The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. ~Dr. Seuss, I Can Read WIth My Eyes Shut!
Last year, when I received an iPad as a gift from my kids, little did I know that it would become an almost constant companion in my life and a game changer. One of the first apps I downloaded was the Kindle reader for I made a promise to myself that I would spend less time in the coming year wasting the hours away with mind draining media and more time immersed in books which, I hoped, would improve my knowledge base. Setting aside time to read would be a gift I gave to myself.
Choosing Between My Children
Choosing books to read is always, for me, an arduous undertaking. There are so many I want to read that pruning the list down is like choosing between my children.
If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking. ~Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood
I decided to mix my normal nonfiction reading with fiction, season the list with a smattering of the classics, and to choose some modern authors who didn’t pen their work in my native language. I picked books not originally written in English partly because I believe culture drives thought with is then expressed in written language and reading these translated works would help me to think in different patterns. And partly because I wanted my mind to expand outside my native cultural constraints – this old dog needed and still needs to learn a few new tricks if I am to be more fully human.
In the area of not originally written in English, I highly recommend the authors: Haruki Murakami, Eduardo Galeano, Pablo Neruda, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez
As a kid I was an avid reader and have read regularly throughout my adult life. My shelves are cluttered with many, many books not all which I have read to completion. I hate not finishing books but, sometimes, the book and I just don’t connect so I cut them out of my life.
Other books I purchased and never read, never even started. I find with an eReader that books are always at hand so those that might have been forgotten peer out from the screen and are more likely to be invested in than those on the shelf. I have discovered there are a lot of free books out there so the list of books to be read is growing at a rapid rate. Of all the books I started this year, there were still six I started but could not finish because they could not sustain my interest.
Midway through the year, I realized that I had already read and listened to quite a few books. (During my driving, I chose to switch from music to books in a further attempt to utilize my precious time to learn and grow.) The Engineer in me likes to count things so, out of curiosity, I decided to add up the books I had ingested since I received my iPad. To my astonishment, I was beyond 50 and got to thinking 100 books might be possible to read in a year. Creating this goal helped me to focus on reading during those times when I felt like vegging in front of the TV. It worked. By Christmas 2012, I had completed 102 books.
Some of the books consumed me, some entertained me, some informed me, some confused me. All I count as friends some closer than others. The best of these friends are:
My Top 5 Non-Fiction
- 5 Levels of Leadership by John Maxwell – This book became the basis for the Leadership Training Course I created and conducted at my company. It is required reading and, so far, everyone of my students has found it to be an eye opener.
- The War of Art by Steven Pressfield – This helps view one’s work as art, an indispensable perspective on life.
- The Advantage: Why Organization Health Trumps All Else in Business by Patrick Lencioni – This helps understand why organizational clarity is vital for companies to move into the future. I introduced this book at my company and it’s taking off in my department. I expect effective change in the upcoming year.
- Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink – The science of motivation. This was a real eye opener and has helped refined how I view my role as a leader at my company.
- The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth by John Maxwell – Either we move forward or backward there is no standing still. Moving forward requires growing and John helps identify effective methods for personal growth.
My Top 5 Fiction
- Love Poems by Pablo Neruda – Poems in both Spanish and their English translations. Read the Spanish for the sound, the English for the meaning, the poems to be more human
- The Windup Bird Chronicles by by Haruki Murakami – An exploration of loss in human life and it’s affect on the one left behind. This is written in the first person, a style which I rarely read but really enjoyed. I am now reading all the Haruki books I can get my hands on.
- Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone by Eduardo Galeano – Eduardo’s books bring a whole new perspective on people and history. In addition to Mirrors, I highly recommend his Memoria del fuego (Memory of Fire), a three-volume history of the Americas.
- One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – The first book I recall reading in the magical realist style. I couldn’t put it down.
- The Matterhorn: A Novel of the Viet Nam War by Karl Marlantes – Growing up at the tail end of the Viet Nam war, I have often viewed the conflict with a mix of trepidation and awe. This book captures both perspectives and left me deeply moved and very frustrated.
The Complete List
- 1968 by Mark Kulansky
- 21 irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell
- 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
- 5 Levels of Leadership by John Maxwell
- After Dark by Haruki Murakami
- After the Quake by Haruki Murakami
- As a Man Thinketh by James Allen
- Axiom by Bill Hybels
- Becoming a Person of Influence by John Maxwell
- Candide by Voltaire
- City of Bones by Michael Connelly
- Doctor Who and The Brain of Morbius by Terrance Dicks
- Doctor Who and the Giant Robot by Terrance Dicks
- Dracula by Bram Stoker
- Drive by Daniel Pink
- Echo Park by Michael Connelly
- Football’s Funniest Quotes by Scott Porker
- Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death by Patrick Henry
- History of World Literature by The Teaching Company
- How to Think Like Leonardo Davinci by Michael J Gelb
- Leadership Methods of the Navy Seals by Jeff Cannon
- Lessons of the Chinese Masters by Thomas Clearly
- Love Poems by Pablo Neruda
- Love Poems of Rumi by Deepak Chopra
- Men of the Bible by Dwight Lyman Moody
- Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone by Eduardo Galeano
- One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
- Ordained Irreverence by MacMillan Moody
- Please Look After Mother by Kyung-Sook Shin
- Primal Leadership by Daniel Goleman
- Running with the Giants by John Maxwell
- Shit My Dad Says by Justin Halpern
- Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
- Taking People with You by David Novak
- The 17 Indisputable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell
- The Ambition by Lee Strobel
- The Art of War by Sun Tzu
- The Black Echo by Michael Connelly
- The Black Ice by Michael Connelly
- The Bourne Betrayal by Eric Ledbetter
- The Bourne Deception by Eric Ledbetter
- The Bourne Sanction by Eric Ledbetter
- The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka
- The Closers by Michael Connelly
- The Concrete Blond by Michael Connelly
- The Draining Lake by Amuldar Indriadson
- The Five Temptations of a CEO by Patrick Lencioni
- The Illiad by Homer
- The Last Coyote by Michael Connelly
- The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly
- The Lovers Dictionary by David Levithan
- The Matterhorn A Novel of the Viet Nam War by Karl Marlantes
- The Metamorphosis by Kafka
- The Moose Jaw by Mike Delaney
- The Odyssey by Homer
- The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
- The Snowman by Jo Nesbo
- The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
- Trunk Music a Harry Bosch Novel by Michael Connelly
- Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield
- When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka
- Who’s There by Seth Godin
- Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
- Good to Great by Jim Collins
- Great Leaders Grow: Becoming a Leader for Life by Ken Blanchard & Mark Miller
- Ten Years of Moon and Mists by Prabhu Iyer & Tamaswati Ghosh
- Interview with The Vampire by Ann Rice
- Void Moon by Michael Connelly
- 1984 by George Orwell
- The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni
- The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly
- The Poet by Michael Connelly
- The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly
- Knock, Knock by Seth Godin
- Sadhana – The Realisation of Life by Rabindranath Tagore
- James Bond: The Man with the Red Tattoo by Raymond Benson
- Magic Seeds by VS Naipaul
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- An Autobiography – The Story of my Experiments with Truth by Gandhi
- The Perfect Punk by Kenneth Elroy
- Wool by Hugh Howey
- Illusion by Frank Peretti
- Problem of Belief by Donna Leon
- The Bible Jesus Read by Phillip Yancey
- Politics, Love & Things that make you go Hmm by Richard Wiseman
- Chasing The Dime by Michael Connelly
- Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz
- The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth by John Maxwel
- The Windup Bird Chronicles by by Haruki Murakami
- The 60 Minute Leader by Jim Rohn
- A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
- The Sin Collector by Jessica Fortunato
- The Sin Collector: Thomas by Jessica Fortunato
- A Real Piece of Work by Chris Orcutt
- Vanishing Elephant by Haruki Murakami
- How to be a Winner by Zig Ziglar
- The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Peale
- The Tao of Leadership by John Heider
- The Black Box by Michael Connelly
- Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
- Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
- Today Matters by John Maxwell