Thirteen (13) food for thought fun needle movers you should take time to read in 2023

Prioritize growth…take time to read in 2023

Here are thirteen (13) food for thought fun needle movers you should take time to read in 2023. My challenge last year and this year is to go beyond myself. So, I made a conscious effort to shake things up from my familiar life and surroundings. In doing so, I had to be resourceful. This is a strong set of authors and narratives that are keyed into everything from mind, spirit, politics, and economics to discipline and heart. All of it is to enhance your life and outlook. This is the life-enhancing material outside of the GU Master’s program and any continuing education courses I focused on in 2022.  If you have a book or an author that you think would add value to my or any else’s quality of life, please reach out. Above all, take time to read in 2023, the year of the Rabbit!

Must Reads


1. Autobiography of a Yogi: 1946, Paramahansa Yogananda [4.2/5] Genre (Autobiography)

I am starting with this as I went at it on my first trip to Morocco in early 2022. I got through a lot of it on my train rides like the one I took from Casa to Fez. It was recommended to me by someone who change my life so profoundly when I was suffering from chronic self-doubt. What can I say, I had lost my mental mojo in the folds and speed of life moving from one environment to another. While the book is fantastical, you follow the author throughout his life and he claims to be factual. I followed along doing my best to read without judgment or intent. There are some awesome lessons to be learned and the perspective is vastly different from anything else you will read. It’s deeply religious and has a spirit of kindness. However, I will warn you, it’s for everyone but not everyone is for it.

2. Be Water My Friend, The True Teachings of Bruce Lee: 2020, Shannon Lee [5/5] Genre (Biography, Personal Success)

I read this book throughout my first round of Art Baseling. It was a profound trip that triggered a different tangent in life. There wasn’t a better time to read this book. Shannon Lee did this piece justice. Bruce Lee and his legacy are a true gift to this world, I am so honored to have been able to be still and absorb the message. If you listen to the gurus of today, like Dr. Joe Dispenza, they all are saying the same thing. Bring your energy back to you and be intentional about how you are showing up in life. Move and act with purpose.

3. The Elements of Power: Gadgets, Guns, and the Struggle for a Sustainable Future in the Rare Metal Age: 2015, David S. Abraham [5/5] Genre (Economics, Technology)

This was one of my favorites this year. If you care about trade, economics, and the environment, you are among people who no longer look at everyday news through the same lens. With globalization, the vehicles through which commerce has scaled become more important. Technology is evolving rapidly to support growth that partnerships among private and public organizations and nations globally have become vital to forward momentum in tech innovation. However, most people don’t stop to think about how tech scales. What changed? For one tech has gotten smaller (handheld devices) and more portable through lighter and different materials. The internet has increased the speed of transactions and connectivity. Demand has been created and now there is a need to support an experience that keeps consumers hooked. The capabilities of our beloved tech are powered by natural resources called rare earth metals. This book is an excellent guide to how these metals are cultivated, where they are found, and what that means for global trade and the future of innovation. 

4. Noise – Living and Leading When Nobody Can Focus: 2019, Joseph McCormack [4/5] Genre (Personal Success)

Reading “Noise” seemed like an excellent follow-up to Joseph’s book “Brief”. Noise’s sentiment that “The world is going deaf” sounds a lot like Henny Penny’s “the sky is falling”. That begs the question, who is our modern-day Foxy-Woxy? This author believes that we are consuming “empty information” and believes that this will last for generations. This book focuses on helping readers understand his thesis on society’s shift that threatens traditional connectivity and provides a solution to being able to have more civil discourse while canceling or being more protective of the constant noise. His ultimate point is that we need to improve attention. If you work in corporate, this reading directly addresses the “buzz words” we all use that trigger people to tune out. In any case, there are effective ways to communicate, this book will make you think harder about how to not become part of the noise and evaluate how you can turn it down in your day-to-day.

5. How to Catch a Mouse with No Cheese: 2014, Donnie P. [4.3/5] Genre (Business)

If you have ever tried to or have started a business from the ground up, you are aware that your success comes down to preparation and a touch of luck. Donnie’s five (5) points outline the principles of success for those who have little to no funding and or experience. My generation of could/should-be entrepreneurs desperately needs the nuggets provided here. On another note, I will have to read this more than once as I am in the thick of propping up my first business. What I loved about the material was that it was empowering and easy to read. Donnie P. may have some new material coming out soon. According to the latest book cover he released, his next publication is titled “Health and Wealth is Always Green, How I Went From Elderly Care to the Cannabis Industry”. “THE GREATEST VIRTUE is not LOVE, but DISCIPLINE.” –Donnie P.

6. It Worked for Me – In Life and Leadership: 2012, Colin Powell [4.5/5] Genre (Personal Success)

My reason for purchasing this title was because I was having challenges identifying what this country’s (United States) leadership needs to be for our nation to thrive in the next 50 – 100 years. For this, I thought that I would start with what it used to be. Colin makes this easy to consume. You have a good feeling and a sense of who he was or wanted to be remembered as. The stories are intimate. He effortlessly commands your respect and helps us understand our roles and responsibilities to the communities throughout this nation. I recommend that you read this book, it isn’t an anchor to the past. It is a reminder of simple and swift leadership principles through storytelling. I found myself involved in the anecdotes. I think you will too.

7. Jonathan Livingston Seagull: 1970, Richard Bach [4.5/5] Genre (Motivational)

This is a story about a very special Seagull. He’s no ordinary bird and his name is Jonathan Livingston Seagull. He has a certain ambition and curiosity about himself. He knows that he is an ordinary Seagull and believes that he can do extraordinary things. He is cast out of his community but continues to not only keep his head up but also goes on to master his extraordinary life and journey. The rest, I will leave for you to discover. In my opinion, it is a big lesson in commitment to mastery and perseverance.

8. Becoming Supernatural: 2017, Dr. Joe Dispenza [5/5] Genre (Personal Success)

Gratitude, joy, and love. Dr. Joe explains how heart coherence is the missing link. Heart, mind, body, and spirit working together towards the same goal can create a more profound love and state of gratitude. This helps you naturally and regularly show up in the world in a more elevated manner. It takes time, effort, and commitment. I think that this is Dr. Joe providing a piece of the puzzle that is often difficult to remember let alone sustain. The theory in practice is that you have to create the experience before it occurs. So, get excited about your future. This book, in my opinion, outlines some of his neatest breakthroughs. Dr. Joe Dispenza is a journey you will have to take. However, be prepared to receive.

9. The Diabetes Code: 2018, Dr. Jason Fung [5/5] Genre (Health)

This one was a disturbing wake-up call. Once you hear about the symptoms, you will begin to understand some of the illnesses you can physically see in society and those that you don’t see. It is shocking how so many health issues are linked to type I and type II diabetes. Treatments are costly and diabetes is deadly. The good news is that it isn’t all downhill once you get it. However, the best policy is prevention. This book addresses what it is, what it results in, and how to overcome it before it overcomes you. This book is designed to address the issue scientifically. However, I think its primary purpose is to save lives. Although I don’t have diabetes, I know people who do and now struggle to maintain any health normalcy. The big lesson here is that if you misuse your body, you can lose it, piece by piece. As Dr. Fung describes, the dose makes the poison. More sugar? Ehm, no thanks. 

10. The Nightingale: 2017, Kristen Hannah [4.5/5] Genre (Historical Fiction)

This isn’t my typical reading material. I found this novel to be intense. The detail puts you on the field or in the room. You can smell the strife, hunger, dirt, sweat, tears, ++. I had to break this up into chunks as I became very introspective. Two sisters whose lives have taken two very different roads must find a way to reunite and survive during the German occupation in France. It is set in World War II. The struggle you find in this story may help you find resolve in your own life.

11. You Only Fall in Love Three Times: 2020, Kate Rose [4.5/5] Genre (Personal Success)

This is the pep talk of all pep talks! Yes, she speaks about the three (3) different types of love and why they have to happen. The “Soulmate”, The Classic “Karmic”, and the “Twin Flame”. Her theory is that sometimes you go through all three (3) with one partner. This book is about ending the cycle of self-doubt and self-loathing if you are single and still on the search, have given up, married, or all three. She breaks it down so that you at the very least understand that there is no love without self-love and true self-realization. As we all know, there will be tests along the way. She urges all to not only keep their head up but understand it rather than let their experiences scorch their souls and… I will leave the rest of the pep talk up to her because she’s darn good at it. My advice is that we should all give up on this quest, have fun, and stop screwing each other up. Too much? Well think of it this way, once you discover the beauty and kindness in yourself you may not have a need to be attached to someone else for the things that you seek to experience. Ah…there it is, freedom.

12. The Power of Crisis: 2022, Ian Bremmer, [4.2/5] Genre (- New York Times Best Seller List, Politics, Economics)

This author maintains a hopeful outlook on the global state of affairs but warns that unless nations come together, we may be doomed. He believes that crisis often brings unlikely alleys closer. Covid was just one example of how a crisis for a short period helped nations across the world work together towards a common goal. If that cooperation can’t be maintained, we will be slowed in global economic progress. He believes that without it, we will be utterly unprepared for the next major crisis. I don’t think there is a way to be fully prepared for future unknown threats. The three (3) threats he believes we will eventually face either jointly or as individual nations are: more deadly diseases, new & influential technology, and climate-related change. It’s an interesting lecture that is worth the read.

13. Woke, Inc.: 2021, Vivek Ramaswamy [3.5/5] Genre (Biography, Opinion)

This book was interesting in an inflammatory way. I was sad that I invested money here but not the time. It is so important to understand different perspectives, so at the very least, you know where someone is coming from. This author and this book are about self-promotion, and I can see him gearing up to run for office. Unfortunately, the same folks who may support his theory that wokeness is a scam, may look at this author and think, we can get behind his narrative but not his image. The book takes on all the woke folks and woke organization which is now waning (thank goodness – the term was stolen and then abused  by corporate “do gooders” and everyone else who needed something to latch onto). He also goes after the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement bulldozing through all other factors and very real sensitivities to expose what we already know. ALL of what is happening is about money, class, and controlling information. Power. If I had to sum this read up, it’s a targeted dose of pointing out how corporations are now woke-washing and monetizing causes while not moving the needle on actual change. In this book, he details the trick

The good good reads of my 2021

2021 has been raw. I am almost halfway through the Masters of Professional Studies in Real Estate (RE) program at Georgetown University (GU). It is true what they say, working and going to school is a BEAR of a task. While in the throws of an RE accounting course, what has kept me sane is a combination of Transcendental Meditation (TM), good reads, and working for an excellent and growing organization, JLL Technologies (JLLT). Before you dive into this list, you should know that there is no rhyme or reason to what I read. Most good authors recommend others to read, and one continues down the rabbit hole of in-the-know. The Head of my current team (Global Alliances – partnerships + technology) recommended at least two (2) of these titles. I am so grateful to have leadership around me who read and understand what contributes to healthy lives and teams. Because they are willing to pass it forward, I can pass this on to you in the good good reads of my 2021.

1. On Mental Toughness by HBR 10 Must Reads On Mental Toughness

Just so you know, I am also reading the same by HBR on Strategy. On this read, if you don’t push yourself, you will never achieve. Life is what you make of it. We all have choices. The writing clearly defines what your options are for a response when things go sideways (and they eventually do). Those responses are – active constructive, passive constructive, passive destructive, actively destructive. When you read this, you may take a walk down memory lane of situations that you handled well and poorly. In addition, you will understand and have a better idea of where others are in their journey based on the responses you receive. The writing has moments that may remind you of Simon Sinek’s the Infinite Game in relation to the fact that mental toughness is the practice of not being deterred, brushing yourself off, and evolving to play the game a little better until you reach mastery. As a former tennis player, I can tell you that a former coach gave me some sage advice and told me NEVER to miss in the same place twice. If I hit it in the net in error, the next should be to the fence until I stopped missing at all and that’s how you stay in the game. A few years ago, that same coach experienced a life-shattering event ( like 15/10 bad). Without a doubt, he may be the most mentally tough individual I have known. He identified the new path and turned the loss into an epic win in a matter of a few years. This was a decades kind of challenge. He increased his capacity, focused his energy towards the goal and put the ball between the posts. His wife is now free from a fifteen (15) year jail sentence in around six (6) years because of his grit. Did I mention that they have four (4) kids?

Learning the lesson and being consistent in your new response practice will get you further. I say practice because that’s what the takeaway is. Transforming your response to adversity takes time and practice, just like everything else. This is a good guide. If you have not or never experienced adversity via some sort of mechanism of denial, delusion, or privilege 

2. My Story by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum – Visionary of Dubai

Dubai holds a special place in my many lives having grown up spending summers in Dubai among other places. Even as a child, I could see his vision for the uncapped development of the UAE, and oh yes, he has delivered. The writing is personalized. It feels as if he is sitting there telling you stories about his life and legend as a grandfather would. He will forever be immortalized in his writings and on every grain of sand in that desert. It is especially interesting to read about how he kept a peaceful and safe space throughout history while managing to remove the hand of the Empire from Dubai’s ports and land so that it can be what it is today whilst keeping peace among the tribes. I appreciated his affinity for Arabian horses, sport in general, and family above all. 

“Countries succeed when political power is used as a means to cement the people’s desires, and not simply as an end unto itself.”

Could be a lesson for corporates… just saying.

3. Measure What Matters by John Doerr

Now that I just wrote on “My Story” by Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, I think that he may have been the OG of OKRs for succeeding in the UAE as he did. Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) don’t just stand on their own. Continuous performance management is supported by Conversations, Feedback, and Recognition (CFRS). IMO CFRs are the key ingredients to this practice of setting proper goals and measurement that leads/managers often forget. It’s like buying bagels but no butter or cream cheese (hmm). If your organization uses OKRs and your leadership and practitioners hasn’t read this book, you can wave a long goodbye to the full potential of your initiative. This author gives you example after example of how to perform optimally, what that translates to in written format and in practice. It describes the result as the break down of those wicked corporate silos so that healthy networks can percolate. It also further involves each and every stakeholder so that folks have skin in the game.  That’s by helping employees better understand how their actions and projects impact the success of the organization at large with the freedom to pick their passions. 

“People who choose their destination will own a deeper awareness of what it takes to get there. When our how is defined by others, the goal won’t engage us to the same degree. “

4. The Moral Case of Fossil Fuels by Alex Epstein

I did not purchase this piece. It was passed on to me from a network of O&G/Energy folks that I met at the North American Prospecting Expo (NAPE) this August (2021). I am grateful to have read this. So, many horrible far stretched items of vague and mismanaged points in this. But, it proves a great point about how anyone can publish just about anything as I am doing at this very moment. Strangely enough, the author does bring up a FEW good food for thought moments. The main takeaway is that there aren’t really that many other reliable AND cheap energy sources and so we shouldn’t just throw out fossil fuels as they have moved our society so far forward from where it would have been. If we have innovated our way out of many other issues, we can innovate and tech our way out of this so-called environmental/energy “crisis” as well. He argues that fossil fuels are not poorly affecting the environment but improving it among other things (unless I read that wrong – doubtful). On another note, I saw this guy on a dating app recently and after swiping through his photos in disbelief, it dawned on me that he is local to Houston, TX and that I eventually will be able to discuss my gripes face to face and should reserve my harshest criticisms for then. This might be a waste of your time to read, but it is entertaining. The version I had was filled with notes of disbelieve and counterarguments (good ones because it’s just so easy to point out how the author’s arguments are weak) from someone who eventually gave up counter arguing because it was just not worth the effort… he also drones on a bit hashing over the same point with the same weakness in argument throughout the book. I am not really sure why I am not mad that I read this. In either case, if anyone brings it up, I will be ready for both sides of the argument and not just my own views.

The Top Ten (10): Must Reads for 20 and 30 Somethings

If you are like me, you know how exciting good reading can be. Not just exciting, but it can alter the course your life takes. If you are like me in other ways, you find it the most awful thing to read stories or books that aren’t well written. Below you will find books that made me think, wow, I am glad I read this. So much so that I thought it would be nice to pay it forward with this list of must-reads. I can’t guarantee that any of these will be your cup of tea, but they certainly helped satiate some existential need of mine to help support purpose and direction.  

1. The Secret Race by Tyler Hamilton

This story gives us a front-row seat into the world of professional cyclists, what pressures they face, and what lengths they are willing to go as a collective to win. This particular journey details the life of a former associate of Lance Armstrong. It is a compelling anecdote of why people do what they do and that eventually, almost everyone gets caught.

2. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

Siddhartha is about a quest. It doesn’t feel like a short read. However, it is. Just when you think the main character is truly living their life, the direction changes. It brings out the ultimate question in the reader. What does your quest include, and are you reaching your potential?

3. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

Ralph Ellison crafts one of the greatest stories that will have you wondering, is this truly fiction? Between the narrative on politics and culture, it will be hard to put this down let alone not vicariously learn a lesson or two.

4. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

You may want to purchase two (2) copies. That is one (1) for you and one (1) to pay it forward. Gladwell is most likely best known for this work of fact and fun. It addresses at what point and why things trend and go viral.

5. The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck

Settle in because this is a long journey. It’s one that you must take when you are ready. Therefore, you may have a few starts and stops. First and foremost, it is about finding both peace and meaning. The final points will blow your mind.

6. People of the Lie by M. Scott Peck

It will confirm what we already know. There are bad (evil) people in this world. The question is, how do they affect others. Explore that vein in People of the Lie.

7. Comfy Slippers & a Cup of  Tea by Julie Lomas

A touch of wisdom propels you through this experience. The technique best used to reap the riches of this literature is to pick it up and start reading at whatever point you open the book. That’s correct; any page can offer something significant. Again, the goal here is to explore the fundamentals of life which, includes self-love and forgiveness.

8. The Magic of Believing by Claude M. Bristol 

It is the type of book that appears in your life at just the right time. It seems a bit cheesy, but you can’t help but get sucked into the narrative until you, too, start to believe. It highlights what you can do outside of working super hard towards a goal to be successful. Its theme revolves around how beliefs make things happen.

9. Connected by James H. Fowler

Could you have imagined that science proves that your friend’s friend’s friend can influence your life? It even explores the political influence and the blogosphere in the United States and Iran. You will be shocked at the research.

10. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle 

Enlightenment is the keyword here. Have you ever asked yourself what you could accomplish if you could move out of your own way? The Power of Now can serve as a guide to removing obstacles from your path to greatness even if an obstacle is you and how you identify yourself.