My Morning Reading by Mark Malkoff
Mornings are tough for most people, including me. I’ve found I’m much more productive if I start off the day by prayer followed by reading books that are inspiring and motivational. This morning reading helps me set my mind for what I need to accomplish. It provides me with simple tools for getting through the daily challenges we all face.
This morning reading is especially helpful for my job as a comedian and filmmaker. I’ve done some pretty crazy, adventurous video projects. In
“Mark Lives in IKEA” I lived and slept in an IKEA store in NJ for an entire week. In my video “171 Starbucks” I visited, made purchases, and consumed something at all 171 Starbucks stores in Manhattan in less than 24 hours. I stayed non-stop on a commercial airplane for an entire month in an attempt to get over my fear of flying. I ended up setting a Guinness World Record for 135 flights in a month. The bad news is I couldn’t shower the entire time.
My job is to pull off the nearly impossible. My morning reading fills my mind with stories and words from people that achieved remarkable things. It gives me confidence to know anything is possible and also sharpens my thinking. Through my morning reading I learned to not listen to the
negative people in my life. I’ve learned if you always make safe conservative choices you will always get conservative safe results.
Here are a few of my morning reading recommendations:
Carnegie’s classic book has been around since 1936. I admit the title had always turned me off from giving it a read. Only a month ago
did I finally read it on the advice of a friend. I’m really glad I did. I couldn’t put it down. Dale Carnegie gives practical advice and illustrations for dealing with co-workers, family, and friends that’s still relevant in 2012. The book provides helpful tips for dealing with people in business. I put many of these lessons into practice when I set out to convince IKEA to allow me to live and sleep in one of their stores.
Marlo Thomas’ book contains more than 100 famous figures such as Paul McCartney, Katie Couric, Oprah Winfrey, Hillary Clinton, Jeff Bezos, and Julie Taymor telling a story about when certain words they heard had a major impact on them. The stories are inspiring and full of self-discovery. I can relate to many of them through the projects I’ve worked on.
My favorite is Ralph Lauren’s about attempting to sell his ties to Bloomingdale’s. They wanted to change his ties and take his name off them. Ralph Lauren said no thanks and stayed true to his vision. Six months later Lauren got a call from Bloomingdale’s saying they’d sell his original ties with his name on them. It doesn’t matter if you’re a comedian, writer, or painter, it’s vital to stay true to one’s vision and passion.
This book is immensely popular having sold more than 65 million copies. The basic theme is discovering one’s true path and following your dream. The writing is extremely simple yet very powerful. I try to reread this every year.
Entrepreneur and hip-hop mogul, Russell Simmons, shares twelve principles to success for anyone following their dreams. Simmons’ draws from his own personal journey to back up each principle. A lot of material in Simmon’s book I already knew, but it’s valuable to be reminded.
Law Number Six is surround yourself with the right people. I can definitely relate. In “171 Starbucks” I needed not only a top-notch director, but one that could ride a bicycle in scary New York City traffic for a whole day. I talked to one possible candidate, but my instinct said he wasn’t the right person. My friend, Jill Beckman, then introduced me to the talented, Jonathan Jacobson. He was an amazing director, a bicycle enthusiast, and had the enthusiasm necessary to pull off such a difficult feat. I don’t think the project would have succeeded without anyone else at the helm.
I read it every day. I used it in my life and in every one of my video projects. There’s tons of wisdom in Proverbs. It’s caused me to seek advice on my projects, which has helped me succeed many times. It’s also saved me from failure such as the time I was tempted to find a legal way to ship myself overseas in a crate and videotape the experience. What was I thinking?!
Next on my list is David Allen’s Getting Things Done. If you have any morning reading suggestions I’d love to hear about them in the comments.
Mark Malkoff is a comedian and filmmaker. He has been featured on “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” “CBS Early Show,”
Anderson Cooper 360, Fox News, MSNBC, New York Times, NPR, and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”
Mark first gained national attention with his popular video in which he visited and consumed purchases at all 171 Starbucks locations in Manhattan in less than 24 hours. Mark also achieved worldwide media attention for his video series in which he lived and slept in an IKEA store in Paramus, New Jersey for an entire week which ended up winning the 2009 PR Week Campaign of the Year. Once again, Mark made headlines for staying on an AirTran airplane for
an entire month to overcome his fear of flying which resulted in a Guinness World Record for most scheduled flights in thirty days. Most recently in his video sensation, “Apple Store Challenge”, Mark successfully brought a goat into the Apple Store to illustrate that the Apple Store will allow customers to do practically anything.
Mark lives in New York City with his wife, Christine. He currently does videos for My Damn Channel. You can check out Mark’s videos at www.MyDamnChannel.com/MarkMalkoff
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