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  • Writer's pictureJulie Nelson

Julie’s Business & Mindset Reading List

Updated: Sep 22, 2020

… note: this list changes all the time :)


As I wrapped up my SUCCESS FASTER writing and publication, I realized there were a number of books that provided grounding, guidance, direction, and enough success analogy material to fill a few more books. Each of these books alone can be transformational and I realize that I have been reading and re-reading and referencing these gems for years. I would not be as confident or complete or balanced or clear or easy on myself today without them. Highlighted, dog-eared, post-it-noted, gifted to friends, these are working books. I have hard copies, Audible copies, notes, blog articles and social media posts preaching their game-changer attributes. I have downloaded all of their free online material and resources. I subscribe to their mailing lists, I seek them out on YouTube. For me, these are the game-changers, compass-setters, course-correctors, great equalizers that have influenced me and I believe can help you along your way.

I’d love to hear yours … here’s mine:

My Business & Mindset Reading List

The Fire Starter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide to Creating Success on Your Own Terms, Danielle LaPorte

You: Staying Young: The Owner's Manual for Extending Your Warranty, Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Badass … Jen Sincero everything

Everything is Figureoutable, Marie Forleo

UnFu*k Yourself, John Bishop

Furiously Happy, Jenny Lawson

Everything Brene Brown

From Fear to Fearlessness, Pema Chodron – because everyone should have a Buddhist nun on their best of reading list.

And more …

First, The Fire Starter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide to Creating Success on Your Own Terms. I want to be Danielle LaPorte when I grow up. At a time when I was questioning my path, evaluating my choices, scrambling for joy, and recalibrating my compass, this book knocked me off my seat. Drop every self-help or career guidance book you’ve ever read, take them all to the used book store and cozy your psyche right up to the gritty, kick-ass, stop-being-so-hard-on-yourself, embrace-what-you-love, career as passion-meets-ambition, church of Danielle LaPorte. LaPorte is business meets soul.

She is very clear on the practical business piece, reference’s Mark Cuban’s sales-solve-everything mantra, and reminds us that “the whole point of the first few years of business: survive.” As the title implies, it is a beautiful combination of soulful and practical. Some of my fav LaPorte material includes:

  • “When being real is your priority, the various parts of your life start to groove.”

  • “Make ease a metric of success.”

  • “Desire More”

  • “Idealists Unite!”

  • “Money: More is More. Enough is Plenty”

You: Staying Young … I know, an unlikely finalist but hear me out. I have been writing the Success Faster book over the span of a couple of years. If you have ever attempted to write something lengthy, you will relate to this concept. In the two-year span of writing and re-writing and developing this book, any other book or article I picked up had me thinking about writing style, anecdotes, and analogies for a healthy business. The You: Staying Young book by Roizen and Oz, dumbs down, in a dummies-for-xyz sort of way, your health and your personal ecosystems. The book is a surplus store of analogies for a healthy business. Besides a little Oprah, I am rarely drawn to TV personality authors, but when it comes to my personal health and a decent understanding of the chemistry and biology of how all this works, I’ll take a volume full of cartoon explanations rather than my college physiology textbooks.

The Owner’s Manual for Extending Your Warranty may as well be the owner’s manual for having a decent chance of thriving or simply staying in this business called real estate. Our bodies and our businesses are great big simple, and complex, ecosystems and stuff that happens in one department affects the results in another. Our bodies and our businesses are not just impacted by external things. More so, they are impacted by the choices we make on a daily basis and who we are being in that body and in that business.

Badass … Jen Sincero everything. Jen Sincero has her Badass series – You are a Badass, You are a Badass at Making Money, You are a Badass Every Day – and I just pretty much love how she is in your face about owning your power and your badassery. Sincero says that gratitude is the gateway drug to awesomeness. I’m grateful.

Everything is Figureoutable, Marie Forleo – Just the title itself motivated me to move a mountain or two.

UnFu*k Yourself, John Bishop – I have listened to this book multiple times on Audible in the car. He says things like stop reinforcing your limitations. This book helped me get over some of my bs stories I had been telling myself.

Furiously Happy, Jenny Lawson – My favorite quote from this book is “Pretend you’re good at it.” It’s a book of raw short stories that have little to do with business and everything to do with business.

TED Talks

And let’s add one more big influencer, perspective setter, personal GPS … TED Talks. I am obsessed with TED Talks. My treadmill time typically involves a TED Talks either on Apple TV or my podcast app on my phone. I listen and watch, and re-listen and re-watch TED Talks specifically related to this book, to business, mindset, achievement, happiness, a little science, music, design, and architecture. My treadmill time is often disjointed as I pause the treadmill and scribble a reference. Fast walk, pause, scribble, cardio, pause, Siri note, fast walk, pause, scribble. (I don’t run.)

I watch these amazing people and hope that it eventually somehow even slightly impacts my habitual language, my mindset, my go-to statements of encouragement, and my grasp-this-for-business-development tips. At what point do these gems morph into my own language versus a quote from an amazing talk with a brilliant mind? I study my TED Talks notes like an athlete lifts weights; I’m on them all the time. I work on building my brilliance muscle, building my accessible rolodex of encouragement and clarity. At the least, they feed my positivity; at best, I’m awesome at a cocktail party.

Honestly, it was not easy narrowing this list. Here are my TED Talks Success Faster influencer finalists:

Shawn Anchor, The happy secret to better work, May 2011 at TEDx

We're finding it's not necessarily the reality that shapes us, but the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality. And if we can change the lens, not only can we change your happiness, we can change every single educational and business outcome at the same time.

If you can raise somebody's level of positivity in the present, then their brain experiences what we now call a happiness advantage, which is your brain at positive performs significantly better than at negative, neutral or stressed. Your intelligence rises, your creativity rises, your energy levels rise. In fact, we've found that every single business outcome improves. Your brain at positive is 31% more productive than your brain at negative, neutral or stressed. You're 37% better at sales. Doctors are 19 percent faster, more accurate at coming up with the correct diagnosis when positive instead of negative, neutral or stressed.

What we found is that only 25% of job successes are predicted by IQ, 75 percent of job successes are predicted by your optimism levels, your social support and your ability to see stress as a challenge instead of as a threat.

Ricardo Semler, How to run a company with almost no rules, October 2014 at TEDGlobal

… what we've done all of these years is very simple, is use the little tool, which is ask three whys in a row. Because the first why you always have a good answer for. The second why, it starts getting difficult. By the third why, you don't really know why you're doing what you're doing. What I want to leave you with is the seed and the thought that maybe if you do this, you will come to the question, what for? What am I doing this for?

Isaac Lidsky, What reality are you creating for yourself? June 2016 at TED Summit

Hold yourself accountable for every moment, every thought, every detail. See beyond your fears. Recognize your assumptions. Harness your internal strength. Silence your internal critic. Correct your misconceptions about luck and about success. Accept your strengths and your weaknesses, and understand the difference. Open your hearts to your bountiful blessings. Your fears, your critics, your heroes, your villains -- they are your excuses, rationalizations, shortcuts, justifications, your surrender. They are fictions you perceive as reality. Choose to see through them. Choose to let them go. You are the creator of your reality. With that empowerment comes complete responsibility.

Brene Brown, The power of vulnerability, June 2010 at TEDx Houston

And I know it's seductive to stand outside the arena, because I think I did it my whole life, and think to myself, I'm going to go in there and kick some ass when I'm bulletproof and when I'm perfect. And that is seductive. But the truth is, that never happens. And even if you got as perfect as you could and as bulletproof as you could possibly muster when you got in there, that's not what we want to see. We want you to go in. We want to be with you and across from you. And we just want, for ourselves and the people we care about and the people we work with, to dare greatly.

Meg Jay, Why 30 is not the new 20, February 2013 at TED2013

Forget about having an identity crisis and get some identity capital. Do something that adds value to who you are. Do something that’s an investment in who you might want to be next.

Elizabeth Gilbert, Success, failure, and the drive to keep creating, (also Eat, Pray, Love), March 2014 at TED2014

Look, I don't know where you rightfully live, but I know that there's something in this world that you love more than you love yourself. Something worthy, by the way, so addiction and infatuation don't count, because we all know that those are not safe places to live. Right? The only trick is that you've got to identify the best, worthiest thing that you love most, and then build your house right on top of it and don't budge from it. And if you should someday, somehow get vaulted out of your home by either great failure or great success, then your job is to fight your way back to that home the only way that it has ever been done, by putting your head down and performing with diligence and devotion and respect and reverence whatever the task is that love is calling forth from you next. You just do that, and keep doing that again and again and again, and I can absolutely promise you, from long personal experience in every direction, I can assure you that it's all going to be okay.

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