Top of Mind: Inspiration on Leaders’ Minds and Bookshelves

Since we have operations in both the U.S. and China, two very different time zones, I find that I’m more productive and have more energy by taking a break late morning to work out with a personal trainer. On alternate days I take a Pilates class to get out of my comfort zone and to better relax. I’ve also found there are some very interesting people working out at non-peak hours (most notably, I often work out at the same time as the drummer from Aerosmith!).

—Peter Mann, CEO, Oransi.com

My co-founder, Jamie Pennington, and I are inspired by Malcolm Gladwell’s book David and Goliath. Startups are inherently underdogs. Demonstrating courage and knowing the right armor to put on each day is key. This does not mean facing each meeting as a battle, but rather approaching people and objectives with the goal of bringing out the best in each other. The key is keeping a “David” heart and head as you become an industry giant.

—Sarah Crossman Sullivan, co-founder, SeeItFit.com

I find that practicing meditative yoga helps keep me going! It’s the best way to end the day, and I find that I have the deepest of sleeps after a good yoga class. I’ve also just downloaded to my Kindle the newest book by David B. Agus, M.D., A Short Guide to a Long Life. While I’ve just started it, it has practical advice, from choosing real food to getting your flu shot. This crazy-paced world we live in keeps things complicated—sometimes it’s good to step back!

—Susan Grimberg, owner and president, Ollie & Bess

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few months thinking about how rapidly mobile marketing is advancing. Whether it’s placing a business in the Facebook feed of a potential customer or ensuring that business is the answer to a question asked of Siri, the ever-changing dynamic of search gives me plenty to think about.

—Ken Wisnefski, founder and CEO, WebiMax

I am reading Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. It is an excellent book that explains the very nature of riches and how they can be attained.

—Vijai Aanand, CEO and president, AKVARR Inc.

It’s interesting how we celebrate adversity in sports but try to avoid it in life. I’ve been considering this when confronting challenges—when I choose to do so with the joy inherent in tackling something that’s difficult, I feel differently than when I grudgingly resign myself to dealing with yet another crappy problem that should have been avoidable. Same work, different mental impact—and many times, different practical outcome, too.

—John M. Pope, Ph.D., president and CEO, WellDog

Top of mind right now is the desire to practice a deeper level of serenity. For entrepreneurs, it’s challenging to materialize an idea into a profitable business. But even more challenging is to continue to build on that success. The reward of having a serene demeanor is in being able to cut through the craziness and more easily interpret what’s not being said or seen, which allows me to continue to build.

—Kari Warberg Block, founder and CEO, Earth-Kind

We hire a lot of recent university graduates and depend on these and other 20-somethings to achieve our breakthrough levels of customer success. A lot has been written about the millennials and how challenging they can be, so I picked up a book, Not Everyone Gets A Trophy by Bruce Tulgan. The book has helped me better understand the mindset of this generation and create an environment at Acquia where the Generation Y-ers do a ton of amazing things.

—Tom Erickson, CEO, Acquia

I’m working on my TED Talk, which will support people in discovering their own internal resolve and move through the challenges of conflict with ease, grace and miracles. I’m also working on the outline for my next book, which will provide a significant source of relief for people with anxiety around debt.

—Alexis Neely, chief visionary officer, Eyes Wide Open Life

I’m excited about the launch of my new book, Reinventing You: The 10 Best Ways to Launch Your Dream Career. People have an inherent fear that they won’t be able to monetize what they love to do, pinning them down to their current career path or freezing them from exploring opportunities in the field they’ve fantasized about. But dream careers do exist and are absolutely within their reach if they’re willing to reinvent.

—Lisa Lockwood, author and career coach

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