“QB My Life Behind the Spiral” – Steve Young

Steve Young produced some of the most memorable moments in HFL history. But his most impressive victories have been deeply personal ones that were won when no one was watching. His remarkably revealing memoir is the story of a Mormon boy with a 4.0 GPA, a photographic memory, and a severe case of separation anxiety.

As an eight-string quarterback at Brigham Young University, it was doubtful that he would ever see any playing time. But Young became an All-American, finished second in the Heisman voting, and was the top draft choice out of college. Then, after signing the largest contract in sports history, anxiety dearly drove him to walk away from football completely.

In short, Young’s quest in life was always about grit. Now he shares the experience of being inside his helmet while he faces down his toughest adversaries, both on and off field.

“The First 90 Days” – by Michael D. Watkins

Transitions are a critical time for leaders. Most agree that moving into a new role is the biggest challenge a manager will face. While transitions offer a chance to start fresh & make needed changes in an organization, they also place leaders in a positions of acute vulnerability. Missteps made during the crucial first three months in a new role can jeopardize or even derail your success. By walking you through every aspect of the transition scenario, Watkins identifies the most common pitfalls new leaders encounter and provides the tools and strategies you need to avoid them. You’ll learn how to secure critical early wins, an important first step in establishing yourself in your new role. Each chapter also includes checklists, practical tools, and self-assessments to help you assimilate key lessons and apply them to your own situations. Whether you’re starting a new job, being promoted from within, embarking on an overseas assignment, or being tapped as CEO, how you manage your transition will determine whether you succeed or fail. Use this book as your trusted guide.

“Originals, how non-conformists move the world”- by Adam Grant

It’s one thing to have new ideas, but another to stand up for them. Adam Grant, one of his generation’s most provocative thought leaders, explores how individuals can recognize good ideas and speak up without getting silenced, parents can raise creative children, and leaders can build cultures that fight groupthink and promote innovation.

Using remarkable studies and stories spanning business, politics, sports, and entertainment, Grant shows that original thinkers are surprisingly similar to the rest of us. They procrastinate. They grapple with doubt & fear. They have bad ideas. What sets them apart is that they choose to act anyway. This book offers groundbreaking insights about how we can all become more successful in championing our best ideas.

“My Grandfather’s Son” by Clarence Thomas

Provocative, inspiring, and unflinchingly honest My Grandfather’s Son is the story of one of America’s most remarkable and controversial leaders, Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, told in his own words.

His own quiet ambition would propel him to Holy Cross and Yale Law School, and eventually- despite a bitter highly contested public confirmation- to the highest court in the land. In this candid and deeply moving memoir, a quintessential American tale of hardship and grit, Clarence Thomas recounts his astonishing journey for the first time, and plays homage to the man who made it possible. Intimately and eloquently, Thomas speaks out, revealing the pieces of his life he holds dear, detailing the suffering and injustice he has overcome, including the acrimonious and polarizing Senate hearing involving a former aide, Anita Hill, and the depression and despair it created in his own life and the lives of those closest to him. My Grandfather’s Son is the story of a determined man whose faith, courage, and perseverance inspired him to rise up against all odds and achieve his dreams.

You settled for less

“The only difference between you & someone you envy is, you settled for less”. Dr. Phil

I came across this quote twice in my life. The first time I heard it I was convinced that Dr Phil was watching me from a hidden camera. It felt like he was observing me, whispered the quote into my ear, and left me to figure out the rest. I have to admit that it made a small impact but I didn’t think much of it. Every now & then I would remind myself of it but again didn’t make a big deal about it. Years went by and I continued to live uneventful & tedious life.  I noticed however that my life started to irritate me, make me sad & I began to suffocate. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong but each day I felt less & less happy. I did however put a good face to a bad game. I adore & respect Megyn Kelly and I was very excited when her book “Settle for more” came out. I was reading it & all of the sudden there it was. Same quote starring at me, right into my face: “the only difference between you & someone you envy is, you settled for less”. I have those words pinned to the wall in my office. I look at it daily. Megyn went on explaining how it was an eye opener for her & I recall the time froze on me. I felt paralyzed. I kept reading it over & over sitting straight up in my bed as I discovered world’s greatest secret. This time I knew it was meant for me to see it. I knew right there that I did settle for less. It felt like an intervention. I couldn’t sleep that night. Time to re-examine my life I thought. I was afraid that if I didn’t act on it now, I would miss out in life. This wasn’t a coincidence.

 I reached deep into my heart & soul and started visualizing my dreams. I categorized it as short & long term but I stayed realistic. Some changes required immediate action & some remained on the list for a while. Warning, dreams also come with setbacks. I have accepted mine as part of the process instead of giving up on everything all together. Setbacks build patience and perseverance. I adjusted my attitude and started working on myself & the emotions that caused my unhappiness. I pretty much created an improvement plan. It is crucial to stick to it & give yourself a deadline. Continue to visualize your dreams and don’t betray your authenticity. Few months went by and I started noticing how my attitude changed. I made small steps towards small goals at the beginning. All of the sudden I became curious of how much more I can stretch my ambitions. Turned out that opportunities were endless. My future was 100% in my hands. I stayed consistent with the plan because only consistency leads to personal transformation. I did experience hurts & fails during my journey. Big ones. The truth is, the more hurts & disappointments you experience- the more challenges & fears you can face. Important is to honor commitments to yourself. Don’t make excuses because excuses are dream killers. Be specific & commit to it. If you truly want to send an earthquake through your soul, when you know it’s time to make a change- you will somehow figure out the way to make it happen. Don’t let the dreams scare you. Devote your time, your energy & money if necessary. Be true & honest with yourself.  Otherwise it will not work. And remember, settling for less is not an option! L.

“…I have been asking myself some tough questions. Ones I’m not sure I want the answers to. I fear screwing up my life. Why can’t I be satisfied with what I have? Because, in my heart, my soul, I want more. I hope I have the courage to listen to myself. I hope I figure out what settling for more means in my personal life and have the strength to do whatever it takes to have a full, meaningful life….” “Settle for more” – Megyn Kelly

“My Love Story”- by Tina Turner

Tina Turner- the long-reigning queen of rock’n’roll, living legend & my personal hero– sets the record straight about her illustrious career and complicated personal life in this eye-opening and compelling memoir. Faced with an array of health issues and family tragedies in recent years, Tina reflects on her own extraordinary life’s journey, finding grace and purpose even in the darkest hours. “My Love Story” is an explosive and inspiring story of a woman who dared to break any barriers put in her way. Emphatically showcasing Tina’s signature blend of grit, energy, heart, and soul, this memoir is as enthralling and moving as any of her greatest hits.

“…And you know what I say to people who ask, “What do you do when all the odds are against you?” I say, “You keep going. You just don’t stop. No matter, if there’s one slap to the face, turn the other cheek. And the hurt you’re feeling? You can’t think about what’s being done to you in the past. You just have to keep going” -T.T.

“Grit” The Power of Passion & Perseverance” by Angela Duckworth

In this book, Angela Duckworth shows parents, students, educators that secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit”.

Insightful and even life-changing, Grit is a book about what goes through your head when you fall down, and how that not talent or luck- makes all the difference.

“A memoir of my extraordinary, ordinary family and me” – Condoleezza Rice

Fascinating book written by a woman who I personally admire & I’m proud to name one of my role models. Extraordinary figure in U.S. history. Condoleezza Rice’s memoir is a fascinating and inspirational story for young people. This book reveals with vivid clarity how her early experiences sowed the seeds of her political beliefs and helped her become a vibrant & successful woman.

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

If I have to rank & categorize this book, it would be in my top 5 books on how to achieve personal greatness & mastery. In my opinion everyone should read, especially college students. It will be a proper send off to the world.

Fantastic book but written in old English so not easy to read & it took me a while to finish it. I used my dictionary a lot. Among many, may lectures on how to improve your personal greatness, here are my favorites- directly from the Founding Father. 

  1. Teach yourself difficult skills
  2. How improving yourself personally will help you professionally
  3. Respect time & money
  4. How reading will help your career
  5. How innovation is born from necessity
  6. How to introduce tranquility to your life
  7. How everything in your life should have its place & meaning
  8. How to be industrious & always employed in useful careers
  9. How to be frugal
  10. How to be sincere

Enjoy!

L.

“Love in Time of Cholera”- Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

This book is written with huge passion, some humor & compassion. Marquez is trying to make us understand that love can be stronger than loneliness, fate & death. This novel is a story which connects two lovers after decades of waiting for each other. It teaches us how to love someone unconditionally. It’s about all consuming & can’t live without each other love.

Two people go through different circles of love- teenage crush, marriage, passion & promiscuity. It shows us that it is possible for love to blossom at old age.

I chose this book as the title fits our reality nowadays. The story took place during the Cholera pandemic in 1800. Ironically, history likes to repeat itself.

English movie adaptation was released in 2007 for those who prefer to watch it.

L.