Books leaders swear by in 2023

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FCNews rounded up five industry leaders to share the books that have made an indelible impact on their lives—both personally and professionally.

Below are their selections:

“David and Goliath, Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants” by Malcom Gladwell
T.M. Nuckols, president, residential division, The Dixie Group

“This is a collection of nine stories in which Gladwell draws upon history, psychology and powerful storytelling to reshape the way we think about the world around us. He begins with the famed shepherd boy who felled the mighty giant warrior with nothing more than a sling and a stone three thousand years ago. And then he artfully shows us exactly why David’s victory should not have been any big surprise. David and Goliath offers many stories of how challenges are really blessings and vice versa and why underdogs—by changing the game—can be victorious over their more dominant competitors. I first read this book probably 10 years ago, and I frequently find myself referring to it from time to time. It’s an entertaining, inspiring and thoughtful read.”


“Wooden—A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court” by Coach John Wooden with Stevie Jamison
Doug Jackson, president, Cali


“College basketball’s greatest coach, the legendary John Wooden, gifted us advice for every chapter of life, both personal and professional. His wisdom boils down to being a decent person and holding yourself to the highest possible standards, partly as a way to support those around you to do their best as well. All his takeaways are golden, but the following have most impacted me in the business realm.

  • Make every day your masterpiece.
  • The qualities I observe in successful athletes are common among people who enjoy success in business. Both love the battle, the journey and the challenge. Both consider the final outcome a by-product.
  • You are in the presence of a true competitor when you observe that he or she is indeed getting the most joy out of the most difficult circumstances. The real competitors love a tough situation. That’s when they focus better and function better. At moments of maximum pressure, they want the ball.”


“The Psychology of Winning” by Dennis Waitley and “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne
Don Karlin, director of broadloom sales, Nourison

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“I read ‘The Psychology of Winning’ very early on in my career, and it gives specific strategies for goal setting and getting your thoughts into a winning mindset. I acquired it on cassette (way back when that was a thing!) and listened to it over and over and over on my hour-long commute into my West Los Angeles territory.

“‘The Secret’s’ theme is similar in having you create a particular frame of mind to target the outcomes you want in your life. Focus on what you want, write those things down and create a game plan that gets you to that target. Vision boards, mental images of what you see as your goals and focus and letting the power of those thoughts direct you toward accomplishment. Like ‘The Psychology of Winning,’ I listened to it over and over until the message was drilled into my everyday lifestyle. I believe those goals and visions helped me achieve some of the milestones of my career.”


“The Saint, Surfer and the CEO” by Robin Sharma
Ted Kozokowski, CEO, Galleher LLC


“The book is a fable that makes you think about the importance of being present and in tune with yourself spiritually, physically and in your relationships with others. I first read the book in 2004 and I refer to it frequently when I start new roles or whenever I feel out of sorts with my current situation. It’s not a book to tell you how to improve EBITDA or RONA but it most certainly helped me re-examine how I showed up in both my personal and professional life. It’s an easy, fun read and I highly recommend it.”



“The Bottom of the Pool” by Andy Andrews
Marquis Wright, CEO, Mr. Wright Flooring

“On average I read/listen to about 40 books a year. This year I’d have to say the one that sticks out would be ‘The Bottom of the Pool.’ I learned a new word from the book that I strive to replicate each day and that is “Beamonesque” (it means to do something remarkable or spectacular). The term comes from Olympic athlete Bob Beamon, who in 1968 unexpectedly set the record for the longest long jump, 29 feet, shattering the record by almost 2 feet. The book also had a story about a kid’s game that was pretty much an analogy for not thinking like the norm, which can be in a box, but thinking beyond the box. What I took from it was there is no box to begin with.”

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Feb. 6/13, 2023

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