Since I was a kid I’ve always been a voracious reader of books. As a kid in middle school I remember going to bed around 9 each night only to read a book until well after midnight. Most nights my arm would fall asleep from being propped up on it for too long. I loved historical biographies about people like Clara Barton and Noah Webster but I also read my fair share of The Hardy Boys and The Boxcar Children.
Fast forward several years and I still like to read, a lot. Given the choice between reading or almost anything else I’m going to pick reading. If we have the opportunity to hang out with friends I may take a rain check depending on the current book I’m reading.
I read a lot of great books this year, almost 30 (picture above to prove it), and it felt like every other book was life changing. Obviously, not every book we ever read will literally be life changing but I wanted to make a list of my top 10 (in no particular order) and let you make the decision on which ones might be life changing for you. While the books cover a wide variety of topics they mainly stay within the subjects of business, spirituality, history, and psychology.
1. The Millionaire Mind by Dr. Thomas J. Stanley
One of my top favorite books of all time. Dr. Stanley writes in a way that is completely understandable. The affluent in our nation don’t actually live how most people assume they live and in this sequel to The Millionaire Next Door Dr. Stanley breaks down just how the affluent make decisions.
“Whatever your income, always live below your means.”
2. The First Born Advantage by Dr. Kevin Leman
I’m the first born of seven kids so naturally this book helped me understand why I do things a certain way and why my siblings might do the same things a different way. Also, why we can butt heads one minute and be best friends the next. The book also dives into explaining why there can be multiple first borns in the same family.
“That’s the way it is with firstborns. Mom & Dad may think they’re in charge, but the firstborn knows better, and so does the youngest sibling.”
3. The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson
This book was given to me by my parents and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The entire book is about praying, but not just prayer in a sense, prayer that moves mountains, changes the course of your life and makes seemingly impossible things become possible. I always thought the prayer-circle concept was silly and made up but it’s actually Biblical and applicable.
“If your prayers aren’t impossible to you, they are insulting to God.”
4. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
Written by the founder of Nike this book details the early days of what would eventually become one of the most successful companies in the world. Phil Knight went from selling shoes from his trunk to being worth $27 billion. This book made me laugh and cry in equal amounts. It’s especially good for the aspiring entrepreneur. One of the best books I’ve read in my entire life.
“Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results”
5. Pour Your Heart into It by Howard Schultz
I’ve never been a big fan of Starbucks but this book changed my mind, (although I can still count on one hand the number of times I’ve had Starbucks this year). This book was so much fun to read and a lot like Shoe Dog. I’d recommend it to anyone who loves business, coffee, Starbucks or all three. This book is also proof that Howard Schultz cares more about pleasing customers than he does about pleasing shareholders.
“Mass advertising can help build brands, but authenticity is what makes them last.”
6. People Over Profit by Dale Partridge
I had the pleasure of meeting Dale at a retreat he hosted this year. After reading the book and spending time with him and his family at their home I can say with confidence that Dale acts out what he talks about in this book. If more people lead the way Dale writes about our world would be a much better place.
“Authenticity is the act of telling people what you believe and care about, not telling them what you think they want you to believe or care about.”
7. Love Does by Bob Goff
Believe it or not this is Bob Goff’s first book that he’s ever written and it was a New York Time’s Bestseller. It’s hard to describe what Bob does, he’s a speaker, lawyer, humanitarian, and basically lover of humans. This book is a collection of stories from his personal experiences of how to show love, and be love to other people. It really helped me realize how easily I choose to be offended instead of choose to love.
“I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter”
8. Love That Lasts by Jefferson & Alyssa Bethke
I’ve been following Jeff since his viral YouTube video about Jesus and religion a few years back and since then he’s written a few books and always produces valuable content online that’s great for any Christian family. This book is probably their best work yet (coauthored with his wife Alyssa) and well worth the read. It’s refreshing to hear someone’s marriage story that involves sin and hurt from the past, but that also includes a Jesus that brings love, healing, and restoration.
“There is a better way. And Jesus is inviting us into it with open arms.”
9. Creativity Inc by Ed Catmull
Just like the books about Nike & Starbucks this book also dives into the world of a successful company, the focus of this one being Pixar! I’ve always been a huge fan of anything that Pixar puts outs (My first movie in theaters was Toy Story) so of course I was excited for this book and it did not disappoint. I highly recommend this book for business leaders, developers, people who are creative and anyone who loves a good story.
“Making the process better, easier, and cheaper is an important aspiration, something we continually work on—but it is not the goal. Making something great is the goal.”
10. Blink by Malcom Gladwell
Malcom Gladwell is one of the greatest journalists alive, his books are always in depth and exciting to read. This is the third book I’ve read by him. I’m a quick decision maker and this book dives into why your first decision (gut feeling, instinct etc) may be the right decision. It was such a fascinating read and I plan to go through it again at some point.
“The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding. We are swimming in the former. We are desperately lacking in the latter.”
Leave a comment below if you’ve read any of these books or if you have a book you want to recommend!