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Welcome to the WattsUP Book Collection. Below is a collection of books I’ve read in 2021.

Mike’s Top 5 Books of 2021

Cry Like a Man: Fighting for Freedom from Emotional Incarceration by Jason Wilson.  Wow, this book is one I will reread again in the future. I don’t say that about too many of the books that I pick up to read. This one hit me in the heart, that is for sure. I started to cry in the intro and the book was more impactful the deeper I dove into it. As men, we are taught to be so tough and never let our guard down, but this isn’t healthy. Jason does an incredible job of sharing his life experience and how to apply these principles to your own life. I am very grateful for picking up this book.

Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela by Nelson Mandela.  This book…..Wow. I will never forget about reading this book. I told Kate as I was reading it, “I have nothing to ever complain about.” What the people of color in South Africa went through during the apartheid was horrible. The life that Nelson lived, I understand why he is loved so much in the country and around the world now. This is one of the best books I have ever read. I will continue to learn about him and how he lived his life. The movement his community created is tremendous. I love reading books like this to understand how the world has worked in the past. Yes, we still have massive issues that need to be fixed, but thanks to Nelson Mandela and his organization, we have learned what not to do. And if his people can work through their circumstances, there is no excuse for anything that I have happening in my life.


Permanent Record by Edward Snowden.  I would highly recommend anyone to doesn’t understand how Edward Snowden because know, this book is for you. I have always been nervous about authority and our own government. There is a good reason, they are always lying to us about what they are up to. What Edward exposed was horrific and he is banned from the United States.  But now the Supreme Court stated the government and companies have overstepped their boundaries but he is still unable to come back to the states


She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders by Jennifer Finney Boylan.  A great book by a fellow Mainer.  Actually, I don’t know if Jennifer is still living in Maine but she used to work at a college called Bates in Maine.  This book explains her journey during her transition.  She is a writer, no doubt about it. She is a great writer and really took me on a journey during this book. This is a book all adults should read. I mean you can read it as a kid but adults need a bit of education when it comes to the trans community and this book will supply it.


The Way of the Superior Man: A Spiritual Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Women, Work, and Sexual Desire by David Deida.  This book is a gamechanger if you are the one who is holding the masculine energy in the relationship. I like to call it a cheat sheet into the mind of a woman. That isn’t it really, but it sure feels like it. As I was reading this book, in every chapter he would explain why the partner is thinking or acting a certain way. Then Kate and I would have some sort of interaction and it would play out exactly how the book said it would play out. It was like social media following me around before social media. I will go back to this book way more often than I ever thought I would because of how great of a guide it is when it comes to explaining the interaction between couples.

The Rest of the Books:

Blackkklansman: A Memoir by Ron Stallworth.  Ok, this is one of the craziest stories I have ever read. This is a true story about a Black man becoming a member of the KKK. After I read the book, I watched the movie and both were fabulous. I recommend doing the same thing I did. No need to explain further, go read and watch.


Breaking out of the Man Box: The Next Generation of Manhood by Tony Porter.  This is another one of those books that hit me right in the heart. Grace, joy, and pleasure are things we men are able to experience, but many of us have closed ourselves off. Tony is an incredible storyteller and dives deep into the boxes that we have created as men and how we operate in the world. As I am sitting here in Miami, I am a bit overwhelmed with how a single man in this big city is able to have an impact on other men. The clarity will come with more space and time.


Loving Completely: A Five-Star Practice for Creating Relationships by Keith Witt, Ph.D.  One day in therapy, Kate was discussing our polarity and frankly, I had no idea what she was talking about and how that actually works. Well, reading this book, Keith explained this to me in a way I am able to understand. I realized how much our polarity has been affected by our working together over the past 10 years. We have had a great relationship over the past decade, but I only see it getting better from this point moving forward. For my men out there, I recommend spending the time to read this book and dive into your own insecurities that come up while reading. It will be worth your time.


False Black Power? By Jason L.  Riley

Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed by Jason L. Riley.  Jason has a take on what we are doing in this world to help people and completely turn it on its head. I would highly recommend spending the time to dive into these books or anything written by Jason Riley. It is a much different approach than the ideas we hear in the mainstream media or any organization at this point. We have done a good job creating a better world for everyone, but there might be even better ways to go about it.  At this point in 2021, the minimum wage is about to be raised to $15.00/hour, and Jason explains why this will have a negative impact on BIPOC people in the United States. Take the time to read these books.


My Greatest Defeat: Stories of Hardship and Hope from Motor Racing’s Finest Heroes by Will Buxton.  Over the past few years, I have become a huge fan of F1 racing. I have been a fan of car racing for decades now. Will is the face of the media team for F1 and I love his personality. When I learned about his book coming to the market, I bought it that weekend. This book has so many stories from famous race car drivers discussing some of their most challenging times. It was a great read and if you enjoy racing, then you will most likely enjoy this book.


Becoming Kareem: Growing Up On and Off the Court by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar & Raymond Obstfeld.  I loved this book. Kareem is an incredible human being and this book explains why this is true. He has a lot of heart and pours it into everything he is doing. A few takeaways:

A quote from Malcolm X, “Don’t condemn if you see a person has a dirty glass of water, just show them the clean glass of water that you have.”

“Wooden was like the US Constitution: The original had some flaws (like not providing rights for women and permitting slavery), but it also had provisions to evolve with the times, to grow in order to fulfill the spirit of equality that defined the document – this defined Coach’s personal philosophy.”

I love Kareem explaining in the book how to support people in your life you care about even when they have a different set of beliefs.


Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong.  Seinfeld was the show that brought me out of some of my darkest times in 2010. I was pretty depressed when I was living in AZ, but it was the show that brought my humor back. I used to watch this show in the 90s as it was on TV – back in the days when you had to wait a week for the show to air – and I loved waiting for the next episode. This book is about how this show changed how we watch and digest TV. There is so much that came from what this show brought to the world. I am grateful for this experience and would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed watching the show.


Minority Leader: How to Lead from the Outside and Make Real Change by Stacey Abrams.  This book has a new title called, Lead from the Outside. Smart move to think she has a new book out. 🙂 Really I don’t know why she changed the name, but I like the new title. This book is a great story about how Stacey became herself. She learned the system, understood the system, and took advantage of it for her betterment of society. She is changing the game in the world of politics and government. Change is happening, and being led by people like Stacey is something I am very excited to be a part of in the future. If you desire to step up your leadership game, then this book is for you.


I Will Teach You to Be Rich: No Guilt. No Excuses. No BS by Ramit Sethi.  I read the first edition of this book and then I ordered the 2nd edition of the book. It is packed with helpful tips on what to do with your money and how to go about saving money. Ramit explains what a Rich Life is and how to create this for yourself. I love reading books about money and what to do with our money. If you are looking for a very tactical book on how to manage everything, then this book is for you. If you need to work on your emotional well-being when it comes to money, then Kate’s book, Money: A Love Story, would be a better place to start  


Undisputed Truth by Mike Tyson & Larry Sloman.  The story of Mike Tyson – holy smokes. I finished the giant book of Nelson Mandela and followed it up with the giant book of Mike Tyson. Mike was so dominant in the world of heavyweight boxing, it is hard to even think about at this point in time. Even though he was heralded as the best boxer on the planet, his life was a complete mess. This book dives deep into his story, and it was a gut-wrenching read but extremely informative. If you are looking for something entertaining, then this book is for you.


The Great Work for Your Life: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling by Stephen Cope.  Talk about a book that I read at the right time in my life. Kate and I have been spending the past six months separating ourselves out of our business relationship. There has been plenty of time during my healing process to really dive into my work and start to create what is next for me. This book is all about getting down into the dirt of your life to bring the light to the surface. If you are familiar with the term dharma, that is what this book is about. Finding and crafting the dharma that you are bringing to the world. If you are at a transitional stage of your life, then this book is the one for you.


Letting the Cat Out of the Bag: How the Auto Industry Redesigned the Dealer Invoice Price When the Internet Arrived by James Bragg.  Like to save money?  This book is for you when it comes to buying your next car. This explains how to go about saving money on the next car that you will purchase. Short, simple, and straight to the point, go get it and save some money.


Dyslexia Advantage: The Concise Guide on How to Cope with Dyslexia and Bring Out the Best in Dyslexic People of All Ages by Cole Darenmit.  I didn’t realize when I bought this book, this is the guide from the longer book. I would say if this is something you are interested in learning more about, then go and buy the actual book, not the guide. This was helpful for me to gain a basic understanding of some issues that I have in my life. For example, word pronunciation and spelling things. And my comprehension is something that has affected me in my younger life. I have been able to overcome my nervousness around reading and comprehension in my adult life by reading more books. 


Post-Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity by Scott Galloway.  This book is all about where business and the financial markets are headed as this year continues to unravel. It is a crazy time to be in business, and there are a few businesses that have exploded when the rest of the world is falling apart. I love Scott’s sense of humor as he writes and how he goes about explaining things in the book. I ended up reading this book in about 4 days. It was pretty nuts. If you want to keep your business ahead in a downturn, then this book is for you.


We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates.  This book is a collection of articles Ta-Nehisi wrote for The Atlantic. He added his thoughts to bring them up to date in the book. Honestly, my vocabulary lacks depth compared to Ta-Nehisi, and I have to stop a lot throughout the book and look up the definitions of certain words. I have noticed this really affects my retention when I’m reading. This part has nothing to do with the content of the book, obviously. My favorite article in the book was the final one where he is describing what it was like to watch Obama in office then transition the power over to Trump. I am very grateful for taking the time to read this book.


Sprung: Memoirs of a Legendary Gambler by Kev Mac.  This book was an entertaining read if you enjoy stories of gambling and the life of a crip living out in LA. It is fascinating the addictions that we all get hooked on. The story of making thousands and losing thousands in a matter of minutes is a story I enjoy reading about. I am glad it isn’t happening to me, but I enjoy reading stories about how people overcome challenges in their life. Kev Mac is no different.


The Fight to Enlight: Initiation Through the Heart is the Only Way to Win by Seth Leaf Pruzansky.  As I am sitting in Miami reading a book about Maine, I am missing it a bit. This book might have been the perfect book for me this year, considering what I have been through when it comes to my skin journey. Seth does an amazing job detailing his journey with coming home to himself. If there is anything I have done the past four years, that is the experience I have been through. This book was a fantastic read, realizing we have the power inside of ourselves to heal our bodies. This book was very healing for me in my own skin journey that I have been on. Thanks, Seth.


The Essential Path: Making the Daring Decision to Be Who You Truly Are by Neale Donal Walsch.  I listened to this book on Audible and it is my 2nd Neale book this year. My one main takeaway from this book has to do with the ability to solve problems by realizing we already have all of the answers in front of us. There is always this dialogue we need to invent all of this stuff so we’re able to move forward and create a better life, but in reality, everything can be figured out if we allow it. We have the solutions to fix all of the problems if we let go of the old way of doing things and embrace the changes positioned in front of us.


MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom by Tony Robbins.  Living in 2021 and watching how every single market is being disrupted in some crazy way, there is one thing I have been focusing on…taking care of our money. This book is like a cheat sheet on how to care for your money in the future. There is a strategy laid out by Ray Dalio who has a huge hedge fund. I guess he is one of the best in the game. It is simple and transparent but really helpful when figuring out how to invest your money. I am very grateful for the tips and information in this book. I believe it takes a very complicated topic of finance and breaks it down into workable bits for me to figure out.


Narco Mindset: The Life Principles that a Cocaine Drug Lord Learned on His Journey to Find Meaning in His Life by Jorge Luis Valdes.  If you desire to learn how cocaine was brought into the United States, then this book is for you.  I am a huge fan of stories like this one. (It’s my Scorpio rising that makes me want to learn the dark side of everything.) This man went from making around $100,000,000 to losing everything and ending up in prison. While he was in prison, he decided to take a different path and change his life by dedicating it to God. Since then he has been on a mission to share his experience, built another company that was legal, and sold it for millions  


Finding Freedom: A Cook’s Story; Remaking a Life from Scratch by Erin French.  I mean who doesn’t love a book about a restaurant in Maine? I loved this book so much. As I am sitting here in Miami, the feeling of Maine came back very strong on this journey. Erin has gone through quite a bit getting her business off the ground, going through a divorce, being a young mother, and having a father who didn’t really believe in her. With all of the hardships, she created a restaurant, The Lost Kitchen, that has worldwide interest every single season. It has exploded and there is no other way to state it.


 Father Figure: How to Be a Feminist Dad by Jordan Shapiro.  Honestly, I found this book filled with great information, but it was pretty hard for me to read and fully understand. It was written by a professor and let’s say academic-speak isn’t really for me to fully comprehend. Overall, though, I really did get the point of how to make sure I am fully showing up as a father during this time in history to have the most positive impact on my kids and the world. I am grateful to Jordan for writing this book. Full disclosure, he sent this book to Kate and me since we had him on our podcast for his first book.


Prosperity in the Age of Decline: How to Lead Your Business and Preserve Wealth Through the Coming Business Cycles by Brian Beaulieu & Alan Beaulieu.  I love this company and these guys when it comes to predicting the future of business and growth. This book walks businesses through how to go about preparing for the future of decline we are about to experience in the world. In 2021, everything we are going through has been overturned, and we don’t really know where this is going to end up. It is quite a roller-coaster ride that we are on with the changes in the world. If you run a business, I highly recommend this book.


Can’t Knock the Hustle: Inside the Season of Protest, Pandemic, and Progress with the Brooklyn Nets’ Superstars of Tomorrow by Matt Sullivan.  This is an interesting story. We were in Miami at gymnastics with the girls, and this guy tells us he just finished writing a book. This is the book, and Matt is the guy. I really enjoyed reading this book with a behind-the-scenes look at the NBA and how they navigated the virus season, plus standing up for the people of the world at the same time. The NBA has been an example for the rest of the sports leagues to start voicing their opinion when usually this isn’t the norm. I really enjoyed this book and looking behind the scenes.


A Promised Land by Barack Obama.  Wow, what a book. Getting a behind-the-scenes look at what presidents go through on a daily basis. There are so many decisions they make in an attempt to make the best outcomes for the country. Honestly, this is a no-win situation. There is no way you are going to make everyone happy. It is a very complicated job, but I really enjoyed learning what Obama experienced. I remember years ago, I would look at a 700-page book and not even come close to it. I can’t believe I have read three 600+-pages of books this year – I am really proud of myself. 

If you are looking for a take on what the president has gone through as a leader of this country, then this is a book for you. It is a great read, no matter which side of the aisle you sit on. If you usually support the Republican party, then pick up this book and get a different side of the story. If you are a Democrat, you have an opportunity to grow as well.


How to Set Up Your Personal Brand for Under $1,000 by Dan Fleyshman.  If you need a quick reference guide on how to go about building a personal brand with little startup capital. then this book is for you. There are great recommendations about putting yourself in the right spot for growing and building your business. It is a quick read but can be a powerful read for the right person at the right time.


Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman. I’m sure this book is great, but I had a really hard time getting into it. I didn’t end up finishing it, I quit 50% of the way through. Ya know, sometimes books don’t resonate, and that is all right.


Till the End by CC Sabathia.  If you are a baseball fan, then you will enjoy this book. It is amazing how people can mess up their life so much and still have an amazing career.  This book was about CC being an alcoholic but still performing at an insane level in the majors. I love watching him pitch because he seemed to care a little bit less about what everyone else thought about him.  But after reading this book, he cared quite a bit and was in a lot of pain during this career. This is why he turned to booze, which he explains in the book.


Superclass: The Global Power Elite and The World They Are Making by David Rothkopf.  The world is doomed. The global power elite is in control of everything and we don’t have a choice. Just give up and there is no hope. Kidding, I think there is a little hope but not holding out too much. This book covers how the superclass operates in a league of their own and lives a completely different life than the rest of us.  It is pretty incredible how they live their life compared to the way I do. I like my life much better, I mean flying private would be amazing but besides that, I am pretty set. For anyone who enjoys reading about the way people operate in the world, this book is for you.


The Cubs Ways: The Zen of Building the Best Team in Baseball & Breaking the Curse by Tom Verducci.  Go Cubs Go.  I spent my childhood thinking about the cubs going to the world series and it never happened. Well, when I became an adult they actually won one. The year leading up to winning that series was the best baseball season I have seen. It was tremendous. I am so grateful to be able to watch what happened that year. I remember sitting in our friend Heather’s house out in LA while they were playing game 7 and the kids were sleeping and Kate was at a speaking gig.  I was so excited when it was all over.

My favorite memory of that year was going to Chicago and posting up at a local restaurant with my buddy Bradley to watch Game 5 which was the turning point in the series and led them to walk about the win. If you are a baseball fan this book is for you.


War is a Racket: The Antiwar Classic by America’s Most Decorated Soldier by Smedley D. Butler.  What really is the point of war?  I still don’t know the answer to these questions.  This book explains he doesn’t know either and he served in one.  I get it that we aren’t all going to get along but if we would stop messing with people around the globe we might one day live in a world without a war.  It is an amazing concept that I plan to dive deeper into as I am reading more books on the topic. But what do I know, I’m some guy enjoying life in Miami.


The Storyteller: Tales of Life & Music by Dave Grohl.  I grew up listening to anything punk rock and anything that was against the grain. I loved listening to Nirvana which was my first introduction to Dave Grohl.  I continue with this obsession with the Foo Fighters who I have seen rock out a concert over 5 times.  This book was the story of Dave living in the world of Rock and Roll and how he has navigated these waters.  I love the fact he flew halfway around the world to attend a dance with his two daughters. If you are a fan of rock then this book is for you.


The Setup by Dan Bilzerian.  What can be said about Dan, then what a life this man is living?  This book is all about the ventures of his life and how he lives this ridiculous lifestyle.  This book was a look behind the scenes of everything he has done in his life and how outrageous it has become. He created a goal to become famous and he did it.  As a man, it is a very interesting read that I would recommend all men to read. His life should be featured as a case study in Harvard business school then discussed.  It would be an interesting topic of discussion. Women, money, poker, and buying expensive stuff, if this is your thing this book is for you. If you read this and would like to discuss it, I would love to chat with you about it


Shook One: Anxiety Playing Tricks on Me by Charlamagne Tha God.  Another amazing book by Charlamagne covered our ability to come to love our anxiety.  About two years ago, I experienced my first panic attack while I was walking through our neighborhood and had no idea what was happening. I was getting over my skin blowing up and coming back to my regular self but the sensation was completely overwhelming. There is a narrative that goes around the world that anxiety is an issue but it is our body telling us something. It is up to us, how we cope with our anxiety. I have come to realize, if I am feeling something, it is time for me to go a bit deeper on those feelings.


How Your Story Sets You Free by Julian Mocine-McQueen & Heather Box.  I was given this book during my business consulting with Rha Goddess and this book is an amazing guide on the value of your story.  We are only living one life and how we live it is up to us. Yes, we all come into this world with different circumstances but we can control our thoughts while we are alive on this planet.  If you are out of a place wondering how to go about getting your story to the world, this book is for you.


 Plandemic: Fear Is the Virus. Truth is the Cure by Mikki Willis.  Overall this book told a great story about how Mikki ended up doing the work that he is currently doing. For those of you who haven’t seen the docs called Plandemic 1 & 2, you might want to check them out. I haven’t seen them either so there is that. The way this book was written was very strange because someone else wrote the book from the perspective of Mikki.  But the information was valid and I would recommend diving deeper into the perspective of life. Not everything we have been told over the past two years is the truth. But the question is, what do we do with that information?


Soul Messengers: The True Story of a Mystic, a Guardian, and a Businessman by Dr. Annette Childs.  I have always been fascinated by death and what happens once we die. Annette is someone who has been working with people who have been dying for decades. This read is a great story about the journey people are going through when they are at the end of their life. People, we can slow down and listen to the one at the end of their life and it might change the way we are currently living our life. I enjoyed learning from Annette and if death is something that scares you, I would recommend reading this book.


Battle Cry: Waging and Winning the War Within by Jason Wilson.  Jason Wilson is an amazing man.  I love his work and his book.  If you are a man reading this then get to know Jason.  He does an amazing job diving into the challenges we face and how to overcome them. It is a constant learning lesson how we go from living our life and letting our voices guide us in the right direction. I have been spending years trying to learn how to let my own voice guide me.  This is the battle I am learning to win with myself. I believe the fact we are at a war is an intense overreaction to life that actually exists.  We don’t need to have war with ourselves.

Books Read: 44

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Thank you so much for taking the time to review my reading list for 2021. Please send me a message on IG, @mikejwatts, for further book recommendations or if you have any questions for me.