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I talked to an old friend recently, someone I haven’t spoken to in almost 15 years. I realised I’ve been through a lot!

I thought I’d share a few books that have shaped my world view in some form or another.

This was my order at the time of writing. If you’ve read some of these books and feel called to, can you send me an email with your order? oliver.ponder@gmail.com

Only go as far as the books you have read, no need to try and order books you haven’t read or don’t ever want to read.


Courage to be disliked - by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga

Instead of looking at “undesirable” behaviours as being caused by something in the past, reframe: What is the goal of that behaviour now?

Some things that people are struggling with is for them to struggle with. To fix that is not your task.


The Art of Possibility - by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander

The stories are what matter here. It’s not going to teach you necessarily some new wisdom you never heard. But there’s a difference between knowing and internalising, and for some people, this book will help with that.

Step out of the downward spiral. Recognize when you are in it.

Stop taking yourself so seriously.


Power of Now - by Eckhart Tolle

The present moment is all there is.


The Unfolding Now - by A.H. Almaas

Comparing things is natural. Adding judgment to it is what you have learned to do.

Hands off your experience. Whatever arises in your experience, that is what it is. Include it in your awareness.


Atomic Habits - by James Clear

Get 1% better each day

Compounding works both ways. So at the very least.. don’t get 1% worse each day.


Trillion Dollar Coach - by Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, Alan Eagle

Be generous with your time, connections, and resources. People are the foundation. Only coach the coachable. Strive to win, but always win right, with commitment, teamwork, and integrity.


Eat that Frog - by Brian Tracy

Do the thing you’ve been dreading or procrastinating on first thing.


Essentialism - by Greg Mckeown

It’s ok to say “no”. Get enough sleep.


Freedom flight - by Lanny Bassham

Even in the most dire circumstance you can find something positive and maintain your sense of freedom.


Linchpin - by Seth Godin

There is no map. Be the one that draws the map for others. Do the jobs that aren’t being done.


Principles by Ray Dalio

Keep trying and keep failing. Don’t give up. Learn something each time.


Steal like an Artist - by Austin Kleon

Nothing is original, get on with it, stop making excuses, go make your art!


Understanding Comics - by Scott McCloud

Closure. A wonderful concept in storytelling. Being able to spot it and create it. It is what happens when the reader gets to connect the dots for themselves. It’s some of the best moments of storytelling and can be used to great effect. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSmnGGCf3-4


The War of Art - by Steven Pressfield

The resistance is real. Everyone feels it. Show up every day. Make showing up a habit. Motivation and inspiration comes to those that are consistent and show up and do the work.


A Guide to the Good Life - by William B Irvine

Various stoicisms. Be prepared to lose everything. Imagine what it might be like to lose everything. Forgo some comforts every now and then so you can appreciate what you have, and also gain confidence that you would be fine without them.

“I shall despise riches alike when I have them and when I have them not. Being neither cast down should they lie elsewhere or puffed up when they glitter around me.”


7 Habits of Highly Effective People - by Steven R. Covey

A classic. What is frequently cited and well known is the time management matrix. What I hadn’t reflected on much before reading this book was the progression from dependence to independence to interdependence.

  • Dependence is the paradigm of You.

    You do this for me. You take care of me. I blame you. My sense of worth and security would come from your opinion of me.

  • Independence is the paradigm of I.

    I can do it. I am responsible. I am self-reliant; I can choose. My sense of worth would not be a function of being liked or treated well. Independence empowers us to act rather than be acted upon.

  • Interdependence is the paradigm of We

    We can do it. We can cooperate. We can combine our talents and create something greater. Interdependence recognises the need for love, for giving, and for receiving love from others.