My Dozen "Must Read" Book List for 2016

Going into 2016, I'm picking a dozen books that are must reads for me this year. I thought I'd share my list in hopes there might be some that would be good reads for you as well, or at least to inspire you to make a list of your own. Reading is imperative if you want to learn and grow, and to become better at your craft, whatever that might be.

Here's my list:

  1. "The Richest Man in Babylon" by George S. Clason - A classic that I've read multiple times, but always a great, easy read as a refresher on the basics of building wealth.
  2. "What to Do When There's Too Much to Do" by Laura Stack - One of my focuses this year is getting more organized!
  3. "The 4-Hour Workweek" by Tim Ferriss - It's been on my list for too long. Getting it done 1st quarter 2016.
  4. "Start With Why" by Simon Sinek - If the book is anything close to his TED talk this will be an amazing read.
  5. "Awaken the Giant Within" by Anthony Robbins - I've started this book a number of times and it's super interesting, but because of the detail and length I've fizzled out each time. Not this time.
  6. "The Compound Effect" by Darren Hardy - Another shorter and easier read, but with great concepts and insight.
  7. "Bringing up Boys" by Dr. James Dobson - I've got two of my own, so learning how to be a better dad is always a must!
  8. "Losing My Virginity" by Richard Branson - One of the most inspirational entrepreneurs of our time.
  9. "Trump: The Art of the Deal" by Donald Trump with Tony Schwartz - Another one I've been meaning to read. How can you not learn something from one of the greatest real estate entrepreneurs?
  10. "Purple Cow" by Seth Godin - With multiple businesses, it's important not to get stagnant and to stay focused on standing out by being unique and remarkable.
  11. "Brain Rules" by John Medina - I've heard awesome things about this book. Breaking down how our brains work. Learning more about how we're wired will not only show you where you can personally make changes for the better, but will also increase your ability to interact with and understand other people. Since we all work, live and do business with people, it's a "no-brainer".
  12. "Delivering Happiness" by Tony Hsieh - When one of the best companies to work for and one of the most successful online stores started by selling shoes, of all things, tells how he did read it. Customers and employees are become more demanding about how a business is run, what their motivation is the work for or buy from them, and what impact they're making. All good things, and with the trend in that thought process, you want to be ahead of the game in running your business in a similar way.
There you go! Take the time to make a list of your dozen "must read" books for the year and make it happen. I hope this list has started you in the right direction, and maybe even a couple of them will end up on your list. I'd love it if you'd share your list with me once you have it down. Make 2016 a year of incredible learning and growth in your life!

Giving and Gratitude

Ok, so I am going to distract myself from my 5 part series on mind shifts (and after only 1 post!). I'll get back to that, I promise, because they're super important and I want you to take those tools and the new philosophies into the new year. However, I just can't pass Christmas and New Years without a couple posts acknowledging some of the great perspectives we can get out of the season.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve (I'm still in disbelief that it's already here). In addition to spending time with your loved ones, I want you to spend some time reflecting on just two things: giving and gratitude. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you reflect on these two areas.

  1. How can I focus more on giving this year, rather than on receiving? The ironic thing here is that as you focus more on giving, you will receive more than you ever imagined you would.
  2. Where specifically do I want to focus my giving this year? It may be financially, or it may be with your time. It may be both. It may be sharing your expertise with other entrepreneurs to help them grow your business, or with students who are looking for guidance. Find something to give to that speaks to you and your values personally.
  3. How can I incorporate giving into my regular, every day life? Giving doesn't have to be an event, or a huge contribution, though I fully believe in being involved in larger scale giving. You can give consistently, daily even, by taking the time to hear out a friend who is going through a hard time and needs someone to listen, or by being aware of those around you and the everyday opportunities to get involved and make a difference, no matter how small it may seem. The point is to give of yourself, without expecting anything in return.
  4. Am I giving to my full potential? Be honest with yourself. Is there more you could be doing? Make this year the year that you step up and do it.


This one's pretty straight forward. What is it you're grateful for? Take some real time to think about it. I realize this time of year can bring pain to a lot of people, for a lot of reasons, when it's supposed to be a season of joy. But we all have things we can and should be grateful for. Heck, we're all living and breathing, so that's something right there! I encourage you to make a physical list of everything in your life that you're grateful for right now, no matter now small.

If you spend some time really thinking about giving and about gratitude, I promise you it will make a difference in your attitude and your perspective. Not only that, if you go through the questions and really think these through, you will go into the New Year with a renewed focus on all the positive things in your life you have to be grateful for, and how you will personally make a contribution this upcoming year.

During all the craziness of the season, don't forget the true reason we celebrate and how incredibly grateful we all should be for the biggest gift of all, that we've all been given and are free to receive. Merry Christmas!


I'm going to spend some time with the next few topics covering 5 key mind shifts that you need to make to increase your success. Some of them will seem fairly basic at first glance, but I challenge you to really think and consider your personal thoughts and philosophy around each topic we cover. The small changes in the way we think often produce the largest changes in our results. Our philosophy about life is what determines most of outcomes. Many times if you're not making the progress you want to be, it's because there's an underlying conflict somewhere in your philosophy. Unless we take the time to analyze our thinking and challenge our current beliefs, we may never uncover those issues and it will be a constant struggle. We need to uncover those areas and see if there needs to be a change in philosophy that will propel you towards your goals. Lets' get started with the first mind shift we need to evaluate.

We don't get what we want. We get what we expect.

Let's explore this a bit.

Think about what you want to get out of life; what you want to accomplish. Think about the big things you've set out to do, especially the ones you keep aiming for but seem to consistently be falling short - maybe even way short. Think also about those you know that have dreams and goals, but for whatever reason aren't reaching them. I would strongly suggest that, if you really dig deep (and you may not really have to dig that deep at all), at the root of the problem is likely this one piece of philosophy. Here's why I say that. What we want, and what we expect, can be and often are two separate things. Plenty of people want to be a millionaire. In fact, if you asked 100 people on the street if they wanted to be a millionaire, if I were a betting man, I'd say your chances of all of them giving you a "yes" answer are pretty darn good. So, why aren't they? It's because, while they may want that, they don't expect it to happen to them.

Now of course there's more to it than that. Obviously there's the effort you need to make, the education and knowledge base you need to build, and so forth. You can't just expect something to happen and have it happen. That's called ignorance. The point is, if you don't expect something, it won't happen, regardless of the efforts. You can have all the knowledge, you can take all the steps that should be taking you where you're trying to go, but without this key piece of actually expecting the results, you will never get anywhere. You'll continue running in place, expending a ton of energy without any real results. You may make some small progress, but you'll never achieve your full potential. Everything you do starts with expectation and belief! It's the foundation of any endeavor, large or small. You simply cannot achieve something if you don't expect it to actually be fulfilled.

Think about it. You will not put in your full effort to something you don't believe will actually happen. Why would you? What's the point if you don't really think you'll get there? Really examine this in your own life. Spend some good, focused time just writing out what you want and seeing if you truly believe and expect that in your life. Dig deep. You may think you believe and expect what you're striving for to happen, but when you start really challenging yourself and looking closely at each of your goals, you may be surprised at what gets flushed out. Be honest with yourself. If you don't have the expectation or belief, it's ok! Telling yourself you do when you really don't will not help get you past it. You need to identify what you do and do not have expectation of so that you can make a deliberate adjustment to your mindset. If you ignore it, it won't change. But if you acknowledge it, you can make the choice to rewire your thinking to that of expectation and belief.

I was listening to a sermon recently, and the pastor made an observation on a passage that had never occurred to me before. In the story of the birth of John the Baptist, Zechariah and Elizabeth are old, and have not been able to have a child. They are in a state of waiting. An angel appears to Zechariah, and tells him he will have a child, even in their old age. Though at first he does not believe, we look further and, later in the story (Luke 1:24) it says he returned home from his service at the temple, and "soon afterward his wife became pregnant". This is not to be crass, it's simply an observation that once he believed, he was filled with expectation, and expectation, in turn, leads to action. Without the belief and the expectation of good things in your life, of achieving what you've set out to do, you will not take the action steps to make it happen.

I challenge you to really explore the expectation and belief in your life. Do you really expect the results you say you want? Or do you need to go to work on changing your philosophy, changing your wiring, so you do in fact expect those things and believe they can and will happen in your life. Only then can you move to effective action and massively increased results, and start seeing the things you want in your life come to be. Your only limits are those that are self-imposed in your own mind.

"Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve." -Napoleon Hill

5 Things to Reflect on Going Into 2016

Believe it or not, 2016 is just a couple weeks away. If you're like me, you're shocked at how quickly this past year has gone by. Regardless, here it is, and as we head into the new year everyone, or at least everyone who has a sense of wanting to improve themselves and their performance this past year, is reflecting on the last 12 months and looking at what they can do to improve and do even better in 2016. Here are 5 areas that you need to include in your reflection.

  • Personal Development - What one area do you want to massively improve upon this year? Pick one and only one. This doesn't mean you can't read or study other topics, but picking one thing you're going to master this year will help you focus and create huge results in that area. What's the one thing that will make the biggest difference in your life and business? Is it increasing productivity or organization? Is it your relationships? Is it negotiation? Leadership? Whatever will make the biggest impact, identify that and make that your main study for the new year. Commit to mastery.
  • Health - Are you healthy? Did your quality of health increase or decrease this last year? What can you do in 2016 to do better in this area? If your body is not running to the best of it's ability, every other area of your life will not be as effective as it could be.
  • Relationships - Are your relationships what they could be, or could they be better? Are your closest relationships deep, or are they all shallow and surface-level? Evaluate the relationships you have. Choose the ones you want to deepen, and identify any that are toxic or counterproductive and limit or eliminate them. You become who you spend time with. Make sure those you're spending time with are who you want to be like. Make sure those you love the most know that. Show them and tell them daily, and make them a priority.
  • Contribution & Service - Are you making a positive impact on the community and world around you? Do you leave things better than they were, or do you leave a trail of negativity and destruction in your wake? Are you involved in anything bigger than yourself? Life without contribution and making a difference, with only living for yourself, is empty.
  • Your Environment - This is everything you're surrounded with day to day. From your neighborhood to the car you drive, from the people you're with daily to the weather and climate where you live. Are these things what you want? Most people take a lot of these things as they come without even thinking about it. You know what? If you don't like the cold, and you live in a cold climate...MOVE. If you don't like the people you work with, figure out a way to get out, whether it's finding a new job or starting your own business. We all have the ability to change our environment. We're not stuck wherever we are right now. If it's not what you want, figure out a way to change it.

In every area, I encourage you to do the following:

  1. Identify what was good this year, and what needs to change. Be specific
  2. Come up with a structured plan of what you're going to do this year. This includes daily, weekly or monthly tasks. Pick the specific things you will do this year that will create the most results. Make sure you can measure your progress, and make sure you do so on a regular basis. Schedule check-in points up front.
  3. Find accountability - Find a friend or colleague that will you trust and can be honest with, and who will hold you accountable. Make it clear that it's ok to call you out when you're not performing or accomplishing what you said you would, and that you won't hold it against them when they do. And then let them.
I'm going to make 2016 my best year yet. How about you?

Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action Commercial Real Estate