2019 Reading List

Below you’ll find the “Quick Takes” from my 2019 reading list. The quick lesson is my attempt to distill the key lesson from the book in three to five sentences and one way to take action on the lesson.


The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention and Energy by Chris Bailey

Productivity isn’t about how much you do; it is about much you accomplish. It is about managing your time, energy and attention. The most productive people effectively manage all three and constantly works to spend each more intentionally.

Application: Be intentional about preserving your time, attention and energy, and deliberate about where you spend each.


The Emigrant Edge: How to Make it Big in America by Brian Buffini

In the United States, the streets are paved in gold, but to the people who were born here, it looks like asphalt. People who emigrate from other countries have an edge. They understand the land of opportunity. Anyone can adopt and develop that edge.

Application: See your life and opportunities through the eyes of an immigrant.


Perennial Seller: The Art of Making and Marketing Work that Lasts by Ryan Holiday

“We are all selling ideas. Whatever the form, the process is the same.” People fail because they lack a strategy, fail to track progress and are too focused on immediate results versus long term success. Focus on building something that lasts.

Application: Develop a strategy that positions you within striking distance of success.


Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising by Ryan Holiday

Marketing and product development are not two separate functions. Marketing should be built into your product or service. Make everything you do testable, trackable and scalable.

Application: Build marketing into every aspect of your product or service.


No B.S. Marketing to the Affluent by Dan Kennedy

Businesses need to make a choice about the customer they will serve. Businesses should clearly serve those who have the ability and willingness to purchase.

Application: Be very intentional about the customer you serve and your unique selling proposition.

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALS Lead and Win by Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

High-performance leaders practice taking full responsibility for every outcome. Great leaders provide clarity and identify priorities. They then decentralize command and empower their team to execute.

Application: Empower your team to execute without fear or blame.


Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Makin More and Working Less

The world is a series of systems. Our lives and our jobs are also comprised of a series of systems. Our job is to manage those systems so that they serve us.

Application: Look for and document the systems in your life and work.


Emerson’s Essay on Compensation by Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is an absolute balance in nature.  Everything has a benefit and a cost.  You must pay a price for everything, and everything comes at a cost.  You cannot do good without benefit, and you cannot do wrong without recompense. 

Application: Consider the cost and benefit of everything you do.

Read my full summary here.


Do the Work

Resistance is the response of our self-doubt and ego to a brave and creative impulse. Don’t try to eliminate resistance.  It is always there.  Do the work anyway.

Application: Motivation is for amateurs.  Your feelings are irrelevant.  Do the work.

Read my full summary here.


Looking for More Great Books?

I hope you’ve enjoyed the quick lessons from my 2019 book summaries. Here are other book lists I’ve compiled:


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