Reading as a child was a beautiful thing. I would take adventures to other worlds through The Magic Treehouse, nod off with my friend Artemis Fowl and cozy up before bed with my brothers, listening to the tales of a certain famous wizard who need not be named.
In my university years, reading became more of a chore than an adventure. I read to get readings done, to analyze peer-reviewed text and to find sources for term papers. I was reading what I had to, not what I wanted to.
I decided to make 2016 different.
I had found ideas and authors outside of the collegiate reading realm who fascinated me, I found fiction I could enjoy and Non-Fiction I truly wanted to read. It is amazing what can happen when a life finds inspiration and passion and love.
Here is my year in review through the most important books and ideas I have bathed my brain in over the past 12 months.
(1) Rich Dad, Poor Dad – Robert T. Kiyosaki
I honestly believe anyone (especially young persons) should read this book. It seems so basic, but until you really think about how money works and more importantly, how to make it work for you, you will be a step behind. Favourite Quote:
Education is what you learn after you leave school.
(2) Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into values – Robert M. Pirsig
A book on philosophy, values, life and living better. Who would have thought that motorcycle maintenance could have been so deep. This book blew me away, I have never read a book quite like it before and would highly recommend it. Favourite Quote:
The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there.
(3) The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It – Michael E. Gerber
How I think about entrepreneurship and small business is forever changed. Absolutely essential. Favourite quote:
“Contrary to popular belief, my experience has shown me that the people who are exceptionally good in business aren’t so because of what they know but because of their insatiable need to know more.”
(4) Awaken the Giant Within – Tony Robbins
After listening to Tony Robbins podcast on the Tim Ferriss Show, I had to read and learn more about Tony’s work. Tony Robbins is a super human motivator, teacher, coach, mentor. Favourite Quote:
If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.
(5) The New Gold Standard – Joseph A. Michelli
I am always in service. To myself, my goals, my loved ones and the people I meet in business and in life, every day. Discover why the Ritz-Carlton name is synonymous with refined service and exquisite levels of quality AND how you can take your business or service to that next level.
(6) Meditations – Marcus Aurelius (I prefer the new translation by Gregory Hays most)
Insights, wisdom, and practical guidance on everything from living in the world to coping with adversity to interacting with others. I could not believe that these ideas were put to paper two thousand years ago and that they are so applicable to understanding life today. Favourite Quote (The ENTIRE book could be included as my favourite quote but if I had a gun to my head, I would chose the following):
You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.
(7) Sell or Be Sold: How to Get Your Way in Business and in Life – Grant Cardone
Sell, or Be Sold. You are either selling people on your ideas, or getting sold on theirs. Grant Cardone is the no BS king of selling. You do not need to be in business to appreciate and understand the power of conviction in your ideas and what you want. Favourite Quote:
Become so sold, so convinced, so committed to your company, product, and service that you believe it would be a terrible thing for the buyer to do business anywhere else with any other product.
(8) The Four Hour Work Week – Timothy Ferriss
Life Building. A concept I wish I learned when I was younger. But am grateful I learned when I did. The Four Hour Work Week was the start, but you should seriously check out all of Tim Ferriss’ collection: The Four Hour Body, The Four Hour Chef and most recently Tools of Titans. You will not be disappointed. Favourite Quote:
People will choose unhappiness over uncertainty.
(9) Linchpin: Are you Indispensable? – Seth Godin
Seth Godin is always able to see things how they are and turn those perceptions into useful tools and insights for the lay man. Linchpin was the first book of Seth’s I read this year and have since also read Purple Cow, All Marketers are Liars and What to do When its Your Turn. Favourite Quote:
“The job is what you do when you are told what to do. The job is showing up at the factory, following instructions, meeting spec, and being managed. Someone can always do your job a little better or faster or cheaper than you can. The job might be difficult, it might require skill, but it’s a job. Your art is what you do when no one can tell you exactly how to do it. Your art is the act of taking personal responsibility, challenging the status quo, and changing people. I call the process of doing your art ‘the work.’ It’s possible to have a job and do the work, too. In fact, that’s how you become a linchpin.
The job is not the work.”
(10) A Whole New Mind – Daniel H. Pink
Artists, storytellers, inventors and creators. Daniel Pink points out 6 key ingredients to standing out and succeeding in a world where machines and international labour forces can do your ‘job’ cheaper and more efficient. Design, story, symphony, empathy, play and meaning. Favourite Quote:
The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind—creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers.
The hardest part about preparing a list like this is cutting out all of the other wonderful books I read (or listened to via audible) this past year. I heard on a podcast early last year that the average CEO reads four to five books per month, so approximately 50 books per year. It was at that moment, December 2nd 2015, that I wrote the following in my journal:
“Connor, if the average CEO reads 50 books a year, how many does the above average, top 1% CEO read? It will take time to build the habit of reading consistently into your life, but start today, start this coming year. I dare you to read 50 books this year.”
*Spoiler alert* I did not read 50 books this year, I read 36. So I may not be at elite CEO status yet, but I am getting there. I believe more and more that readers are leaders, that those who go out searching for knowledge and testing ideas as a way of life are on to something.
Here is to 2017, to 50+ books and to continuing my journey of mindfulness, gratitude and hustle.