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If you’re looking for books that will broaden your perspective and lead you toward a happier life, comedian Joe Rogan has the perfect book list for you.
As the host of the podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience,” Rogan has interviewed over a thousand people, many of them prominent thinkers and writers, and he’s gotten book recommendations from guests from diverse fields and experiences. Check out some of his favorite books here.
Don’t have as much time as Joe Rogan to read? That’s where Shortform comes in. With Shortform, you can get the key lessons from the best nonfiction books in minutes, not in hours. Our experts condense the key lessons from Joe Rogan’s recommended books into an efficient summary. Check out our high-quality summaries of these 8 books to see if you can learn more quickly.
1. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win, by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
TITLE: Extreme Ownership
AUTHOR: Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
What’s the secret to being a great leader? Whether you’re in a warzone or on the front lines of a corporate battle, Extreme Ownership argues that the best leaders take full responsibility for their actions and decisions, their teams, and their failures.
Authors Jocko Willink and Leif Babin are former U.S. Navy SEALs who served in Iraq. They honed the principles of Extreme Ownership on the battlefield, then applied the same tenets to the corporate world as business consultants. Willink and Babin illustrate how effective leaders exercise Extreme Ownership — by admitting failures, believing in their missions, checking their egos, delegating, and being accountable — through compelling war stories and useful business anecdotes.
On his podcast, Joe Rogan told listeners he was “extremely impressed” with author Jocko Willink and said, “I won’t say anything more about him because he’s just…an exceptional human being and I think you will you will, as I did, learn a lot from him.”
2. Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know, by Malcolm Gladwell
TITLE: Talking to Strangers
AUTHOR: Malcolm Gladwell
Talking to Strangers is a book about the impossibility of truly understanding a stranger. By breaking down some of the most famous events in recent human history, best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell shows us the strategies we often use when dealing with people we don’t know—and how deeply flawed those strategies are.
In this book, you’ll learn:
* How Hitler fooled so many prominent world leaders
* Why the financial industry failed to stop Bernie Madoff for so long
* What really happened to Sandra Bland
Malcolm Gladwell is one of Joe Rogan’s favorite authors, and his books occur often on this list.
3. The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz
TITLE: The Four Agreements
AUTHOR: Don Miguel Ruiz
The world today is full of suffering and cruelty. From birth, we are trained to accept society’s rules as “the way it is,” but agreeing to these rules stops us from becoming our true selves. But there’s a different way to live. If we replace the old agreements with four simple new agreements, we can break free from the old rules and find peace and happiness. These agreements are: 1) Use your words impeccably. 2) Don’t take anything personally. 3) Don’t make assumptions. 4) Always do your best.
On Instagram, Rogan wrote, “This is a seriously powerful book. Especially potent for someone like me who talks for a living and often talks too much. There’s some amazing points and valuable lessons in it.”
4. The Hero with a Thousand Faces, by Joseph Campbell
TITLE: The Hero with a Thousand Faces
AUTHOR: Joseph Capbell
The Hero With a Thousand Faces explores the common themes and story elements that define the world’s mythologies—the hero’s journey. Through the cycle of initiation, separation, and return, the hero undergoes great trials and tribulations, experiences death and rebirth, and gains new powers that enable mankind’s ultimate redemption.
Far from being obsolete relics from long-extinguished civilizations, the myths of the ancients have profound lessons for today’s reader. By studying the struggles, transformations, and redemptions of the great heroes, we come closer to discovering the universal truths of the human condition and unlocking the divine potential that lies inside us all.
Joseph Campbell’s classic has come up repeatedly in Joe Rogan’s podcast.
5. Outliers: The Story of Success, by Malcolm Gladwell
AUTHOR: Malcolm Gladwell
No one starts with nothing. Rags-to-riches stories fool us because although they may be factually true—you may start your life poor and finish it rich—they leave out all the advantages of circumstances that contribute to success. Further, they make us believe that success is an individual achievement. But no one succeeds alone. In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell shows us that where you’re from and the opportunities you’re given matter as much as personal advantages such as talent and intelligence.
In a podcast with Joey Diaz, Joe Rogan described Outliers as “fucking great!”
6. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari
AUTHOR: Yuval Noah Harari
In Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari uses concepts from biology, history, and economics to tell the story of us, Homo sapiens. We start 2.5 million years ago, when Sapiens make their historical entrance, and end in the future, when the creation of an artificially created superhuman race may mark the end of the Sapiens species. Along the way, we learn how our ability to create imagined realities led to our dominance over other species. We watch as the Agricultural Revolution, the Scientific Revolution, imperialism, capitalism, and the Industrial Revolution change our species in lasting, and not always positive, ways.
Ultimately, we’re left with one question: As we design our future, who do we want to become? Asking the right questions may be more important than finding the right answers. Read this summary to explore our history as a species—in doing so, you’ll see today’s world in an entirely new way.
In an Instagram post, Joe Rogan wrote, “Really enjoying ‘Sapiens’ by yuval_noah_harari It really puts in perspective how bizarre human beings are. It’s an awesome overview of our species.” On a later podcast, he said, “Great book…fucking fantastic…very enlightening.”
7. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, by Jordan Peterson
TITLE: 12 Rules for Life
AUTHOR: Jordan Peterson
Author Jordan Peterson argues that modern secularism and reliance on science has left a void in answers to important existential questions: What is the point of living? Why do bad things happen to good people? What am I supposed to do to make myself happier? 12 Rules for Life addresses these questions and gives a set of life principles to live by. Learn why you should stop telling lies to others and yourself, why you should stop doing things you know are bad for you, and how to pursue what is truly meaningful for you.
Joe Rogan said of the “great and powerful” Peterson, “Jordan has been on the podcast multiple times, he’s one of my favorite human beings to talk to, I’m just happy that he exists. He’s a brilliant man and he has an amazing book out right now, it’s called 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. [It’s] one of the most important messages that this brilliant man has.”
8. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, by Malcolm Gladwell
TITLE: The Tipping Point
AUTHOR: Malcolm Gladwell
How do you spark a trend that spreads like wildfire, or turn a product into the latest must-have item? You create a social epidemic. The Tipping Point explains how social epidemics — spreading ideas, messages, behaviors, and products — function like viruses, growing gradually until they reach a critical mass (the tipping point) and explode.
Three factors can be adjusted to tip an idea to a social epidemic: the messenger, the message itself, or the context of the message. Learn how Paul Revere’s midnight ride, Sesame Street, Airwalk skate shoes, and crime reduction in New York City began as ideas and tipped to become movements.
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