Leaders Only

You’re a leader.  
You need access to answers and results right now.  
You’re not reading this because you have time mess around.  
You’re reading this because you know what I have share is worth your time.

Take the minute to read, and you will be better tomorrow than you are today.

Here are six hard hitting and proven business leaders, a summary of their best sellers and their quotes that stand out.

The Hard Thing about the Hard Things

by Ben Horowitz:

This wartime CEO fights vicious battles for his company that only he can know about and win.  Having to keep many strategic ideas to himself, our warrior is often very quiet as he knows that loose lips can sink ships.  Facing extreme challenges the CEO keeps it closely guarded and guides his company of eight years to be sold for billions of dollars when it all could have tanked at any given time.

What’s the Secret Sauce?

"What's the secret to being a good CEO?  Sadly, there is no secret, but if there is one skill that stands out, it's the ability to focus and make the best move when there are no good moves.  It's the moments where you feel most like hiding or dying that can make the biggest difference as a CEO."  


“what is the difference between a hero and a coward?  What is the difference between being yellow and being brave? No difference. Only what you do. They both feel the same. They both fear dying and getting hurt. The man who is yellow refuses to face up to what he’s got to face. The hero is more disciplined and he fights those feelings off and he does what he has to do. But they both feel the same, the hero and the coward. People who watch you judge you on what you do, not how you feel.”

Peacetime CEO vs.  Wartime CEO

  • Peacetime CEO spends time defining the culture.  Wartime CEO let's the war define the culture.  
  • Peacetime CEO always has a contingency plan.  Wartime CEO knows that sometimes you gotta roll a hard six.
  • Peacetime CEO aims to expand the market.  Wartime CEO aims to win the market.
  • Peacetime CEO does not raise her voice.  Wartime CEO rarely speaks in a normal tone.
  • Peacetime CEO works to minimize conflict.  Wartime CEO heightens the contradiction.
  • Peacetime sets big, hairy, audacious goals.  Wartime CEO is too busy fighting the enemy to read management books written by consultants who have never managed a fruit stand.


The Power of Passion and Perseverance

by Angela Duckworth

Angela has dedicated her life to determine how is it that certain people achieve their highest goals while others that should presumably win come up short.  Angela studies all kinds of different people from military school graduates, athletes, coaches, spelling bee champions and our country’s most recognizable CEO’s.  Her studies reveal that grit - a combination of passion and perseverance are what make winners, not their talent or luck. The journey to get there takes the following:

  1. Self awareness: Know what it is about yourself that makes you tick.
  2. A goal that you are passionate about.
  3. A hardwire for the passion and perseverance - The Grit Scale.

Getting to Excellence

“...there are no shortcuts to excellence.  Developing real expertise, figuring out really hard problems, it all takes time―longer than most people imagine....you've got to apply those skills and produce goods or services that are valuable to people....Grit is about working on something you care about so much that you're willing to stay loyal to it...it's doing what you love, but not just falling in love―staying in love.”

When do you know?

"Here's what a science has to say: Passion for your work is a little bit of discovery, followed by a lot of development, and lifetime of deepening." 

First Break all the Rules

by Marcus Buckingham

Based off 80,000 interviews with successful managers and over 25 years as management consultants for Gallop, Marcus Buckingham makes the case that as a business leader you count on your best talent and the golden rule does not need not apply to your workforce.  You treat everyone differently because they are different from one another. And as a manager you better play favorites because understanding your best helps you and your company be the best.

 Don’t hang out with losers

“You cannot learn very much about excellence from studying failure.”

Talent is twice five times

“Talent is the multiplier. The more energy and attention you invest in it, the greater the yield. The time you spend with your best is, quite simply, your most productive time.”

Ditch the Golden Rule

"The best managers break the Golden Rule every day. They would say don't treat people as you would like to be treated. This presupposes that everyone breathes the same psychological oxygen as you."

Give Awareness and then some

"Give every employee the benefit of feedback. Know that 360-degree surveys, personality profiles, and performance appraisal systems are all useful as long as they are focused on helping the person understand themselves better and build upon their strengths."


"Everywhere employees are demanding more of their work.   They are looking more and more to their workplace to provide them with a sense of meaning and identity.  They want to be recognized as individuals. They want to express themselves and to gain meaningful prestige for that expression.  Only the manager can create the kind of environment where each person comes to know his or her strengths and expresses them productively."

Life and Work Principles

by Ray Dalio

Ray Dalio lost it all.  He bet on a bear market that never happened.  With a wife, kid and a car that he had to sell to repay his dad $4,000, Ray re-launched Bridgwater (essentially from barn turned office) to become the world’s largest hedge fund managing $160 Billion with 350 institutional investors.  Now that he is old he shares is secret sauce, be radically truthful and radically transparent. It’s tough love with a science, as Ray Dalio’s principles are the blueprint that helps a team work through its anticipated challenges.

Ditch the Habit

"Write down your three most harmful habits.  Do that right now. Now pick one of those habits and be committed to breaking it.  Can you do that? That would be extraordinarily impactful. If you break all three, you radically improve the trajectory of your life.  Or can you pick habits that you want to acquire and then acquire them?"


"Understand that the people you manage will go through a process of personal evolution. No one is exempt from the process.  Having it go well depends on people's abilities to make frank assessments of strengths and weaknesses (most importantly weaknesses).  While it generally it's generally as difficult for managers to give this feedback as it is for their subordinates to hear it. in the long run it makes people happier and the organization more successful."


"Maturity is the ability to reject good alternatives in order to pursue even better ones.”

The E Myth

by Michael Gerber

“The World’s #1 small business leader” shares the obvious in his book the E Myth, and that’s the fact that many entrepreneurs are masters of their craft but fail because they are spending most of their time working in the business and not on the business.  If you have watched the movie Founder, this is obvious as the McDonald brothers continue to work in their restaurants why Roy Krok learned the craft and then began working on the business.

Where is it?

"Great businesses are not built by extraordinary people but by ordinary people doing extraordinary things. For ordinary people to do extraordinary things, a system - "a way of doing things" - is absolutely essential in order to compensate for disparity between the skills your business needs if it is to produce consistent results."


Venture Deals

by Brad Feld & Jason Mendelson

Your big balling and playing with the houses money in venture deals.  But how does it all work and quite frankly how does one not screw themselves or waste time and money.  More than one can make the claim that this is a boring and arduous read. However, knowing how to play with VC money or having that text book to fall back on may be helpful.

The Fat Lady Sings Early

"You learn a lot about a person in a negotiation. This is one argument for doing as much of the detailed negotiation before signing a term sheet that includes a no-shop clause in it. If you find that your potential investor is a jerk to you in negotiating your deal, you may want to think twice about this person becoming a board member and member of your inner circle."

Congratulations! You have a new team member!

"Electing board of directors is an important, and delicate, point. Your board is your inner sanctum, your strategic planning department, and your judge, jury, and executioner all at once.  Some VC's are terrible board members even if they're good investors and nice people."

Know your plan and when you walk away

When you are going to to negotiate your financing (or anything, really), have a plan.  Have key things that you want to understand, which terms you are willing to concede on, and know when you are willing to walk away.  If you try to determine this during the negotiations your emotions are likely to get the best of you and you’ll make mistakes. Always have a plan.

That One time Ben Horowitz used Soft Kills

“It has come to my attention that many people are uncomfortable with the amount of profanity that we use. Being the number-one abuser, these complaints have caused me to reflect on my own behavior as well as the company as a whole.

As I see it, we have two choices: (a) we can ban profanity or (b) we can accept profanity. Anything in between is very unlikely to work. ‘Minimal profanity’ cannot be enforced. I’ve said before that we cannot win unless we attract the very best people in the world. In the technology industry, almost everybody comes from a culture that allows profanity.

Therefore, banning profanity will likely limit our talent pool more than accepting profanity. As a result, we will allow profanity. However, this does not mean that you can use profanity to intimidate, sexually harass people, or do other bad things. In this way, profanity is no different from other language.

For example, consider the word ‘cupcakes.’ It’s fine for me to say to Shannon, ‘Those cupcakes you baked look delicious.’ But it is not okay for me to say to Anthony, ‘Hey, Cupcakes, you look mighty fine in them jeans.’ ”