There are few things better than finding an author whose book list is nearly identical to mine. Anyone who reads Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill and Marcus Aurelius always has a place on DODReads. It has been quite a pleasure working with Jason, learning about his philosophy of life and getting to know his work. Jason’s book Exceptional Every Day comes out on April 2nd 2019.
What books had the most impact on you and your development?
- How to Win Friends and Influence People (Dale Carnegie) – I initially thought this book was quite pretentious with such a title and I kick myself for not reading it even sooner in my life.
- The Laws of Success (Napoleon Hill)
- Think and Grow Rich (Napoleon Hill)
- Sun Tzu and the Art of War
- Leading in Turbulent Times (Doris Kearns Goodwin) – New in 2018 but I felt like I read it years ago
- The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership (John Maxwell)
- Meditations (Marcus Aurelius)
Why is reading important for our Military and/or the Nation?
I grew up in a home without any books and my parents never read books, which at first I attributed to them both having immigrated to the USA. As I began going to school I quickly saw how important books were. For me it was an entry point into a fast paced and continually evolving world. To grow as a person and as a nation I believe we have to be continually reading; continually diving into other people’s thoughts and ideas to help us develop our own.
Can you provide a specific example or story where reading has helped you learn from others experience? Was there a specific challenge where you were able to rely on others experience to make your decision?
This is a great question and the truth is I don’t have just one. I have relied on the experiences of others throughout my entire life. Whenever I read I take notes. I literally have a notecard (sometimes 2 or 3 and I write very small) for every book I read because before I get started I am already convinced that the story of another will in fact help me rethink the way I live today.
How did your philosophy for your book “Exceptional Every Day” develop?
It all started when I was living in my truck during high school. It was the end of my junior year of high school and things were not so great on the home front. There was lots of yelling, and fighting and my family was quite poor and I had this motivation in me to get away and do something more. I started writing in a journal each and every night as I parked next to the mighty Pacific Ocean and I came up with this idea of The Process and how I wanted to try and get better every single day of my life. I knew I would not be able to get better at every single little detail, but I believed and held the conviction that I could in fact get better at something each day. Then just over a year later before heading away to college I took those notes and stored them in a small plastic box at my grandmother’s home. They sat there for several years uninterrupted until I picked them up and placed them in my own closet. After a few more struggles, which included a battle with cancer, I decided to revisit those old notes. And then several years after that, while going through my residency training as a physician, I realized that there was no reason to keep waiting and I felt compelled to add to the personal growth literature and movement. I began writing again during a very busy time in my life and in late 2017 the dream of putting together a book and coaching service became a reality.
How has writing “Exceptional Every Day” helped you become more “exceptional”
Writing my first book was quite a challenge as I began writing it while working in excess of 80 hours per week with a mix of day and night shifts as an active duty naval officer family medicine resident during my third year of training. My wife and I were raising two young daughters, I was studying daily, exercising each and every morning and trying to make myself better across all aspects of my life. Then, after getting picked up by a publisher, the real work began. I was working with editors who were analyzing each and every word that I had written. It was as if I was in a graduate level journalism course. I was both inspired and motivated to make my writing better each time I received feedback. I did not want to let anyone down and I wanted my words to actually make a difference for anyone who chose to read them. Plus, I took ownership and accountability for what I was producing. I wanted the book itself to be exceptional in every sense of the word.
Is there one short story from your book you would like to share?
I wish I had just one. As you will see, my book is different than most on the market because I share stories about (more like a very condensed biography of sorts) of everyday people as well as celebrities that I have crossed paths with. One story that I share is about a patient I once had during my time in residency who became very ill and was diagnosed with diabetes that required a high dose of insulin each day. He was the same age as me and he had really let his health go. He began visiting me on a regular basis and I kept talking to him about The Process and how he needed to change his life. This all started about 2 years before I started putting pen to paper to create Exceptional Every Day. I was able to help him see that he was making positive change at each and every visit and it was during those visits that the power of influence really came to life for me. I was witnessing my own optimism for another human being acting as a vehicle for change. The patient bought into what I was offering and two years later he was off all medications, had lost nearly 20% of his body weight, and was a new man.
I’m no Navy Officer, or Doctor, I don’t have any life-threatening challenges, and I I don’t even know anyone in the military. I’m just an average dad who lives and works in the suburbs, how would this book benefit me?
I wrote this book for someone just like you, and just like me. I wrote it for the 18 year old college student trying to find her niche, and the 50 year old who just needs a few things to change in his life. My over-arching premise is that we all need to work on our priorities, and while they may not be exactly the same for all of us, most of them are. This book will help you go to the “balcony” so that you can see the big picture that is right in front of you, but that you and I often miss. It will help you refocus your time, balance your work with your passions, and ultimately you will get to a point where you can do all the things you want to do. It is not a panacea for you to get rich with material goods, but rather one that will enrich your life in ways that perhaps you have only been able to dream about.
Other than your book, are there any books you would recommend be added to the Navy Reading List?
I know I mentioned most of these above, but I do think they should be added to the list, although they may not all fit with the “characteristics” that those who write the list are looking for. They all offer insights into personal development that every one of us can learn from and in truth all military personnel should be trying to grow and make themselves better daily.
How to Win Friends and Influence People (Dale Carnegie)
The Laws of Success (Napoleon Hill)
Think and Grow Rich (Napoleon Hill)
Leading in Turbulent Times (Doris Kearns Goodwin)
The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership (John Maxwell)
Jason Valadão is an active duty United States Naval Officer that previously served as an aviator during Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom, and is board certified as a family medicine physician. He is currently completing a fellowship in sports medicine at Baylor University. Since 2009 he has served as an adjunct professor for Concordia University Irvine’s Master’s in Coaching and Athletics Administration Program, where he has taught over 1000 students in various topics related to sports, health and performance. Jason can be reached at: