When I first brought this book home Will and I fought over who got to read it first! The author is a former hostage negotiator for the FBI. His workplace tales were fascinating, of course: he specialized in negotiating international kidnappings, and those did NOT play out like I expected. But I was also impressed at how he took those principles and applied them to everyday life—like negotiating a salary, or buying a house, or having normal, everyday conversations with your kids. This is one I want to read again, especially for the parenting bits, because I'm certain I didn't absorb everything on my first read. (I happened to read this RIGHT before we put our old house on the market, which was perfect timing!) More info →
The Heath brothers are whip-smart and really funny, making Decisive a million times better than your typical "business" book. I use the information I learned from this book—at least, the parts I can remember—nearly every day, and I wish I could download the rest straight into my brain. This story-driven business book teaches you how to make better decisions, drawing on diverse case studies covering all aspects of life, such as how to know it's time to fire an employee or if you should undergo a risky bone marrow transplant. Everyone will find a useful takeaway, even if they don't struggle mightily with decisions like I do! More info →
Parker Palmer writes with warmth and wisdom about his own journey to finding his true vocation: the work he was uniquely made to do. His story is deeply personal, inspiring, and moving. Every page seems to be filled with the kind of insightful and witty comments about what it truly means to live a good life, and how we should all really be approaching our days. These are the kind of reminders that I would love to internalize—to fully incorporate into the way I see the world, because I think my life would be better for it if I could get more of this book into my brain. More info →
The premise of this great research-based and story-driven nonfiction read is that when it comes to loving the place you live, YOU have a lot more power than you probably realize. People who love their communities don't just live in great places, they're also extremely proactive about the ways they engage in their communities—and I wish I could rattle off every single one by memory! Practical, actionable, and bound to make a difference in your everyday life. More info →
Do you ever read a book and think, my life would be better if I could memorize every word in this thing? That's how I felt after reading this. A fellow parent (who works as a psychologist at a local middle school) recommended this to me, saying it was a great roadmap for the tween and teen years. Parts of it were terrifying (because sometimes real life is like that), but I found this smart, helpful, and practical, and have been recommending it nonstop. Daniel Coyle, author of The Talent Code (also on this list!) said: "It’s a map, flashlight, and GPS device for navigating the landscape of adolescent girlhood." More info →
This book was huge in framing my expectations about relationships. Gottman's insights will heighten your self-awareness, and are applicable to other kinds of relationships. Surprising-but-true insights: most marital conflicts aren't solvable. Strong couples are good friends. Happiness is about how we respond to the little things. Successful marriages have a lot in common, and Gottman shows you how to incorporate these things into your own relationship. Investing in your marriage is easier than you might think. I like to revisit this practical, readable handbook every few years to remind me what we're doing right—and what we maybe could be doing better. And it's fascinating and fun to read. More info →
This book is all about how to get better at getting better—at anything, whether it's sports, music, math, or business. Coyle delves into the science of how the brain acquires skill, then shows dozens of ways top performers are putting those theories into practice every day, and how YOU can do the same. This book has changed how I work, and how I talk to my kids about their work and play, and I wish I knew more of it by heart. More info →
Have you read any terrific books you wish YOU could download into YOUR brain? Tell us what they are and why they’re important in comments!