Books that shaped me and might shape you
Part autobiography, part love letter to the craft. Whether a fan or an aspiring writer, Stephen King's only non-fiction book is a guidebook to understanding where your story came from and how to put it on paper. *Note: As someone who scares easily, I've never read any of King's fiction books nor seen any movies other than the mainstream ones like 'Shawshank Redemption' and 'Green Mile'. However after reading 'On Writing', I gained an appreciation for the uniqueness of King's gift, where it came from, how he fed it, and his passion to give back to writers everywhere.
Admittedly, when I first saw Matthew McConaghey's book in a center aisle of Walmart, I chuckled to myself, 'Ha! McConaughey wrote a book!'. A week later, I saw it again and again I laughed to myself but this time in more of a questioning tone 'Ha, McConaughey wrote a book? hmm'. The third time, I bought it. What I found was a man who's turned a lifelong habit of self-reflection to strategic action. Not to give anything away, but going all the way back to a young boy, McConaughey would write notes to himself. Not a diary, just notes. Sometimes just a sentence, sometimes several, he documented the learnings of life. As an adult, he looked back and found that those notes were his decision tree for finding and following the 'greenlights' of life. I guarantee that you'll see him different but more importantly, YOURSELF differently.
One of my first bosses, who has since gone on to be a dear friend and mentor gave this book to our team (along with accompanying actual red rubber ball) while at a national sales meeting. The prompted questions and subsequent lessons have stuck with me almost 20 years later. Kevin Carroll walks us back to his formative years spent on pavements and playgrounds where a ball captured both passion and joy, which when applied in life can feed the freedom of our creativity for purpose and productivity.
There is no more influential brand in the 20th century than NIKE. In Shoe Dog, we learn how Phil Knight took an evening jog to a mindset that inspired us all 'Just Do It'. For as successful as NIKE is today, many may not know that Knight was an accountant by day, an adjust professor by night, and a former track star who was the first US distributor of an Asian shoe brand and was selling sneakers out of the back of his car at track events on the weekend. 'Shoe Dog' has lessons for us all on how to transfer passions to purpose and maybe, just maybe... to profits.