Our 2019 Holiday Book Recommendations

The only thing more fun than talking books with leadership blogger and book coach, Wally Bock, is talking about a lot of books!

In this episode, Wally and I share our holiday gift recommendations for books we read and loved during the past year, regardless of their year of publication. We each share our mini-reviews and recommendations for three great business and leadership books and two beyond the business category.

The selections might just surprise you, and while tastes are subjective, we’re pretty confident you will find several gems in the selections!

Enjoy, and if you don’t have anyone to share these with, go ahead and treat yourself to some great authors and thinkers!


Art's Signature



Show Highlights and Links:

Wally leads off with his first pick for the holiday books, It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. It’s a great book with two important caveats. Check out Wally’s blog review and Goodreads review

Art shares his first pick as a gift book, Just Listen by Dr. Mark Goulston, and makes the case for it being one of the most important books you will add to your professional development library. (5:33)

At (6:45) Art and Wally wonder why there’s a phone ringing in the background! (Sorry, folks!)

Wally picks, Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear (8:56) as “the best book on habit he’s read.” Check out Wally’s blog review and Goodreads review.

Art highlights a book he didn’t expect to like but loved, 8 Steps to High Performance: Focus on What You Can Change (Ignore the Rest) by Marc Effron (11:00). The power in this must-read/own/apply is in how the author distills a vast body of research down to 8 simple but not simplistic sets of behaviors. Ideal for anyone who wants to find that next performance gear!

Wally offers up Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead (15:30) by Jim Mattis and Bing West. Wally loves this for the insight into Jim Mattis’ personal leadership journey and for the great resources suggested throughout the book. Here’s a link to our detailed podcast review. Also, check out Wally’s blog review and Goodreads review.

Art suggests, The Leader You Want to Be: 5 Essential Principles for Bringing Out Your Best Self Every Day by Amy Jen Su (16:49) as a powerful personal-professional development guide. Here’s a link to Art’s interview with Amy.

We shift beyond leadership and business books to some great recommendations. (20:24).

Wally recommends The Social Animal: The Hidden Source of Love, Character, and Achievement by David Brooks and The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power from Freemasons to Facebook by Niall Ferguson. (Note: Art just added these to his Christmas book list! There goes Wally influencing our family book spend again!)

Art shares his non-leadership and business selections (25:30): The Future of Humanity—Our Destiny in the Universe by Michio Kaku, and Designing Your Life—How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans.

Some parting life advice from Wally (31:00)

Our list recap: (31:30)