A reader’s guide to enjoyable books

19. A reader19s guide to enjoyable books-1Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power

By Jon Meacham

In this magnificent biography, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Lion and Franklin and Winston brings vividly to life an extraordinary man and his remarkable times. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power gives us Jefferson the politician and president, a great and complex human being forever engaged in the wars of his era. Philosophers think; politicians maneuver. Jefferson’s genius was that he was both and could do both, often simultaneously. Such is the art of power.

Thomas Jefferson hated confrontation, and yet his understanding of power and of human nature enabled him to move men and to marshal ideas, to learn from his mistakes, and to prevail. Passionate about many things—women, his family, books, science, architecture, gardens, friends, Monticello, and Paris—Jefferson loved America most, and he strove over and over again, despite fierce opposition, to realize his vision: the creation, survival, and success of popular government in America. Jon Meacham lets us see Jefferson’s world as Jefferson himself saw it, and to appreciate how Jefferson found the means to endure and win in the face of rife partisan division, economic uncertainty, and external threat. Drawing on archives in the United States, England, and France, as well as unpublished Jefferson presidential papers, Meacham presents Jefferson as the most successful political leader of the early republic, and perhaps in all of American history.

The Jefferson story resonates today not least because he led his nation through ferocious partisanship and cultural warfare amid economic change and external threats, and also because he embodies an eternal drama, the struggle of the leadership of a nation to achieve greatness in a difficult and confounding world.

“This terrific book allows us to see the political genius of Thomas Jefferson better than we have ever seen it before. In these endlessly fascinating pages, Jefferson emerges with such vitality that it seems as if he might still be alive today.”—Doris Kearns Goodwin

19. A reader19s guide to enjoyable books-2America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t

By Stephen Colbert

But as perfect as America is in every single way, America is broken! And we can’t exchange it because we’re 236 years past the 30-day return window.

Look around—we don’t make anything anymore, we’ve mortgaged our future to China, and the Apologist-in-Chief goes on world tours just to bow before foreign leaders. Worse, the L.A. Four Seasons Hotel doesn’t even have a dedicated phone button for the Spa. You have to dial an extension! Where did we lose our way?!

It’s high time we restored America to the greatness it never lost! Luckily, AMERICA AGAIN will singlebookedly pull this country back from the brink. It features everything from chapters, to page numbers, to fonts. Covering subject’s ranging from healthcare (“I shudder to think where we’d be without the wide variety of prescription drugs to treat our maladies, such as think-shuddering”) to the economy (“Life is giving us lemons, and we’re shipping them to the Chinese to make our lemon-flavored leadonade”) to food (“Feel free to deep fry this book-it’s a rich source of fiber”), Stephen gives America the dose of truth it needs to get back on track. ■

19. A reader19s guide to enjoyable books-3Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

By Sheryl Sandberg

Thirty years after women became 50 percent of the college graduates in the United States, men still hold the vast majority of leadership positions in government and industry. This means that women’s voices are still not heard equally in the decisions that most affect our lives. In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg examines why women’s progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled, explains the root causes, and offers compelling, commonsense solutions that can empower women to achieve their full potential.

Sandberg is the chief operating officer of Facebook and is ranked on Fortune’s list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. In 2010, she gave an electrifying TED Talk in which she described how women unintentionally hold themselves back in their careers. Her talk, which became a phenomenon and has been viewed more than two million times, encouraged women to “sit at the table,” seek challenges, take risks, and pursue their goals with gusto.

In Lean In, Sandberg digs deeper into these issues, combining personal anecdotes, hard data, and compelling research to cut through the layers of ambiguity and bias surrounding the lives and choices of working women. She recounts her own decisions, mistakes, and daily struggles to make the right choices for herself, her career, and her family. She provides practical advice on negotiation techniques, mentorship, and building a satisfying career, urging women to set boundaries and to abandon the myth of “having it all.” She describes specific steps women can take to combine professional achievement with personal fulfillment and demonstrates how men can benefit by supporting women in the workplace and at home.

Written with both humor and wisdom, Sandberg’s book is an inspiring call to action and a blueprint for individual growth. Lean In is destined to change the conversation from what women can’t do to what they can.

19. A reader19s guide to enjoyable books-4Take the Lead: Motivate, Inspire, and Bring Out the Best in Yourself and Everyone Around You

By Betsy Myers

“Why is it that some people challenge us and motivate us to rise to our best abilities, while others seem to drain our energy and spirit? What is that particular quality certain people have that causes those around them to engage fully and feel connected?”

You are a leader. You do not need to be in a boardroom, on a battlefield, or on a ballot to have a profound impact on everyone around you. In this life-changing book, Betsy Myers—senior adviser to two US presidents and former executive director of Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership—demonstrates how each of us has opportunities to take the lead every day and shares seven core principles that will enable us to be more productive, engaged, and successful.

From the Oval Office to the playground, cabinet meetings to kitchen tables, in public life and private, Betsy Myers has seen firsthand the emergence of a new leadership model where having all the answers up front is less important than asking the right questions, where strength is derived less from the power you wield than from how you make the people around you feel.

With personal stories from her time in government, in academia, and on the campaign trail, as well as her experiences as a wife, daughter, and mother, Myers helps all of us learn to set the right priorities for ourselves; to connect on a deeper level with the people around us; to uncover problems early when they are still easy to fix; to collaborate with those whose points of view are different from our own; and to push through our fears and live our most authentic lives. Myers demonstrates that more than simply making people feel good, this kind of leadership can have a profound effect on the results achieved: it is how initiatives are launched, profits are made, and work gets done.

Personal, practical, and profoundly inspiring, Take the Lead is a book for anyone who wonders where all the great leaders have gone. Betsy Myers helps us see that true leadership is all around us—and within us.

19. A reader19s guide to enjoyable books-5The Charge: Activating the 10 Human Drives That Make You Feel Alive

On a dark and steamy Caribbean night, Brendon Burchard stood bleeding atop the crumpled hood of his wrecked car. That night he learned about mortality, discovering that at the end of our lives we will all ask, “Did I live? Did I love? Did I matter?”

Since that fateful night, Brendon has lived a fully charged life, and he’s helped millions of people around the globe transform their lives and feel more alive, engaged, and fulfilled.

Brendon observes that the emotional energy of the world has flatlined, and he sets out to fix it. People are stressed, restless, and wanting more out of life. Despite the fact that most people have what they “need” to be happy, they rarely feel the levels of excitement, engagement, or satisfaction they deserve. So what’s the solution?

In The Charge, Brendon argues that the only way to measurably improve the quality of your life is to learn how to activate the very 10 drives that make you most human. These drives are your desires for more control, competence, congruence, caring, connection, change, challenge, creative expression, contribution, and consciousness. These drives shape everything you think, feel, and do in life, so understanding and mastering them is critical to your success and happiness. Strategically activating these drives on a consistent basis is the fastest path to living a fully charged life.

Harnessing our human drives is not easy; if it were, we wouldn’t see so much restlessness in the world. That’s why Brendon has devised what he calls the true “activators” of human experience—a series of powerful yet simple actions you can take to radically increase your levels of energy, engagement, and fulfillment in all areas of your life.

What Brendon uncovers in The Charge will surprise and challenge you. It turns out that most of the ways we seek to meet our human drives are actually counterproductive. We all want more control, for example, but seeking to have more certainty in our daily lives or to control other people will actually decrease our levels of control (and happiness). We have a deep desire for change, too, but we often fail to make the right kinds of change that would make us feel more alive and in command of our lives.

In The Charge, Brendon helps us overcome these mistakes and illuminates the path for strategically and intelligently activating our 10 human drives so that we can have the one thing we all want: more life in our lives! Brendon Burchard is the founder of High Performance Academy and author of the #1 New York Times and #1 USA Today bestselling book The Millionaire Messenger. He is also the author of Life’s Golden Ticket and one of the top motivation and high performance trainers in the world. His famous training events and videos inspire millions of people to find their charge, share their voice, and make a greater difference.

By Brendon Burchard