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The best of what I’m reading, watching, and exploring (February 2023)

Posted in the following categories: Motivation

Quick announcement first: A HUGE thank you to all of you who pre-ordered Awaken Your Genius. Thanks to your pre-orders, the book became a #1 new release on Amazon (more than two months before it’s even been published!).

We were inundated with pre-orders (in the best way possible!), and my team is still processing all the receipts. If you forgot to send in your receipt, please email it to [email protected] ASAP to get your bonuses.

Onto the regularly scheduled programming…

From time to time, instead of my usual email with one big idea you can read in 3 minutes or less, I share with you the best of what I’m reading, watching, and exploring. Enjoy!


Smart Brevity: The Power of Saying More with Less by Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen and Roy Schwartz. From the description: “You’re wasting your reader’s time. Here’s how to change, in just six words: Brevity is confidence. Length is fear.” This book is a goldmine of insights on how to improve your communications—everything from emails to presentations—by cutting out the fluff. (Thank you to my friend and creative collaborator Chris West for gifting me a copy).

Your Music and Your People: Creative and Considerate Fame by Derek Sivers. I’ll read anything that Derek writes. But this book sat unread on my shelf for a long time since I assumed it’d be useful for only musicians. I was completely wrong. If you’re a creator of any type trying to reach people with your work, this is a must read. Plus, it’s super short (and a masterclass of smart brevity at work).

Mind Your Mindset: The Science That Shows Success Starts with Your Thinking by Michael Hyatt & Megan Hyatt Miller. From the endorsement I wrote for this great book, which was published this week: “The quality of our life is determined by the stories we tell ourselves. But instead of us shaping our stories, they end up shaping us. If you want to escape this trap—if you want to change your story and write a better one—this book is essential reading.”


I say very little about the plot of the films that follow—in large part because I don’t want to ruin the fun. I refuse to watch trailers—or even read film descriptions—because I want to be surprised from minute one.

The Banshees of Inisherin. (HBO Max) This is one of those rare films that stayed with me for a long time. It’s unpretentious and honest and hilarious and heartbreaking—and everything in between.

The Menu. (HBO Max) I loved this dark comedy. A deliciously original satire about fine dining and pretentious foodies.

Triangle of Sadness. (Amazon Prime | Apple TV) Another great dark comedy that pairs well with The Menu. This one is a satirical take on the uber rich and Insta-fame culture. Hilarious and over-the-top. (If you don’t have a strong stomach, skip this one).

Glass Onion. (Netflix) Hilarious sequel to Knives Out. A murder mystery that takes place on a Greek island. Simple and thoroughly entertaining.


The Bear. (Hulu) If you’re looking for a show you can watch to unwind from a stressful work day, this is NOT it. A chaotic yet beautiful show about a family sandwich shop in Chicago. Watching it feels like getting an anxiety-inducing hug. Brilliantly scripted and acted.


“Japan” by Tycho ft. Saint Sinner (Satin Jackets Remix). Everything about this song—from the vocals to the lyrics to the beat—is stunning.

“Purple Hat” by Sofi Tukker. I dare you to resist dancing to this beat. I’ve found it impossible to not move while listening to it.

The Contrarian Handbook
The Status Quo.

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