The best books for understanding and driving human behavior

Who am I?

I’ve spent the last 29 years studying human behavior; advising people how to affect human behavior; and advising business leaders how to help their organizations help people do more better faster; help individuals do more to help their organizations and to earn more for themselves and their families. 


I wrote...

The Art of Being Indispensable at Work: Win Influence, Beat Overcommitment, and Get the Right Things Done

By Bruce Tulgan,

Book cover of The Art of Being Indispensable at Work: Win Influence, Beat Overcommitment, and Get the Right Things Done

What is my book about?

Back to fundamentals tools and techniques for managing yourself and managing relationships at work. How to bring out the best in yourself and how to bring out the best in others at work in order to minimize unnecessary problems. Do you want to avoid relationship friction at work? Do you want to do more work better and faster? Do you want to be a go-to person at work without becoming hopelessly overcommitted? Do you want to understand the peculiar mathematics of real influence? Are you looking for a book that is fun, short, and easy? Read this book. 

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst

Bruce Tulgan Why did I love this book?

This book is fun and so interesting. I get the feeling that students of the author at Stanford were saying, “professor, you should write a book about the stuff we learned in this class.” And he really pulled it off. I learned what happens in your brain just before a behavior; what happens in your endocrine system in the minutes, hours, and days; what happens in your whole body genetically and epigenetically; and what happened evolutionarily to make humans the way we are! So so so interesting! 

By Robert M. Sapolsky,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Behave as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times Bestseller

"It's no exaggeration to say that Behave is one of the best nonfiction books I've ever read." -David P. Barash, The Wall Street Journal

"It has my vote for science book of the year." -Parul Sehgal, The New York Times

"Hands-down one of the best books I've read in years. I loved it." -Dina Temple-Raston, The Washington Post

Named a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal

From the celebrated neurobiologist and primatologist, a landmark, genre-defining examination of human behavior, both good and bad, and an answer to…


Book cover of Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life...And Maybe the World

Bruce Tulgan Why did I love this book?

Great advice about living life and being strong and being happy and satisfied with your work and life from one of the greatest military leaders in American history. This guy led and commanded the mission to get Bin Laden!!!! He was and led NAVY SEALS for 37 years. This book is short and sweet and brilliant and beautiful and a great gift for yourself or anyone else! Brilliant and beautiful. 

By William H. McRaven,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Make Your Bed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Make a new start in 2022 with positive daily habits for a healthy mind, from the incredible No. 1 New York Times bestseller

THE INCREDIBLE NO. 1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

'SUPERB, SMART, AND SUCCINCT' FORBES
______

Struggling to find structure? Finding yourself lacking motivation?

Start by making your bed.

Maintaining routine and structure is more important than ever in the age of home working, flexi-time and the general chaos of life.

In Make Your Bed, Admiral William H. McRaven shares 10 life lessons he learned during his Navy Seal training that helped him overcome challenges not only in his…


Book cover of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Bruce Tulgan Why did I love this book?

I was blown away by this book and then went on to read his second and third books and can’t wait for his fourth book! The book is an elegant and easier-to-understand version of many longer and harder-to-read books trying to unearth and explain similar matters. Also I agree with Harari about so much of what he’s trying to teach.  

Read the book and you’ll understand so much more about what makes humans tick!

By Yuval Noah Harari,

Why should I read it?

19 authors picked Sapiens as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens. How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come?

In Sapiens, Dr Yuval Noah Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the…


Book cover of The Last Lecture

Bruce Tulgan Why did I love this book?

This is a book I give my own nieces and nephews and siblings and my father and mother; to my clients who are leaders at all levels; who are people at all levels trying hard to succeed and trying hard to be good people; trying to be happy.  

This was written by a beautiful, brilliant man who learned he was dying soon of cancer and wanted to capture the lessons he wanted to leave for his baby children who would never know him. It's short and brilliant and will have you crying, laughing, nodding, and learning every step of the way.

By Randy Pausch, Jeffrey Zaslow,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Last Lecture as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A lot of professors give talks titled The Last Lecture. Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?

When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didnt have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave, Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,…


Book cover of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Bruce Tulgan Why did I love this book?

This is a book that I give to people who want to change a habit of their own or advise someone else how to change a habit; how to change a habit in a team or an organization; and to better understand cultural habits, how to adapt. It’s a powerful book because human beings are creatures of habit: Good habits? Bad habits? Your choice.  

By Charles Duhigg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • This instant classic explores how we can change our lives by changing our habits.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Wall Street Journal • Financial Times

In The Power of Habit, award-winning business reporterCharles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. Distilling vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives that take us from the boardrooms of Procter & Gamble to the sidelines of the NFL to the front lines of the civil rights movement, Duhigg presents…


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Betting on Bernie: A Memoir of A Marriage

By Martha Marks,

Book cover of Betting on Bernie: A Memoir of A Marriage

Martha Marks Author Of Rubies of the Viper

New book alert!

Who am I?

I made my first visit to Pompeii at age seven. That day, I told my parents that I had been there before. It was all very familiar. And that sense of déjà vu has never left me. I feel it whenever I go back to Pompeii, Herculaneum, and the Roman Forum. I don’t believe in reincarnation, but... As an adult, I’ve returned many times to those places and visited others featured in my books: the Etruscan necropolis at Caere, which was already 1,000 years old at the time of my novels; Athens; and the ancient ports of Piraeus in Greece and Itanos in Crete. I earned a Ph.D. at Northwestern University, taught for many years, and enjoyed a million marvelous experiences, but my lifelong love of ancient Rome is the direct result of that long-ago visit to Pompeii with my parents.

Martha's book list on the Roman Empire in 1st Century AD

What is my book about?

Bernard Marks and Martha Alford met by chance. The odds were long that they would hit it off. That wasn’t in the cards they’d been dealt at birth. But, as gamblers in love, they rolled the dice. And then they worked hard, took risks, caught lucky breaks, built satisfying careers, enjoyed terrific travels, and won their own version of the lottery of life. Over four decades, Lady Luck smiled on them, until one day, she didn’t. Out of the blue, Fortune spun her wheel and taught them that no one is immune to tragedy and heartbreak.

Betting on Bernie is Martha Marks’s memoir of their improbable courtship, happy and prosperous marriage, and not-so-golden “golden years.” It will make you think, wonder, laugh, and cry.

Betting on Bernie: A Memoir of A Marriage

By Martha Marks,

What is this book about?

Bernard Marks and Martha Alford met by chance. No real reason for it, just a series of fluky coincidences. The odds were long that they would hit it off. That wasn’t in the cards they’d been dealt at birth. “It’ll never last,” people whispered after they got engaged. “Poor probability of success” was the general consensus when they married. But Bernie and Martha ignored the naysayers. Gamblers in love, they rolled the dice.

And then they worked hard, took even more risks, caught a few lucky breaks, built satisfying careers, enjoyed terrific travels, and won their own version of the…


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