The Three Books I Most Recommend

To be honest, I don’t read a ton anymore. I had a couple years where I read 50-100 books per year and that had the effect of exposing me to just about every book anyone had ever recommended to me and burning me out a little bit. I still read a bit, but not like before.

Of the hundreds of books I’ve ever read, a few stand out as being so excellent that they’re in a league of their own. I recommend them all the time to friends and to coaching clients, and have probably recommended all three somewhere in this blog before, too.

1. Difficult Conversations

There are very few books that I can say really changed me and how I interact with the world, but this one very obviously did. Nearly every person I’ve recommended it to has told me that they loved it and it had a big effect on them as well. I know of several relationships that it saved directly.

The gist of the book is that we all have to have difficult conversations, like those between bosses and employees, spouses, good friends, but that most of us have no idea how to do so effectively. The book lays out an effective and realistic framework which can be used to have those conversations successfully.

I went in to the book thinking that those conversations were necessary but terrible, and came out seeing them as genuine opportunities to make things better for both me and the person with whom I’m conversing. It’s hard for me to believe that anyone wouldn’t benefit from this book.

2. Musashi

Musashi is a book that was originally published as a serial in Japan and was later translated into English. It’s about Miyamoto Musashi, a real samurai in 1600s Japan.

The story is incredibly engaging, and has the added benefit of being accurate. The love story seems to be made up, but just about everything else is historically accurate. Musashi is an inspirational character, and it’s hard to read this book and not have a few ideas on how you could be a little more like him.

Musashi gives you a huge dose of entertainment, Japanese history, and inspiration all in one (rather large) book. This book was originally recommended to me by Sebastian Marshall, who also counts it as his favorite book, and it has become the favorite book of many of my friends as well.

3. The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy

This is a book that I didn’t necessarily learn much from, but immediately connected with as soon as I got into it. I think my jaw may have actually dropped as I read it.

The book describes Stoicism, which is the philosophy which I practice but never knew that I practiced. It describes exactly how I think, but with much more clarity and detail than I’ve ever been able to write myself. If you are not happy all of the time, this book is for you.

If you’ve already read these books, I would love to hear which books you’ve read that you think stack up favorably to them. They are the golden standards to which I compare other books.


Photo is a couple turtles I saw while scuba diving in Hilo a couple weeks ago. I’ve really gotten into scuba diving recently now that I have my own gear and can just go whenever I want.

For anyone who has been asking for updates on future superhuman events or sending me post suggestions: thanks! I don’t reply to these, but I’m keeping lists.

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