My Toolbox: Learning

by | Feb 28, 2022 | Leadership

Charlie Munger, who is Warren Buffet’s longtime business partner, quipped, “In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn’t read all the time.”

If we combine that bold saying with our opening quote, the point is well taken. If you want to give yourself the best opportunity to lead effectively, you need to read.

Maybe you have heard about the reading exploits of Bill Gates, who takes a reading vacation each year and reads 50 books a year. Or Mark Cuban, who reads 3 hours a day. In fact, many of the most successful (and busiest) people find time to read.

The question comes in, “why is reading so valuable?” 

Well, it comes down to learning. Learning is probably the greatest skill you can possess. 

In our ever-changing world, the knowledge that you gained in college or even just a few years ago has become irrelevant. The best tool you can give yourself (and your organization) is the ability to learn. Learning allows you to adapt and evolve with the changing landscape. It helps you gain new skills and refine existing ones.

With that being said, how do we get the most out of learning? 

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been opening up my toolbox and letting you see the tools that have helped me become more productive and effective both in my personal life and with my business. (If you missed our first two posts in this series, I encourage you to check them out: My Toolbox: Productivity and My Toolbox: Blogging.

Today, I’m sharing the tools and books that are helping me cultivate my personal and professional growth.



The book market is saturated. It seems like everyone you talk to has a book they are recommending. But which books are the most valuable to your learning? That depends on what you want to learn or what skills you want to develop. 

For me, leadership, management, and business are extremely important. Here are my top 5 books in each of those categories (and note that each link is an affiliate link in case it looks like something you may enjoy also): 



  1. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
  2. Getting Things Done by David Allen 
  3. What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast by Laura Vanderkam
  4. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  5. 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell 



  1. The New One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard
  2. The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
  3. The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni
  4. The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker
  5. 4 Disciplines of Execution by Sean Covey 



  1. Good to Great by Jim Collins 
  2. Start with Why by Simon Sinek
  3. The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber 
  4. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries 
  5. Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath


Current News

I don’t know if you are like me, but I struggle when it comes to current events like politics and business. The reason is that 1) I can spend too much on Facebook or Apple News “getting caught up“ and not realize that an hour has just passed by and 2) I get tired of the bias that many people and news companies have. I just want the facts.

Fortunately, about two years ago, I came across the Morning Brew. They offer a free daily newsletter that is a concise, unbiased summary of both national and world news including politics, business, technology, and sports; and it is presented in a light-hearted, clever manner. It takes me about 5 minutes to read and I feel like I’m more “in the know” than ever before in just a fraction compared to before I started receiving this newsletter.


Learning Retention

One of my favorite quotes is “Information is not transformation. Transformation is in the application.” The caution or danger for those that read voraciously is that the knowledge simply gained doesn’t impact our lives and the people around us. For reading and learning to be the most effective, we have to apply it.

One app that has helped me out with this is Evernote. Evernote is like my digital brain. For learning purposes, I record the highlights from my books in what they call a note. This way I can review my highlights whenever I want. 

I also put quotes, articles, and even my daily Morning Brew newsletters in Evernote. This way I can easily recall that information for a certain topic or training session I’m conducting as needed.


Game Plan

What skill or subject area do you need to learn in this season of life to take your leadership to the next level? After you identify that skill or subject area, create a learning plan to start working toward that goal.


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