The Best Books This Fall for Sustainable Excellence

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Welcome to our Fall 2023 reading list.

If you are familiar with our work, you’ll know that it integrates ideas, research, and practices from diverse domains. (See our latest book, for example.)

People always ask us how we come up with the ideas and theories for our books.

The answer is simple: we do our best to live in the world with our eyes open; and we read hundreds of books, from a variety of disciplines and authors. Then we discuss them at length.

This Fall is filled with some great new non-fiction books. It’s the best season for reading in a while. Collectively, these books comprise a world-class reading list for anyone who is interested in excellence and mental health—in doing good and feeling good.

The links go to Amazon, since that is where most people buy books on the internet these days. That said, we’ve also created a list at Bookshop.org if you’d prefer to purchase there since we always encourage supporting your local bookseller. Get the books from wherever you want, we just want to see more people reading, and we are always happy to recommend good books.

The Right Kind of Wrong by Amy Edmondson (September 05): From the researcher who developed psychological safety comes a science-backed tour de force on how to harness failure for growth. And not based on trite cliches but on the latest evidence.

Be Useful by Arnold Schwarzenegger (October 03): We have become big fans of Schwarzenegger and what he is doing with The Pump ClubIn an era desperately longing for positive examples of masculinity, Arnold 4.0—body builder; actor; politician; citizen—is stepping up and reaching millions in a good way. This book is a nice summation of the underlying vision guiding his metamorphosis.

The Learning Game by Ana Fabrega (September 05): A look at all the ways learning can (and should be) fun for the kids in our lives. It’s full of practical tips for teachers (and parents) to make minor adjustments in how to frame learning that yields major results. We also dug the illustrations and charts in this book, which were top-notch.

The Scarcity Brain by Michael Easter (September 26): On how to get out of seeking mode and get into living mode, from one of our favorite health and fitness writers. Easter’s last book, The Comfort Crisiswas a balanced look at the value of doing hard things. In this one, he takes on reconciling a brain that evolved for scarcity that now lives in a world of abundance.

Same as Ever by Morgan Housel (November 07): We’ve been told hundreds (truly) of times that Housel is essentially The Growth Equation philosophy applied to finance and investing—and for good reason. He is the best there is when it comes to simple, but not always easy, principles for dealing with money, all of which could be applied far more broadly. His latest book is a look back throughout history for patterns and principles that can inform how to best invest (and how to best live) today.

Never Enough by Jennifer Breheny Wallace (August 22): A sweeping look at the pressures today’s youth feel to achieve in all areas of their lives, along with the significant destruction such an ethos leaves in its wake. What kids need to succeed is not more pressure to perform, but rather to feel like they matter and belong. (We think the same is generally true for adults too!)

Clear Thinking by Shane Parish (October 03): From the creator of the Farnam Street blog, newsletter, and podcast, comes a book on how to think clearly in an increasingly distorted world. Parish introduces four big barriers to clear thinking—emotion, ego, social pressure, and inertia—and provides practical tools for overcoming each so that you can be a signal in a world of noise.

Master of Change by Brad Stulberg (September 05): A shameless plug for The Growth Equation’s Fall release, which is all about how to skillfully navigate and thrive amidst life’s inevitable flux. The book introduces a new model for change (order, disorder, reorder) and then shows readers how to develop the habits and practices of “rugged flexibility,” a gritty endurance and anti-fragility that not only withstands change and uncertainty but thrives in its midst.

We hope that you enjoy these books. Perhaps there is no better investment of time and money than reading a book. Our challenge to you is to pick five of these books (or more!) to read between now and the end of the year. We can almost guarantee you’ll be better off for it.

Happy Reading,

— Brad and Steve

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