AnneMarie Schindler, Founder of Small Wins Consulting, about the Books that Shaped Her Core Values

AnneMarie Rickes Schindler is a consultant, Founder and Principal of Small Wins Consulting. Her background blends business school with a broad range of experience in development, entrepreneurship and marketing.

What AnneMarie values most is honest communication, the space to lead authentically, and has an appreciation for analysis and continuous improvement.

Through Small Wins Consulting, she sparks non-profits into thoughtful, informed action that delivers financial results. The company is specialized in leading strategic and operational planning meetings, building and implementing complex fundraising plans, and coaching development professionals.

AnneMarie worked with The LIVESTRONG Foundation, American Association of Cancer Research, Lilly Oncology, Autism Speaks, Fight Colorectal Cancer, and many others.

Together with her husband, she also owns and operates two CrossFit gyms located in Central Texas.

From our book-talk you’ll find out more about books that had an impact on AnneMarie, helped define her core values, and gave perspective on how business affects a couple.

Thanks, Ashley, for introducing us!

Estimated reading time for this interview is 9 minutes. If you'd rather listen to it, you can do it on iTunes, Google Play or Stitcher.

What’s your favorite book and why? Business and non-business, if possible.

Most of the books I read are business related (I’m sure that says something about me) but my favorite non-business book is The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. I never had a pet growing up. Then, I decided to make a cross-country move and get my first dog. Someone recommended the book to me in my early days of pet parenthood and it gave me a perspective I was really lacking. Years later, I still reflect on its creativity, perspective, and how it captures the arch of life.

My favorite business book is Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek. We’ll get to ‘why’ in question 2.


Was there a moment, specifically, when something you read in a book helped you? Can you tell me about it?

I picked up Leaders Eat Last when I was going through a lot of transition at work. Our organization had experienced a significant scandal; the leadership team which I really respected was turning over; my direct boss and mentor was leaving; And I was still charged with managing one of the bigger teams in the organization.

I would read this quote over and over again to guide my everyday, “the true price of leadership is the willingness to place the needs of others above your own. Great leaders truly care about those they are privileged to lead and understand that the true cost of the leadership privilege comes at the expense of self-interest.”

It grounded me in what was important and when I made it a core value for myself, I was easy to use that as a benchmark for myself and influence my team to operate at a higher standard.


What books had the biggest impact on you? (perhaps changed the way you see things, dramatically changed your career path)

For a long time, I didn’t see myself as an entrepreneur. I worked for an organization where I felt fulfilled, loved the work I got to do, and was amazed by who I got to do it with. Then five years ago, my husband started our first gym and I began to see behind the curtain of entrepreneurship. I stumbled upon Startup Life by Brad Feld and Amy Batchelor, it gave me great perspective on how to support my husband, how business affects a couple on multiple levels, and how we could evolve our roles and relationship.

The second book that was supremely impactful on me was Leap by Tess Vigeland. I was in a role, at a new company, that I knew wasn’t a fit and my podcast listening started to skyrocket. It was like I was being “followed” by Tess Vigeland, as she made her rounds to talk about her new book, on just about every podcast I subscribed to. Not only was the book a helpful look inside someone else’s journey into entrepreneurship and career-change, but it really helped me reflect on how I defined success and self-worth.

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What books would you recommend to youngsters interested in your professional path? Why? (no number limit here)

My recommendations, almost regardless of career path are:

I suggest these because they really open up ‘how’ you think about life and in turn work, success/challenges/setbacks, and in general, yourself. I believe that the more you can understand yourself and broaden your approach to work, the easier it will be to find work that energizes you. Finally, I’m a team player at heart, and love working with others to achieve a huge goal so a portion of these deal with team composition and performance too.


I’m interested in finding out more about your reading habits. How often do you read? In what format?

I try and read at least one book a month. Depending on my schedule, this may mean two some months and none others. The easiest way for me to read is on flights from my phone, but I still really love a hardback book and a pen. To supplement reading, I really love podcasts by impactful authors.


How do you make time for reading?

If I’m being honest, it’s super difficult for me. Between my business, supporting the gyms I own with my husband, and our family, I usually pick-up my laptop most nights out of habit. I try and use trips as a reason to refresh my reading list and I recently joined a book club to hold myself more accountable to reading stuff that’s out of comfort zone.


Do you take notes or have any other technique for conquering the torrent of information?

I have a “Note” on my phone dedicated to good quotes. This is helpful to me personally if I’m looking for inspiration in a business situation and I’ve also started using them to help motivate and inspire my leadership coaching clients.


How do you choose what books to read next?

Most of my books are usually referrals from friends or former colleagues. On occasion, I look at the top recommended list in iBooks and just buy something that looks good.


Last question: what book are you currently reading and what are you expecting to gain from it?

I just started Rising Strong by Brene Brown. I’m turning 35 this year, and emotional intelligence isn’t something that comes naturally to me. Brown’s previous books have always pushed me into a space that’s uncomfortable and rewarding. As a wife, parent, and entrepreneur, I’m expecting the book to help uncover some blind spots in each of those roles.



Links where you can follow AnneMarie Schindler or find out more about her projects:

  • AnneMarie @ Linkedin
  • Find Small Wins Consulting
  • Fortitude Strength & Conditioning – Easy is Evil CrossFit
  • CrossFit Strive Bastrop


  • All books mentioned by AnneMarie Schindler in our interview:

  • The Art Of Racing In The Rain by Garth Stein
  • Rework by Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson
  • The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday
  • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
  • Sacred Hoops: Spiritual Lessons of a Hardwood Warrior by Phil Jackson, Hugh Delehanty
  • Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown
  • Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek
  • Startup Life: Surviving and Thriving in a Relationship with an Entrepreneur by Brad Feld, Amy Batchelor
  • Leap: Leaving a Job with No Plan B to Find the Career and Life You Really Want by Tess Vigeland
  • Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown

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