Improve Yourself with these 6 Documentaries & 7 Books|The Hustle| Flow| Subconscious Mind|109 Year Old Piano Player| 14 Year Old Girl Sails Around World| Do Kids Need College?|Soccer

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Recently I had lunch with a good friend of mine who is a mid-market business CIO. He is a little over a year into a new CIO job. He was in his old CIO job for 20+ years so it has been a bit of a shock for him to adjust to a new management team and style of business development.

The truth is that he is so experienced that he should be the COO and not the CIO so that he can give his business a bit of a kick in the pants, but he will need to be patient as he is still new to the role.

I asked him about his higher purpose in his life and also with his business, but mostly with him. This got him to think deeper that the events appearing at the surface.

He had been very affected by the attitudes of the business executives around him and the disparity and difference between the environment he left and where he was now. The environment he had spent 25 years in that he had loved.

I gave him my “light bulb” talk. I told him that he needs to be the ‘electric current’ and not the ‘plug’ as it relates to being in the business. He can’t be at the ‘effect of the environment around him’ especially if it is unstable. He needs to bring his vision to the environment. I hope it will work out for him.

Then I told him I would send him some books and documentaries that he can listen to. I list them below for you.

If you have a family with kids ages 8-22 and are a business leader some of these books, videos, and podcasts will be perfect for you.


The lady in No. 6
This is one of my favorites. She is 109 years old and is the oldest living Holocaust survivor. She was, and still is, a world class piano player. Her attitude is amazing.

Some quotes from her that I thought were really strong from the documentary were:

“I am thankful that I have been there [concentration camps] I think I am richer than other people because I experienced them.” Her quote reminds me of Victor Frankels book “Search for Meaning”.

“I am grateful every day 100, 100, 100 times.”

“It is up to me to determine whether my life is good or bad. Not life.”

“When you love something, work it, work it, work it.” She learned from her father ‘calmness is strength’ 14:50

Jiro Dreams of Sushi
This is a documentary of the best sushi restaurant in the world and the obsession with quality.
Here, seats run in the hundreds of dollars per plate and the waiting list is endless. If you enjoy approaching your work as a craft you will love this.

Forks Over Knives
I loved this documentary as two renowned doctors review why vegetables are better than meat. I had never really listened to a show which has such a long study regarding health benefits of vegetables. I still love meat, but this is a great education piece.

Inside Job
I loved this documentary narrated by Matt Damon that explains the causes of the 2007/2008 housing crash and the recession. It dives into the cast of characters and motivations and will educated as well as fire you up at the same time.

Maiden Voyage
I am watching now the inspiring story of a 14 year old girl who sailed around the world by herself. You may have heard media coverage about her before but here is her story. My kids are watching it now.

General Sam McChrystal: Podcast
I was not expecting much from this podcast with one of the US’s top Generals of all time. I was really impressed by him though. My favorite sections on leadership were here:

  • @ 1:27 – “Military leadership is actually easier than civilian leadership….because everything is very clear….structure….mission etc. These things have to be created in commercial organization. This can be quite hard.”
  • @ 1:48 – 1:52 – His approach on building small special operations teams and removing slow decision making. This part of the podcast is very good. He wants to instill radical transparency so he can move a large bureaucratic organization at light speed.

Inspiration for Kids and Girls Soccer
If your daughter is playing soccer, have her listen to Christen Press and Ali Krieger. These interviews were done in preparation for the World Cup. Both are inspiring as per my daughter. Of course Ali is a Penn State grad too. In addition if you have young athletes who are multi-sport athletes you will like reading some material about Carli Lloyd’s trainer, James Galanis, about his philosophy regarding young girls and multi-sport athletics: SJ Magazine and ESPNW.

Kids and College + Entrepreneur Examples
It is now over $75k per year to get an undergraduate degree at Georgetown. This is nuts. I like this writer and podcaster James Altucher who speaks and writes about alternatives to college. I have been encouraging my kids for years to start their own business someday. I hope they will. Here are some valuable shows you can watch with your family to teach your kids.

  • We watch The Profit with Marcus Lemonis and Shark Tank.
  • This interview with Mark Cuban and Marcus Lemonis is especially good.
  • #313 Get an MIT education for less than 1% of full price. This kid explains how he got a comp-sci degree online from MIT. They post their entire curriculum on line for literally peanuts. It is well worth the listen.

Music and the hustle
#306 Mac Lethal – Youtube speed rapper. He has an amazing attitude and he shares his attitude about how to build a music label on his own.

Glitch Mob Ep 62 – How the Glitch Mob Exploded
This is a great entrepreneurial band story. This interview covers all aspects of how this band got started and how they do it without a music ‘label’. It is a study in entrepreneurship.

Book : Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior by Leonard Mlodinow

If you are a Dad, Mom, Coach or Teacher you will enjoy this scientific book.
Pages 111-115 are stunning because basically the author states that the research shows that our expectations of a child’s performance significantly determines the outcome. The experiments are fascinating and well worth reading more.

These are five of my favorite books in a variety of Genres related to high performance, technology and trends:

  1. The Rise of Superman – A study of human performance. It is one of my favorite books. Although it is a study of adventure athletes, the examples translate into day to day life.
  2. Abundance – This is a must read for any person who wants to understand the future of the planet and where technology from bio-medicine, water, energy and tech are going.
  3. Future Crimes – If you want to understand the nature of crime in the future by one of the leading authorities in this area, an FBI Crimes Futurist named Marc Goodman presents this dense read. I found it a treasure trove of info.
  4. What Technology Wants – Kevin Kelly, the founder of Wired Magazine, writes about technology as an aspect of consciousness and as an evolutionary process. He writes about the past and the future and it helped me understand more about where we are now.
  5. Cool Tools – Also by Kevin Kelly. If you want to see a catalog of the coolest tools on the planet check this book out.