The 2020 Book List

“Here’s to those who inspire us and don’t even know it.” – Anonymous

2020 was the kind of year that sent you to the wine store or the book store.  

Sometimes both on the same day.  

It was a year of milestones.

It was a year we had to think differently. 

Our homes became our offices.

Outside became the new gym.  

We all had to ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES.  

One of the silver linings of the pandemic was the opportunity to read and listen to some incredible books.

Each year I share the very best of what I came across.  

You can check out the best of lists I shared in 2019, 2018, 2017, & 2016.

BOOKS

These books made me think.

They changed my mind.  

Some got under my skin.

But that’s what great books do.

They help you see the world in a different way.

Can’t Hurt Me (By David Goggins): One of the most powerful stories of self-transformation you will ever read.  Goggins turns a childhood filled with racism, depression, poverty and abuse into a future with the US Special Forces. Goggins is the only person in history to complete the training of the Navy SEALs, Army Rangers, and Air Force Tactical Air Controllers.  Get the audio book.  It’s one part book, one part podcast where Goggins riffs the backstory of each chapter and drops more “F” bombs than the bar scene in Goodfellas.  

Eleven Rings (By Phil Jackson):  This book is a master class on leadership.  Phil Jackson has won more championships than any coach in the history of pro sports.  He is the winningest coach in NBA history.  Known as the “Zen Master”, Jackson reveals his unconventional leadership style that brought out the best in superstars (Jordan, Kobe), unpredictable personalities (Dennis Rodman) and the average role player.  Favorite Quote:  “Things never get solved, they just come together and then fall apart again, then the process starts over.” 

Shoe Dog (By Phil Knight):  If it is possible to earn an MBA from studying a single book, this would be it.  Phill Knight borrowed $50 from his dad in 1963 and turned it into the $30 billion monster called NIKE.  The stories Knight tells are amazing.  The struggles and obstacles Knight had to fight through were incredible. One of the best memoirs I ever read. 

Greenlights (By Matthew McConaughey):  This book caught me by surprise.  I had low expectations and was blown away.  McConaughey tells the funny and candid stories that led him from a blue-collar family in Texas to one of the most famous people in Hollywood.  The stories resonate with you long after you put the book down.  The audio book is killer.  Narrated by McConaughey, it gives you the feeling of being bellied up to a bar with the actor as he tells stories while you share a bottle of whiskey.

Lives of the Stoics (By Ryan Holiday):  Holiday examines the lives of the most influential philosophers of the ancient world. The book is made up of 26 mini biographies that synthesizes a modern day lesson of each philosopher’s life.  No one is better at making ancient wisdom relevant to the modern world than Holiday.  

The Practice (By Seth Godin):  This little book will challenge you to show up each day to do your best work and share it with the world.  Godin, who has the most read business blog in the world, has a way of getting under your skin and inspiring you at the same time.  

PODCAST

Tim Ferris Show: Brene Brown (#409 – Feb 04, 2020) Striving versus Acceptance, Saving Marriages, and More.  Every time Ferris talks to Brene Brown I learn something about relationships, how to better interact with people, and myself.  An amazing 90 minutes on how to make relationships work while being your authentic self.  

Thank you for reading my blog.

Wish you a remarkable 2021!  

#InspireSomeone

Until next week,

Joe Ciccarone

www.SalesVibe.Blog

Ruck & Roll

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”

John Muir

Welcome to The Vibe!

The blog that says it wants to get together over the holidays then ghosts you until January.

Each week we discuss one IDEA to help you live a better life.

This week’s topic is how to stay healthy during a pandemic.

And why sometimes NATURE is the best medicine.

The Vibe: Ruck & Roll

Everyone is done with this pandemic. 

But this pandemic doesn’t seem to be done with us.

2020 has been a STREET FIGHT.    

A global pandemic.

A contentious election.

Virtual school.

And to top it all off…

The Cobra Kai is back.

And we have no idea if we should be rooting for Daniel-san or Johnny Lawrence.  (…No Mercy!)

We didn’t ask for any of this. 

But it’s here.

And we need the best version of ourselves to show up each day to FIGHT THROUGH IT.

A strong BODY and a clear MIND are essential. 

But that’s way easier said than done. 

Pandemics crush routines. 

They blow up the familiar.

They close gyms.  

Or at least make gyms NOT the ideal place to be.

Running on a treadmill, next to a sweaty dude in a “Tough Mudder” tank top with no mask, is not on my pandemic bucket list.  

Pandemics force creativity. 

In 2020, OUTSIDE became the new gym.

Get Rolling

Pre-COVID, biking was something my wife & I did only on vacation and BK. (Before Kids).

When we moved out of the city, we hung up our bikes in the garage of our new townhome. 

Fifteen years and 3 kids later, we took those bikes down for the very first time to put them in a moving van.   

Who said kids won’t change them?  LOL.

2020?

We’ve been logging 4-5 bike rides a week.

I forgot how MIND CLEARING outdoor bike rides are.  

It’s awesome cardio.

Rolling past the fall colors is spectacular.  

The brisk air is therapeutic. 

Your head clears.

The mind resets.  

A bike ride still gives me that mini vacation feel. 

Which is so needed during a year like this one.  

Go Ruck 

Early in the pandemic walking also made a comeback.

Walking may be the most timeless exercise. 

2,000 years ago, the Roman philosopher Seneca wrote, “We should take wandering outdoor walks, so that the mind be nourished and refreshed by the open air and deep breathing.” 

We started by taking short walks on cold March nights.

The walks evolved into longer hikes through neighborhoods I never knew existed. 

It was great to be OUTSIDE and MOVING.

But something was missing. 

The walks were good for the mind.  

But the body needed more. 

After a long walk, I still felt like I needed to workout.  

Then the answer appeared…

During a walk I was listening to David Goggin’s incredible book, “Can’t Hurt Me.”  Goggin’s writes how he uses a weighted “ruck bag” for endurance training.

A few days later, I read Tim Ferris’ blog post raving about his favorite new purchase, the “Go Ruck” bag.

Sold. 

I’ve been using the “Go Ruck” for 5 months.

It’s fantastic.

The “Go Ruck” is a weighted backpack that turns your walk into a workout.

It’s low impact.

And helps you build STRENGTH and ENDURANCE.

Two things we all need more of in 2020. 

Hands down my favorite pandemic purchase.

This past year has been a slog.

The only certainty is that life is going to keep crashing into us.

So let’s keep our minds CLEAR and bodies STRONG. 

Find something that works for you.  

Get outside. 

Get creative.

Get moving.

It’s never been more essential. 

#RuckAndRoll

Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Blog

Find Your Beach

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“Life takes you down many paths, but my favorite one leads to the beach.” – Anonymous

Welcome to The Vibe!

The blog that tries to make this quarantine more bearable in 500 words or less.

Each week we discuss ONE IDEA that will help you live a better life.

This week’s topic is how to FIND YOUR BEACH in the middle of a plague.

Good vibes only…

The Vibe:  Find Your Beach  

It’s starting to feel like we’re stuck in the middle of an endless snow day.

But we can’t play with our friends because the snow is contagious.

Spring Break felt more like 1918 than 2020.

We were putting on face masks instead of SPF.

The last few weeks have been like no other.

Stuck at home with no clear end in sight.

We could all use a long walk on a sunny beach.

Unfortunately BEACHES and PANDEMICS don’t play well together.  

With no beach time in sight for the foreseeable future, we are forced to get creative.

It’s like we’re in a real life Corona beer commercial – just trying to FIND OUR BEACH.

Maybe we could use a few extra moments to ourselves each day.

Or perhaps we’re looking for a better way to spend the crazy amount of family time we have now.

Here are 3.5 ways to FIND YOUR BEACH:

1) Get Combative

If you had to pick an activity the CDC would ban during an outbreak, it’s hard to beat Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Plagues mean no Jiu jitsu class.

You don’t realize how much you miss getting choked semi-conscious by your friends until you can’t do it anymore.

But as one door closes, another opens.

After years of talking about it, my son and I started training BJJ on the mats in our basement.

Family bonding (and rear naked chokes) at its best.

We have only one rule.

He is NOT allowed to submit me for at least the first year.

2) Go Back To The Future  

This lockdown has given us the chance to introduce our kids to the shows we loved back in the day.

One of them is “Band of Brothers”.

My all time favorite mini-series.

Based on Stephen E. Ambrose’s incredible book, it follows the members of Easy Company 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne Division from basic training, D-Day, and through some of the fiercest battles of WWII in Europe.

My wife and I watched this series during the Fall of 2001 in our apartment in Philly.

The series helped get our minds off of the chaos following 9/11.

Nineteen years later we are watching it again with our kids trying to get our minds off a plague.

History may not repeat itself, but it rhymes.

3) Be Like Churchill

During the Nazi Blitzkrieg, Winston Churchill started off his day reading to calm his mind.

Churchill said, “It has been a comfort to me in these anxious days to put a thousand years between my thoughts and the twentieth century.”

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.

Reading just 20 minutes from an amazing book can bring a flash of insight that will help us be WISER and CALMER.

Looking for a great book?

Ryan Holiday puts out a killer monthly book list.

3.5) Up Before The Enemy 

Jocko WIllink says we have to be “Up Before the Enemy.” 

The “enemy” in this case is the rest of our house.

There is nothing like the early morning.

Getting up early creates space between you and the day ahead.

The time is all yours.

You are at your most creative.

At first, getting up early sucks, then once you create the HABIT you’ll never go back.

Own the morning, own the day.

These last few weeks were rough.

Our families, especially our kids, need the best version of us to show up each day.

So spend some time on your favorite beach today.

Even if it’s only in your mind.

Surfs up…

#FindYourBeach

Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

 

 

Don’t Look Over

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“I am more afraid of our own mistakes than our enemy’s schemes.”  – Pericles

You can see it when a swimmer glances over to the next lane.

You see it when a jiu jitsu competitor lets their opponent dictate the pace of the match instead of executing their game plan.

You can see it when a SALESPERSON focuses more on what their competition is doing than bringing value to their customers.

When you FOCUS on things outside of your control, BAD things happen.

You start reacting instead of initiating.

Momentum disappears.

You fall behind.

Instead of dictating the pace, you are playing catch up.

Elite competitors FOCUS only on what’s in their control.

They DON’T LOOK OVER to see what their competition is doing.

They take care of their responsibilities.

Then ADAPT and ADJUST to anything outside of their control.

Ryan Holiday wrote, “Very few empires are destroyed by external forces.  They are undone by their own hubris….We should be far more concerned with our own ego and our own inadequacies than what someone else may do to us.”

Over the next 12 weeks, the rest of the year will play out.

Your FOCUS needs to be on executing your GAME PLAN.

Show up prepared.

Lean forward.

No reason to hold anything back.

If you feel the need to look somewhere…

Look in the mirror.

Because that’s your REAL COMPETITION.

Word.

#DontLookOver

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

 

 

Nearsighted

“Do not dwell on the past.  Do not dream of the future.  Concentrate the mind on the present moment.” – Buddha

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It easy to fall into the FUTURE TRAP.

“Here’s our 5-year plan…”

“This is what 2021 will look like…”

Just a quick reminder…

The future will bring us a thousand unexpected variables we can’t control.

That’s fine.

We can deal with them when they get here.

In the meantime…

Want this to be an AWESOME YEAR?

Focus on the PRESENT MOMENT.

Be fully engaged with WHAT and WHO is in front of you.

Seth Godin likes to say, “It’s not about what’s next, it’s about what’s now.”

Own the moment.

The future will follow.

#Nearsighted

-Joe Ciccarone

 

 

 

 

Write It Down

“I want to write, but more than that, I want to bring out all kinds of things that lie buried deep in my heart.” —Anne Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank

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What do the following people have in common?

Besides changing the course of history, they all shared a common practice.

They kept a JOURNAL.

Journaling is a life changing habit.

When I first heard about journaling, I was sceptical.

I thought writing in a journal was something that people who wrote bad poetry did.

I was wrong.

Jim Rohn said, “If you’re serious about becoming a wealthy, powerful, sophisticated, healthy, influential, cultured, and unique individual, keep a journal.”

There are a number of studies that show keeping a journal helps you better cope with STRESS and ANXIETY.

A journal will help you:

  • PRIORITIZE your day.
  • CLARIFY your thinking.
  • Stay ORGANIZED and FOCUSED.
  • Increase your CREATIVITY.

HOW TO JOURNAL:

FIND YOUR PLACE

You don’t need a vista.

You don’t need an ocean view or a Pottery Barn table.

Da Vinci wrote (in one of his journals), Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” 

Keep it simple.

Pick a spot where you can open up your blank notebook, feel comfortable and write down your thoughts.

GET YOUR TIMING WRITE

Start by allocating 10 minutes each day.

We are all busy.

But we all need time to THINK and REFLECT.

For many, there is a burst of creative energy that comes after a good night’s sleep.

For you NIGHT OWLS, there might be no better way to clear your mind than writing your thoughts down before bed.

Capture those ideas on paper.

WHAT TO WRITE?

The first step is the hardest.

Don’t let what to write be an OBSTACLE.

Here are some journal prompts to get you started:

  • What’s got my attention?
  • What made me happy today?
  • What surprised me?
  • What challenges am I facing?
  • What am I grateful for?
  • What excites me?
  • What scares me?
  • What did I learn today?
  • What great quote did I hear?
  • What people do I need to spend more time with?

NO FEAR

Write without fear.

Lose your inhibitions.

Don’t hold back.

Let your writing express how you really feel.

This journal is for you.

No one else.

THE BENEFITS

Journaling will help you enter each day with greater clarity.

Your actions will be more focused.

You’ll start to feel GRATITUDE for the little things.

2,000 years ago, the stoic philosopher Epictetus wrote, “Just as one person delights in improving their farm, so I delight in attending to my own improvement.” 

So…

What’s on your mind?

What’s keeping you up at night?

How can you make tomorrow better than today?

Do what some of the greatest minds in history have done…

#WriteItDown

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

Enough

“All we got is all we need.” – Malcolm Jenkins, NFL Safety

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Kurt Vonnegut told a story about when he and author Joseph Heller were at a party given by a billionaire on Shelter Island in NY.

The guests were mingling outside on the billionaire’s waterfront property.

The owner’s yacht was docked out front.

The property had a helipad.

Vonnegut said to Heller, “Joe, how does it make you feel to know that our host only yesterday may have made more money than your novel ‘Catch-22’ has earned in its entire history?”

Heller paused then said, “I’ve got something he can never have.”

Vonnegut, looking a bit confused says, “What on earth could that be, Joe?”

Heller replied, “Enough.”

WHAT’S ENOUGH?

Each of us has to decide on our own version of ENOUGH.

It’s a personal decision.

This decision will ultimately decide the amount of HAPPINESS we get out of life.

Trying to keep up with the lifestyles and possessions of others is a great way to live a miserable life.

That version of ENOUGH is like running on a hamster wheel.

We never get there.

There will always seem like something is missing.

The happiest people I know base their ENOUGH on 3 things:

  • Quality people.
  • Long term relationships.
  • Doing work that matters.

What’s your version of ENOUGH?

Find that and watch your best life unfold.

#Enough

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

 

The Best Investment

“The most important investment you can make is in yourself.”― Warren Buffett

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Be Bullish

INVESTING means different things to different people.

For some, it means the stock market.

For others, its real estate.

There is one INVESTMENT that gets overlooked.

This investment generates the highest RETURNS and has the least amount of RISK:

  • YOU

When I started in SALES I knew I had to level up or I wasn’t going to last long.

So I started attending SALES seminars.

The first one I attended was a game changer.

The conference had amazing speakers:

It was awesome.

But an author named Brian Tracy was the one who changed my MINDSET.

Tracy told the group that the THE BEST INVESTMENT a person could make is in THEMSELVES.

He challenged the audience to invest a portion of their annual income on their continuing education & personal development.

Tracy said INVESTING IN YOURSELF would return exponentially more than any stock or real estate holding ever could.

The 20 something version of me was SOLD. 

It’s a PHILOSOPHY I live by to this day.

HOW TO MAKE YOUR BEST INVESTMENT: 

INVEST IN YOUR CAREER

Jim Rohn said, “Income seldom exceeds personal development.”

In every field there are THOUGHT LEADERS. 

There were REMARKABLE people that came before us.

They established best practices.

Our goal is to make original mistakes, not the same ones they did:

This INVESTMENT alone will separate you from the masses.

INVEST IN YOUR HEALTH

Thomas Sowell wrote, “There are no decisions, only trade offs.”

One thing we don’t want to trade for anything is our HEALTH.

No amount of money or recognition is worth it.

We have to INVEST a portion of each day to:

  • Exercise.
  • Healthy Eating.
  • Good Sleep.

We all have the same amount of time.

We just have to decide that being HEALTHY is a PRIORITY.

INVEST IN A HOBBY

Nothing centers us and clears our mind like a fulfilling hobby.

For me, its Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

BJJ delivers an unbelievable workout.

It keeps me humble and focused.

Jiu Jitsu has introduced me to an amazing group of people.

It even gave me a new ACL.

Like Robert Arnott said, “Investing in what is comfortable is rarely profitable.”

Find a hobby you love.

It will pay lifetime DIVIDENDS.

INVEST IN RELATIONSHIPS

With the exception of just one person, the entire world is about everyone else.

Make it a priority to invest the TIME and ENERGY into the special people in your life.

BE BULLISH

There are times when we need to HEDGE our bets.

Investing in yourself is NOT one of them.

Time to go all in…

#InvestInYou

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.net