Great books educate, inspire, inform, entertain... what we are is shaped by many things, and one of them is what we read. But finding that one pivotal book that makes all the difference can sometimes be tough.
That's why I've asked a number of successful people to share the books they love.
The second installment comes from Dr. Travis Bradberry. Travis is the co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and the co-founder of TalentSmart, the world's leading provider of emotional intelligence tests, emotional intelligence training, and emotional intelligence certification, serving more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies.
(And he's a fellow Inc. columnist who is kind enough to share these here instead of in his own column.)
Here are his selections:
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
I love Steinbeck's ability to take your mind places, and leave you fully engrossed in the story. His plot lines aren't too crazy, which shows you how little story you need when an author is that incredibly descriptive.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
I'm something of a sci-fi nut. It's a very narcissistic and incredibly enjoyable experience to imagine a world, no matter how dark or dystopian, and wonder how you would survive there. Little known fact about this book: there was a special signed, hardcover edition that was bound in asbestos in 1953.
Barbarian Days by William Finnegan
I surf almost every day, but don't read fiction about surfing because everything I've come across is trite. When Finnegan's book won the Pulitzer prize, I had to buy a copy. The book is a memoir that's 90% focused on his time spent surfing. He does an incredible job of distilling the experience of a surfer into something that anyone can understand and enjoy regardless of how much time they've spent in the water.
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
When it comes to business books, I don't read very many of them. Don't get me wrong, I scan and speed read almost all of them, as I want to know what they're about and what's trending, but I don't read them for pleasure. Patrick Lencioni is an exception (I read all of his newsletters too!). What strikes me about Pat and this book is he's incredibly smart and pragmatic. He teaches you critical concepts in a compelling manner, but doesn't waste your time by padding pages to please his publisher.
Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry
I understand that it's taboo to list your own book in a list of books that you love. But writers, you see, write to be read. When you write a book that's well read, it feels incredible and makes you fall in love with it. I've written seven books and I don't even think that Emotional Intelligence 2.0 is my best work (though it's clearly among the best). It has, however, sold more than a million copies and that's an accomplishment that I will cherish forever.