The best books to help you become your best self

Why am I passionate about this?

My entire academic life of over 20 years has been focused on how to help people and organizations become their Best Self. I am the author of 15 books. Six of my books were published by Academic Presses: Cambridge University Press; Stanford University Press; and Columbia Business School Publishing. My work has appeared in over 400 global media publications including Fortune magazine, European Business Review, HBR, SHRM, Fast Company, WIRED, Forbes, INC., Huffington Post, Washington Post, Business Week, the Financial Times, CEO World as well as on CNBC Squawk Box, Fox Business News, Big Think, WSJ Radio, Bloomberg Radio with Kathleen Hayes, Dow Jones Radio, MSNBC Radio, Business Insider, and Wharton Radio.


I wrote...

Own Your Work Journey! The Path to Meaningful Work and Happiness in the Age of Smart Technology and Radical Change

By Edward D. Hess,

Book cover of Own Your Work Journey! The Path to Meaningful Work and Happiness in the Age of Smart Technology and Radical Change

What is my book about?

Smart Technology is going to transform how you live and how you work and determine in large part whether you will have work. To excel in this new Era will require you to become a Highly Adaptive Learner who can learn-unlearn and relearn at the speed of change. Unfortunately, most of us are not wired to be a Highly Adaptive Learner (“HAL”).

The purpose of this book is to help you become a HAL! That will require you to learn how to Take Ownership of You – your ego, mind, body, emotions, behaviors, words, listening, thinking, and how you relate to others. Own Your Work Journey is a learn-by-doing book with 28 proven tools and practices along with 35 personal workshops. It is a How to Take Ownership of You book.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming the Present Moment - and Your Life

Edward D. Hess Why did I love this book?

I love this book. It was the book I used years ago to learn how to do Mindful Meditation which transformed my way of being and enabled me to become a better person and a better learner.

Mindful Meditation taught me how to have a Quiet Mind so I could really listen to others and learn from others. I started out doing Mindful Meditation 3-5 minutes a day. It was hard. But I kept at it improving to 10 minutes then to 20 minutes then to 30 -40 minutes a day.

I learned how to be still and fully present. It helped me build better relationships with others. It is a key building block for Inner Peace.

By Jon Kabat-Zinn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mindfulness for Beginners as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An Invitation to the Practice of Mindfulness

We may long for wholeness, suggests Jon Kabat-Zinn, but the truth is that it is already here and already ours. The practice of mindfulness holds the possibility of not just a fleeting sense of contentment, but a true embracing of a deeper unity that envelops and permeates our lives. With Mindfulness for Beginners you are invited to learn how to transform your relationship to the way you think, feel, love, work, and play-and thereby awaken to and embody more completely who you really are.

Here, the teacher, scientist, and clinician who first demonstrated…


Book cover of The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom

Edward D. Hess Why did I love this book?

This is a unique book in that it integrates the learnings from the great philosophies and religions with modern science to create a powerful story of how you and I can live a happy and a meaningful life.

The Author takes you on a great journey illuminating how our thinking and how our mind and body influence our beliefs and ways of being. He puts together a compelling new story that you can embrace to be on your Journey to Best Self. This book was so good that I have read it three times since I bought it.

By Jonathan Haidt,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Happiness Hypothesis as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In his widely praised book, award-winning psychologist Jonathan Haidt examines the world's philosophical wisdom through the lens of psychological science, showing how a deeper understanding of enduring maxims-like Do unto others as you would have others do unto you, or What doesn't kill you makes you stronger-can enrich and even transform our lives.


Book cover of Positively Energizing Leadership: Virtuous Actions and Relationships That Create High Performance

Edward D. Hess Why did I love this book?

I have read well over 100 books about leadership and this book by Professor Kim Cameron is my top favorite because it illustrates the power of positive energy and virtuous behaviors: gratitude, humility, kindness, generosity, compassion, integrity, etc.

This book gives you the tools to enable the highest levels of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral performance. We are living in a new Era – the Era of Smart Technology which will require all of us to excel. This book will help you do that!

By Kim Cameron,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Positively Energizing Leadership as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This practical guide, the first to show how leaders can achieve extraordinary results through the positive energy generated by virtuous interactions with employees, is written by one of the giants in the study of positive leadership.

This book reveals one of the most important but frequently ignored factors that lead to spectacular performance in organizations. Kim Cameron, a true pioneer in the study of positive leadership, offers validated scientific evidence that all individuals are inherently attracted to and flourish in the presence of positive energy, a principle known in biology as heliotropism. Further, he shows that the positive relational energy…


Book cover of Seeing What Others Don't: The Remarkable Ways We Gain Insights

Edward D. Hess Why did I love this book?

In the Era of Smart Technology, many of you will have work if you can think differently than the Technology can think. Examples are thinking creatively, innovatively, and going into the unknown and figuring things out.

This book is all about Insights - seeing new associations, new connections, new trends, patterns, and irregularities. Gary Klein gives you the tools to become an explorer: an Insightful Person who can open new avenues, new opportunities, and new ways of thinking. I learned a lot from Gary Klein, and I am sure you will, too.

By Gary Klein,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Seeing What Others Don't as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Insights--like Darwin's understanding of the way evolution actually works, and Watson and Crick's breakthrough discoveries about the structure of DNA--can change the world. We also need insights into the everyday things that frustrate and confuse us so that we can more effectively solve problems and get things done. Yet we know very little about when, why, or how insights are formed--or what blocks them. In Seeing What Others Don't, renowned cognitive psychologist Gary Klein unravels the mystery. Klein is a keen observer of people in their natural settings--scientists, businesspeople, firefighters, police officers, soldiers, family members, friends, himself--and uses a marvelous…


Book cover of Love 2.0: Creating Happiness and Health in Moments of Connection

Edward D. Hess Why did I love this book?

This book like all of the above books is a leading-edge book. It explains the science and power of positive emotions.

The author explains how the biochemicals in our body connects us to others. And how we send positive emotions to other people by the way we smile and how we show up physically and emotionally. Love - platonic love is the result. Platonic love is a superpower that heightens your abilities to build kind, caring trusting relationships with others.

In the workplace that enables you to think, listen, and learn faster and better. This book illuminates the Emotional part of how to become your Best Self.

By Barbara L. Fredrickson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Love 2.0 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this groundbreaking relationship book, positive emotions expert Barbara L. Fredrickson gives us an entirely new way of understanding love and appreciating its benefits.

“A radically new conception of love.”—The Atlantic

Even more than happiness and optimism, love holds the key to improving our mental and physical health as well as lengthening our lives. Using research from her own lab, Barbara L. Fredrickson redefines love not as a stable behemoth, but as micro-moments of connection between people—even strangers. She demonstrates that our capacity for experiencing love can be measured and strengthened in ways that improve our health and longevity. Finally,…


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Book cover of The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever

Michael Bungay Stanier Author Of The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Coaching is a wonderful technology that can help people be a force for change… and is often wrapped up in mystic and woo-woo and privilege that makes it inaccessible and/or unattractive to too many. I want being more coach-like—by which I mean staying curious a little longer, and rushing to action and advice-giving—to be an everyday way of being with one another. Driven by this, I’ve written the best-selling book on coaching this century (The Coaching Habit) and have created training that’s been used around the world by more than a quarter of a million people. I’m on a mission to unweird coaching.

Michael's book list on unexpectedly useful books about coaching

What is my book about?

The coaching book that's for all of us, not just coaches.

It's the best-selling book on coaching this century, with 15k+ online reviews. Brené Brown calls it "a classic". Dan Pink said it was "essential".

It is practical, funny, and short, and "unweirds" coaching. Whether you're a parent, a teacher, a leader, or even a coach, you can stay curious longer.

By Michael Bungay Stanier,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Coaching Habit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Look for Michael's new book, The Advice Trap, which focuses on taming your Advice Monster so you can stay curious a little longer and change the way you lead forever.

In Michael Bungay Stanier's The Coaching Habit, coaching becomes a regular, informal part of your day so managers and their teams can work less hard and have more impact.

Drawing on years of experience training more than 10,000 busy managers from around the globe in practical, everyday coaching skills, Bungay Stanier reveals how to unlock your peoples' potential. He unpacks seven essential coaching questions to demonstrate how-by saying less and…


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