Why do we read? It’s to escape, a little, of course. The stillness of quiet time with a book is unlike any other. We read to learn as well, obviously. But what are we trying to learn? Facts and figures? To impress people? To get better at our jobs? Maybe a little, if we’re being honest. For the Stoics, the main reason to read was simple: To become a better person. To turn the words, into works. There are unprecedented, challenging times. Which is why you must be reading. It’s just as essential, however, that you apply this reading to your duties as a citizen, a parent, a fellow human being. And as my friend Coach Raveling said, you owe it to the people who fought and died over the centuries—in the fights for freedom, fights against slavery and discrimination—so that we could all have access to books and information—we owe it to them to read. It’s a moral duty to search for truth and live by it.


2020 List

  • The American Dream – Kevin Scott
  • The Algebra of Happiness – Scott Galoway
  • The Great crash of 1929 – John Galbrath

2019 List

  • The Road to Character — David Brooks
  • You can’t hurt me — David Goggins
  • The Bullet Journal
  • Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts — Brene Brown
  • The Alchemist –
  • Financial Statement Analysis – Fridson
  • AI Super Powers – Kai-Fu Lee
  • In the hurricanes eye — Philbrick
  • The prosperity paradox – Christensen
  • The power of now – Tolle
  • The daily stoic – Holiday
  • The only business writing book you’ll ever need
  • The pioneers


2018 List


These three books I assigned to my leadership team at LinkedIn and we read and shared on them throughout the year.

The Culture Map was a referral by Reed Hastings when he came to speak with us at our Global Leadership Summit at LinkedIn, he mentioned the power of this book on truly becoming a global company and understanding the various cultures and dynamics within a global organization.

This book came about via my Manager Sonu Nayyer and us meeting as a team to go through it together. I found this book very powerful, as its not about being an asshole manager, its about coming from a place of caring for people, but caring enough to be direct with them. It seems basic in principle, but so often is done wrong. Loved this book.

Part I is designed to set your mind at ease. Being a good boss is hard for everyone, no matter how successful they appear on the outside: Your humanity is an asset not a liability
Chapter 1 – Building relationships (radically candid)
  • Care personally
    • Bring my whole self to work
    • commit to be the example by being human and admitting flaws and failures
  • Challenge directly
    • I care about you, but your work is shit
    • commit to telling candidly when your work is not living up to my expectations
Chapter 2  – Get, Give, and Encourage guidance
  • Start by asking for criticism, not by giving it
  • commit to leading by this example
Chapter 3 – Understand what motivates each person
  • Performance Management
  • Rockstars and Superstars – you need to understand how each person’s job fits into their life goals. You need to get to know each person who reports directly to you, to have real, human relationships—relationships that change as people change. 
  • Only when you get to know your direct reports well enough to know why they care about their work, what they hope to get out of their careers, and where they are in the present moment in time can you put the right people in the right roles and assign the right projects to the right people.


  • Growth management
  •  SHIFTING FROM A traditional “talent management” mind-set to one of “growth management” will help you make sure everyone on your team is moving in the direction of their dreams, ensuring
  • Star performers and directs – Be there for them. Be a partner, not an absentee manager or a micromanager One of the most common mistakes bosses make is to ignore the people who are doing the best work because “they don’t need me” or “I don’t want to micromanage.” Ignoring somebody is a terrible way to build a relationship.
  • Managing Middle performers and low performers.
Should I fire someone?
Three questions:
  1. have you given Radically Candid guidance,
  2. Do you understand the impact of Peggy’s performance on her colleagues.
  3. Have you sought advice from others?
Chapter 4 – Drive results collaboratively
  • Listen, Clarify, debate, decide, persuade, execute, and learn (repeat)
  • Telling people what to do doesn’t work
  • Culture of listening
“This is not babysitting,” she said. “It’s called management, and it is your job!” Every time I feel I have something more “important” to do than listen to people, I remember Leslie’s words: “It is your job!”
Ultimately, though, bosses are responsible for results. They achieve these results not by doing all the work themselves but by guiding the people on their teams. Bosses guide a team to achieve results.
Guidance is often called “feedback.” People dread feedback—both the praise, which can feel patronizing, and especially the criticism. What if the person gets defensive? Starts to yell?
The first dimension is about being more than “just professional.” It’s about giving a damn, sharing more than just your work self, and encouraging everyone who reports to you to do the same.
The second dimension involves telling people when their work isn’t good enough—and when it is; when they are not going to get that new role they wanted, or when you’re going to hire a new boss “over” them; when the results don’t justify further investment in what they’re working on.
“Radical Candor” is what happens when you put “Care Personally” and “Challenge Directly” together.
“Bring your whole self to work.”
This often means modeling the behavior yourself by showing some vulnerability to the people who report to you—or just admitting when you’re having a bad day—and creating a safe space for others to do the same.


  • Principles – Ray Dalio
Instead of saying “Im right” he learned to say “how do I know I am right?”
Idea Meritocracy where the best ideas win out
Collective decision making by using algorithms on believability (people falsely hold onto their ideas not allowing them to be stress tested)
Emotional you and Intellectual you are at conflict – Different parts of the brain
My Principles
Know yourself.
  1. Do you prefer to strive and change things, or would you rather enjoy life and relax?
  2. Choose which goals to pursue. Striving for something you know you can achieve won’t stretch you, so choose ambitious goals that fit your passions.
  3. Embrace your problems prioritize your problems. Focus on ones with biggest returns. What are the base causes of my problems
  4. Detailed Plans to fix your problems
  5. –Connect your work to your goals for confidence, motivation and resilience. Measure and keep track of your progress.


Personal Finance Passion

  • Automatic Millionaire
  • Intelligent Investor


2017 List

  • Tools of Titans – Tim Ferris – I started the year with this one, a total gem. This is to be read like a text book or reference. Its an aggregate of incredible set of tools and techniques from the best of the best. I am going to add more on this, but for now. A+
  • Unshakable – Tony Robbins –  This is a follow-up to his previous book which I read titled Money Master the Game. Really good and updated on some key changes within Fiduciary rules. Its also more of a digest. These two books have helped me simplify my investment strategies and focus on investment costs/fees. A+


  • Mindset – Carol S. Dweck


  • People have either a fixed or a growth mindset.
  • People who believe their personal qualities are unchangeable have a “fixed mindset.”
  • People who believe they can improve or change their personality traits over time have a “growth mindset.”
  • People with a growth mindset believe that the future presents an opportunity to grow, even during challenging times.
  • Mindsets produce definite worldviews, but they can be changed.
  • Children who are praised for their intelligence tend to adopt a fixed mindset and reject new challenges.
  • Jack Welch, who had a growth mindset, took over GE in 1980 when the company was valued at $14 billion; 20 years later, it had a $490-billion valuation.
  • Athletes with a growth mindset build strong characters by challenging themselves.
  • Historically company executives who hold fixed mindsets and regard themselves as geniuses or visionaries do not build great teams.
  • Coaching and teaching about mindset are the best ways to boost kids’ self-esteem.

The Growth Mindset

Some people are more intelligent, more thoughtful or more adventuresome than others. For years, experts attributed such differences to each individual’s combination of environment, physiology and genetic makeup. But other factors help determine individual characteristics, including traits that stem from having a “fixed” or “growth” mindset.

Those who view their personality or intelligence as unshakable have a “fixed mindset.” They believe that neither personality nor intelligence is subject to change and they feel the need to prove themselves constantly in all situations. People with a fixed mindset often develop this outlook at an early age, usually due to some influence from their teachers or parents. Alternately, people with a “growth mindset” believe that they can improve or change their personality characteristics over time. They believe that the future offers opportunities to grow, even during challenging times.

“The view that you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life.”

To show the differences between fixed and growth mindsets, an interviewer asked people what they would do if they got a C+ on a midterm exam and then got a parking ticket. Faced with accumulated events, people with fixed mindsets said this situation would prove that “the world is out to get me” or that they were losers or idiots. People with growth mindsets said they would work harder in school and park more carefully.

The Impact of Mindset

Mindset has significant implications, although most people are very inaccurate at estimating their own capabilities. People with a fixed mindset tend to take each failure personally. They interpret any setback, from being fired to being spurned romantically, as a message of rejection. Feeling unwanted exacerbates their low self-esteem. People with fixed mindsets work hard to hide their weaknesses, but they believe that their relationships, their traits and their partner’s traits are all unchangeable.

“Mindsets frame the running account that’s taking place in people’s heads.”

In contrast, people with growth mindsets believe they can change their personality traits. They think their abilities can grow. They are more likely to build on their talents. They love to learn and they feel frustrated when they are not developing their potential. Having a growth mindset helps people cope with stress.

Mindset also determines leadership qualities, including how well people perform in school. Medical students with fixed mindsets lost interest in an important class when they earned “C” grades. Accustomed to quick reinforcement, they stopped being interested when they did not earn fast rewards. Students with growth mindsets thrived as the class became more difficult.

“The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset.”

Mindsets play a role in the development of “natural” talent. One educational researcher found that exceptional people, from swimmers to musicians, did not show their talents until they studied and applied themselves. For instance, Mozart worked for a decade before he wrote anything memorable. However, inventors and artists share the ability to learn over time as they mature. They do not rely solely on their natural abilities. Mindsets are specific to diverse talents, so an artist may be more open to new ideas, but more restricted socially.

Mindsets affect depressed people. Depressed students with growth mindsets tend to work to solve their depressions while maintaining their school schedules and their outside interests. Students with fixed mindsets become less active and involved when they become depressed.

“In the growth mindset, you don’t always need confidence.”

People with fixed mindsets react differently to praise than those with growth mindsets. Children who are praised for their intelligence often tend to adopt a fixed mindset and to reject new challenges. In tests, they wanted to bask in their success and did not want to risk revealing any weaknesses. Students who were told that they had high abilities did not like being asked to solve harder problems. They said the extra work took away from their enjoyment in learning. At the same time, students who were praised for making an effort said they liked working on the harder problems. In trials, praising a child’s ability even worked to reduce his or her IQ score, but praising a child for trying harder raised IQ totals.

Labeling people can be very harmful, from calling children “gifted” or “exceptional” to using negative sexual and racial stereotypes. Such labels actually can make people feel inferior and generate a negative, self-fulfilling prophecy. Often, being labeled seems to encourage people to not live up to their potential. When people believe these stereotypes, they often lie about or exaggerate their real accomplishments. Other people’s opinions can be damaging. When teachers tell young girls that they may not be good in math or science, it can drive them to under-perform. A study of adolescent boys found that when boys were asked to validate negative stereotypes about girls, reinforcing those stereotypes boosted the boys’ self-esteem.

“People in a growth mindset don’t just seek challenge, they thrive on it.”

Changing Your Mindset

While mindsets produce definite worldviews, people can change them by learning new skills. Human beings can be taught how to react in new ways, how to face challenges and think differently. For example, when athletes with a growth mindset challenged themselves, they developed positive character traits. According to sports researchers, athletes with growth mindsets did not dwell on winning alone. They focused on the process and ignored distractions, enjoying the challenge as much as the conclusion. They learned from failure and recognized that hard work brought personal gain. In contrast, athletes with fixed mindsets forced themselves to win to show they were better than their competition. When they lost, they were dejected.

Talent and Teaching

Business today worships talent. This inadvertently has cultivated certain mindsets. Enron sought talented people with advanced degrees. Problematically, it also developed an internal culture where people could not fail without harming their reputations and the company’s image. Enron hated to admit mistakes and valued image highly. When investors probed its activities, the fixed mindset of its executives led them to be defensive and untruthful.

“Telling children they’re smart, in the end, made them feel dumber and act dumber, but claim they were smarter.”

Research shows that companies with leaders who have a growth mindset tend to seek employees who can address deficiencies and find solutions. These executives believe in people’s ability to grow and conquer problems. One study compared companies according to their stock value gains or losses. When it contrasted companies with exceptional growth (as measured by stock prices) against companies that did not grow, or that realized gains and then faded, it found that corporate success was tied to leaders who consistently examined the company’s processes and challenged its failures. For example, the CEO of Circuit City held debates in his boardroom to discuss pressing problems so he could question and learn from other board members.

Another study found that defining a task for students and explaining how success would be measured could determine what mindset the students developed. Researchers gave two student groups a high production goal to meet. They told one group that it would be measured by how much its members knew about a specific process (engendering a fixed mindset). They told the other students that they were to develop new skills so they could learn as they worked (spurring a growth mindset). At first, both groups failed to meet the goals. But over time, members of the growth mindset group learned from their mistakes, motivated each other and out-produced the other group.

“In the fixed mindset, the loss of one’s self to failure can be a permanent, haunting trauma.”

Coaching and teaching about mindset are productive ways to boost a student’s self-esteem. The key is to show the student that the mentor is interested in advancing the student, in helping the student’s overall growth process.

However, teachers should be careful about their language. Blind praise often works against students since it can send mixed messages about how fast the students learn, the effectiveness of their study habits or how much ability they have. Praise students for their efforts and accomplishments, so they can pursue more difficult challenges. Children can interpret even innocuous comments – such as “You learn quickly since you are so smart” – to mean that learning slowly is bad.

“In the fixed mindset, the ideal is instant, perfect and perpetual compatibility.”

It is also not wise to protect children from failing. Not being the best, or failing, happens often in life. It is a common occurrence. Parents who focus only on being the best do not provide any substitute position for the child if he or she doesn’t win, leaving the child to blame others, devalue the activity or turn failure into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Open and Shut: Mindset and Leadership

A leader who displays a fixed mindset can set a company up for failure. One researcher found that corporate executives who focus on their personal reputations do so at the expense of their companies. For instance, Lee Iacocca helped resurrect Chrysler, but then he concentrated on his own reputation. While he was preoccupied, the company declined.

“The fixed mindset makes you concerned about judgment, and this can make you more self-conscious and anxious.”

The same researcher found that executives who regard themselves as geniuses or visionaries do not build great teams. Albert Dunlap, a corporate turnaround specialist who was always ready to prove himself again, went to Sunbeam in 1996. He fired half the employees and saw the stock appreciate so much that he could not sell the company. Faced with running Sunbeam, he fired people who disagreed with him and he had to inflate revenues. Within three years he was ousted.

Executives with growth mindsets are at the opposite extreme. For example, take Jack Welch, who assumed control of GE in 1980 when it was valued at $14 million. Twenty years later, it had a $490-billion valuation.

“Malcolm Gladwell, the author…has suggested that, as a society, we value natural, effortless accomplishment over achievement through effort.”

Welsh got GE’s top position by admitting that he was not a genius and promising that he was ready to learn. That pitch worked. He set out to generate more employee input and to break down arbitrary internal barriers. He frequently met with assembly line employees to get their opinions.

He once addressed a small club of top GE managers and asked about the group’s plans and activities. About a month later, the club president announced that the members would become community volunteers and that the club would open its membership. Two decades later, it has 42,000 members.

“Benjamin Barber, an eminent sociologist, once said: ‘I don’t divide the world into the weak and the strong, or the successes and failures…I divide the world into the learners and the nonlearners’.”

Welch also fired four managers who met their financial goals, but did not live up to GE’s values. He made a costly mistake when GE bought Kidder, Peabody & Co., but he learned from it. The purchase cost GE hundreds of millions of dollars and taught Welch the fine line between failure and overconfidence.

Good leaders have a desire to learn. Studies found that there is no such thing as a “natural leader.” People become leaders by changing themselves. Instead of trying to identify future leaders by their “natural talent,” companies should distinguish leadership candidates based on their individual development potential and then give them openings to learn new skills. In fact, when companies give employees new opportunities to learn, they enable individuals to advance, to earn more and to become better prepared for life’s challenges.

“When stereotypes are evoked, they fill people’s minds…with secret worries about confirming the stereotype.”

In Love and War

People with open mindsets react differently in personal relationships than people with fixed mindsets. People with fixed mindsets seek spontaneous affiliations and dramatic break-ups. They tend to be slow to forgive since that can be considered a weakness or could pose the risk of rejection. When relationships go bad, people with fixed mindsets are forced to blame their partners. They deflect any personal blame. In extreme cases, a person can be so competitive that he or she overshadows a partner’s accomplishments and identity.

Your worldview can be a source of happiness or anxiety depending on how you interpret events and how extremely you react. People with fixed mindsets tend to be judgmental. Psychologists have used cognitive therapy to encourage people to ask themselves why they make extreme judgments about others, and whether their opinions are justified. This is one way to break the fixed-mindset cycle and open new pathways for growth.

About the Author

Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., is a leading researcher in personality and psychology. A psychology professor at Stanford University, she formerly taught at Columbia University. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She also wrote Self-Theories, which was named Book of the Year by the World Education Fellowship.

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