20 Mindset Books

Our company has been built by….



Hermione Granger’s little sisters (and a brother or two)…

Who are perpetually happy with a book by their side…

A shady patch of grass to stretch out in…

And, an hour to get lost in a great read.

If you look in my purse, you will nearly always find TWO things:

  1. My wallet with a business card scribbled with book names.
  2. A book and yes occasionally a Kindle too (cause can you really have too many books).

I read voraciously, 2-3 books a week.  Fiction.  Non-fiction.  Biographies.  Poetry.  And, a few rockin articles and audio books, cause, why not?

In August, we started talking about the books that changed our lives, our perspectives, our hearts and our businesses.  A content marketing call quite literally turned into a free-for-all of the very best of books that our team and I adored.

In the midst of this, Erin looked across the table and said, “Why not start a book club?”.

And, I couldn’t help, but jump with joy.

Starting this month, we’ll be sharing lists of books that we quite simply love and we’re crossing our fingers that maybe, they’ll land on your bookshelves someday soon.

As I was categorizing all of our books, I expected most to be “business”  and “fitness” books, but as I was rattling them off and filling Excel columns, the longest list (by more than double) was focused on mindset.

So without further ado, here are 20 books, from our very longest column…


1. Ask For It: How Women Can Use The Power Of Negotiation To Get What They Really Want By Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever

I work with many, many, many women and I often find that they’ve landed in situations that they didn’t need to be in all because they didn’t ask…

  • For the better lease rate and TI
  • For a more realistic comp plan for their manager
  • For a vacation from their students
  • For help around the house

Somehow it’s been built into our heads that “nice girls, good girls and the girls we want to be”…DON’T ASK.

Well, let me be clear. I ask (because I’m from a culture where bartering is part of life) and I’m grateful for this book which has made me so much better and more confident in it.


2. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

Anyone else here have a lil ole thing called ADD? Let’s just say, I can get more than a bit distracted. In fact it runs in my family. Should you ever meet my father, you’ll quickly know exactly why I am who I am.

The blessing?

He figured out how to handle it and gave me a great template for it. When I was little he enrolled in a course at Tulane from a leading organization and time management expert.

As he sat there, a lightbulb went off…what if he could harness all of his creativity and channel it into great productivity? He ran with it and has done great things ever since.

A brilliant psychiatrist who focuses on holistic ADD, gave me Getting Things Done when I realized I needed more than just a planner, a hope and a prayer. It was my lightbulb and not only have I used it, but this year, I’ll be working with one of their consultants to take it to the next level.


3. The Road Back To You: An Enneagram Journey to Self Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron

In 2017, I joined my Mastermind in Austin for a week and the guest speaker and our guide for two days was none other than Ian Morgan Cron. He’d just released this book and was there to deep dive into the Enneagram with us.

Haven’t heard of Enneagram?

It’s an ancient personality typing framework based around the 7 Deadly Sins. It’s also the most accurate and revealing personality framework I’ve ever used. FYI: I’m a classic 3, The Achiever and I have nearly every single type on our team. Because it’s framework works incredibly well in your relationships with others, it’s a must use for nearly any team.


4. The Power of Vulnerability: Teachings of Authenticity, Connection, and Courage (Audio Only) by Brené Brown

Brené Brown.

We kinda love her at Studio Grow and it’s not just because of her Ted Talk-ing, best selling book-ing brilliance.

It’s because when she talks it sears straight into our souls, down to the transparent truth of the matter. And, when it comes to the biggest recommendation we hand our clients, it’s this little audiobook.

As entrepreneurs it’s easy to form a hard shell around our vulnerability and easier to keep building it until it’s thicker than a castle wall. Yet, that takes away the very essence of who we are and why we’re building something bigger than ourselves.

If you get a chance to drive cross country by yourself for 4 months, after leaving your very corporate job, newly turned 40, this will be the game changer for your trip. If a mid life crisis roadtrip is not in your current cards, this is a gem to add to your morning school run drive, your walk across town or when you need a moment to pick yourself up from self defeat and step into self growth. You had us forever at “fear of joy”, Brené, forever.

Trust me…you’ll have it on the recommendation speed dial too.


5. Everything Happens For a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved by Kate Bowler

When Kit was four months old, I drove Remy to Duke for his first multi-overnight camp. Because I am a chicken, because he looked terrified and because it was the nicest hotel I had seen in a very long time, I called Dan and told him I wasn’t coming home. One trip to Belk later I had underwear, a nightgown that could double as a day dress and Havianas to get me through the trip.

What I didn’t have was a good book.

Pre-Kindle, I regularly traveled with 10-13 books for five days away. Fortunately, Duke’s bookstar was pretty well stocked and as I was checking out, I saw the cover of this book. I never buy based on the cover, but that’s exactly what I did.

I read the memoir of this Duke professor’s battle with cancer under old oak trains, in the dining hall and cuddled up at Cameron Stadium while my son was playing. I wept and called my best friend and hugged her from afar and I laughed. But, mostly I came away with a treasure of what my life is.

It’s that kind of book. The kind that forces you to look mortality in the eye and decide to live a very different way.


6. It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way: Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered by Lysa TerKeurst

I’ve uttered “it’s not supposed to be this way” more times than I can count over the last few years, like when:

  • My husband was deployed months after my 5 year old finished chemotherapy
  • That deployment lasted months longer thanks to Covid
  • The school wrote to let us know that our first and fourth graders wouldn’t be going back to school (thank you Zoom)
  • Technology has my back up against the wall and all I want is for the simplest solution to work (cause is that really so hard)

Because, it’s not supposed to be this way.

And, by this way, I mean the hard way. The way that leads to tears and anguish and pleading on hands and knees.  We all know those moments are gonna come but when they start stacking themselves up…that’s when it’s simply a little too much.

Written from a woman in the throes of a divorce caused by infidelity after many years, this book is the ultimate, it’s not supposed to be this way moment…but, coming from a place of finding strength when we’re on our knees desperately seeking the light. It’s raw, it’s real and it’s a book most of us need following Covid when so much of what we planned has changed dramatically…because it’s not supposed to be this way, but it is.

And, that’s where the angst meets grace. Where the audacity of circumstances, meets the audacity to hope. Where we can step forward out of the darkness and into a place that may just be better than we ever dreamed.


7. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

I started this book with my 12 year old son tucked under my arm. He had fallen asleep in bed with me, one of his favorite places to be, curled against me, in total rest and relaxation. Perhaps it was staring down at my perfectly content son that made this letter from Coates to his son on the philosophical realities of growing up Black in America.

This isn’t an easy book to read. In fact, I put it away twice to give my blood pressure time to return to normal and my heart time to slow down.

But, it’s a book that I’m compelled to share with others. Coates is an incredible writer, but more importantly he opens up his mind, his circumstances and his situations to us in stark detail. Without a veil of propriety we’re forced to recognize the painful daily realities of Black people in America today.


8. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon

I didn’t buy this book for the longest time because I assumed it was more coffee table than must read content. And, one day, at my doctor’s office I picked it up and was so engrossed I didn’t hear them calling my name. When your last name is an unpronounceable Kuecker that’s inevitably said 20 times over…well, let’s just say it’s gotta be a good distraction.

I’ve always found myself desperate to be the “inventor” rather than the “refiner”, but Kleon lays out a clear fact…there’s few things new under the sun.

He offers total permission to steal away, making what’s old modern and new again. After all, we are the unique piece, not the idea, but our own twist on the application of it.


9. The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide To The Mental Side of Peak Performance by W. Timothy Gallwey

My friend Deryck, a former tennis pro and one of the greatest coaches I’ve ever met, told me I had to buy this book. In truth, I’ve played my fair share of tennis competitively, but I wasn’t exactly keen on reading a book about it.

Well, rest assured, this has lots to do with tennis, but even more to do with life and the mindset that allows us to thrive. Many people call this “being in the zone”, but few can quantify what that actually means. Gallwey doesn’t have that problem. This is a deep dive into the practice of becoming a champion and how to control our mind and stabilize the negative thought patterns we so easily find ourselves falling prey to.


10. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen Covey

I am a highly effective person. Lise made me write this, cause she said it’s truer than true.

But, for me, a single momma of 2 boys, who recently sold a studio 1200 miles from home, with a burgeoning schedule as the Head of Client Services here at Studio Grow, highly effective can equally look a whole lot like overwhelm.

The fact is that I accomplish a lot (and then some) because I’ve put into practice habits that make dreams become reality and turn goals into tangible results. This book has been on audio as my refresher to refining those habits and turning them into reality.

Call it an oldie, but goodie. I don’t really care. Cause it gets the results in the end. And, that makes it a must read for me.


11. Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

Oh Shonda Rhimes, how I wish I was your best friend. Everytime I turn on Scandal, or Grey’s Anatomy or any other show this woman has her hands in, I’m a goner. Just bring me a drink and a warm blanket and leave me be.

It’s why I couldn’t wait to pick up this book and have a moment inside the head of a woman who’s simply done so doggone much. And, she brings it all to the table. If you’re ready to remember that you’re more than enough, drop this gem on your night stand and read away.


12. What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey


Do we really need to say more?

But since you may be asking, we love the simple reminders of what matters most. After all the reframe is often the most important part of our mindset shift.


13. Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy The Odds by David Goggins

Before I write this, you should know my momma would not approve of the language in the book. In fact, when Lise and I talked about it, I died laughing, cause I had to start with “you should know there’s a lot of 4-letter words”…

But, they don’t overshadow the message of this book. David Goggins, a former Navy Seal and ultramarathoner who lays his message clear: We can do anything so long as we have the mindset to get there.

And, he does over and over and over again. Having moved cross country in the midst of Covid, taking our three children into 14 days of quarantine on an Army base (as tough as it sounds for all you momma’s out there) and dealt with a plethora of unknowns, while I train for my next marathon….

Well, let’s just say I needed to remember that my mindset comes first. This book helped me get there and more importantly helped me stay there and train my mind to reach some powerful places.


14. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

In 2015, I hired my first “real deal” coach. $25,000 for a year of going deep into my business. It remains the single biggest ROI I’ve ever had. And, one of the very first things he had me do was buy this book.

I’m a do it all and then some kinda girl, so minimalism isn’t exactly my thing. But McKeown smacked me upside the head. What if doing less and doing it well, would take me far further than the schizophrenic train of ideas that was taking me and my team straight to crazy-town.

Warning: This book will change your life and change how you handle the next time someone asks you for “yes”. It will help you set boundaries and will challenge you to seek out what is most important, not only in business, but in your heart. And, it may, just may, help you create a very different, but more noble than you could have ever imagined world.


15. On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker by A’Lelia Bundles

Not gonna lie. Netflix and I had a serious date in early quarantine when their series on CJ Walker came out.

Haven’t heard of her? You should.

CJ Walker was America’s first female black millionaire and her story is one version of the American dream you don’t want to miss. It takes you through the battle of being a Black, female entrepreneur during the turn of the 20th century.

She made her fortunes in haircare and not without plenty of pain. From moving cross country to leave behind vindictive competitors, to fires that *seemingly* would destroy her dream, to divorce, she dealt with all in her walk as an entrepreneur.

It’s a powerful read (and a powerful show) and a great reminder of the strength it takes to step out as a woman and as a woman of color.


16. The Impossible First: From Fire to Ice – Crossing Antarctica Alone by Colin O’Brady

I am normally not one to pick up a memoir – I am a fiction kind of gal. But I saw Colin O’Brady on a talk show and thought, he has a very interesting story and I want to know more.

So I went to a bookstore (a brick-and-mortar, yes they still exist and I love them) and picked up The Impossible First. From the moment I started reading I could not put it down. The writing makes you feel like you are there with him on his journey and you feel his struggles, pain and accomplishments. It is an adventure story filled with uplifting ideals and gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling at the end. I loved it so much I passed it along to my dad telling him about this incredible story and how he had to read it – no excuses!

I may never cross Antarctica, but after reading this book I feel empowered that I can overcome any obstacle in my way and unlock my potential in anything that I do.


17. The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy by Jon Gordon

Where do you put your energy?

Really. Today, where has your energy gone? To worry? To frustration? To what-if’s?

Or has it gone to…

Gratitude? Unexpected blessings? Or the Wow-I-Never-Could-Have-Imagined-This Moment?

The power of positive thinking has generated plenty of books, but this one happens to be my favorite. A short, quick, great read, it’s a reminder as to how you approach work (and life) with the kind of thinking that’s not just positive, but taking you places.


**Side Note** Nathan is the single most positive person I have ever met. I wasn’t at all surprised when he shared this book because it says so much to where his priorities and heart lies. Lise

18. Quirky: The Remarkable Story of the Traits, Foibles and Genius of Breakthrough Innovators Who Changed the World by Melissa A. Schilling

I’m not sure how old I was the first time someone called me quirky, but I’d guess it was before Kindergarten. And, quirky I was. I loved princesses, Chinese food and My Little Ponies and dreamed of a baby brother, I’d name Alan.

And, I read by two and a half, mastered my multiplication facts by the start of Kindergarten and wrote a paper on the Diary of Anne Frank in first grade.

This does not make you popular. It makes you in the words of kind adults: QUIRKY.

Having been on the other side of more than a few harsh words, having felt the sting of a bully as they confront you for being different and having my pants pulled down in front of the entire first grade class when I got the top grade (a prime moment), could have broken me. But, thanks to a strong line of quirky women, I embraced who I was and dove wholeheartedly into the fine art of living as only I could.

My mother sent me this book a few years ago, with a note, reminding me that I wasn’t alone in my quirks. As I dove in and was reminded what happens when we stand out for who we are rather than caving into what people believe we should be, I felt my backbone get just a little straighter and my spine just a little stronger. This is a book for the days you need a reminder that you and all your quirks are more than enough.


19. Strategize to Win: The New Way to Start Out, Step Up or Start Over In Your Career by Carla A. Harris

Given the times, it felt like this was apropos. I think of this as the blueprint for resetting our minds with major change.

The fact is we’re all, starting out, stepping up and starting over thanks to the pandemic. But, there are some great roadmaps to being successful at this.


20. Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out and Lonely by Lysa TerKeurst

I’ve had this book sitting unread on my shelf for about a year. I had *meant* to start it, but I wasn’t ready to confront the realities I knew it was gonna hold.

The fact is, I struggle with feeling like I fit in. I’ve always been a bit different and okay with that, but it doesn’t make handling rejection any easier. And, ironically, in the last 12 months, I’ve experienced FIVE, yes FIVE, of the most painful rejections of my adult life.

Some were cruel. Name calling. Bullying. Vicious.

Some were subtle. Theft of my intellectual property built on years of work and the willingness to take down a team of women with the “mission to serve women”. Ironic.

Some saw nothing wrong with their actions. My expectation was to do unto others as I would have done to myself. Apparently their self-expectations were quite low.

All left me scarred, more than I’d like to admit. What’s worse is that they left me shellshocked, with each blow, building a wall around my emotions, my vulnerability and my heart. I started to believe their lies and twist them into a rather awful whirl of self-discussion.

And, then I picked up this book.

It’s powerful. It’s full of reminders that we all need to hear when we’re confronting rejection. And, it’s a stark reminder that most of what we’re dealing with when someone rejects us, is US. Our own feelings. Our own stories. Our own self-talk.

And, we all need to hear that.


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