My holiday reading list

Updated: Dec 28, 2019

Note: This article was first published as a Friday5 newsletter from Michael. Subscribe for motivational messages from Michael.


Before I share the list, I want to highly recommend Mitch Albom's Finding Chika. I met Mitch years ago here in Detroit and have long admired his storytelling skills. Chika is the story of what happens when the Alboms bring a Haitian girl with a life-threatening illness into their family.

Also, check out Malcolm Gladwell's latest book, Talking to Strangers, which investigates famous examples of miscommunication and offers strategies for avoiding misunderstandings.


Okay, here's my recommended holiday reading list. These will not be the best books I've read in 2019, but some good holiday reading. All books are available online and your local bookstore or library.

Life Isn't Everything - This tribute to Mike Nichols was compiled by Ash Carter and Sam Kashner, who interviewed over 150 of Nichols' closest friends. Luminaries such Emma Thompson, Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep go on record about Nichols, who directed the classic movies, Carnal Knowledge, The Graduate and Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf?

Climbing Rock - I've been fascinated by rock climbing forever. To me, nothing matches the sheer determinism of climbers in the elements. I can't wait to dig into Francois Lebeau's and Jesse Lynch's book about vertical explorations in North America.

I often reference climbing in my keynotes and talks. Watch short video here.

It's Garry Shandling's Book - Superfan, Judd Apatow, has compiled an amazing scrapbook of all things Shandling, including contributions from Jim Carrey and Sarah Silverman. Shandling was neurotic, very ill later in life and suffered through a devastating legal battle with his former manager, but he never lost his sense of humor:

"I was born in Chicago. When I was two-years-old, my parents moved to Arizona. I wish they would have told me."

Disney's Land - I'm inspired by stories of innovation and Walt Disney's amusement park changed the world. Of course, author Richard Snow covers how the famous "Disney Customer Service" model came to be.

Here's a great customer service tip I shared with a Chamber of Commerce in Indiana..

The Crowded Hour - Theodore Roosevelt is my favorite President. An "accidental" POTUS, T.R. had some amazing accomplishments in his lifetime. This book by Clay Risen is about Teddy's days with the Rough Riders during the dawn of the 20th century.

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