3 Books that Changed my Outlook on Work, Home, and the Future of Both

3 Books that Changed my Outlook on Work, Home, and the Future of Both

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Scotty Parlor

Jan. 28, 2021

Read Time 8 min


2019 and 2020 were both very challenging years for my family. Between renovating our home, multiple grief stricken months for our family, and having a newborn in 2020; building scottyfullstack, learning skills for my own career, and finding time to grow and nurture  the relationships inside of my own family and friends has been one of the most challenging times of my life.

I don't really get to read much anymore. Which has always been one of my key areas of growing philosophically, practically, and creatively. I knew that whatever emotions, depression, anxiety that I had, I would come out of it eventually and I would need to be prepared to hit the ground running.

Before I dive into the meat of the title...I should note that I have never enjoyed audio books or ebooks as much as paper. Well, that was until this year. Audio books enabled me to learn continuously while doing household chores, maintenance, rocking a baby, driving to appointments, and even organizing my garage (my wife is thrilled)!!!

If you would like to test drive audible and get some credits (2 if you are a prime member) check it out below and get a 30 day free trial. You may love it, or you may hate it. But it was worth the try for me.

This way, I can also sleep when I need to, instead of cracking open a book.

But I recognize that many of you are in different walks. So no matter how you like to ingest your books, these are the books that i've loved during this season.

Although I write about tech and DevOps specifically, the applications from these books are for everyone

1.) Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

Leaders Eat Last has been a joy to consume. Over the past year, I have seen more and more of Simon Sinek in my Linkedin feed, as well as Youtube and have thoroughly appreciated his contribution to the business leadership playing field

The title, derived by a conversation with retired Lt General George Flynn, is so perfectly intertwined with the core of the narrative, one which sticks in your mind while reading and beyond. This book goes beyond the typical business "get pumped and do good to others" hype.  Simon does a phenomenal job at laying the foundational evidence, then delivering the primary claims with flawless execution.

After reading Leaders Eat Last, I now understand the biological chemical responses in not only myself but others and how that plays a much larger role in the motivation, productivity, and turnover of an organization (or Tribe).

The best part is, these chemical reactions and feelings of pleasure, trust, and positive outlook of the future extends beyond the work place and into my home. My wife and I have a completely new view of raising our children and guiding them into their place in the world.

If you want to take your leadership to the next 10 levels, grab this book (it's also 1 audible credit).

2.) The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker

The Effective Executive is a classic business book by Peter Drucker that will likely never be obsolete in the world of business.

At first glance of the title, you might imagine that this book is directed at those whom desire to ascend to executive leadership within an organization.  It is, and it isn't.  A looming theme throughout is one that could be likened to with progress, comes promotion. Drucker, with all of his years of experience, firmly leads us into a behavior of self control and in a sense, knowing thyself.

Being an effective executive means that you have complete control over yourself and understand how to manage your own time. Probably the largest personal take-away from Drucker is accounting for every hour of my day. If it isn't useful, I need to reevaluate what I am doing. Maintaining productivity, the expectations of those around me (both line managers and those underneath me), and a continuation of value to the tribe is of utmost importance.

So for me, time management, and being intentional have really stuck with me. I want my coworkers and family to know that I care, am actively working for their good, and intend to make the most of my time for them.

I listened to this entire book while organizing my garage.

3.) Zero to One by Peter Thiel

Number three on my list goes to Zero to One by  Peter Thiel (Paypal, Palantir Technologies, and Founders Fund). Coming up in Silicon Valley is the dream of many. Successfully navigating the pitfalls of investor funding, acquisitions, and even partner conflict can be more of a nightmare.

Peter Thiel provides his insight, originally in the form of a university lecture,  to us so that we can understand what it really takes to make it to the top. The title zero to one, is derived from the concept that creating something completely new that everyone loves and wants to consume is much more difficult than creating a business that is essentially a copycat of others. Examples of zero to one being Facebook, Uber, SpaceX, Paypal (email payment system), etc.

Thiel brings into focus a recurring question, specifically, the contrarian question. "What is something that I know to be true that almost no one else agrees with?" When you answer this question, you have just figured out how to jump from Zero to One and the time to execute is now. You just have to sell it to others.

My key take away's from Zero to One are the following:

  • Going from one to one is much easier but less fulfilling than going from zero to one
  • Are there things in my life that I believe are true  that almost no one else agrees with?
  • Picking the right partners to build a company with is one of the most critical first steps and should not be taken lightly.
  • Be different, be new, even when going one to one.

As mentioned at the beginning, 2019 and 2020 we some of my most challenging years. These books have really helped me maintain the competitive edge needed to succeed in my industry, teach & lead others, and be much more attentive to my family and putting my own stress/anxiety aside for the good of the tribe.

Hopefully these will be just as valuable to you as they are to me!

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