I’m making a practice of reading more each year. You’d think I devour more books each year based on my trips to Half Priced Books (which I try to hit at least 3 times a year). Suffice to say my bookshelves and home/office libraries have a ton of books I haven’t read (yet). To help you add some great stuff to your reading list, here are my 10 must-read books from last year’s reading list. This list in in random order, not based on any rating system of great-to-less-great.
I’d seen this book at my sister’s house a few times but not really paid attention to it. Then in May, while visiting family, I picked it up and started reading it one afternoon. Holy cow! It was amazing. Jen has this incredible ability to break down some very rich aspects of personal development into easily understood concepts.
I’m a big fan of Wayne Dyer, and I think he’d be a big fan of her too based on this book alone. It’s empowering, encouraging, uplifting, and gives some very simple methods for personal transformation.
Since I loved You Are A Badass from the first day, I made sure to go ahead and buy the sequel and have it waiting for me when I got home from visiting my sister. I devoured this thing! All of us want to figure out how to make more money. It turns out that the key is actually in our minds (crazy huh?). Our limiting beliefs about ourselves and negative beliefs about money hold most of us back from creating the life we dream about. In typical Jen Sincero fashion, she breaks down some big subjects into easy-to-understand and implement methods.
You Are A Badass will transform your personal and professional world. You Are A Badass At Making Money will transform your bank account, AND you personal and professional life. Between the two, I’d say that YAABAMM (initialism folks) is the absolute must-read. My copy looks like a college textbook with astericks, underlined chunks of text, and writing in the margins. Get the paperback copy so you can really dig in deep.
I became a big fan of Ruiz after spending a month immersing myself into The Four Agreements last year. That became one of my all-time favorite reads, and now it’s a gift I give for Christmas and birthday presents. If you haven’t read it, DO IT NOW! It will change how you live, how you operate, and make you into a better person.
Then you can read this one, which is all about the biggest subject in the universe: LOVE. Yes, he talks about love in holistic terms from our relationships with family, friends, and our world. He especially discusses our relationship with ourselves and God. This is important, because often we miss the quintessential element in living a life of love. That’s the state of being love, which is a way of living, not just an emotion you feel when you’re happy or with someone you’re fond of.
This book is about mastering love as a way of life, in all the different types of relationships you have. When it’s over, you’ll have a greater understanding and concept for how to be love always. Which makes you a greater person and a more whole, successful individual.
There’s a mastermind group I’m in with my good friends Bree Noble and Greg Wilnau (both past guests on The DIY Artist Route Podcast). They’re both close friends and two of the most inspiring people I know. We read this book together to close out the year and put together our map for goals for 2019. I’m a structured person. I don’t do loosey-goosey stuff, and every endeavor I’m involved in has a plan and strategy to it. Setting goals and resolutions aren’t a new thing for me, but Michael’s approach to goal-setting is unique. There are 5 main steps to his method, including taking a look at the past year. In doing so, you celebrate what worked and you also reflect on what didn’t. I like this approach because it’s not sweeping your failures under the rug. Instead, it’s seeing that failure teaches us more powerful lessons (at times) than success does. So you can correct, adjust, pivot, and try again.
We’ve (my mastermind group) made our 7-10 big goals for the year. We’ve set up our pathways for how we’re going to reach them. And we’re holding each other accountable for the execution. Which is the most important part of doing anything like this (imho). When you have someone who you are answering to, it adds a different element to the game. You’re more likely to put forth your best effort and ensure you stick to deadlines when there’s someone you answer to. It’s another reason why my private coaching clients have been excelling at an incredible rate.
If you’re going to set goals, make sure you’re accountable. If you need a framework for doing the goal-setting, I highly recommend this book to help you get there.
I don’t read a lot of fiction (as you can see from this list). Especially young adult fiction. However, I stumbled upon this title while going through a bunch of books in my home studio and wondered why I had it. I believe it belonged to my former partner, and she didn’t take it with her when she left. The irony in that is, this book is about a little girl trying to come to terms with her parents sudden divorce.
All the little girl wants is for her father to come back home and for them to be a family again. What could have been so bad that made he and her mother suddenly not want to live together or be married anymore? She is flummoxed by the whole situation. Which I totally understand. I was in the same place when my marriage was suddenly over without warning or attempt to reconcile.
This was one of my favorite books of the year because it gave me new eyes to see my situation. The little girl tries in vain to bring her parents back together but they’ve moved on. And the more she reflects on their family life, the more she sees that it’s for the better that they go their separate ways. It may not feel good, and it may be harder for her siblings down the road, but there are some things that you can’t control. People’s hearts and decisions are one of them. You just have to let go and move on. In some ways, I think this Judy Blume story helped me to finish my new book that deals with restoring your heart after heartbreak (due out in 2019).
I still don’t know if this title is fiction or nonfiction. It’s written like a story that could be fiction, but it takes place in Florida where Andy Andrews is from. I guess it doesn’t matter. This was one of my top 3 books read last year because of the way the character Jones transforms the lives of everyone he encounters. And all he does is offer a different perspective to what everyone has been experiencing.
The Noticer reads like a modern day tale woven by Mark Twain or something Garrison Keillor dug up from Lake Wobegon (if it were down south). Part allegory, part storytelling, all wisdom and a-ha moments galore! I actually understood more about Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages from reading this book than from Chapman’s book. Jones helps you understand how your love language isn’t just how you communicate love, it’s also how you understand it. That little bit of insight has really transformed how I engage and communicate with people.
Like I said, I’m a huge fan of Dr. Dyer and have been since 2017 when I picked up the 6 disc audiobook version of Secrets Of The Power Of Intention. I have listened to that audiobook in my car a few times each month for nearly 2 years. Wishes Fulfilled is a further exploration into the subjects of connection with self, connection with Source (his word for God), and the art of manifesting.
One of the big revelations I’ve had over the past few years has been understanding the subconscious mind and how it operates. And understanding how the ego works. I used to think the ego was something that just arrogant, almost narcissistic people had. Nope. All of us have ego, and it can work against our ambitions and endeavors to have peace, love and success. In Wishes Fulfilled, Dr. Dyer provides a simple technique to empower yourself by retraining your subconscious mind to break free from fear-based beliefs. You then align your life with your highest calling and learn how to train your imagination to operate in your best interests. If you’ve read Dyer before, pick this up. If you haven’t, let it be the start for your training in how to excel in personal development.
This is THE best memoir I’ve ever read. I’m not saying that because I’m a huge Springsteen fan. It’s so good because it reads like a song or a poem about the life of a nomad musician whose journey to find himself is never ending. I found parts of my own story in the Boss’ recollection of his quest to find meaning in music, in family, and in life.
One of the things that makes Springsteen’s music so appealing is in the prose of his songs. He uses the road as an allegory to life. His characters often find themselves at a crossroad where they can stay in a place that isn’t serving them or take the old car and make an escape. All of us have dreamed of that at one time or another. Classics like Thunder Road, Born To Run, Atlantic City, and Long Walk Home all describe a similar narrative. In this memoir, Bruce tells us his life and pulls no punches. He doesn’t sugarcoat the problem areas and the pain. He’s raw, unbridled, and vulnerable in a way that is incredibly unique in an era when big name rock stars only want you to see their glory and not their blemishes. Both are on full display here.
Beyond that is the miracle of getting a real “Behind The Music” look at the stories behind his songs, what he wanted to say and why. The characters we hear are people we know, and often are ourselves. But the person who inspired them has a name as well, and we get to see the depth of that real human soul. It’s powerful storytelling done in a way that you forget you’re reading a firsthand account of one of music’s biggest names. Whether you’re a fan of the man or the muscle or the music, or none of that, you will gain more than you bargained for in this book.
As I’ve explored more in the self-help/personal development world, every author worth their mettle speaks endlessly of A Course In Miracles. Wayne Dyer was the first teacher I heard mention it, but I’ve since read works by other great teachers who refer to it endlessly. However, A Course is comprised of 3 giant books including a workbook. It’s pretty long, and takes a while to get through. I admit, reading a personal development version of War And Peace (in terms of length) is not on my To-Do list. Thankfully, Allan Cohen feels the same and has essentially made a Cliff’s Notes version for us with this book.
There’s a lot that’s explored, in particular the role of us as individuals in the gigantic universe to be a force for good and an embodiment of love. God is talked about in a very personal way that is free from judgement, condemnation, or mention of sin as a killer of faith. It’s a feel-good method for reconnecting spiritually with the Universe/God that is likely to offend you if you’re a super-religious person. I’m not. Which is probably why I liked it so much. I say that as a warning if you get offended by the idea that maybe God isn’t interested in sending all the sinners to hell, that maybe LOVE is bigger than that.
If you’re down with that kind of gospel, that Almighty Love as the creator of worlds, that is ultimately good, then you may want to understand more how to connect with him/her/it (can ultimate spirit really have a gender?).
My friend Ariel has written THE most definitive approach to successful crowdfunding. I first was keyed in on this book a few years ago after I had done my first successful crowdfunding campaign. After reading through parts of it (at the time), I realized there were several things I didn’t do. I made the intention of changing that if I ever did another crowdfunder. Which I’m about to embark on again very soon for my upcoming new book. (Get early details on my upcoming book here).
This book is more than just wisdom on how to raise money to fund your project. She lays out a tried and true method for what steps to take, how to plan, how to create each section of your campaign, AND how to market yourself before, during, and after the campaign to really foster strong relationships.
As you know, relationship building is my main thing. So reading this book and getting even more great insights into effective relationship building as it involves raising capital is really excellent. She also has some great social media strategies that work too. I can attest to using her social media strategy on my Twitter profile to build my audience over 500% in just a few short months.
Whether you’re raising money or not, the psychology and insights into building a successful brand that people want to support are clearly laid out here in this excellent read!
Honorable Mention To 10 Must-Read Books From 2018
Actually I finished this one at the very start of 2018 and meant to include it in 2017’s book list but didn’t. Jennifer’s super power is words of encouragement, and she provides plenty of motivation in this book about embracing yourself to greatness. Yes, it’s more of a religous/Christian approach to empowerment but if you don’t mind that, it’s a fantastic read. And even if you do, there are a lot of nuggets of wisdom and perspective worth diving into.
You might be wondering why Mother Teresa’s No Greater Love is pictured above but not mentioned here. It’s because I read parts of it this year in referencing material for my new book. And I didn’t think (at the time of this photo) that the difference would matter. It’s a great read and definitely worth adding to your reading list and personal library!
Well that’s it for my top 10 favorite reads from last year. There were a few other books I read and started (and am still reading), but these are the all-stars. What do you think? Have you read any of these? Feel free to weigh in by commenting on what I’ve listed here. Looking forward to seeing what you have to say!