This is for fellow readers, intellectual adventurers, book nerds, and informal philosophers interested in the journey through books, articles, courses, and other word-based resources that brought me to articulate Limitless, my life, and my understanding of the world in the way that I do.
This resource list is alive. As more resources come my way and change my life, I’ll add them here.
Recommendations are always welcome! Contact me.
My journey through resources to heal our earth began at a college prep high school at the end of my teaching career when my main question in life was, “How do I cultivate wellness in young people?”
- I cultivated a one-quarter “Happiness 101” course for freshmen, inspired by the Greater Good Science Center’s “The Science of Happiness” Online Course. Connection to nature as a mediating factor for happiness starting popping up all over the place in this course. In 32 years of life, it was the first time I had ever really started hearing this message.
- Taking this course would lead me to The Daily Good Email Newsletter, which is a resource that still brings me dazzling gems of inspiration on the regular. Things like Eight Verses for Training the Mind and Turning to Face the Dark.
- The Daily Good would lead me to the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, where I would take a training that would open me to my desire to cycle tour and to the exercise at the heart of Just Act!.
As I was coming to the realization that connection to our earth was key to happiness, I came across The Pachamama Alliance.
- I took the Pachamama Alliance “Awakening the Dreamer” Online Course twice. I will be fully honest in having no conscious understanding of how the first round impacted me. All I know is that when I went to register the second time, my email address was already in the Pachamama system, and I remember being surprised by that reality. When I went through the second round of this course, my mind was fully blown. This course articulated exactly how I was feeling about the brokenness of our world, and really made me feel like there was something I could do.
- It inspired me to take one step further down the Pachamama Alliance engagement pathway. I’d go through one-half of the Pachamama Alliance Game-Changer Intensive before Limitless would sweep me up and take all my attention. I only finished the first four sessions, but as I look back over my notes and the language of Limitless, Pachamama Alliance is all up in my brain and my rhetoric in the best way!
In between my two “Awakening the Dreamer” experiences, the following books had some staying power and can be seen in the way I frame Limitless and live my life.
- Customs of the World: Using Cultural Intelligence to Adapt, Wherever You Are – Read as a teacher, crucial during my travels in understanding the huge variations between behaviors and outlooks around the building blocks of culture.
- The Power Paradox – One of the most eye-opening books on how to cultivate lasting power for the greater good – and avoid becoming a tyrant in the process – that I’ve ever read. Maybe the only one I’d read up until this point with this message.
- A New Earth – My first exposure on how to tame and transcend my ego. Also where I remember first consciously understanding that we have a grand opportunity to evolve as a species for the better.
- The Challenge for Africa – While planting trees in service to helping the Samburu tribe in Kenya become food secure, this book helped me to articulate an uncomfortable awareness that was coming to my consciousness: My comfortable existence in the west is a direct result of the exploitation of people and the extraction of resources all across our earth. It helped me to see my existence within a global context for the first time. In combination with my observations of the lives of Samburu women, this book brought me to a personal understanding of how novel it is for me to be as free as I am as woman (i.e. I can choose not to get married, I can choose not to have children, I can choose to pursue education, I have the wealth to travel freely, etc.). That experience plus this book makes me want to spend part of my time on this earth restoring balance to this grand injustice in whatever way I am able.
“You never change things by fighting against the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.” -Buckminster Fuller
When Limitless officially began, I started asking questions like, “How do we build Limitless for a better future world?” and “What are the practices and knowledge-sets that can help us become a transformative organization, rather than an organization that perpetuates the destructive cycles of now?”
- The first book I read on that road was Climate: A New Story, which introduced me to the concept of interbeing, pushed me further into my commitment to lead with love, and made me recognize the need to take the war metaphor out of my rhetoric and attitudes.
- The Power of Moments helped me to see that for me, Limitless was all about taking those open to change into action. (Instead of convincing people change was necessary, for example).
- The Ascent of Humanity gave me a new perspective on the role of science and technology in how we came to be where we are, and opened me to the way that creating systems of control would be perpetuating the same cycles that have brought us to the broken state of today.
- The Art of Conflict Management opened my eyes to the way an adversarial system of conflict management infects all of society, and gave me some dope strategies that I use in real life to help overcome conflict, prevent conflict, and create solutions where everybody feels empowered by the solution.
- The Infinite Game deepened my growing insight on how to create organizations where anyone can get involved and feel their participation is meaningful. It also has insight on how to build organizations in a way that outlasts the creators, and works to serve the greater good.
- Perhaps the most personally powerful book on this whole list for me is The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible. I listened to this book while cycling through Portugal and each chapter brought me deeper into self-acceptance and self-compassion as a budding environmentalist. This book broke my need to quantify my environmental impact, helped me to feel okay when I occasionally participated in the broken systems, and opened me to the fact that every positive action at every scale matters. I also credit this book with my broader perspective about how important it is to bring all people into my heart with love – no matter how challenging. The story at the end of the book felt like my story and brought me to literal tears of joy and a deep personal knowing that I was on the right path.
At the time of this writing (July 9, 2020), one of my big questions for Limitless is, “How do we open up the Limitless Ecosystem to other adventurers in a way where they feel fulfilled and empowered, self-motivated to create, and where I don’t have to manage them at all?”
- I came across the illustrated version of Reinventing Organizations, which opened me to the evolution of systems of human collaboration and cooperation. I am now juiced to learn how to use practices that keep Limitless a flat-hierarchy organization using distributive authority while fostering a sense of wholeness and fulfillment for all our ecosystem adventurers.
- Reinventing Organizations led me to the Enlivening Edge newsletter, which brings me all sorts of juicy wisdom about next-world organizational leadership like this.
In terms of my personal journey, I’m asking the question, “How do I live the rest of my life in the present and in full reality?”
- Although I feel all the books on this list changed me in some measure, Awareness was one of those books where, after I read it, I could never go back to seeing my world in the same way. The teachings in this book helped me to see all the ways I wasn’t engaging with the real world, but rather engaging with the world through the lenses of my various fantasies. It helped me to understand that I am the agent for my own happiness, and no one can affect the way I feel but me. Powerful destructive-cycle-breaking shit for me, y’all!
- Right after Awareness, I read The Four Agreements which took me further down the path that Awareness opened to me. It provided easy to understand and practical strategies that are helping me work to live in beautiful reality more and more each day.
In the times before Limitless, I was asking questions like, “How do I become a great leader and teach others how to do so as well?” “How can I help people cultivate sexual freedom?” “How do I build a business?” “How do I help teens to cultivate wellness?” Despite not being directly related to my journey through Limitless, these resources are all still with me as we go.
- The Score Takes Care of Itself – Although the methods are a little bit too much on the “command and control” side for me now, this book is still with me as follows: If you do good work, you won’t have to obsess about a good outcome. A good outcome will flow naturally from the good work.
- Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality – I believe deeply that sexual freedom is a part of achieving holistic freedom – if any part of us is not free, we are not free. While this book is steeped in bias, it has some insights that helped me to become more free.
- You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men In Conversation – Here’s what’s still with me. When someone came to me with a problem, I had a tendency to believe they were coming to me because they wanted my help to solve it. And when I tried to solve it, I created conflict. This book helped me to see that when people came to me with a problem, they wanted simply to be heard, understood, and seen. They didn’t want my solutions, they just wanted to talk.
- How to Win Friends and Influence People – Biggest takeaway – be more interested than interesting and you’ll make more friends in two minutes than you can make in two years.
- Decisive – I use the strategies in this book ALL THE TIME to help me and friends make decisions when it seems like it’s impossible to make them.
- Switch: How to Change When Change is Hard: I’ve used this framework in all sorts of ways to help me change personally and to help others to see a pathway to change. It’s powerful AF.
- Love 2.0 – A neuroscientific work that positions love as an essential nutrient for health, this one is with me in that I know I can experience love at any time from anyone, so long as we both feel safe. It de-hierarchicalized love for me, opening the possibility in me that all sources for love can be equally powerful in our lives, and that we can experience love with everyone.
- How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck – You can see some of these strategies in the series that I edited for The Limitless World Tour Pyrenees Crossing.
- The Teenage Brain – Since this goes over brain development up until the age of 26, it gave me deep perspective on how my journey through adolescence and young adulthood may still be influencing me today.
- The Myths of Happiness – Woke me up to the fact that the narrative of the “American Dream” was busted AF.
- Via Survey of Signature Strengths – A framework that helped me understand what my strengths are, so that I can use them to best effect in my life and in my work.
For every one non-fiction book I read, I probably read 4 fiction books. Here are some notable ones – some of which have absolutely zero to do with building a better future.
- The Kushiel’s Legacy Series – Picked up randomly at a book store for my first time traveling extensively outside of the states when I was 22, this is the book series I’d want if I was stranded on a desert island. One part adventure, one part political intrigue, one part sexy-as-fuck storytelling, one part strong women save the world … this one never gets old for me. I definitely want to be the main characters in the first and third trilogies.
- The Overstory – This one was slow to get started, but once it got started it blew my mind! Beautifully written, and sneaks some real-ass tree science in there! Love when authors sneak science into narratives.
- The Alchemist – Everyone recommends this one, and there’s a reason for that, I think. No descriptions of this one, because I want you to have your own experience, sans-expectations.
- The Celestine Prophecy – This one is philosophy woven into a fictional adventure narrative. Opened me to the ways my childhood behaviors have followed me into adult life. (I’m a “Poor Me! sometimes).
- The Stormlight Archive – Just some damn good storytelling that I can’t get enough of. Magic systems, badass swords, strong female characters, plot twists, supernatural dreams. I’m into it! The Mistborn Saga is also really good.