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Action Plan Partial Sabbatical Update4 Min Read

Action Plan Partial Sabbatical Update4 min read


Last month I announced that I was taking a “Partial Sabbatical” from working with new clients or conducting programs.

What I’m attempting is to take enough of a step back to determine what I want to do with my business for the rest of my life.

That might be five more years of work, or 25, I don’t know. But I do know I want it to be fun for me and valuable for my clients.

So what I’m doing is filling my head with new ideas.

When I started my business more than three decades ago I read a LOT of books. I figure something like 500 business, marketing, and personal growth books over a period of 15 years.

Somewhere along the way, I maxed out on reading business and marketing books and cut my reading dramatically.

But my partial sabbatical has freed up a lot of time to read, and with recommendations from my coach, I’ve read some really great books in the past couple of months.

I wanted to share these books with you, as some of them may be a good fit with what you’re up to these days.

The Big Leap – Gay Hendricks
Hendricks makes a strong argument for one simple but powerful concept – we all have the ability to live in our “Zone of Genius” where we’re doing work we love, that makes a difference, and that we’re great at. Find that zone and work becomes more fun, productive and fulfilling.

This book helped me get very clear that I love writing, developing, and leading programs. When I’m doing that I’m in the zone. So I’m working to make those activities the primary way I spend time in my business.

Playing The Matrix – Mike Dooley
This is a book about setting and achieving goals – with a difference. One of the most powerful ideas Dooley shares is that when setting goals, especially for the big things in life, don’t be too narrow, but broader in your vision.

For instance, If my ultimate big goal is to work with 24 people in a marketing program that costs $X and goes for 6 months, I’ve really limited my options and also reduced my chances for success.

But if my goal is to, “Work interactively with independent professionals in programs that teach them the most effective marketing skills, plus develop systems and habits that increase their chances of success,” then I can develop any number of programs that fit that broader goal.

Quiet – The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – Susan Cain
This book rocked my world. I’ve always known I was more of an introvert than an extrovert, but this made it crystal clear.

Its great value was helping me see that there were so many big advantages of being an introvert and that instead of trying to be more extroverted, I could leverage my introverted tendencies to live my vision from my zone of genius.

So, these first three books were synergistic in their impact.

Barking Up The Wrong Tree – The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success is (Mostly) Wrong – Eric Barker
My favorite type of business books are case-study and research-based. These books don’t just tout a certain strategy; they cite research that proves why this strategy works.

Famous books in this category are The Tipping Point by Malcolm Galdwell about how ideas catch on, and Influence by Robert Cialdini on the science of persuasion.

Barker’s book is a potpourri of ideas about success and why so many of them are total nonsense. Then he cites all kinds of research to demonstrate what success strategies really work. A fun book to read with insights on every page.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – Mark Manson
This is the one I’m reading right now and perhaps my favorite of the lot. Mark Mason is one of those unique voices that doesn’t come along very often.

His message is actually quite simple: We give a “F” about so many things that don’t really matter but don’t give a “F” about the most important things in our lives.

His book is a load of fun to read. You have to get past his liberal use of the F-word, but you start to get that he uses it to really get attention for ideas that are not very popular and can be hard to live by if you don’t take life F’n seriously.

So those are my books. They’ve provided a lot of inspiration and really jump-started my thinking in the past two months.

Now I have a favor to ask.

Can you recommend a few kick-ass books that you think I might enjoy and share them with me and those on this list?

Please do NOT email me. I already get more email than I can handle. Instead, just scroll down to the very bottom of this page and post a comment.

Thanks for reading. I’ll give another update in a month or so.

Cheers, Robert


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This Post Has 74 Comments
  1. The art of possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Ben Zander
    The achievement habit by Bernard Roth

  2. Robert, I like Tama Kieves’ Inspired & Unstoppable: Wildly Succeeding in Your Life’s Work! Unlike some business success books that crush a person’s spirit, this book features great storytelling and insights. I think it’s designed to help those of us who feel like we’re stumbling through a fog find the front door of our life.

  3. Robert, so good to hear you are stepping back and creating new possibilities for yourself!

    My favorite book right now (and not just because I am the author and love writing it) is “Conversations with Money.” You can read a draft here:

    However, the most powerful book I have read in the last three years is “The Book of Not Knowing.” This has rocked my world. It is a slog to get through but the payoff for me has been huge…allowing me to re-frame by beliefs.

    Have a great sabatical! With appreciations for our time together.


  4. Hi Robert,

    I truly hope you are enjoying your time to reflect. Same as you, I love to read. Three of the most thought provoking books I have ever read are all by The Arbinger Institute: Leadership and Self-Deception, The Anatomy of Peace, and The Outward Mindset. I am currently re-reading them. Mr. Shmooze by Richard Abraham, Selling the Invisible by Harry Beckwith and If Disney Ran Your Hospital by Fred Lee are also favorites. If you run out of books to read, let me know and I will send you a longer list! Wishing you well. Teresa

  5. I’ve been reading your blog (sometimes) for a lot of those 20 years. Great, consistent value. You helped me launch my coaching business a long time ago. Thanks again.

    Just read – and really, really recommend – The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer. If you don’t read, watch her TED talk. First musician to raise over a million dollars on Kickstarter. What’s significant about that is that she had built a huge supportive community over years that was grounded in the understanding that the “gift” must keep moving. Another way to say it might be that giving and receiving are the same energy and inseparable.

  6. Top book pick: “You’ve Got 8 Seconds: Communication Secrets for a Distracted World.” Chosen as the best biz book of the year by an obscure, but obviously brilliant, Canadian newspaper, selected by a Fortune 50 company for their book club, it’s a fast, fun read, and my enthusiasm has, I’m sure, nothing to do with the fact I wrote it. Paul Hellman

  7. My Favorite books:
    – Anatomy of Peace and Leadership and Self-deception by Arbinger Institute (behaviors drive results, but what lives below our behaviors determines our happiness, relationship and effectiveness)
    – Triggers by Malcolm Goldsmith (great book on change and growth)
    – How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton Christensen (I love the backstory to this book – while it’s aimed at graduating students, i found the questions and information very useful)
    – Breaking the habit of being Yourself by Joe Dispenza (1st two sections are great, not sure I get the 3rd section)

    1. Hi Bill,

      I too put the Arbinger Institute books on my favorite read list. Are you aware of the third book – The Outward Mindset. I just finished it and enjoyed it as much as the first two.


  8. I am asking my friends to read “Braving the Wilderness” by Brene Brown and then discussing it. It spoke to me.

  9. Robert,

    You interviewed me several years ago about this book, but I don’t know if you’ve ever read it. It’s an easy read about the importance of aligning your business and personal goals in order to achieve success in both. “Plan Your Success: Turn Your Dreams Into Reality”, walks you through a very simple four step process for developing goals and a plan to ensure you take them to completion. I’d be interested to know if you think this book fits with what you are trying to accomplish.

  10. Hi Robert,

    I was so happy to hear you were taking a sabbatical, and excited to see this update.

    I’d like to suggest two easy to pick up and put down books that make you go “Hm” and reflect, if you’re into that right now:

    “I Am That”:

    “The Pocket Pema Chodron”:

    Here’s a link to a library I compiled of 50 books if you want to peruse other categories:

    Enjoy the beautiful time you’ve made for yourself 🙂


  11. One of my favorite business books is “Getting Naked” by Patrick Lencioni. Easy read and some great concepts I’ve put to use with noticeable success.

  12. Thanks for sharing your reading list – I LOVE books!
    My hands down business book favorite of the moment: “Essentialism,” by Greg McKeown

  13. Thanks for the update, Robert! I too, am not a good reader.
    Here are two books by Atul Gawande I have learned some amazing things from – The Checklist Manifesto – How to get things right, and Being Mortel – Medicine and What Matters in the End.
    Best, Charles

  14. My Top Ten Business Books:
    #1. The Dip by Seth Godin – Published 2007
    #2. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield – Published 2002
    #3. Do The Work by Steven Pressfield – Published 2011
    #4. Future Edge by Joel A. Barker – Published 1992
    #5. The 5 Levels of Leadership by John John C. Maxwell – Published 2011
    #6. The 10X Rule Grant Cardone – Published 2011
    #7. Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman – Published 1962
    #8. Above the Line by Urban Meyer – Published 2015
    #9. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Dr. Stephen Covey – Publisher 1989
    #10. The Power of Intention by Wayne Dyer – Published 2004
    Plus… Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff – Published 2011
    Plus Plus… Start With Why by Simon Sinek – Published 2009

    Plus…Plus…Plus… Robert Middleton – The Marketing Start-Up Kit – Seven Steps To Attracting More Clients and running the bases with Marketing Ball – The Game of Marketing is mandatory reading for anyone wanting to learn the basics of communication and moving in the direction of success. Roberts delivery is simply superb. Thank you, Robert, for all you do and best of luck in the future.

    1. “#7. Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman – Published 1962”

      Please don’t read Milton Friedman. Few on this planet have caused as much human misery and suffering as Milton Friedman has. Just as one example, Pinochet destroyed the Chilean economy and general welfare on Friedman’s advice. For another example, a million people died in Iraq because Friedman’s ideas were implemented on a grand scale in Iraq in 2003, pushing unemployment from 1 in 5 to 2 in 5.

  15. Robert,

    I love Pam Grout’s Thanks and Grow Rich. It is my book of the year.I read it to get motivated, get positive, get appreciative. It is high quality and very much in line with your philosophy.

    Thanks for all your work. I am grateful for knowing your work. (straight from the Department of Redundancy Department)

    Scott Flora


  16. Thanks, everyone for your great book suggestions! There’s enough here for a year or more of reading. I’ve counted 37 on the list so far. Awesome!

    Cheers, Robert

  17. The book I’m enjoying right now is “Career Renegade” by Jonathan Fields. It’s clearly and concisely written by someone who’s done it all! I know he has a newer book out, but this is what I happened to find in our online provincial library :-). Thanks so much, Robert, for your great writing. I wish you a great sabbatical. Oh, and I am also reading QUIET. I’d love to chat with the author, as I believe “retained Fear/Paralysis and Moro reflexes” could explain those people who require QUIET ;-). Yours in Gratitude for all your great work. WendyHT

  18. I’m reading – Heart over Height – by Nate Robinson. It’s about basketball – but more than that. Mindset. About using all you have and not letting the limitations you do have – interfere from getting you to the top.

  19. Robert, I’m excited for your “pause” – great things happen when we take a breath! I continue to appreciate you as chief influencer and advisor, attributing the fruitful turn in my business to your expert help. Thank you (check out my new website).

    See the book by Michael Lewis “The Undoing Project,” the story of the intense working relationship between renowned psychologists Daniel Kahneman & Amos Tversky and their impact on behavioral economics. You’ll appreciate some of the concepts in there, such as:

    Faulty memory: An availability heuristic occurs when we construct scenarios based on unrelated memories that “effectively replace probability judgments.” We’re left with a twist on the Santayana axiom: remembering the past actually warps our future. Yikes.

    Exit velocity: The funniest nugget from the book comes from Tversky’s rule of getting out of awkward situations: just start walking. It’s said that you’ll be amazed how quickly a creative – and ultimately acceptable – excuse will tumble from your mouth.


    Warm regards,

  20. One that has helped a friend and client: Blue Ocean Strategy by Kim & Mauborgne. it gets right down to the nitty-gritty…it makes you step back and examine what you have to offer compared to the competition.

  21. Robert, though these are a bit more philosophical than the books you’ve listed, I think you may like Becoming Wise by Krista Tippett, Let Your Life Speak by Parker J Palmer, and The Beautiful Not Yet by Carrie Newcomer (the last one is book of poetry and essays, but still…)

  22. My favorite business books:
    How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie – oldie but a goodie. It literally changed my life.

    Brag – the art of tooting your own horn without blowing it, Peggy Klaus

    The Tipping Point, Blink and Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. Honestly, I think that Outliers is probably one of the best business books ever written.

    What about some fiction? Take a real break and free your mind. I find that reading business books gets to be monotonous, the fiction really sparks my creativity. Just saying.

  23. Robert you asked “Can you recommend a few kick-ass books that you think I might enjoy.. ..” The biggest kick-ass book that I have ever read is titled “Alcoholics Anonymous ” by Anonymous!!!!! You see I have memories of a traumatic upbringing with an alcoholic father and a drug addicted mother. Science is showing that a traumatic upbringing leads to addictions and mental health issues. So I shouldn’t be too surprised that I have been diagnosed with alcoholism and a mental illness ( only one suicide attempt so far).
    So what this kick-ass book has offered me is a methodology for not having to have to drink for over 30 yrs . Currently i am dealing with an addiction to work. I am pleased to report that I spent the afternoon on the beach today as part of my recovery from workaholism.
    So in my life, my biggest kick-ass book is one that relieves me of the need to get drunk today, gets me to a beach during a workday and promises me a happy joyous and free life if I follow its suggestions.
    John M

  24. I am really looking forward to your new start, Robert!

    This is a very interesting list of books! Thank you all for sharing!

    Here is the most influential book for me lately: The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod.
    More specifically: The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM)

    I would also like to share not a book but a concept/lifestyle change that has revolutionized my life. It is the concept / lifestyle of Intermittent Fasting.
    This is a lifestyle for anyone seeking enhanced performance along with health benefits. You can find a ton of books on the topic as well as youtube videos for more information.

    Combine both the lifestyles of The Miracle Morning and the Intermittent Fasting for extraordinary results.
    Happy experimenting! 🙂

    P.S.: Robert, do you think you can prepare a list of all the books that have been mentioned by everyone and share it?

  25. Spiritual Realization:

    By Glenda Green:

    Love Without End
    Keys of Jeshua

    By David R Hawkins

    Power vs Force
    The Eye of the I

    Blessings … DK

  26. I recommend everyone to read and re-read The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra. Another recommendation is The Quantum Leap Strategy by Price Pritchett.

  27. Dan Pink’s latest book When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing is terrific! Great summaries of all the latest research around timing with practical tips that are easy to apply. I now remember to share bad news first, followed by good news as people like to end on a positive note.

    Glad, you’re doing well, Robert! What a super idea to crowdsource this list! Thank you!

  28. Robert,
    These may be a bit more philosophical than many of the suggestions you’ve received, but, if you are up for that —
    Becoming Wise, by Krista Tippett
    Let Your Life Speak, by Parker J Palmer
    The Beautiful Not Yet, by Carrie Newcomer (this last one is a book of poetry and essays, but still…)

  29. Reading the latest by Alan Weiss. Threescore and More: Applying the Assets of Maturity, Wisdom, and Experience for Personal and Professional Success. About halfway through and can’t put it down! Just because some of us are over 50, our age should not be a barrier, but rather an asset to the clients and companies we work for!

  30. Hello Robert,

    I love that you are consciously taking time out for some self-reflection and contemplation. I create a sabbatical or “white space” each day to be still, and reflect on my life and learning. We have one precious life. My intention is to focus on what truly matters.

    In our culture of constant distraction and busyness being with oneself is possibly the best “read”.

    I read perhaps one or two books a week. Knowing you over the years, two suggestions come to mind.

    Frankl, V. (2006). Man’s Search for Meaning. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.

    Alan Weiss’s new book “Three Score and More” on retirement, ageism etc. is a great read.

    As people get older, they have their power taken from them or, worse, they give it up. Ageism is one of the few biases in America that is tacitly
    accepted. And yet, we need people who have experience—like a heart surgeon with 30 years of practice, a pilot who’s been flying for decades in all kinds of weather, and a seasoned mechanic who can quickly diagnose and fix a car.

    They are not only needed for our reassurance, but also for the skill,
    wisdom and expertise they have to teach the next generation. We
    desperately need “institutional” memory.

    Scientists have found that people in their late 70s (which were the test
    subject ages) continue to produce thousands of neurons a day in a process known as “neurogenesis.” Brains don’t deteriorate, but our respect for older brains often does in this society.

    We need to accept the simple truth that retirement is an artifact, it no
    longer exists, it’s no longer required, and it’s a detriment to everyone
    financially. People once retired at age 65 and lived for three more years
    while there were 14 active workers for each retired person who were
    contributing to retirement benefits.

    Today, people “retire” at 65 and live for another 20 years with less than
    three workers for each retired person contributing to the system. The
    system is exhausted and the math no longer works.

    And consider that many people are “retiring” as little as 20 years into
    the job in many careers where that is contractually provided.

    Those thinking about “retirement” are those really thinking about just
    sitting around waiting to die—as an emotional and financial pauper.

    Purchase your copy of the newly released Threescore and More
    and discover what to do with the rest of those 20, and probably far more, years.

    P.S. If you’re interested in growing stronger in your life and career as
    you awake each morning, then follow me. I’m not interested in anyone who’d rather stay in bed.

    © Alan Weiss 2018

    Mindful Moments Maynard

  31. Hello Robert. After 48 years of working, I recently retired. I started reading books 25 years ago, beginning with self improvement and business ones. I invested many years working on my 30 second elevator speech and all the “must do” marketing and net working latest thinking. The one thing that consistently worked for me was being real, authentic and relational. “Scary Close” by Donald Miler is my recommendation. This a true story of a successful author and his coming clean……admitting to living a fake life and his journey to real living. This book is one of the best of the 623 I have read so far. Note: I set a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) when I started reading, of one book a month for 10 years. Goals can help, especially if you track and hold yourself accountable!

  32. Robert,

    While I’ve read many many books in business, spirituality and personal growth, there is still only one that has been the most meaningful to me in recent years.

    Knowing you are at a crossroads — and I’ve been there many times, the one book that I still go to often when I truly am in a place of “unknown” as to what’s next, is …

    The Surrender Experiment, by Michael Singer.

    He is the author of The Tethered Soul.

    To share one of my favorite quotes from the book …

    “My formula for success was very simple. Do whatever is put in front of you with al your heart and soul without any regard for personal results. Do the work as though it were given to you by the universe itself — because it was.”

    This book is a fascinating story/journey of the author who all he wanted to do in his younger years was meditate in the mountains, with little money, etc. Who eventually became the founder and former CEO of I believe he built it to a $500 million dollar. All because he learn to surrender to everything in life. I still go to this book above all others when feeling lost, at a crossroads and completely in the unknown.

    Hope you enjoy your own journey of discovery. For me the joy is in the journey, not the destination.

  33. Hello Robert,
    Fellow traveler, I appreciate that you’re wise to know when to pause, to listen to heart, to seek counsel from others. I have flunked “retirement” until someone reminded me — You retire when you have Work. You keep working when you have a Calling. Indeed. A Calling is 1. Good for you. 2. Good for the world. 3. Prompts you to take bold action.

    In this chapter of my life, I’ve combined my do-goodness of 40 years of pro bono work with my 35 years of consulting. And have found a posse of other like-minded people. Conscious Capitalism, John Mackey and Raj Sisodia, describe the 4 pillars of business — purpose, stakeholder value, culture, and leadership. Conscious Capitalism Field Guide, Raj Sisodia, moves these ideas into action through writing and reflection. The content is sparkling, relevant, and forward looking.

    Conscious Capitalism Inc. is a global non-profit that is bringing these ideas into the forefront of our awareness as business leaders who create organizations who do good in the world.

    Enjoy this time as you reflect on what calls you. I’ll enjoy hearing from you “on the other side.”

    Kris Schaeffer

  34. Great book suggestions everyone! Here are a few I didn’t see that have had impact on me:
    • Making Yourself Indispensable by Mark Samuel (
    • And coming soon: B State, also by Mark Samuel (
    • The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership by Jim Dethmer (
    • And a shameless plug for my own book: Your Hidden Game: 10 Invisible Agreements that Can Make or Break Your Business by Sharon Rich (

  35. Thanks Robert.

    Two books I think everyone should read, are both about how circumstances and situations condition and shape our choices:

    Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond, about the history of the world

    The Lucifer Effect by Philip Zimbardo, about the Stanford Prison Experiment

  36. I’m going to be horribly selfish and recommend one of my own books: “How To Write Brilliant Business Blogs.” Not because it’s my little bookie baby, as it’s around #29 of the 35 books I’ve done so I’m a little blasé, but because it’s good. It works.
    Ironically it’s the only print/Kindle book I have ever self-published, and once it had been out for about a year it was snapped up by the US-based Business Expert Press for their, er, libraries library.
    As you know blogging for business goes in and out of fashion – watch my website Monday June 11th for more on that – and right now it’s back “in” …!
    I’m doing nearly one workshop a week now on business blogging after a lull of about a year, both in the UK where I live and in Toronto where I come from (later this summer.)
    Everyone who reads it, loves it. Because it’s based on no-bullsh*t experience.
    Have a look:

  37. Hi Robert,

    I ‘d recommend:

    Top Line Growth for Industrial Companies by James Hlavacek
    Theory of Constraints by Eli Goldratt
    The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch
    The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki

    Best Regards,

  38. I think “Joy, Inc” by Richard Sheridan is a profound piece of work. He is publishing “Lead with Joy” in the fall as well. His company, Menlo Innovations, is an amazing place to spend any time. If all organizations ran the way theirs does, the world would be a profoundly better place.

  39. I was recently blown away by talk from a local author of a small enough book to read in one sitting – called ‘The Cinnamon Story – competitive differentiation when you MUST win the sale’ by Terry Slattery. Terry is a very highly respected sales trainer in the Minnesota region. Everything Terry says dovetails easily with actionplan thinking, which I’ve been following since about 2002.

  40. If you’re looking to institute a new habit, or change an old one that’s not working so well for you, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and Simple Steps to Change, Your Business, Your Life by Jay Livingston.

    Wishing you a joyous exploration, Robert. Well-earned reflection time.

  41. Hi All,

    I recommend New Sales. Simplified by Mike Weinberg. Mike is a sales guru and he introduced me to two great concepts; the Rationale Story and The Power Statement. Both are ways of describing the difference you and your business have on targeted clients. Both can be used in thinking and strategizing with clients.

  42. There are some great books out there. Here are a few that have inspired me lately:
    – Grit by Angela Duckworth
    – The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins
    – Turn the Ship Around by David Marquet
    – The School of Greatness by Lewis Howes

  43. Hi Robert,
    Long time no see!
    A book just published last month:
    How to create a Kickass workplace to achieve long-term business excellence.
    I’ve seen the principals implemented – quite unique.
    Best wishes for the ‘new phase’.

  44. Hi, Robert:
    I’m retired now and have the advantage of having read books that are decades old but seem to have lasting wisdom. Specifically I cite:

    “Selling the Invisible” by Harry Beckwith
    “The Power of Focus” by Canfield, Hansen and Hewitt
    “Blue Ocean Strategy” by Kim and Mauborgne
    “Jump Start Your Business Brain” by Doug Hall
    “Differentiate or Die” by Trout and Rivkin

  45. A great book I’m reading right now…Money and The Prosperous Soul by
    Stephen K. DeSilva.
    So glad you’re back!

  46. My favorite book of all time is “The Artist’s Way – A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity” by Julia Cameron. It impacted me hugely. She’s written other books too. Also Barbara Sher, “I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How to Discover What You Really Want and How to Get It.” This is the most in depth work Ive ever done, especially taking it as a book club member through The course is offered online only about once a year and is very inexpensive so that anyone who could benefit from is able to.

    Robert, I’ve subscribed to your emails for many years, purchased all your materials, but never was in your marketing courses. Your humanity drew me to you. Hope you’re enjoying your sabbatical after all these years. Thanks for asking people for book suggestions. We can all partake of the many everyone listed (smile).

  47. Hi,
    My favourite business book of all time is The Secret by Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller. It’s the story of a manager mentoring a female junior in the principles of leadership based upon the concept of SERVE. S See the future, E Engage and develop others, R Reinvent continuously, V Value results and relationships and finally E Embody the values. You can read it in a day and it’ll transform the way you think about leadership like no other book I’ve read.

  48. Robert,
    I’m delighted to hear you are taking needed time off. You’ve been my primary influence for thinking about marketing and business organization. Thank you!

    As a contrast to the many wonderful business books that have been offered, and the shorter but choice list of spiritual offerings, I’d like to give my very highest recommendation to Amor Towles’ “A Gentleman in Moscow”. It’s arguably my favorite fiction book of the last 10 years–an elegant, startling description of a life superbly lived under what most people would consider extremely limiting circumstances. I read it once on paper, then listened to the excellent recorded version and caught more delightful subtleties the second time around.

    And, I recommend research psychologist Elaine Aron’s classic, “The Highly Sensitive Person” to you, and to anyone else reading this, for whom Susan Cain’s “Quiet” struck a chord. Cain speaks of “introverts”, but the personal qualities and experiences she describes so thoughtfully in her book are in fact a description of highly sensitive people (HSPs). Sensitivity as Aron defines it is not any kind of syndrome, diagnosis, or problem, but rather a genetically different way of taking in information and processing it. About 15-20% of the population worldwide is born highly sensitive (the trait shows up in animal species too). Within that 15-20%, about 70% are introverts, while the other 30% are extroverts. What’s important to take from that is that not all introverts are highly sensitive, and some extroverts are highly sensitive…and for anyone who is HSP, it is incredibly helpful to understand the trait.

    Have a wonderful break, and thanks to all who have contributed such thoughtful suggestions here.

  49. What fun! Happy to Contribute!

    Something old: Working Without a Net, Morris Shectman and his follow up called, I believe, The Fifth Wave. If you haven’t read any of his stuff, I’ll be very interested in your opinion of it. A pivotal book in my life. I did not know him well, but I did have some great consulting experiences from him.
    Something New: Threescore and More by Alan Weiss, –you are better acquainted with him than I am. I believe that Aging is a Gift!
    My website is developing that theme, and Alan is a role model for it, so I’m reading it carefully.
    Looking forward to your return and thanks for all you have done for me over the years.

  50. Hi Robert:
    I read a lot (two books a week on average) so it’s hard to suggest just a couple. Will offer one each from each of my esteemed long-time mentors — both of whom are prolific annd inspiring authors. “Thrive: Stop Wishing Your Life Away” by Alan Weiss, and “”Enough Already: The Power of Radical Contentment” by Alan Cohen. Both contain sage counsel, words of wisdom, and inspire the reader to boldly take charge of their lives and forge ahead to a great life!

  51. Hi Robert! Thanks for sharing what’s going on and the great books you’ve been reading. I love “Inspiration” by Wayne Dyer. As much as I love what he’s saying, I’m really moved by the profound quotes he shares at the beginning of each chapter. Thank you for continuing to inspire us with your bright light!

  52. Great List! I haven’t time to read all their names, so, two more:
    The Brand Gap by Marty Neumeier
    The Knowledge Value Revolution by Taichi Sakaiya

  53. Hi Robert

    Thanks for your invitation to recommend personally influential books

    Borrowing Brilliance – David Kord Murray
    A fascinating and entertaining look at how creativity can be learned

    How Brands Grow (Parts 1 & 2) – Byron Sharp & Jenni Romaniuk
    Evidence-based examination of brand growth that debunks many of the popularly held beliefs of marketers

  54. Whole, Rethinking the Science of Nutrition by T Colin Campbell and In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
    They are not a business books, but they are some of the best books I have read on the topic. If we are not taking care of this aspect of our life, our businesses cannot be as successful as we hope. Cheers

  55. Robert, You might find this relevant, Life Reimagined: The Science, Art, and Opportunity of Midlife by Barbara Bradley Hagerty

  56. For a broad and expansive view of what the big brains with big hearts are doing and thinking about , I’m recommending the best book I’ve read (and listened to on this year: Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living by Krista Tippett

  57. I love all books by Jeff Shaara, the latest being a novel of the Korean War, “The Frozen Hours.” A timely subject. I also love “Leadership can be Learned: Clarity, Connection and Results,” by yours truly. It’s hard to tell the difference between leadership books, but this one is rooted in the family systems theory approach of Edwin Friedman, which applies to anyone who is in a system. I also bring it to life with historical examples such as Gandhi and Patton.

  58. It’s commendable that you are taking a proactive approach to reassessing and reshaping your professional journey through a “Partial Sabbatical.” It’s not only a bold decision but also a wise one to ensure that your future endeavors align with your personal values and bring joy to both yourself and your clients.

    The quest for a fulfilling and sustainable business path, marked by the desire for it to be enjoyable and valuable, reflects a profound commitment to the essence of your work. The decision to step back and fill your mind with new ideas showcases your dedication to staying dynamic and relevant in an ever-evolving landscape.

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