Books I’m Reading

51yDI-SlwFL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight Non-Fiction

This is the story of the overnight success of Nike that took 18+ years. This is the best book I have ever read about what it is really like starting your own company. This is the book to read if you think entrepreneurship is easy. In great detail, Phil Knight describes the struggle of what it took to launch Blue Ribbon Sports (Nike’s predecessor). It took decades of hard work and incredible luck to go from a crazy idea and a trip around the world to the world’s most successful sports brand. There are stories of financial troubles, lawsuits, international trade failures, government intervention, media scrutiny, betrayal, and struggles. But in the end, passion, desire, hard work, family, and lifelong friendships allow Phil and his band of misfits to overcome all odds. This is an incredible, well-written story that should be mandatory reading for all entrepreneurs.


A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story by Donald Miller Non-Fiction

Follow Miller as he learns to live a better story. He chooses to leave his quiet, comfortable, unchallenging life for a life of challenge and struggle. Miller expertly describes his transition as he searches for his father, hikes the Inca trail, and bikes across the country. Reading his story inspired me to write 3 Reasons Why the Struggle is More Important than the Goal.



Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek Non-Fiction

Sinek’s TED talk, “Start with Why” has more than 28 million views because the message is so eye-opening. Sinek tell us how great leaders and organizations get us onboard by effectively communicating the reasons behind their movements. Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers had little in common, but they all motivated people by starting with why. Reading this book inspired me to rewrite the About Us page on the my company’s website.


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Slim by William Wister Haines Fiction

Slim was originally written in 1934 by William Wister Haines and had it’s last printing in 1951. But, due to it’s popularity with electrical linemen in the U.S., it was brought back to the market by Haines’ son, William Wister Haines Jr., in three limited edition printing in 2009, 2010, and 2013. Slim tells the story of a young man who comes of age working as an electrical lineman building transmission and railway lines in the early 1900’s. As the CEO of Peak Demand Inc., I have spent my civilian career making products for the electrical industry.  I’m also the son of high voltage electrician. I have tremendous respect for linemen. Electrical linemen are some the toughest, hard-working people in the country. Haines’ book faithfully shows what life was like working in this tough industry in the early 1900’s. I love this book and I highly recommend it for anyone in the electrical utility industry.


51xmvTNPdTLMake Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World by William H. McRaven

The video of Navy Seal Admiral McRaven’s 1994 commencement speech at the University of Texas at Austin went viral, receiving more than 10 million views and it’s not surprising. This little book, based on that speech, features 10 important lessons McRaven learned in his long service as a Navy Seal. There are great take-aways from this book like “get over being a sugar cookie” and “don’t be afraid of the circus.” As a former Naval Officer, I really related to the lessons in this book. Coincidentally, I wrote similar article, 10 Leadership Lessons I Learned Living on a Nuclear Submarine, before I read McRaven’s story. My article was read more than 140,000 times on LinkedIn.