I love reading.
I grew up with books and around books. My parents had a bookcase overflowing with books in every room of their 1895 Victorian home.
Many of those books are still there, which is one of the reasons I love going back to visit. One of the highlights of each visit is seeing all their books. The ones that have been there since I was a kid. The newest additions.
I’ve had bookshelves in every room of my house since leaving home. Even in college. When I moved into my latest house, the room that is my home office has floor to ceiling built-in bookshelves. I immediately filled them with all my books. They feel like old friends, each one representing someone’s vision or dream for a better world.
I turn to these voices of wisdom and inspiration at least once a day. Even in this era of online everything, reading a book is still one of the most effective ways to experience personal and professional growth.
5 Exceptional Books for Your New Year
With the start of a new year comes an urgent desire to do things differently. Change is everywhere, from TV ads to pop ups on social media platforms. These ads offer ways to make the new year our best yet. People are making all kinds of resolutions and setting new goals.
I decided to return to my bookshelves to find 5 exceptional books that could help me launch my new year and make it my best one yet.
Here is a list of the 5 exceptional books I found to kick off your new year right:
1. The Dip: A Little Book that Teaches You When to Quit (And When to Stick) by Seth Godin
I think this books should be recommended reading for all professionals at least once a year, if not once a quarter. Why? Because Seth Godin has pinpointed the essence of what keeps us stuck so that we can make choices that help us move forward in our lives, careers and businesses. He is a master of turning conventional wisdom on its head, and he doesn’t disappoint in this little gem. Think you understand what quitting means? You might be surprised to see what he says. At a mere 80 pages, The Dip can be consumed and digested in a day. Great for people seeking insights about what to do next, especially if what you’ve been doing leaves you feeling bored and uninspired.
2. A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
I will admit: I’ve owned this book for several years and haven’t read it all the way through. After listening to a recent episode of the She Did It Her Way podcast, I was inspired to pull it down from the shelf and put it in the “must read soon” pile. Most of us are looking for ways to experience more freedom in our lives. This book helps us figure out how to achieve it.
3. The Way of the Seal: Think Like an Elite Warrior to Lead and Succeed by Mark Divine (with Allyson Edelhertz Machate)
After interviewing Allyson on my podcast last year, I was intrigued with this book. Although I’ve never had any desire to become a Navy SEAL, I am drawn to the mental training that goes into reaching the elite tier Navy SEALS command. Mark Divine has outlined a useful set of exercises anyone can do to make changes in their lives. Right from the start, he asks readers to ask ourselves tough questions as a means of setting the foundation for what he teaches throughout the rest of the book. Not for everyone, but certainly for those people who want to benefit from a thorough and no-nonsense approach to personal development.
4. Big Magic: Creative Living beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
I admire Elizabeth Gilbert for many reasons, and her book Big Magic only added to my respect for her. Not one to mince words, Ms. Gilbert provides a direct conduit to living a more creative (and thus gratifying) life. Liz offers ways to rethink your life from a softer, non-warrior side of the spectrum. However, she is tough when it comes to moving past your fear to experience something better than what you currently know (read: no excuses!). Her advice is universal for readers wanting to create something (a book, film, family, painting, business, etc.), but have allowed fear to keep them from doing what they long to do.
5. The Ones Who Believed: True Inspirational Stories Honoring Everyday People Who Took a Chance, Shaped a Life and Made a Difference by Karen Lopez McWilliams (and yours truly)
I started this project as a strategic adviser, helping Karen map out her vision for the book from square one. Things quickly morphed into having me come on as the ghostwriter, which eventually evolved into co-author status. I am enormously proud of this book, and have seen first-hand the way it is changing lives for readers as they thank the people who have believed in them at a particularly challenging point in their lives. For anyone who appreciates reading true stories designed to inspire personal reflection, as well as offer concrete ways to express gratitude, this book is a terrific addition to your library. It inspires action along with lifting spirits.
Read More Books This Year
With the myriad of ways to consume great books today, it’s easy to add one or all of these recommendations to your reading/listening list. Start with one, and make your way through these 5 exceptional books to have a better year than you did last year.
I guarantee you’ll come away from them with fresh insights and strategies to make your life more interesting, gratifying and rewarding.
Happy New Year!