The best attitude books

Many authors have picked their favorite books about attitude and why they recommend each book.

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The Sense of Being Stared at

By Rupert Sheldrake,

Book cover of The Sense of Being Stared at: And Other Unexplained Powers of Human Minds

Have you ever sat on the top deck of a bus and stared hard at someone on the pavement below. It is surprising how often that person will then look up at you. How does this work? Rupert Sheldrake’s book delves deeply into such matters, ones for which there must be scientific explanations but which the traditional conservative scientist in a white coat dismisses without looking into the matter. Too many scientists, it seems, prefer the comfort of the status quo. We haven’t really moved on much from when Galileo was rubbished for suggesting the earth goes around the sun. Rupert Sheldrake reveals more about the human than we knew before.

Who am I?

We all need to understand more about how the world ticks, who is in control, and why they act as they do. And we need to salute those of courage who refuse to go along with the flow in a craven or unthinking way. I was an MP for 18 years and a government minister at the Department for Transport with a portfolio that included rail, bus, active travel, and then at the Home Office as Crime Prevention minister. After leaving Parliament, I became managing director of The Big Lemon, an environmentally friendly bus and coach company in Brighton. I now act as an advisor to the Campaign for Better Transport, am a regular columnist and broadcaster, and undertake consultancy and lecturing work.

I wrote...

...And What Do You Do?: What the Royal Family Don't Want You to Know

By Norman Baker,

Book cover of ...And What Do You Do?: What the Royal Family Don't Want You to Know

What is my book about?

The royal family is the original Coronation Street – a long-running soap opera with the occasional real coronation thrown in. Its members have become celebrities, like upmarket versions of film stars and footballers. But they have also become a byword for arrogance, entitlement, hypocrisy, and indifference to the gigantic amount of public money wasted by them.

In this book, former government minister Norman Baker argues that the British public deserves better than this puerile diet. … And What Do You Do? is a hard-hitting analysis of the royal family, exposing its extravagant use of public money and the highly dubious behaviour of some among its ranks, whilst being critical of the knee-jerk sycophancy shown by the press and politicians. Baker also considers the wider role the royals play in society, including the link with House of Lords reform, and the constitutional position of the monarch, which is important given Prince Charles’s present and intended approach.

Black Popular Culture

By Michele Wallace,

Book cover of Black Popular Culture

I am recommending this book, because it is the first edited volume, and, really, the first academic book to directly engage black popular culture as a field of study. It was avant-garde. It gave a name to cultural productions that, at that time, during my first semester of graduate school in 1997, I had no idea had a collective name. I love this book, because I encountered it simultaneously to learning concepts like “high” and “low” art. The book, in my opinion, made a compelling argument for why the popular, the folk, the vernacular, and so-called “low” art matters.

Who am I?

I am a scholar of African Diaspora cultural studies, which means I spend a lot of time analyzing texts in various forms: books, art, film, music, and even laws and legal documents. The cultural texts I study were produced by people. I am passionate about Black popular culture, because it dismantles some of the enduring divisions between academic institutions and the people who live beyond their walls. It is a field of study that is always in flux, especially now with twenty-first-century advances that position popular culture as almost always at our fingertips.

I edited...

Are You Entertained?: Black Popular Culture in the Twenty-First Century

By Simone C. Drake (editor), Dwan K. Henderson (editor),

Book cover of Are You Entertained?: Black Popular Culture in the Twenty-First Century

What is my book about?

The advent of the internet and the availability of social media and digital downloads have expanded the creation, distribution, and consumption of Black cultural production as never before. At the same time, a new generation of Black public intellectuals who speak to the relationship between race, politics, and popular culture has come into national prominence. The contributors to Are You Entertained? address these trends to consider what culture and blackness mean in the twenty-first century's digital consumer economy.

In this collection of essays, interviews, visual art, and an artist statement the contributors examine a range of topics and issues, from music, white consumerism, cartoons, and the rise of Black Twitter to the NBA's dress code, dance, and Moonlight. Analyzing the myriad ways in which people perform, avow, politicize, own, and love blackness, this volume charts the shifting debates in Black popular culture scholarship over the past quarter-century while offering new avenues for future scholarship.

Getting to Yes with Yourself

By William Ury,

Book cover of Getting to Yes with Yourself: And Other Worthy Opponents

I am recommending this book because Ury turns the mirror on negotiators and gets them to look at themselves and why they do what they do at the negotiating table. This is critically important because I believe half our problems in negotiation are with the other party and the other half are within us. Ury gets people to really take this very seriously and to look in a place most ignore.

Who am I?

I am a native Bostonian and I have been working in the field of negotiation for over 25 years. I have been very fortunate to have been a member of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School for all that time. As a result, I have had the privilege to work with some amazing colleagues and have been given the opportunity to engage in many fascinating negotiations in the international, governmental, corporate, and nonprofit worlds. I truly love the field because it has the potential to do so much good in the world and because it is exceedingly challenging. For me, the more I learn the more I want to know. That quest continues to this day…

I wrote...

The Book of Real-World Negotiations: Successful Strategies from Business, Government, and Daily Life

By Joshua N. Weiss,

Book cover of The Book of Real-World Negotiations: Successful Strategies from Business, Government, and Daily Life

What is my book about?

This unique book can help you change your approach to negotiation by learning key strategies and techniques from actual cases. The book shines a light on real- world negotiation examples and cases, rather than simply discussing frameworks and hypothetical scenarios. It reveals what is possible through preparation, persistence, creativity, and taking a strategic approach to your negotiations. Many of us enter negotiations with skepticism and without understanding how to truly negotiate well. Because we lack knowledge and confidence, we may abandon the negotiating process prematurely or agree to deals that leave value on the table.

Whether you're a student, instructor, or anyone who wants to negotiate successfully, you'll be able to carefully examine real-world negotiation situations that will show you how to achieve your objectives in the most challenging of circumstances.


By Nicholas Epley,

Book cover of Mindwise: Why We Misunderstand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want

Epley, a behavioral scientist, provides an often-humorous take on our daily efforts to read the minds of others. He offers trenchant, real-life examples (in addition to scientific studies) of how we go horribly wrong – and why we sometimes get it right. In one clever experiment, people tapped out the tune of a song on a wooden desk while they hummed it in their heads. The tappers were wildly overconfident that others could identify the song – because it sounded so clear to themselves. Mindwise is a wonderful reminder to get out of our own heads and figure out the limits of what others can perceive.

Who am I?

I am a historian of international conflict who focuses on understanding the enemy. For most of my career, I have studied why we so often misread others, and how those misperceptions lead to war. The current crisis in Ukraine is just one more example of how the parties involved misunderstood each other. I believe that if we could improve this one ability, we would substantially lessen the likelihood, frequency, and severity of war.

I wrote...

A Sense of the Enemy: The High Stakes History of Reading Your Rival's Mind

By Zachary Shore,

Book cover of A Sense of the Enemy: The High Stakes History of Reading Your Rival's Mind

What is my book about?

More than 2000 years ago the Chinese strategist Sun Tzu advised us to know our enemies. The question has always been how. In A Sense of the Enemy, the historian Zachary Shore demonstrates that leaders can best understand an opponent not simply from his pattern of past behavior, but from his behavior at pattern breaks. Meaningful pattern breaks occur during dramatic deviations from the routine when the enemy imposes costs upon himself. It's at these unexpected moments, Shore explains, that successful leaders can learn what makes their rivals truly tick.

With vivid, suspenseful prose, he takes us into the minds of statesmen to see how they in turn tried to enter the minds of others. He shows how this type of mind-reading, which he calls "strategic empathy," shaped matters of war and peace. 

Under the Hood

By Stan Slap,

Book cover of Under the Hood: Fire Up and Fine-Tune Your Employee Culture

Stan captures the essence of the mindset needed to Collaborate. To quote Slap: “When an employee culture is repositioned as a newly precious, workable asset, a company will naturally protect it, same as with any asset. An employee culture can’t be protected without protecting their humanity. If we lose humanity in business, we’re all doomed. If we save it we will have saved ourselves. In case you fear this icy hand of altruism will grip your own company by the throat and choke the life out of revenue, not to worry: We’re talking here about making the business case for humanity. In any environment where meaning is determined by metrics, the point of view and processes in this book are going to cause measurable, sustainable results." We agree.

Who are we?

Jim Tamm was a Senior Administrative Law Judge for the State of California with jurisdiction over workplace disputes. In that role, he mediated more school district labor strikes than any other person in the United States. Ron Luyet is a licensed psychotherapist who has worked with group dynamics pioneers such as Carl Rogers and Will Schutz.  He has advised Fortune 500 companies for over forty years specializing in building high-performance teams. Together they wrote Radical Collaboration and are excited to share this list with you today.

We wrote...

Radical Collaboration: Five Essential Skills to Overcome Defensiveness and Build Successful Relationships

By Ronald Luyet, James Tamm,

Book cover of Radical Collaboration: Five Essential Skills to Overcome Defensiveness and Build Successful Relationships

What is our book about?

Collaborative skills have never been more important to a company's success and these skills are essential for every worker today. Radical Collaboration is a how-to-manual for creating trusting, cooperative environments, and transforming groups into motivated and empowered teams. James W. Tamm and Ronald J. Luyet provide tools that will help you increase your ability to work successfully with others, learn to be more aware of colleagues, and better problem-solve and negotiate.

Radical Collaboration is an eye-opener for leaders, managers, HR professionals, agents, trainers, and consultants who are seeking constructive ways of getting the results they want.

Who am I?

Resilience - helping people recover their capacities to deal with any adversity, stress, loss or trauma – is the heart of my work as a licensed psychotherapist (25 years) and an international trainer of mental health professionals (more than a decade). Bouncing Back is the book I wanted to be able to hand my clients to help them learn to use the capacities of resilience innate in their brains to develop more effective patterns of response to life crises and catastrophes. No such book was available at the time, so I wrote my own. It has become a tremendous resource for people to learn to how to be more resilient, and to learn that they can learn.

I wrote...

Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being

By Linda Graham,

Book cover of Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being

What is my book about?

The award-winning Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being is a groundbreaking integration of practical tools and techniques. The book is informed by Eastern contemplative practices, Western relational psychology, and the emerging neuroscience of resilience, to help people learn how to rewire their patterns of coping with the disappointments, difficulties, and even disasters inevitable in a human life, and to learn that they can.

Women and Gender in Islam

By Leila Ahmed,

Book cover of Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate

This pioneering volume was the first major single-author work to survey this important subject, and it remains an essential read. Ahmad examines the major issues in the treatment of women in a clear-eyed way. She theorizes that urbanizing families in early Islam constrained women’s freedom beyond what had been common among pagan rural and Bedouin society, but admits that the picture is mixed, and that at the core of the Muslim religious tradition are accounts and insights of the wives of the Prophet Muhammad.

Who am I?

My interest in Islam was kindled when I lived in Eritrea, East Africa as a teenager, and in my youth fell in love with the mystical Sufi tradition. I went on to live in the Muslim world for over a decade, making many dear friends whose kindness overwhelmed me. I studied the Qur’an in Cairo and exploring various corners of Muslim civilization, including in India. I have taught Islam and Middle East History for nearly 40 years at the University of Michigan and devoted myself to writing several books and many essays on Islam. For geopolitical reasons, the subject often gets a bad rap these days, but it is an impressive religion that produced a beautiful, intricate civilization. I hope you enjoy these books about it.

I wrote...

Muhammad: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires

By Juan R.I. Cole,

Book cover of Muhammad: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires

What is my book about?

In this masterfully told account, preeminent Middle East expert Juan Cole takes us back to Islam's --and the Prophet Muhammad's -- origin story. Many observers stereotype Islam and its scripture as inherently extreme or violent. Cole shows how Muhammad reacted against the unparalleled violence of his era. The eastern Roman Empire and the Sasanian Empire of Iran fought savagely throughout the Near East and Asia Minor. Muhammad envisioned an alternative movement, one firmly grounded in peace.

The religion Muhammad founded, Islam, spread widely during his lifetime, relying on soft power instead of military might, and sought armistices even when militarily attacked. Cole sheds light on this forgotten history, reminding us that in the Qur'an, the legacy of that spiritual message endures. A vibrant history that brings to life the fascinating and complex world of the Prophet, Muhammad is the story of how peace is the rule and not the exception for one of the world's most practiced religions.

The Disciplined Trader

By Mark Douglas,

Book cover of The Disciplined Trader: Developing Winning Attitudes

Mark Douglas’ book focuses on practical tools and techniques to counter the gambling mentality that typifies speculative trading. He focuses on a more rational, math-based approach to participation in markets as a speculator. Although I was already a successful trader by the time I’d read Mark’s book, it reinforced that the tools and techniques I had developed to dampen emotionalism in the markets were sound.

Who am I?

Richard L. Weissman is one of the world’s foremost authorities and thought leaders in the fields of derivatives, risk management and technical analysis. He is the author of two books: Mechanical Trading Systems: Pairing Trader Psychology with Technical Analysis (Wiley, 2004) and Trade Like a Casino: Find Your Edge, Manage Risk and Win Like the House (Wiley, 2011) which was a finalist for the 2012 Technical Analyst Book of the Year Award. Mr. Weissman has over thirty years experience as a derivatives trader and has provided training and consultation services to traders and risk managers at investment banks, hedge funds, energy, and agricultural companies for over twenty years. 

I wrote...

Trade Like a Casino

By Richard L. Weissman,

Book cover of Trade Like a Casino

What is my book about?

A detailed look at the common characteristics found in most successful traders While there are a variety of approaches to trading in the financial markets, profitable traders tend to share similar underlying characteristics. Most have a methodology that they believe will prove profitable over the long run and are willing to endure short-term setbacks. If you're looking to make the most of your time in today's markets, you need to understand what separates the best from the rest. And with Trade Like a Casino, you'll gain the knowledge needed to excel at this challenging endeavor.

What Retirees Want

By Ken Dychtwald,

Book cover of What Retirees Want: A Holistic View of Life's Third Age

I like authors who back up statements with research. Ken Dychtwald, CEO of Age Wave, has been studying the Boomer generation for more than three decades, and uses his research to not only demonstrate how this generation has transformed retirement, but also provides important insights for those who work with, sell to, or are Boomers themselves. Virtually every page has a nugget of useful and applicable information.

Who am I?

I’ve lived in four states because of corporate transfers. My background is college teaching/administration, and for each relocation, I found a new job, house, and social groups. This is what retirement is about, the opportunity to learn, re-invent, re-define yourself, and pursue new opportunities and passions. My biology/psychology/relocation background prepared me to address the non-financial aspects of retirement, and I know CPAs/CFPs willing to share their financial expertise. I’ve authored five retirement books, I’m the “Healthy Living” columnist for a magazine, and I’ve been speaking/writing about retirement for the past 22 years. I have a B.S., an M.Ed., and I’m ABD for my doctorate. I can also speak backwards fluently!

I wrote...

The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life, 3rd edition

By Jan Cullinane,

Book cover of The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life, 3rd edition

What is my book about?

“Big-box” retailers like Target, Walmart, Costco, and Amazon thrive because so many people want one-stop shopping. The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life, 3rd edition, provides the same type of service to you, the reader. This book is for those who want to create more than just a financial plan – it’s for those looking to create a life plan.

The chapter titles give a good indication of the content: "What Makes Retirement Successful?"; "168 Hours a Week"; "Working in Retirement: It’s not an Oxymoron"; "What and Where is Home?"; "Locations, Locations, Locations"; "Forever Young"; "Dollars and Sense"; "The Taxman Cometh"; "Money Saving Tricks and Tips"; "The Final Chapter". 

The Pursuit of Art

By Martin Gayford,

Book cover of The Pursuit of Art: Travels, Encounters and Revelations

Art critic Gayford’s engaging and entertaining essays recount his adventures over the years when meeting artists and visiting destination art sites around the world, such as Brancusi’s Endless Column in Romania and the Chinati Foundation in Texas. A great storyteller, his writing is both chatty and informative and the book is a pleasure to read.

Who am I?

I am an art historian and the author of various books about modern art, including Styles, Schools & Movements: The Essential Encyclopaedic Guide to Modern Art and three editions of Destination Art. I coined the phrase ‘Destination Art’ in order to discuss artworks in which location is an integral ingredient, as is the journey to find them. I had noticed projects like these happening all over the world, but often in a quiet way. They needed someone to shine the light on them – so I did! My goal is to educate, enthuse and excite – and to continue my mission of spreading the word about intriguing and inspiring art projects. 

I wrote...

Destination Art: Art Essentials

By Amy Dempsey,

Book cover of Destination Art: Art Essentials

What is my book about?

Fancy a tour of art and nature installations on the slopes of Mt. Etna in Sicily? A visit to Britain’s first quarry sculpture park where you can also learn to carve stone on-site?  How about sculpture and classical music on a working cattle ranch in Montana? Or a swim off the coast of Norway into an underwater sculpture park? These are but a few of the unique creative destinations you can find in Destination Art, whether you are an intrepid art explorer or an armchair traveller. 

The journey to the sites is often part of the thrill, with artworks to be found in deserts, forests, rivers, and seas, on farmland and mountains, and in ghost towns, nature reserves, former industrial sites, quarries, and monasteries. 

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