Brad Stulberg is a writer focused on health and the science of human performance. (Amy Cuddy calls him her favorite health and science writer.) Steve Magness is a coach to some of the top distance runners in the world. Together, they’ve written a super-engaging, quick-reading book on how to pursue growth in a healthy, sustainable way—aka, without burning out. Big Ideas we explore include the secret equation of sustainable awesome (Stress + Rest = Growth), just-manageable challenges, the iPhone Effect Part 3 (aka how to decrease your productivity in one step!), the optimal work/rest ratio, and the paradoxical twist of fulfillment.
Josh Waitzkin is an extraordinary human. Ever heard of the movie Searching for Bobby Fischer? That’s the story of Josh life. Literally. After a childhood and young adulthood spent dominating chess, Josh then went on to master Tai Chi and became a World Champion. But what he REALLY became was a master of learning and peak performance. Big Ideas we explore include the two approaches to leaning, the downward spiral (what it is and how to avoid it), honoring your unique disposition, investing in loss, knowing your goal (decent, good, great, among best!), the power of stress and recovery and the ultimate secret of mastery.
Daniel Amen is a ten-time New York Times bestselling author and the Washington Post has described him as the most popular psychiatrist in America. Tana is also a New York Times best-selling author (The Omni Diet) and a leading fitness expert who holds black belts in both Tae Kwon Do and Kempo Karate. Together, they’ve written a passionate, inspiring book on how we can, as the sub-title suggests, ignite our energy and focus, attack illness and aging, and transform pain into purpose. Big Ideas we explore include why to become a brain warrior, a check in to see if positive thinking is killing you, the #1 strategy to live long, top 10 nutrition tips, why cheat days are not smart, and the power of community to Optimize.
As with all of Brian Tracy’s books, this one is ridiculously packed with wisdom. He wrote it 25 years ago (25 years into his journey as a teacher). It’s based on a training program he created called The Psychology of Achievement that he taught to 1 million+ people. It’s a dense, 350-page encyclopedia of Big Ideas to help us jumbo crush it. Big Ideas we explore: the 7 ingredients of success, the Law of Substitution, mining your acres of diamonds, 7 questions that can change your life, moving from positive thinking to positive knowing, treating excusitis, and the secret sauce of achievement (hint: it’s love).
Travis Macy is best known as the record-setting champion of Leadman—“a sort of six-week Grand Prix of Ultra Endurance” that consists of a jaw-dropping number of challenges. This book is a fun look at the eight principles that make up the Ultra Mindset Travis uses to do extraordinary things. Big Ideas we explore include: Your new mantra, what to do when you don’t feel like it, thinking about thinking, making the choice to give up choice, and never quitting… except when you should quit (w/a great litmus test for when you should/shouldn’t quit).
Daniel Goleman is a former New York Times science writer and author of the uber-bestselling book Emotional Intelligence. In Focus, we look at the underlying neuroscience of attention. We need to start by realizing that the strength (or weakness) of our attention is at the core of E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. we do. Everything! Which is why Goleman calls it “the hidden driver of excellence.” Big Ideas we explore include rumination vs. reflection, the three foci of willpower, smart practice and hitting the mental gym.
Katy Bowman is the world’s leading biomechanist—helping us apply wisdom from that domain to optimizing our lives. This is a great, quick-reading, smart and funny look at how we can optimally transition from sitting all.day.long to creating a standing and dynamic (<— key word!) workstation to help us optimize our whole-body health. Big Ideas we explore include whether or not sitting is the new smoking, checking in to see if we’re active yet also sedentary, the 3 M’s of movement, working out our eyeballs, what sea turtles can teach us about our sleep and how to have the best ideas.
Jim Afremow is one of the world’s leading sports psychologists. We covered his first book The Champion’s Mind. This one is kinda like part 2 in which we look at how the Champion responds to the inevitable (!) setbacks faced on the road to greatness—using those setbacks as opportunities to bounce back and make a sweet comeback. Big Ideas we explore include seeing setbacks as challenges rather than threats, outperforming our contracts, practicing ’till you can’t get it wrong, and the 3 P’s of peak performance.
Sian Beilock is one of the world’s leading researchers studying the science of optimal performance. In this book, she walks us through a range of research studies she and her colleagues have conducted to help us get a better understanding of why, under pressure and when it matters most, some of us choke. And, of course, Sian provides a range of tips on what we can do about it. Big Ideas we explore: the what and why of choking, the ultimate choke vacuum, practicing under pressure, an antidote to exam choking, and a bunch of little tips on rockin’ it.
Did you know that 65% of us will have trouble falling asleep tonight and be tired tomorrow? And sleep deprivation costs the United States $66 BILLION annually. That’s a lot of people. And a lot of money. Dr. James B. Maas is one of the world’s leading researchers and educators in the sleep world. He’s been at this for nearly FIVE decades and has taught more than 65,000 students and thousands of executives about the importance of sleep. Big Ideas we cover include the top six sleep thieves, the 4 rules of optimal sleep, and finding the time to get that extra hour we need.
New Zealand’s national rugby team The All Blacks are arguably THE greatest team ever. In this book, James Kerr unpacks what makes them so great and how we can lead + create a Legacy. Big Ideas we explore include the fact that Better People Make Better All Blacks, Kiwi Kaizen, embracing expectations and leaning into the power of Loss Aversion (remember: no pressure, no diamonds), hitting the psychological gym and answering a couple questions that will help clarify YOUR legacy.
Anders Ericsson is the world’s leading scientist studying expert performance—looking at how, precisely, the people who are the best in the world at what they do became the best. In this Note, we take a quick look at The Gift that we all have that’s the key to our potential greatness, HOW to go about tapping into the benefits of that gift via a certain type of practice (forget naive practice and go for purposeful + deliberate!), the fact that there is no such thing as a “10,000 Hour Rule,” and why we should be called Homo Exercens rather than Homo Sapiens. :)
This book is not only a golf/sports psychology classic, but a great primer on approaching life with the right mindset. If you’re into golf, you’ll love it. Big Ideas we explore include: Being an expander rather than a shrink, smaller targets leading to greater focus, the importance of your short game (in golf AND in life), fear vs. nervousness, paying a caddie to berate you and expectations: the good and the bad.
Jocko Willink and Leif Babin were two of the most senior (and decorated) SEALS on the ground in the most intense battles of Iraq. In this book they share their leadership lessons on how U.S. Navy SEALs lead and win. It’s an intense, impactful read. Big Ideas we explore include a definition of Extreme Ownership, the fact that there are no bad teams, only bad leaders, how to prioritize and execute and remembering that discipline = freedom.
Jim Afremow is one of the world’s leading sports psychologists and this great book is packed with Big Ideas. We explore: the vision of a champion (and how to fuel it), what mental toughness *really* is, how/why to be ugly but effective, how to evaluate yourself (3 q’s: good + better + best), and creating sustained obsession as you take the champion’s honor pledge.
A former U.S. Navy SEAL Commander, Mark Divine integrates the ancient warrior traditions with grounded, practical virtue and 21st century get-it-done effectiveness in a way that I find incredibly inspiring. Big Ideas we cover include the power of front-sight focus, how to DIRECT your mind, going Yoda on your commitments and creating micro goals when things are tough.
Want to learn about the science of successful learning? Then this is the book for you. Written by a story-teller and two of the world’s leading cognitive scientists who have dedicated their careers to mastering memory + learning, the book is packed with wisdom on what works and what doesn’t. Big Ideas we explore include mastery vs. fluency, the power of active retrieval (aka “the testing effect”), explaining stuff in your own words and the wisdom in the adage that whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.
This is the second of the three books currently in 99U Book Series. (We cover them all.) Big Ideas we explore in this one include putting yourself into permanent beta, making a decision and then working hard to prove yourself right Peyton Manning style, expanding the amplitude of the waves you make and becoming the Better You.
What do you think about excellence? Do you think it’s primarily driven by natural, inborn talent? Or, do you think that it’s primarily driven by effort? Matthew Syed tells us that’s a very important decision that has a broad impact on how we show up and shows us how to Bounce into our highest potential. Big Ideas we explore include: the iceberg illusion, 1 million balls, doublethink and the importance of purposeful practice + the growth mindset.
John Maxwell is one of the world’s authorities on leadership. He’s sold over 25 million (!) books. This is a quick-reading 127 pages packed with wisdom and Big Ideas on Maxwell’s eleven essential types of thinking—ranging from Big-Picture thinking to Realistic Thinking and everything in between. Big Ideas we explore include the power of targets for focused thinking, becoming a possibility thinker and anxietivity—how creativity and anxiety go together.