Help Yourself!

We’ve done the Self-Help section wrong. The first part of the name implies some arrogance on the part of the reader. Whose ideas are in that book? Sure aren’t those of my self.

Sure it’s like DIY for your soul. There’s no therapist, so you have to ask yourself all the hard questions. You have to extract the principles and apply them. The hardest part—you have to choose the book.

The second part of the name is vague. Help yourself do what? Improve your habits? Meditate? Find a date? Find empathy for others? They all get lumped together, while some of the best books on identity—those on leadership—are off in the business section.

What would I call it? Living.

Here are a few great resources on Living. Some of them layer in leadership, because it’s a human skill, not a business strategy. I’m linking to YouTube speeches because they’re free, but you can also get the books at the library. Almost all host great podcasts, or appear on them.

I'll reshare the links at the end, so you can copy them to a note and try them out one by one. Special thanks to Belén Moyano and Jen Waldman for channeling this stuff my way.

Simon Sinek

Start With Why

“In 2009, Simon Sinek started a movement to help people become more inspired at work, and in turn inspire their colleagues and customers. Start With Why shows that the leaders who've had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way—and it's the opposite of what everyone else does. Sinek calls this powerful idea The Golden Circle, and it provides a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired.”

The talk.

The Infinite Game

“How do we win a game that has no end? Finite games, like football or chess, have known players, fixed rules and a clear endpoint. The winners and losers are easily identified. Infinite games, games with no finish line, like business or politics, or life itself, have players who come and go. The rules of an infinite game are changeable while infinite games have no defined endpoint. There are no winners or losers—only ahead and behind. The question is, how do we play to succeed in the game we’re in?”

The talk.

Brené Brown

Dare To Lead

I'm throwing in some links to her amazing podcast interviews, because they’re universally useful.

With Dr. Sarah Lewis on the different between success and mastery, and why the word failure doesn’t capture the transformative experience of falling and beginning again.

Part 1

Part 2

With Emily and Amelia Nagoski on burnout and how to complete the stress cycle.

With Aiko Bethea on inclusivity at work, and the difference

between transactional and transformational leadership.

Part 1

Part 2

Daniel Pink


“Everyone knows that timing is everything. But we don’t know much about timing itself. Our lives are a never-ending stream of “when” decisions: when to start a business, schedule a class, get serious about a person. Yet we make those decisions based on intuition and guesswork.

Timing, it’s often assumed, is an art. In the book When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, Pink shows that timing is really a science.”

This video is just a small chunk. The book changed my life.

Seth Godin

The Practice

“Creativity matters more than ever, and each of us is being called on to be a Creative. A professional, able to conjure original thought on command. We tweet, we run meetings, we write. We invent and share ideas. Mostly, we’re in a race to find our voice, change the culture and make an impact that we can be proud of.

Along the way, we’ve also been brainwashed into believing that creativity is a gift, something mysterious that the muse hands to a few select people. We’re not to look at it too closely or it might disappear. Nonsense.”

An interview.

The Dip

“Every new project (or job, or hobby, or company) starts out fun…then gets really hard, and not much fun at all. You might be in a Dip—a temporary setback that will get better if you keep pushing. But maybe it’s really a Cul-de-Sac—a total dead end. What really sets superstars apart is the ability to tell the two apart.”

There’s not a great video of Seth for this one, but the book is great.

If you like his work, you’ll love his podcast:

And his daily blog

James Clear

I haven’t finished this book. Talk of habits terrifies me. But the chunk I got through was so good, I have to finish it and recommend it.

Atomic Habits

“If you're having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn't you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don't want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. Clear is known for his ability to distill complex topics into simple behaviors that can be easily applied to daily life and work. Here, he draws on the most proven ideas from biology, psychology, and neuroscience to create an easy-to-understand guide for making good habits inevitable and bad habits impossible.”

Just reading that description is giving me courage to dig back in. Here's the talk.

Gretchen Rubin

This woman clerked for a Supreme Court justice and decided she wanted to write books instead. I mean, brilliant and giving. Read it.

The Four Tendencies

“During her lifelong investigation into human nature, explored most recently in her bestselling book Better Than Before, Rubin realised that by asking the seemingly dry question 'How do I respond to expectations?' we gain life changing self-knowledge. She discovered that based on their answer, people seem to fit into Four Tendencies: Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels. Our Tendency shapes every aspect of our behaviour, so using this framework allows us to make better decisions, meet deadlines, suffer less stress, and engage more effectively.”

The talk.

Happy reading/watching!

All the love to you, whoever you are,