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The best of what I’m reading, watching, and exploring (July 2020)

Posted in the following categories: Motivation

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


Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art by Stephen Nachmanovitch. This is a must read for anyone doing creative work. It shares how we can create more of those beautiful moments when, as the author writes, “the work flows and work is play and the process and the product are one.” I also loved this line: “Out of tune?  With what? Out of tune with my preconceived benchmark of ‘in tune.’”

The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters by Priya Parker. There are books you didn’t know you needed until you read them. This is one of them. The book completely changed the way I look at gatherings and how I go about hosting them.

The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek. This book takes home the prize for “The book I’ve highlighted the most in recent memory.” Here’s the basic idea: There are finite games, like chess, with clear rules and a clear endpoint. And then there are infinite games where there are no fixed rules and no winners or losers. The goal is not to win, but to keep playing. People who approach life as an infinite game innovate and inspire more (and have more fun along the way).

Why Won’t You Apologize? Healing Big Betrayals and Everyday Hurts by Harriet Lerner. You’ll learn why most of us are terrible at apologizing and how to move beyond the simple “I’m sorry” to make sure that your apology resonates.

Teaching as a Subversive Activity by Neil Postman. The subtitle explains it all: “A no-holds-barred assault on outdated teaching methods—with dramatic and practical proposals on how education can be made relevant to today’s world.” The book was written in 1971, and although some of the vernacular is quite outdated, its lessons are just as relevant today.

Switch, How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip & Dan Heath. I know. I’m late to the party on this one. It’s a masterpiece. If you’re looking to create lasting change in your community or company, this is a must read.


Giant Little Ones. Coming-of-age movies usually miss the mark. This one knocks it out of the park. I loved it.

The Gentlemen. If you like Quentin Tarantino movies (as I do), you’ll love this one.

The Chorus. It’s like the French version of Dead Poets Society. Really enjoyed it.

The Little Death. This laugh-out-loud dark comedy pushes the boundaries. If you’re easily offended, or if below-the-belt humor turns you off, look elsewhere.

The Good Liar. A good psychological thriller from an all-star cast (Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren).

TV Shows

Ozark (Netflix). Fantastic acting and brilliant screenplay. Can’t wait for Season 4.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime). One of the best shows I’ve seen in recent memory. Rachel Brosnahan is brilliant.

Love Life (HBO Max). Entertaining rom-com. Anna Kendrick brings this home.

13 Reasons Why (Netflix). I really enjoyed the first season. It went downhill from there.

Cobra Kai (YouTube, soon moving to Netflix). As a child of the 80s, I’m a big fan of the original Karate Kid movies (so much so that we have a Karate Kid movie-themed artwork in our living room). The TV show picks up 34 years from where the first Karate Kid movie left off. Surprisingly good with entertainingly horrible acting.

Tools If you’re anything like me, you highlight relevant sections of the books and articles you read, but once you finish them, you promptly forget about them. Enter Readwise. The software syncs the highlights from my books and articles, and sends me a daily digest of 15 random highlights. It’s a great way to retain more of what I read and make connections between my highlights that I otherwise would miss. It’s the one of the few tools I use on a daily basis. If you sign up with this affiliate link, you’ll get a 60-day free trial (instead of the usual 30).

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