that has the answers you can make yourself that indispensible player on any team. Spend a few minutes and see if you can find the answers you need to have the knowledge that makes other people have to come to you to get the answers.

The Best Question Ever.

I came across a book I read a while back by Andy Stanely and remember it being fantastic! Here is my basic outline of the book but there is so much more in the book that he unpacks so I suggest reading the book in its entirety.


The Best Question Ever 

The Question: What is the wise thing to do?

The Reference points: Past, Present, Future

  • Past – In light of my past experiences, what is the wise thing to do?
  • Present – In light of my current circumstances, what is the wise thing to do?
  • Future – In light of my future hopes and dreams, what is the wise thing to do?

In light of my past experiences, my current circumstances, and my future hopes and dreams, what is the wise thing to do?

Applied: Financially, Relationally, Morally, Professionally, Spiritually,

Three Main Avenues: Time, Finances, Morals

Time – 5 Truths

  1. There is a cumulative value to investing small amounts of time in certain activities over a long period of time.
  2. There are rarely any immediate consequences for neglecting single installments of time in any arena of life.
  3. Neglect has a cumulative effect.
  4. There is no cumulative value to the urgent things that we allow to interfere with the important things.
  5. In the critical arenas of life, you cannot make up for lost time.

Finances – 5 places money goes when I get paid

  1. Spend it
  2. Repay debt
  3. Pay taxes
  4. Save it
  5. Give it

Goal is to flip the order of these 5 categories with our finances.

  1. Give it
  2. Save it
  3. Pay Taxes
  4. Repay debt
  5. Spend it

Morality – New Fences!

  • Every poor moral decision is prefaced by a series of unwise choices.
  • Take extreme measures in extreme circumstances.

WIsdom in Counsel

  • It is next to impossible to discern the voice of wisdom when our emotions are raging.
  • When you do not know what the wise thing to do is….do nothing! When wise people bump up against their limitations, they stop and ask for help.
  • They know what they don’t know, and they make sure they know someone who does.
  • You will never reach your full potential without help and advice from the outside.
  • “The Fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10) – here “fear” is referring to – recognition and reverence that leads to submission.
  • The beginning of wisdom is the recognition of and submission to the One who designed things to work the way things work.