John Saddington – Entrepreneur

John Saddington blogs at and is running  ran a Kickstarter campaign for a photo filtering app for WordPress.

Good things to read.

The first is Daniel Pink’s book Drive, which is an incredible book that highlights some of the elements that really motivate us to do our best and most enjoyable work. I recommend this book to every single person I meet because in one way or another it challenges them to rethink the way they see work as well as how they are going to do it. It also challenges them to think so much bigger than where they are currently and see a much brighter future.

The second thing to read is 37signals’ Rework, a fun read that can be done in 2-3 minute segments, sometimes even less. Challenging some long-held beliefs of work and productivity, they come at those ideas from a software perspective but it’s equally applicable in every environment. They speak plainly about things like “meetings” and how they are “toxic” to productivity. When was the last time you were enthused about your Monday-morning status call?

Thirdly, Andy Stanley’s When Work and Family Collide, a firm reminder about the true loves of my own life and the reason I do what I do. This was one of the first corporate things I had my company do when we started so that we could align ourselves together as a team.

Good things to watch.

The first thing you need to watch is Kevin Rose’ Foundation interviews. These interviews are candid and powerful with some of the innovators of our time. Bookmark and watch one a week.

Secondly, many of the TED talks are amazing. I watch at least one of these a week for inspiration as well as keeping me abreast of some of the foremost thinkers in fields that are outside of my own expertise. This helps me expand my ideas about how I’m implementing and creating products as well as keeps me on the edge of advancement and critical thought.

Thirdly, the popular channel over at Youtube. I do this not just for entertainment purposes but also so that I’m aware of the trending topics and memes that may be important for me to know about. Many of the ingenious products, companies, and innovators were sourced through Youtube and I’m still very fascinated with the mechanics of video and virality.

Good things to use.

I keep my toolkit lean and simple. The first thing that I use is my personal notebook, for sketches, wireframes, and capturing ideas. I’m particularly found of Action Method journals.

Secondly, my iPhone 5. I know, I know, but my entire life and business can be captured in my pocket. The power of this truth is mind-numbing and also very scary.

Finally, water. You must hydrate. Trust me. Most of us don’t drink enough. A simple cup of water will do.

Find more of John on Twitter, @Saddington.

Trey Genda – creator High Rise Habits

These are Trey Genda’s good things

Good things to read.
Drive by Daniel Pink.  Most people tend to think about motivation in terms of carrots and sticks: behavior occurs when we’re offered something good, or threatened with something bad. ‘Drive’ makes a compelling case that this model of human nature fails to account for a third—and more powerful—motivation, which Pink labels as internal (or intrinsic) drive. In short, it’s the motivation to do things without any regard to external coercion; usually because an activity is intrinsically worthy as an “end” and not only as a “means.” Pink outlines the reasons that carrots and sticks can be counterproductive and often lead to short-term compliance but long-term disengagement.  The book focuses on principals of human nature, which makes it equally applicable to personal development, professional leadership, parenting, and any other arena where it’s important to understand human motivation.  

The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations’ by Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom. From government to business, social movements to churches, every human activity has a corresponding model for organization—and the way we organize matters. ‘The Starfish and the Spider’ is often labeled a business book, but for me, it’s much harder to categorize. Brafman and Beckstrom outline the difference between centralized (hierarchical) and decentralized (organic) systems, and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each. I appreciate the way the book weaves together principles of leadership and motivation with organizational structure, and explains why certain systems lead—or don’t lead—to specific types of behavior.  For me, the most powerful application of the ideas in this book (as well as those in ‘Drive’) center on my faith and on my expectations and approach to church in general. Organizations can easily ignite or squelch passion by the way they organize and approach members, and these books have greatly influenced the way I think about my faith and the importance of organization in long-term individual and group growth. 

Wired Magazine and The Atlantic.  It might be breaking a rule to include two different publications as one item, but I view Wired and the Atlantic as complementary publications.  They’re also my two favorite magazines, which means I’ve also avoid the potential dilemma of being forced to choose between the two.  In any case, I appreciate both magazines because of the quality of the writing and their similar concentration on society and culture.  Wired emphasizes science and technology, and the Atlantic focuses on politics, religion, and world events—but work from either would often feel “at home” if published in the other.

Good things to watch.

Shawn Achor’s TEDx Presentation. The Happy Secret to Better Work.  In this humorous framing of positive psychology, Shawn Achor makes the case that psychology should focus on far more than the identification and treatment of problems.  Achor discusses the all-too-popular assumption that success precedes happiness, and provides concrete examples to illustrate what might seem a counter-intuitive:  when we focus on happiness, gratitude, and purpose, we’re far more likely to be successful than if we focus on success alone.  

Clay Shirky: Institutions vs. collaboration. Clay Shirky discusses the social dynamics of decentralized systems, and the shift from industrial-era social and economic models to new systems based more on motivation, altruism, and cooperation. In his presentations and books, Shirky uses easy-to-understand examples to illustrate underlying principles, and this TED talk is no exception. The video is dated (particularly in internet time), but the ideas describe forces and influences still transforming entire industries. Shirky discusses motivation and business, but his particular focus is on media transformation and the “mass amateurization” of activities that previously belonged only to professionals.  

Drew Dudley: Everyday Leadership. We often think of “leadership” as something that’s beyond the grasp of most people (after all, isn’t it just for “leaders”?). In this video, Drew Dudley outlines a different approach: leadership as something within the reach of every single person, and an activity we engage in every single day–whether we realize it or not. This video is a great reminder that small interactions can shape lives in profound ways. 

Good things to use.

A common theme for my three my app recommendations is the idea of syncing systems and info for simplification.  Dropbox & Evernote.  Most people are familiar with these two apps, so I won’t spend much space or time describing them here.  However, both Dropbox and Evernote are each helpful enough that I feel obliged to include them in my list, because they’ve made such a big difference for me in simplifying my files and information. Having access to the same ‘stuff’ everywhere allows me to focus on more important things, and not get distracted by the logistics of questions like “now, where’s that file again?” 

CoBook simplifies contact management and integrates info and data from different networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) into one address book that remains consistent—and up-to-date—regardless of device. For the first time ever, I have the same contact info on my desktop, laptop, email, and phone…and it’s wonderful.  Unfortunately the desktop version is Mac-only at the moment, but an iPhone release was recently added to the App store.

Paul Copcutt – personal brand builder

These are Paul Copcutt’s good things

What are some good things you’ve read?

The Brand You 50 by Tom Peters – was the first book I read on personal branding and led me to doing what I do now. Made me realise that what I had been doing in a corporate career that starting in banking and ended in biotech (I failed math and biology in school) now had a label – personal branding. Still one of the better ‘tips’ books on the subject.

Linchpin by Seth Godin – great book to make people understand and realise the importance of taking charge of their careers (and lives). Make yourself indispensible.

Drive by Dan Pink – if you need to understand what motivates and inspires anyone you work with under the age of 35 read this. Also to help understand where the world of work (and more) is heading and why traditional models need to change.

What are some good things you’ve watched?

RSA Animate of Sir Ken Robinsons TED Talk – an entertaining and fast visual way to appreciate Sir Ken’s passion for changing education and why it is so key.

RSA Animate of Dan Pink’s summary of his book Drive – if you do not want to read the book, listen to author summary and visual capture in cartoon.

Start With Why? – TED Talk by Simon Sinek -no real need to pick up the book after watching this. He captures it all on one sheet of flipchart and makes a compelling case for starting with Why. After all what use is anything else or action unless you have a burning reason to do them .

What are some good things you’ve used?

StandOut assessment by Marcus Buckingham. A leader in the idea of maximising your strengths. I have always found it hard to even remember half the time what my Myers Brigs is, let alone what they mean. With this he distills your strengths down to two.

360 Reach assessment – the first and still the best personal brand assessment. Gather others perceptions of your brand and use that information to develop your unique message.

EvalYOUation – if you do not define your core values and what they mean to you how can you make objective decisions about your career, life and personal brand.? Take the time to get very clear on these, it sets your moral compass.