Category: Featured

Dave’s Best Books of 2016

Harry Truman said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” The greatest investment you can make is in your own learning and growth.

 1. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win

by Jocko Willink


2. The Art of Living

by Epictetus


3. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

by Carol Dweck


4. The 10x Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure

by Grant Cardone


5. Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time

by JJ Sutherland & Jeff Sutherland


6. Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World

by Peter Diamandis & Steven Kotler


7. MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom

by Tony Robbins


8. Lead with Humility: 12 Leadership Lessons from Pope Francis

by Jeffrey A. Krames


9. The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman

by Timothy Ferriss


10. Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers, and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets

by Al Ramadan, Dave Peterson, Christopher Lochhead, Kevin Maney


11. On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft

by Stephen King






18. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

by Cal Newport


19. The Miracle Morning

by Hal Elrod, Michael J. Maher, Michael Reese, Jay Kinder, Honoree Corder


20. The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea

by Bob Burg & John David Mann


21. Masters of Success

by Dave Carvajal


If you like what you read, share this list with your friends and networks.
Top Tech Executive Steve Johnson on the Most Important Things in Life & Business

Top Tech Executive Steve Johnson on the Most Important Things in Life & Business


If anyone knows how to grow revenue exponentially, it’s long-time tech executive Steve Johnson. Steve is President and COO at Vidyard, the video intelligence platform for business. Before joining Vidyard last year, he was Chief Revenue Officer for Hootsuite. At Hootsuite Steve helped grow the company from a sub-$100 million valuation to over $1 billion and from 27 employees to more than 800.



Steve has a broad range of experience with strategic accounts, global partnerships, web analytics, SaaS to database and email marketing applications. He has served on executive teams for startups and established companies including Constant Contact, Blackbaud, Scopus, ACI 4th Dimension and others.

To master a spectrum of skills, the key to learning, Steve says, is to “always be curious.”


Failure, inevitably, is a part of learning. And Steve has advice on how to confront this challenge – if you must fail, fail fast.


For Steve, the most important aspect of life and work is making a real impact. He founded a SaaS application called iAbida for special needs children, to help improve team communication. And he continues to ask himself, “Are you really making an impact? Are you learning? Are you having fun?”

I had a great time talking with Steve Johnson about the insights he’s gained from his years as a top tech executive. For the rest of my conversation with Steve and for insights from other exceptional leaders, check out

Conquering Super Bowl Challenges: Insights with Alain Benzaken

Conquering Super Bowl Challenges: Insights with Alain Benzaken

Alain Benzaken has decades of experience developing innovative technology for some of the most successful Internet companies in the world. Most recently, Alain has served as CTO, Americas of Decisyon. He was also Vice President of Development at Priceline before leading the technology organization at Ladders with me in 2005. Alain also led the technology organization at Buddy Media during its $800M acquisition by Salesforce.

Alain and I have trained together for Ironman triathlons. In business and in sport, Alain understands that strong mentors help you achieve bigger results faster.


Alain was one of the first technology hires at Priceline and was an integral part of building the company’s core systems. During the dotcom boom, Priceline was one of 3 companies valued over a $1B. Alain talked to me about the importance of choosing tech opportunities wisely.


Throughout his career, Alain has had to overcome what he calls the “Super Bowl challenges.” It all comes down to hiring the right people to help you conquer.


Alain also talked with me about how strong leaders master influence. Understand which levers to pull, adapt to each situation, and remember to solve new problems without fighting old battles.


For more insights from my good friend Alain and from other outstanding executive leaders, visit

Insights from Extraordinary Business Leader Liza Landsman

Insights from Extraordinary Business Leader Liza Landsman

Liza Landsman is an extraordinary business leader who recently graced the cover of Adweek for her visionary leadership as Chief Customer Officer at Before joining Jet, Liza served as CMO at E*Trade, Managing Director at BlackRock, Partner at Bravas Group and Managing Director at Citi.

“Jet is a totally different spectrum than Citi or E-Trade, and she’s succeeding in all of those different roles because of the core skill sets she has,” said Hema Widhani in the Adweek cover story on Liza. Hema is CMO at Prudential and worked with Liza at both Citi and E-Trade. “Liza’s one of those super-versatile business leaders that finds a way to make every business environment successful.”

Liza’s success story is a stunning example of why in business and in life, for creating stronger communities and enterprise value, women are the greater sex. When it comes to women leading in tech, Liza has big dreams.


Liza’s first mentor was another strong female entrepreneur, her mother.


As former CMO of E*Trade, Liza is often asked what happened to everyone’s favorite little guy on TV – the E*Trade baby. Where is he now? Retired on an island in the Pacific, Liza says.


Liza’s experience is truly global in scope and she has deep insights on what it takes to lead international teams.


It was such a pleasure talking with Liza about leadership and what the future holds for women in tech. For more of my conversation with Liza and other outstanding leaders, check out

Global insights with top executive Chris Hummel

Global insights with top executive Chris Hummel

Chris Hummel is a one-of-a-kind executive leader with experience at the helm of global organizations in places as far-flung from his hometown of Boston as Kazakhstan and Singapore.

He is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of United Rentals and has also served as the chief marketing officer of Schneider Electric SE. Chris has more than two decades of executive leadership experience in senior sales and marketing positions at Unify, SAP and Oracle. Over 13 years in a number of senior roles at Oracle, Chris helped Oracle’s customer service organization earn certification from J.D. Power and Associates for its “outstanding customer service.”

Chris’ success is proof that anyone can define his or her own unique path. He started on a track to become a U.S. diplomat. And he soon found himself traveling and working with some of the greatest tech companies in the world. Here’s how he built Oracle’s office in Kazakhstan from the ground up:


Great leaders don’t all march out of prestigious business school doors. Chris learned early that being different from the rest could become one of his strongest assets.


Leadership, for Chris, is more than a title – it’s a mindset. Chris looks for these three defining characteristics that all great leaders share.



For the rest of my conversation with Chris Hummel, check out You’ll find more insights from some of my favorite leaders on the planet.

Insights with Y&R CEO David Sable: Why You Don’t Need the Corner Office

Insights with Y&R CEO David Sable: Why You Don’t Need the Corner Office

David Sable is a world traveler, a gamer, a die-hard Doors fan, and a self-proclaimed hippie at heart. I had a lot of fun talking with David – who is also the Global CEO of Y&R, one of the world’s leading global marketing communications companies. David was an early digital entrepreneur, and he is still tapped for marketing and digital expertise around the world.

David is a distinguished leader in several realms – business, marketing, digital, and philanthropy (he serves as Chair of UNICEF’s New York Board and was named one of the 10 Most Generous Marketing Geniuses by Fast Company in 2013). Here’s what he says it takes to become a leader of leaders.


Leadership isn’t inherited – it’s learned from great mentors. David discovered that learnings could come from unexpected mentors, and he found how much there is to gain from keeping yourself open to every side of an argument. The most important lesson he learned – you don’t need the corner office to get big things done. Here’s why:


Leadership is also forged from adversity. David talks about the most important trait a leader must possess in order to learn from a difficult situation.


For more of my conversation with David Sable, check out You’ll also find other insights from some of my favorite leaders on the planet. And, David has an active presence in the blogosphere – you can read his blog at

Insights with World-Class Executive Jim Madej

Insights with World-Class Executive Jim Madej

Jim Madej has nearly three decades of experience leading and learning from some of the greatest Fortune 50 companies in the United States. Jim served as Chief Customer Officer for National Grid, Director of National Sales & Service at Hess, and Chief Commercial Officer for General Electric before forming his own strategic growth consulting firm, Madej Core. I had the opportunity to talk with Jim about the insights he’s gained on business and leadership over the years.

It was a privilege talking with Jim about the three keys to GE’s long-term success. In our conversation, Jim opened up about the company’s three most important business practices.

One of the greatest marks of a leader is humility, and Jim understands the importance of measuring victory by the success of the entire team.


Every good company keeps track of KPIs, but here’s Jim’s argument for why you might be focusing too much on output metrics – along with other advice for achieving high performance in your career.

One of the biggest insights along the journey of professional development is distinguishing between management and leadership skills. Jim talked with me about what makes someone a true leader.

You can see more of my conversation with Jim Madej on the Insights page of You’ll also find more interviews with some of my favorite leaders on the planet.


Insights with VC Legend Itzhak Fisher

Insights with VC Legend Itzhak Fisher

I had the pleasure of sitting down with serial entrepreneur and investor, Itzhak Fisher, for an interview. Itzhak is Founder and General Partner of Pereg Ventures, a Nielsen backed private equity fund. He also served as Executive Vice President, Global Business Development for Nielsen.

Itzhak has a long track record creating new companies and developing them into operationally excellent businesses. As Co-founder and Chairman of Trendum, he took the technologies of this small internet data mining company joined them with VNU, Intelliseek and BuzzMetrics, and sold the new entity to the Nielsen company. In the nineties, Itzhak founded and headed RSL Communications (NASDAQ: RSLC) a Telco company operating in over 20 countries across four continents with over $1.5 billion in revenues.

In our talk, Itzhak opened up about the most important lessons he’s learned on leadership, business and investing.

Every great executive seeks out mentorship. Itzhak Fisher’s mentor just happens to be one of the most influential leaders in the world.

Itzhak also talked candidly about an early business failure. After that experience, he made one rule for himself that he follows to this day. Here it is, straight from the horse’s mouth (he invested in a horse farm).


Itzhak is a world-class leader, and he’s wise enough to know that when it comes to hiring and investing — the last thing he wants to be is the smartest person in the room.

A bonus from my conversation with Itzhak was learning about his history and his vision for the future. It was humbling to learn about his heritage as the son of Holocaust survivors and hear about the incredible work he’s doing to support the next generation of entrepreneurs.


See my full conversation with Itzhak Fisher on the Insights page of You’ll also find more interviews with some of my favorite leaders on the planet.

What CEOs get wrong about recruiting & how to break out of the box

What CEOs get wrong about recruiting & how to break out of the box

CEOs often set out to make an executive hire because they’re in some kind of pain. They might be missing a key player on the team or a person doing the role right now is failing–and it’s affecting everything from performance metrics to relationships with board members. Recruiting the right leader can put an end to that pain or add to it, depending on the quality of the hire. All this pressure can lead an employer to feeling trapped. When you don’t have options, it’s easy to get into a scarcity mindset–a mindset that actually limits your ability to recruit and hire the best candidates.

There are two sides of the table in every hiring process. Masterful recruiting requires understanding the mindset on each side of the table. As a CEO, recognizing and understanding the mindset with which you are approaching the hiring process is crucial if you want to optimize results and find candidates who are uniquely qualified to succeed at your organization.

Much of the pain that a CEO or employer experiences prior to making an important hire has to do with the need for someone to step in and execute the functional role. As the CEO, you might have had to step into the role yourself, on top of running a hiring process and putting out the day-to-day fires that come with running a business in high-growth mode.

And when the need for someone to come in and help you execute functionally is the most palpable thorn in your foot, you’re prone to committing one of the worst hiring mistakes a CEO can make. Because what you’re feeling most intensely is the need for someone who can get things done in the functional role, you might find yourself placing the highest priority on technical chops in the search process.

Technical chops are undeniably important. Keep in mind that candidates with extraordinary skills must be able to perform those skills within a team so that the organization–not just the individual–soars.

To break out of the typical employer’s scarcity mindset, pay close attention to the other defining characteristics that are of huge importance in a hiring decision–core values, unique proven experience, leadership gravitas, agility, biases and critical thinking.

Organizational culture and the human aspect of work are undervalued, even though they are major determinants of your team’s ability to realize the company’s greater purpose. Its impact might not be as glaring as an empty desk in the office, but an organization’s culture is like a strong immune system and it will squeeze out those that are harmful to the greater body.

In reality, the biggest factor determining the success or failure of a leader at any company is a core values match between his or her personal DNA and the cultural DNA of the organization. Culture fit accounts for 60{f7a32599756963b989bde631f1a44401cc789db6f847c3735c9e8f651be632a4} of a candidate’s ability to build enterprise value within a company. Core competencies, hard skills and technical acumen, are responsible for just 20{f7a32599756963b989bde631f1a44401cc789db6f847c3735c9e8f651be632a4} of success. Core competencies ensure that a candidate can excel within a role; a core values match ensures that candidates can help you achieve your mission and the vision for the organization.

This is what every employer needs to know about the candidate mindset

This is what every employer needs to know about the candidate mindset

In any hiring process, there are two sides of the table. Masterful recruiting requires understanding the mindset on each side of the table. The cognitive, emotional and social intelligence required to be able to properly evaluate each prospect is what determines the quality of a hire. And when the right candidate is engaged, bringing those mindsets together creates winning results.

On the candidate’s side of the table, there are two important things that every recruiter and employer should understand. Generally, human beings are negotiating between these two things: the external perception that they’re trying to create of themselves (what they do, external facade), and what’s really going on inside (who they are, inner dialogue).


Anyone looking to make a career move must self-manage a range of emotions that could affect how they interview – excitement, curiosity, desperation, anxiety, etc. The candidate has very real human needs and because of this, he or she might create an external perception that may or may not be consistent with who they really are. Too often, candidates are operating from a scarcity mindset (which increases with length of job search) and might prioritize or communicate the wrong things. Because they’re not managing their inner dialogue, they end up creating a scarcity mindset which they then try to overcompensate for through perception management.

My advice to candidates – get rid of that stuff all together so you don’t even have to manage it and so that the truth of your inner strength shines through.

Core Values:

The best thing a candidate can do to land the perfect role for them is to define their own values and personal mission, and then strive to reach a strong core values match with an employer. When they can find that core fit, they’re able to do three things: make themselves better, make the team better, and make the company better. This is how they can create the most value for themselves and for the world.

The same goes for employers. When they have defined organizational values and purpose, and when a Core Fit Selection process is implemented to assess candidates for both their competencies and their core values, the best hires happen.

Candidates with integrity are those whose core values are in line with the external perception they create for themselves. Hire for authenticity, integrity, and humility to secure colleagues who are fully committed to the achievement of your company’s purpose. This alignment can help take your mission beyond just achievement to even greater heights.