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The Books That Influenced Me the Most in 2020

Uncategorized Jan 30, 2021

No doubt, 2020 was a crazy year.  However, for many people, it was also a year for growth.  When circumstances force you to adapt, you grow. Eight books, in particular, influenced my development quite a bit during this pandemic.

  1. Atomic Habits by James Clear: This book is really about making your habits stick. This book continues to be a massive influence for me, both in terms of the patterns that I build up for myself and coaching my clients.
  2. Indistractable by Nir Eyal: The book is all about avoiding distractions and staying focused. The challenge is not to blame the external stimuli. It's to look inward and figure out what is it that's driving you toward that external stimuli.
  3. The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks: This is about what he calls the upper limit problem, which we tend to have like a thermostat. We have a specific set level of happiness and success that we are willing to tolerate. Anything beyond that, and we sabotage ourselves.
  4. Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller: This is about building a brand and the story that tells it.
  5. Competing Against Luck by Clay Christensen: The book defines what jobs-to-be-done are. Why are they fundamentally important? And why do you, as a product manager, need to understand that deeply?
  6. Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin: When you start to take extreme ownership, where you realize that you are responsible for everything, that's when things begin to change.
  7. Who Not How by Dan Sullivan and Benjamin Hardy: It's a formula to achieve bigger goals through accelerating teamwork.
  8. High-Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard: It's based on the world's most extensive study of high performance anywhere, on the attributes, the habits, the qualities that make for high performance in all these various fields.

FULL TRANSCRIPTION:

Hello, everyone. Hello. Hope you're doing well. 2020 almost over. And I know for a lot of folks this year was just crazy, maybe for everyone. I mean pandemic, for a lot of us in a lifetime, hopefully we'll never see that again, never, ever. But also for a lot of people, it's been a growth year. When circumstances force you to adapt, then that's when you grow, you change. And so I felt I grew and changed quite a lot this year. And there were eight books in particular that really influenced me quite a bit during this time. And I wanted to go live and talk about those. Not necessarily the books that I read for the first time here. There's some that I've just read over and over and over again. And those have influenced me. So I wanted to come in and talk through those eight books.

 

So this would be a long broadcast, just so you know. So let's get going. So book number one, I'm going to be pulling this up on my Kindle as we go so that you see. The first one, the book it's called Atomic Habits. Atomic Habits it's by James Clear, oh, actually you can't really see it. Forget it. Atomic Habits, the author is James Clear. And what this book is really about is how do you make habits stick. Most people think that habits stick via repetition, that you do something over and over again until it sticks. And that's the only way that habits stick. But there's just so many different levels that we don't use. And what Atomic Habits really helps you do is to think through, okay, this habit's not sticking, what can I do to make it really happen?

 

Are there triggers that I could put in place? Are there ways that I could reward myself? Are there small steps I could do? There's just a whole bunch of different things that you can do. And so this book continues to be a huge influence for me, both in terms of the habits that I build up for myself but as I think of designing my courses, of coaching my clients, it is one of those things. People know that I just always think about habits and I don't want people to transform in as a one-time thing, but I want that change to really stick in them. So Atomic Habits is such a useful book for me to really go and think through it and always keep coming back to it. So, that's number one. Book number two, which I hope I did more of, is Indistractable by Nir Eyal.

 

The book is all about avoiding distractions, of staying focused. And the main thing that the book talks about is that, look, we all blame technology for not being focused, right? That's it. It's Twitter, it's Facebook, it's LinkedIn. It's all these things. But the truth of the matter is that, 10 years ago, people would've complained the same. A hundred years ago, people would have complained the same that there's too many distractions and I can't focus. Nir mentions that when he got rid of all technology, he got distracted by books. He would go and start reading books. There was always something to distract him, but the challenge is not to blame the external stimuli. It's to look inward and figure out what is it that's driving you toward that external stimuli. Nir has this one sentence that basically a lot of people say we get motivated by pleasure and pain.

 

He says that we only get motivated by avoiding discomfort. And so when you are getting distracted, it's that there is some internal trigger. There is some thing that you're trying to avoid and the way you get past it and really get focused is by looking inward and figuring out how do you actually focus in, irrespective of the external stimuli that's there. So Nir Eyal's Indistractable. There's five more. Number three. My friend, Laura Casting, she recommended it recently and this book is already a huge change for me. It's called The Big Leap. The Big Leap it's by this guy named Gay Hendricks. And the book is all about what he calls the upper limit problem, which is all about that we tend to have like a thermostat. We have a certain set level of happiness, success that we are willing to tolerate.

 

Anything beyond that and we sabotage ourselves, we run into the upper limit problem. And when you recognize this, that's when you can get past that level and enjoy endless amounts of abundance, love, success, you name it. But you got to know it, you got to recognize it and you got to train your brain to be able to accept that, that level of abundance and success and love and everything that you want. Happiness, it's all there. Another thing he mentioned is really about time management and he introduces the concept of Einstein time. So rather than Newton time where we're in that paradigm, time is limited, in Einstein time, what you go and say, just like Einstein did with relativity and space and time is that, you are the source of time.

 

So if from today, you stop complaining about time and take ownership, you can have endless amount of time to do the things that you want. I know, me saying it right now, it's like Shobhit you're crazy, this thing's not going to work. But so much of the stress that we have today with time is because we are always trying to catch up. We believe time is a resource that's just running out and I got to make the best use of every minute that's there. But if you come at it from a mindset of abundance, things start to change. So, it's been seven days since I've read this book, already huge changes and I can't wait to see what it does in 2021 for me and then for my clients as well.

 

Number four is StoryBrand. So this is a book which is all about how do you build a brand and the story that it tells it. And so this book, I also bought the online course, haven't yet done it to be honest, not yet there, but it's all about the brand that you have it should tell a story. And the story is not that the brand is the hero, but your brand is the Yoda who's guiding the person who's trying to be a hero. So its changed how I think about intentional product manager and my business, very influential book for me. Six, so five, Competing Against Luck. So this is probably the most product management team book that I have here. It's by Clay Christensen, not the first year that I read it, but I thought about Jobs-to-be-Done. And jobs-to-be-done is one of those buzzwords in product management. If you're a product manager, you might've used it. I know all the time people misuse it. And this is the book that truly for me defines what jobs-to-be-done is. Why is that fundamentally important? And why you as a product manager need to deeply understand that?

 

I remember I speak to a lot of people and they love to throw in this buzzword. It's like and the job-to-be-done was this. I'm like, "No, wait, wait. What is job-to-be-done? You got to understand that concept well." It's also a book that you'll really find it hard to put down. Very often these books about technology and business they're dense and they're like, how do I get through this? This book I found it hard to put down. So Competing Against Luck by Clay Christensen, one of the best books. This was also the year that he passed away. And it's just such a loss for all of us, the work he's done on disruption theory and everything, I don't know how it will be matched ever.

 

So book number six. Book number five, Competing Against Luck. Book number six, Extreme Ownership, Extreme Ownership. It is a book written by a few folks who are ex-military. But the biggest thing that they talk about is when you start to take extreme ownership, where you realize that you are responsible for everything, that's when things really start to change. And truly as I coach leaders and product managers, this is a thing that I keep coming back to. What would happen if you took 400% extreme ownership over this topic, what would you do rather than blaming others? Rather than being a victim, what really would you do? So for me, again, it's one of those things that I sometimes miss. But when I remember that I got to take extreme ownership over my business, over how my job's going, everything, that's when things really start to move forward.

 

That's when I break through obstacles, that's when I get more creative. So Extreme Ownership is another book that I highly recommend as a 2020 book for you to must, must read. Okay. We have six, two more. Next one is, Who Not How. Who Not How it's by Dan Sullivan and Benjamin Hardy. And the interesting thing is that Dan came up with the vision for the book, but Benjamin Hardy wrote it. And Dan was like, "Hey, I could try and write this book, but frankly speaking, I know I would never get down to it, so how do I put my vision for this book out and then find the right who, the person who can execute on it, so that it comes out and is useful for both of us."

 

And it started to really change how I view business. And I brought in people on my team. I hired for now, somebody who is running the administration for a major part of my business. And I want to really hire a lot for intentional product manager in 2021, driven by the idea that as I hire, as I partner, things are going to grow dramatically more than if I ever tried to do it on my own. I mean, I also run this program called the Intentional Job Search with my partner, Sam Feldman. And he brings to the table several attributes, several ways of thinking, several things that I would not have been able to do myself. And so it's all better together because he is there. And so that's why it's Who Not How, highly recommended. It's a formula to achieve bigger goals through accelerating teamwork. And last but not least, maybe my most influential, my favorite book of all time, High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard.

 

That's the book I first read when I got to know Brendon. I attended a whole bunch of his seminars, the classes, and ultimately became a certified high performance coach. It's based on the world's largest study of high performance anywhere, on the attributes, the habits, the qualities that makes for high performance in all these various fields. And even the coaching program I run, so much of it is based on certified high performance coaching, on high performance habits. And I make it a point to open it up every so often and read more of it in my Kindle. I don't know, it's a fourth or fifth time I'm reading it because there's just so many nuggets there. And if you are new and you're beginning your personal development journey, you're still early in it, I would highly recommend this book.

 

So once again, to wrap up, I'm going to mention the eight, eight... Apparently I can't count with my fingers, 2020 has been too long. The books that you must read, Atomic Habits by James Clear, indistractable, Nir Eyal. The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks, StoryBrand by Donald Miller. Compete Against Luck by Clay Christensen, Extreme Ownership, I got to look up the authors. Okay. Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. Jocko has also been a great speaker, so I highly recommend finding that. Who Not How by Benjamin Hardy and Dan Sullivan and High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard. And those are my eight books for 2021. Not all of them released this year, but have been the most influential for me in a pretty dramatic year where it's been the worst of times and it's been the best of times. Look forward to seeing you very soon.

 

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