3 Books On Excellence, Recommended Reads

At the heart of the Five Circles Formula for sustaining excellence is the historical, “Book of Five Rings”, by Miyamoto Musashi. Like many classics, however, the book can be awkward to read & digest, particularly for those unfamiliar with samurai traditions, sword fencing or the martial arts in general.

So here are three contemporary books that do a great job at outlining specific components of the ENMEI formula but are easier to read and a little more in line with today’s society.

“Wooden ON LEADERSHIP”, by John Wooden & Steve Jamison


This book outlines the power of fundamentals and the role that revisiting the basics plays in not only skills mastery but in all areas of excellence.

“The 8th Habit, From Effectiveness To Greatness”,

by Stephen R Covey


This book clearly defines the role that choice plays in developing mental excellence. The idea that, “Leaders are not born nor are they made. Leadership is a choice that anyone can make at any time.”

“The Bully Pulpit”, by Doris Kearns Goodwin


This Pulitzer Prize winning book tells a fantastic historical tale of how concepts such as character and purpose can drive team and ultimately organizational excellence. It also demonstrates how that organizational and team excellence grows from individual excellence, in this case it’s through people like Theodore Roosevelt and Ida Tarbell. It also punctuates the scope of impact that this process can have, far beyond companies or organizations but with nations and societies as well. One or two people with a shared vision on conviction really can and do make a significant difference.

All three of these books are well worth the read and have something in them for everyone. Enjoy…

Theodore Roosevelt on mastery

“Unless a man is master of his soul, all other kinds of mastery amount to little.”

Theodore Roosevelt CEO, by Alan Axelrod

In other words, the first circle of mastery involves what is inside the person in the mirror. There are many others who have sustained excellence throughout their lives and they all suggest the same thing. There is a specific formula, it begins in a specific place and follows a specific path.

On this day, in 1901

U.S. president William McKinley’s body gave way to an assassin’s bullet and passed away. As a result, Theodore Roosevelt was named the 26th president of the United States. From a sickly, asthmatic boy who was unlikely to survive he persevered and by sheer strength of will went on to countless achievements; Athlete, Harvard graduate, author, Rough Rider and the first person in the United States to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Volumes have been written on the lifetime accomplishments of the lion they called “Teddy”. Over a century later, his life still serves as a true example of the power of the human will.

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

-Speech to the Hamilton Club, Chicago, April 10, 1899

“Every person in society should work earnestly to pull his or her own weight and in return, would be given the support of federal law to help ensure that he or she would always be enabled to enjoy the fruits of self-reliance. In TR’s map of good government, there were no one-way streets. All relations between citizens and their nation were mutual.”

-Alen Axelrod, Theodore Roosevelt CEO

5 Leadership Tips for 2012 – Forbes

Mike Myatt, in his article post for Forbes below shares some excellent thoughts on leadership for the new year. They speak well to the first three of the four cycles of Black Belt Business;

  1. Self-Mastery
  2. Skills Mastery
  3. Team Mastery

It cannot be stressed enough how powerful following these cycles, in the exact order, are for creating sustained excellence in your professional and personal pursuits. From people like Steve Jobs to John Wooden to Theodore Roosevelt, the formula appears over and over. The best part is that it does not matter who you are or where you are in your profession or life. You don’t have to aspire to become a “Teddy Roosevelt” to benefit from doing good things for yourself and your career. Just move FORWARD

Mike’s bonus tip is my favorite, probably because I’m right there with him having read close to 75 books in 2011 and have the same goal to read 100 books in 2012. It has been said that Theodore Roosevelt read one entire book per day throughout most of his life before his presidency. That’s serious reading!!

5 Leadership Tips for 2012 – Forbes.