Amy Rees Anderson

Books That Have Helped Me Excel

“Seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom” -D&C 88:118

Some of the books that helped me most in my role as a CEO and a leader:

The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni

This book taught me a tremendous amount about how great leaders take responsibility for creating and perpetuating the culture of their company. It truly shaped my views on the importance of (1) selecting a great executive team, (2) creating a clear direction with easy-to understand measurements of success for the company, (3) over-communicating to your company every single day, and (4) reinforcing the culture of the company by hiring and supporting a fantastic team of people who embrace the culture and desire to make it succeed.

Confronting the Myth of Self-Esteem: Twelve Keys to Finding Peace by Ester Rasband

The title of this book may make some wonder what this has to do with being a CEO and a leader, but there is not one of us who hasn’t struggled with self-esteem at one point or another. A simple Google search on the term “self-esteem” elicits over one hundred and forty million results. Clearly this is a subject that many struggle with. Some might assume that a person in leadership wouldn’t have self-esteem issues. After all, they are the leader. But that is like assuming every supermodel believes she is beautiful. News story after news story of eating disorders, drug use, and suicide attempts among models would show that not to be true. Self-esteem, or the search for it, is something that touches all of our lives at some point. It touched my life in my late twenties. I had gone through a divorce and was struggling. As I walked through a bookstore, a few words in the title of this book caught my attention—“the myth of self-esteem.” How could it refer to self-esteem as a myth when it was the search for it that was impacting my own life so greatly? As I devoured its pages, this book taught me that feeling good about oneself will never be found by seeking it from external sources—it will only be found by the act of doing good. It also taught me that inner peace comes from giving our best efforts in selfless service of others. Ultimately, this book taught me that true self-esteem doesn’t come from the opinions and praise of others, but from having a knowledge of who we truly are, which we find when we build a relationship with God, the universe, or whatever higher power we personally believe in. This book was genuinely life changing, and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without having read it.

Who Moved My Cheese? -by Spencer Johnson, MD

This is one of my favorite books in life, and here’s why: (1) It’s easy to read because it has big print—and pictures, too! (2) It’s about two mice and two men, and who doesn’t love a story about mice? (3) It has one of the best messages about letting go of the past, getting over the things you cannot change, moving forward, and realizing there is no reason to fear the unknown because the unknown may be better than anything you could have imagined. With effortless simplicity, this little book teaches that things in life don’t always go as expected, and when that happens we have two choices: we can curl up and die, or we can go find new cheese. This book will inspire you to overcome your fears of the unknown and to recognize the need to venture into new territory so that you can find all the blessings that life has in store for you. Anyone who is facing a challenge, a loss, or a disappointment in life will find this book to be a true lifesaver. It’s definitely a must read.

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams by Deepak Chopra

This book touched me spiritually, helping me to look inward for answers. It points out the fear-based ways of thinking that hold us back, encourages looking for comfort in the uncertainty of life rather than attempting to control that which cannot be controlled, and explains that what we focus on each day is what our future will hold. This book helped me understand that the best way to find success in my own life is to help others achieve success in theirs. That lesson alone became a driving principle in all I did in business, and ultimately I believe it was living that principle that had the greatest impact on the amazing success we achieved.

Feel the Fear … and Do It Anyway   -by Susan Jeffers, PhD

This is a book about feeling fear in life but not letting it stop you from doing all the things you really want to do in life.

The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ

I can emphatically say that this book, along with the Bible, has been the absolute key to my success—both in life and in business. This book taught me what being a great leader looks like. It taught me every value I strive to uphold. It taught me why I need to get back up each time I fall down. It taught me to believe in something bigger than myself. Without having read this book, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be the person I am today and that I would not have accomplished what I’ve been able to accomplish. If I were to recommend the most important book I’ve ever read, this would be it.

Good books truly can make all the difference to our future success.

~Amy Rees Anderson (author of the book “What Awesome Looks Like: How To Excel in Business & Life” )

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