Reader, two things are true:

  1. I’m busier professionally than I’ve ever been. The next couple of weeks are going to be crazy for me.
  2. I wish to deliver value to you regardless of how busy I am. As one reader put it in my 2017 Reader Survey (which you can still take, of course): “I get more out of the posts that give me some concrete steps to take for improvement as opposed to a more vague life lesson.”

I agree completely! I know I prefer to read blogs that provide specific tips and recommendations instead of general advice, and I hope to provide you with such a blog.

The next few posts on may be short, but I hope they’ll still pack a punch. Today, I’d like to briefly talk about three books I’ve read in the last year or so that have altered my day-to-day behavior. I plan to do full reviews of these in good time, but for now, here’s a taste.

1. Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss

I finished Never Split the Difference yesterday, and it’s already altered how I interact. Chris Voss is a former FBI hostage negotiator, and Never Split the Difference is a manual for effective communication in any situation. It turns out that negotiating is not about manipulating people—it’s about listening to them at a level I’d never considered. If you deal with people regularly, read this book (I recommend the audiobook).

2. The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt

Let’s talk politics.

Don’t worry, I’ll be brief: the last time politics came up, I promised not to make a habit out of it.

I’m proud to have both conservatives and liberals as readers, so I don’t know where you fall, dear reader. So let me ask you: have you ever wondered how Democrats/Republicans could believe the way they do?

I’ve been a conservative and a liberal, but until I read The Righteous Mind, I never really got the other side. I was blinded by my current beliefs, whatever they were. After reading The Righteous Mind, I have a framework for understanding where both groups are coming from. This understanding has helped me see friends and loved ones from across the aisle much more compassionately.

The Righteous Mind won’t just expand your worldview; it may move you much closer to the political middle. It’s done that for me.

The Four Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling

I’m recommending The Four Disciplines of Execution for one reason:

This book discusses, in very specific terms, exactly how to accomplish big goals.

The authors lay out exactly what to do on a daily and weekly basis to achieve a given goal, and the system works (I’ve used it for three different projects). The Four Disciplines of Execution is a pragmatic, down-to-earth book. If you’ve got a goal but are struggling with implementation, it might be the tool you need.

These are three “best-of-the-best” books. If one of them piqued your interest, give it a read!