I love books. There are few more satisfying for me then to run my fingers across the spines of books in my library, to pull one out maybe it’s one that I’ve read before, or maybe it’s one that has been sitting there waiting for me to open its pages. Finding a new author. Losing myself for hours in a bookstore or library. The journey of discovery that I have discovered and books really begin with my grandmother reading Tolkien and CS Lewis on summer visits, and has not let up in the years since.

I’ve traveled a lot for business over the years, and one common theme for me just to pick up books in the airport. Doesn’t matter if I already brought one along to read, or if I’ve got so much work that I simply won’t have time to read, if I see a book that intrigues me, I have to pick it up.

This started with airport fiction. You know the ones. A rousing piece of barely believable fiction that can take you a couple of flights to read, captures your imagination, takes you away to someplace exotic or adventuresome.

Over the years, airports have gotten more savvy about business travelers. While they still have the fast read fiction books, but there’s also a plethora of history, biographies, business and other non-fiction books available. And their titles and artwork are just as enticing. I mean, who doesn’t want to be a better executive, have “The IT Factor”, get your boss to listen more, or learn how to manage your time or negotiate effectively?

The problem is, time being as it is, I don’t finish nearly as many as I pick up. One specific one that’s been in rotation on my nightstand for quite some time, is the HBR Press “10 Must Reads” On Managing Yourself. I just picked it up, and found that it truly is a must-read. There are gems all the way through this, here are some that I found to be very good:

From “How Will You Measure Your Life?” By Clayton M. Christiansen (Harvard Business School professor, and Author of The Innovator’s Dilemma)

Three important career questions: “First, how can I be sure I’ll be happy in my career? Second, how can I be sure my relationships with my spouse in my family become an enduring source of happiness? Third, how can I be sure I’ll stay out of jail?” That third question is really about integrity. How can you compare myself in business, even when not everyone shares my values, so that I always live by my values? (Ray Dahlio’s book Principles is a great read on that subject.)

“People who are driven to excel have this unconscious propensity to under invest in their families and over invest in their careers-even though intimate and loving relationships with their families are the most powerful and enduring source of happiness.”

“If you want your kids to have strong self-esteem and confidence that they can solve hard problems, those qualities won’t magically materialize in high school. You have to design them into your family’s culture, and you have to think about this very early on. Like employees, children build self-esteem by doing things that are hard and learning what works.”

“You got to find yourself what you stand for and draw the line in a safe place.”

From “Managing Oneself” by Peter F Drucker (Author of The Effective Executive):

“We have to learn to develop ourselves. We have to place ourselves or we can make the greatest contribution.”

“The only [real] way to discover your strengths is the feedback analysis. Whenever you make a decision or take a key action, write down what you expect will happen. Nine or 12 months later, compare the actual results of your expectations.”

“First and foremost, concentrate on your strengths. Put yourself where your strengths can produce results.”

“Second, work on improving your strengths.”

“Third, discover where your intellectual arrogance is causing this a disabling ignorance and overcome it.”

“Remedy your bad habits, The things you do or fail to do that inhibit your effectiveness and performance.”

“For example, a planner me find that is beautiful plans fail because he does not follow through on them. Like so many brilliant people he believes that ideas move mountains. But bulldozers move mountains; ideas show where the bulldozer should go to work. This planner will have to learn that the world does not stop when the plan is completed. He must find people to carry out the plan and explain it to them. He must adapt and change it as he put it into action. And finally, he must decide when to stop pushing the plan.”

For maximum performance, “Knowledge workers in particular have to learn to ask a question that has not been asked before: ‘What should my contribution be?’ To answer they must address three distinct elements: ‘What does a situation require? , ‘Given my strengths, my way of performing, and my values, how can I make the greatest contribution to what needs to be done?’ And finally, ‘What results have to be achieved to make a difference?'”

I don’t wanna spoil the whole thing for you, but definitely worth reading. Again and again.

Have a great week. Be your best you. Do something that matters!