rpReads: A CEO’s Book Recommendations

by Tim McMullen

Building the industry bookshelf one recommended read at a time

Tribe of Mentors, by Timothy Ferriss

I love Tim Ferriss’ approach to this book. He asked hundreds of diverse and highly successful people a set of questions and allowed them to really contemplate their answers. The most important things in their life as they relate to things like growth, influence, performance, spirituality, and physical health. The book is 135 three-page chapters about these high performing individuals — men and women from all over the world.

I call it a portal for growth. It’s impossible to read one of these chapters and not get inspired to go explore in more detail about what that person does. Even if it’s something as simple as their morning routine or their strategy around taking risks. I read this book on my iPad (I had no idea how thick it was), and I spent as much time clicking to the things that they mention as I did reading…it was so much fun. On an iPad or e-reader, a lot of the life-changing recommendations are linked in the text. So you end up buying an acupuncture pad off of Amazon or trying a new mushroom tea. It feels like interactive exploration and learning — it’s really fun.

One of my favorite questions that he asks is, “If you had the opportunity to put one thing on a gigantic billboard, what would it be?” It’s so fascinating to learn what these people would say to the world. It’s such an easy fun book to pop open for 10 minutes. Tribe of Mentors has really become my #1 portal for growth because I love studying high-performing people.


The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work, by John M. Gottman, PH.D. and Nan Silver

There are certain people who just nail topics, for example, the way that John Maxwell nails leadership. Dr. John Gottman and his wife Dr. Amy Gottman have accomplished this in the space of relationships. They’ve had a marriage lab in Seattle for over 40 years where they can predict divorce with 90% accuracy. It is based on the ratio of positive to negative interactions with you and your significant other. He’s written several books, but if you only read one, this is it!

Even though the book is called The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work, there’s really 11 because he has what he calls, “the 4 horsemen.” If any of these 4 things are present in a marriage or relationship, it’s doomed. Criticism, defensiveness, contempt, and stonewalling. According to Gottman, these things are catastrophic. He articulates what they are and why they can’t be present. The other 7 principles are things to work on and grow together to make a strong and happy relationship. I tell people to read the book together — it is the blueprint for two people trying to build a strong relationship that can get through what life throws at them.

“94% of the time, the way a discussion starts determines the way it will end.”


A New Earth: Awakening Your Life’s Purpose, by Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle has built an entire space and curriculum around presence and knowing your ego-self. There are two common obstacles that can cloud the present moment: we tend to bring a lot of resentment and pain from the past into the present moment, and we tend to bring worry of the future into the present moment. Basically, we’re always mad about something and justifying being hurt (when technically the hurt is in the past) or we’re always worried about something in the future (which is also not the present). This book teaches us how to separate ourselves from the past and future and be truly in the present moment.

The other thing Tolle really focuses on that is an absolute gamechanger in life is understanding the difference between our “self” and our “ego”, or what he calls our ego-self. He says that we are not our ego, and as a matter of fact, our ego is our worst enemy. The more awareness we have of our ego and the more we’re able to separate ourselves from that ego state, the more present we’re able to be.

Tolle is a fascinating human. Oprah Winfrey (who has read a lot of books and has a famed Oprah’s Book Club) says that this is her #1 book of all time — that’s how good this book is. Honestly, I say that this book got me through cancer. I highly recommend getting this as an audiobook. I listen to this book almost daily, that’s how powerful it is to me.

“Every ego is a master of selective perception and distorted interpretation. Only through awareness — not through thinking — can you differentiate between fact and opinion.”

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