Library concept. Fantasy literature. Stack of old books as street of the city. 3d illustration

So I have been quietly working on my book, “There Are No Secrets (Here’s the Secret) for a month or two now, organizing. my thoughts.

In my case, that means reading through and making notes from a whole host of books, because my premise is that when there are no secrets to success anymore. Everything we need to know is already out there.  For forty years or more, thinkers and writers have been giving us all the answers with slightly different twists and verbiages.

For me, that has meant going through many of the books I have read over those same forty years or so, creating outlines and mind maps of each one and finding the commonalities between them.

It’s a big job because my library of self-development and business development books is huge. Obscenely huge. But to be manageable, I needed to narrow them down.

I am a big fan of books despite living in a meme-driven world. Short pithy sayings are good reminders of things we know or need to know, but they are no substitute for the in-depth look at a subject that books give you. Memes (and web and magazine articles) give you ideas. Books give you understanding, which will always serve you better if you actually want to understand something.

My leadership mentor, for instance, is John Maxwell. I am part of something called the John Maxwell team and his teaching has deeply influenced the way I help individuals and organizations develop leaders.

Search the web for “John Maxwell” or “John Maxwell Quotes” and you’ll get a plethora of crisp, wise, clever memes. All good stuff. But it is in his more than 70 books (over 50 of them best-sellers) that you come to understand the whys of how these things work. You come to the understanding of how to put them to work, of the questions we need to ask ourselves to make them work.  It’s pretty much that way with everyone’s wonderful quotes.

On my desk, I have a quote from Winston Churchill on a small brass plaque. I look at it and read it every time I sit at my desk. It’s a simple thing. One sentence that I have read so often over the years that it is part of my makeup. It reads simply “Never, never, never give up.

A powerful quote by itself, but it is far more powerful when you read Churchill’s biography. For these are not the words of a self-help guru spouting a clever phrase. Read the story and you understand that when he wrote these words, England was being devastated by bombings from Germany. As Prime Minister, he felt responsible for the people of England and it was a terrible time for them, with no relief in sight. England was fighting valiantly, but slowly losing a war of attrition. There was no path to victory in sight. There could be no worse time for them, or for Churchill.

And yet he could write “Never, never, never give up.”  Suddenly, reading the bigger story gives those few words more power. And that can never be gained from a meme.

And so, to condense and compare all these books to share the secret to the life we want that has been in plain view for so long, I had to sort through (and am still sorting) through my obscenely big collection of books. In the end, I have settled on these books.

Here’s the list of books I have settled so far:

The Books (2)


Yeah, it’s a pretty long list. But it needs to be. If I am going to convince anyone that the secrets to the lives and work we want to create are all out there and that I’m not just another guy spouting ideas, the sample size needs to be large.

You may have read some of these. Many of them were best sellers after all. And if you internalized the one(s) you read and made them part of your life, you may not need to read this little book I am working on.

But it might help anyway. No one book has it all. And no one book may speak your language. And often we read things and don’t internalize them. You will have to decide whether it makes sense to read this one, or to read the chapters and ideas I will be working out here on-line (for free.). You know what you need more than I do.

So that’s the reading list that propels this book I am working on. I hope you join the journey with me.

Be well, travel wisely,



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