Jay Papasan: Seven Books to Place On Your Summer Reading List

June 2, 2020

Summer is nearly here, which means sun-drenched days that pair perfectly with a good book in hand. 

Whether you’re looking to become a more resilient business owner or go inward to investigate how you can be an agent of change, here’s a summer reading list from Keller Williams’ VP of learning and co-author of The Millionaire Real Estate Agent and The ONE Thing, Jay Papasan, with something for you. 

Grit by Angela Duckworth

The first time I read Grit, I listened to the audiobook. What Angela Duckworth had to say about finding success through persistent, focused action fascinated me so much that I ordered the hardcover right way. Any person will be inspired by this work, whether it’s to help them pursue success in their business or in their lives. Although the entire book is invaluable, the chapter on how to parent so that your children have a sense of tenacity really changed the way that Wendy and I approached raising our children. Join us in the Pivot: Shift Ahead FB Group where we’ll read through Grit throughout June and speak with Angela Duckworth herself to find out how we can get a little more ‘gritty.’

The Road Less Stupid by Keith Cunningham

Keith Cunningham is one of the best minds in the business world today. The Road Less Stupid will give you the principles you need to make the right decisions for your business – so that you won’t be blindsided by “dumb” mistakes.

Gary and I were able to discuss what businesspeople can do in today’s shifting market to make their businesses smart again for a special episode of Think Like A CEO that’s definitely worth a listen.

The Obstacle Is the Way by Ryan Holiday

Ryan Holiday’s book on stoicism, the Ancient Greek philosophy of enduring adversity or pain without complaining, is apropos for those of us who are challenged by our COVID world. Holiday’s advice to focus on the things that you can control and use them to help move yourself forward is as timely as it is timeless. I was fortunate to be able to do a webinar with Ryan back in 2015 for The ONE Thing where we shared tips about how to read productively and effectively.  

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

Anyone who runs a business can tell you that it’s inspiring, fun, and … it’s hard. Ben Horowitz, with his background in Silicon Valley startups, gets it. In this book, he shares advice from the challenges he encountered in his rise to success – whether that’s having to have hard conversations with employees that aren’t meeting expectations, or how hard it is to maintain perspective on what’s important to yourself when an entire organization relies on you.  

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

A fun-filled virtual reality adventure, this book is a must-read for all ages – but especially those who have a fondness for ’80s culture and video games. Given our overnight shift to a digital world, you’re in a better position than ever to root for Wade Watts as he races against time (and some pretty clever enemies) to solve puzzles, master virtual reality, and save the world.

Next Up

As Gary wrote earlier this week, we need to face the hard truth that racial injustice and inequality persist. And, in order to help change that, it’s critical to not only say something about it, but to do something about it. That’s why I’ve added these titles to my reading list: 

  • How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi – Kendi’s concept of antiracism adds a critical element to the conversation about racial justice in America. Instead of working with the policies and systems that are already built, Kendi asks us to use our imagination to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it. 
  • White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo – The term, coined by DiAngelo in 2011, describes the strong emotions that follow after it is pointed out that a white person has unintentionally caused offense or hurt through their words or actions. DiAngelo showcases how these reactions (anger, fear, guilt, denial, and silence) coalesce to silence people of color and uphold the vicious system of white supremacy. Drawing from decades of experience running racial awareness workshops, DiAngelo paves the way for practical and sustainable action that can lead to lasting change.

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