Resource roundup

Occasionally, I like to turn you on to my latest, favorite books. Smart, successful people write books and share how they built their businesses, overcame challenges and created inspiring lives.Nowadays, they also do podcasts and YouTube videos. They star in fascinating documentaries and offer online classes. So, here’s a list of worthwhile books and a few other resources. Get ready to grow!  

“The Ultra Mindset” by Travis Macy

I’m training for an Ultra Marathon! An Ultra is anything longer that a traditional Marathon, which is 26.2 miles. In December, a girlfriend and I are heading to Northern California where we will run 50K (31 miles) through the redwoods and finish the event by crossing the Golden Gate Bridge.  
Now, there is no good reason to do something this crazy. However, I love the mental and physical challenge. The lessons learned on a long run — decision-making in extreme stress situations, dealing with pain, appreciation of beauty, joy in the journey and delight in accomplishment — apply to running a business and building healthy relationships. For me, running is a spiritual and life-enhancing activity.  

Travis Macy is an extreme athlete who uses his harrowing and entertaining adventure stories to illustrate leadership lessons. Travis has finished over 120 ultra endurance events in 17 countries. He shares tales of bike riding over 24 hours straight, on Moab Utah red rock and from one 14,000+ feet peak to another in Colorado. He has raced across China, through ancient villages, rice paddies and limestone canyons and covered New Zealand’s South island, in one action packed day of running, biking and kayaking. Along the way, he’s been hurt and broken and found the courage and inspiration to carry him through.  

Travis does 31 miles at lunch on a light training day. It makes me feel more confident that what I am intending is, well, do-able. And that there are crazier people than me!  

But here’s the thing: you don’t have to be an athlete to love this book. Even if you never get off the couch, we all go through extreme tests of character and physical endurance. Recovering from an injury or supporting a family member through a chronic illness. Tight cash flow and challenges at work. A crisis of faith. Life gets life-y. Travis’ Ultra Mindset exercises can help develop the grit and integrity it takes to deal with tough situations. Travis says, “I’ve developed rules that help me succeed at extreme adventure events. My goal is that these rules will help you succeed at whatever is important to you.”  

I listened to the Audible version. Excellent! Also, check out Travis’ site at 

Another Ultra-marathoner who delivers ultra-inspiring podcast interviews: Rich Roll at His guests are not the usual line up of motivational speakers. Learn from boundary-breakers like Steve-O (yep … great interview!) and 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist Anthony Ervin, the 35-year-old who won the gold in the 50 meters this year … and 16 years ago.)  

“Alexander Hamilton” by Ron Chernow

You think this election season is wild? Well, it is. However, since the birth of our country, bizarre politics have been the norm. It’s a good idea to brush up on U.S. history as we head to the polls in November. This biography of Alexander Hamilton is as good as it gets. You’ll be inspired by Hamilton and Washington and the military and political leaders of our time. I was impressed by the writing and communication skills of these men. And I was newly informed in powerful, humbling ways by the role that slavery played in the Revolutionary War. Our founding fathers were complex, flawed men and a visit to our nation’s early days can put current events into focus.  

Also, Lin-Manual Miranda, the playwright and star of Broadway’s musical, “Hamilton,” was moved to create the smash hit after reading this book. Discovering that Hamilton was a prolific poet encouraged Lin-Manual to construct a rap version of the story. If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can listen to the Original Broadway Cast recording for free. Be inspired, entertained and educated.

“Dirty Jobs” podcasts

Forged in the trades, there is a new crop of podcasts focused on helping contractors be more successful. Some of my good friends are leading the charge. I love the “Guys in Trucks”! They are terrific marketers who LOVE contractors. Listen in at Super smart Josh Nelson chats with other great online marketing gurus on his podcast, named – aptly! – Plumber &HVAC SEO Podcast Live (and recorded) from Australia, check out mega-contractor Allan Ferguson’s podcast, Pipeline to Profitability. Also from Down Under, Matt Jones is rockin’ it with his resourceful podcast Find them all at In nearby New Zealand, Hector Fraser is an accountant, one of the really good ones, and his podcast focuses on the money ( 

Manufacturers’ how-tos.  

Shout out to Hotrod for his excellent “Coffee with Caleffi” series ( His uber popular webinars showcase industry stars and attract hundreds of participants. He’s also recorded dozens of YouTube videos, sharing his real-world tips for hydronic and solar troubleshooting and installation. Hotrod is funny, too! (Why I married him.)  

Our son, Max, is developing a terrific podcast series for REHAU. One episode features me, Hotrod and Max. Our conversation focuses on family business, and our shared belief that contractors deserve to make a lot of money. Follow @REHAU on twitter for info on the episode’s release this fall. 

Hotrod and Max are not unique in offering great training. All the top manufacturers have excellent training. And they make it available for free, because they love you. U.S. Boiler puts out an awesome online magazine, featuring moi! Look into Uponor, Viega, Taco FloPro University, Lochinvar U, Grundfos University and your favorite manufacturer’s training courses. All the manufacturers are highly motivated to help you get really good at doing what you do, and they make their first-rate trainers and training readily accessible to you via live classes, online webinars and useful, snack-sized videos.  

Oh, and do you post on The Wall at Or hang out at You really should! Lots of wetheads and industry pros hang out there.  

There’s more! My apologies to those I have neglected to mention. Visit me at, and let me know what and who I missed. Which reminds me to remind you to… 

Stay in touch!  

Pick a favorite social media portal. You don’t have to keep up with all of them, so decide if Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat or Facebook is the one for you. Befriend or follow the gurus and trainers who speak to your soul. Ask questions and get the help you need. And be willing to help one another. My one piece of advice here:  use good manners. You may disagree with others without vilifying them. Consider the best behavior of our founding fathers. 

Ellen Rohr is president of the franchise company, ZOOM DRAIN, and offers “in the trenches” insights to contractors and family business owners. Reach her at 417-753-1111 or For free business tips, problem-solving webinars, money-making tools and lots of love, visit

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