A Gift to Myself

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


Unrequited Love

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

  1. 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.
  2. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield – This helps view one’s work as art, an indispensable perspective on life.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

  1. 1968 by Mark Kulansky
  2. 21 irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell
  3. 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
  4. 5 Levels of Leadership by John Maxwell
  5. After Dark by Haruki Murakami
  6. After the Quake by Haruki Murakami
  7. As a Man Thinketh by James Allen
  8. Axiom by Bill Hybels
  9. Becoming a Person of Influence by John Maxwell
  10. Candide by Voltaire
  11. City of Bones by Michael Connelly
  12. Doctor Who and The Brain of Morbius by Terrance Dicks
  13. Doctor Who and the Giant Robot by Terrance Dicks
  14. Dracula by Bram Stoker
  15. Drive by Daniel Pink
  16. Echo Park by Michael Connelly
  17. Football’s Funniest Quotes by Scott Porker
  18. Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death by Patrick Henry
  19. History of World Literature by The Teaching Company
  20. How to Think Like Leonardo Davinci by Michael J Gelb
  21. Leadership Methods of the Navy Seals by Jeff Cannon
  22. Lessons of the Chinese Masters by Thomas Clearly
  23. Love Poems by Pablo Neruda
  24. Love Poems of Rumi by Deepak Chopra
  25. Men of the Bible by Dwight Lyman Moody
  26. Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone by Eduardo Galeano
  27. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  28. Ordained Irreverence by MacMillan Moody
  29. Please Look After Mother by Kyung-Sook Shin
  30. Primal Leadership by Daniel Goleman
  31. Running with the Giants by John Maxwell
  32. Shit My Dad Says by Justin Halpern
  33. Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
  34. Taking People with You by David Novak
  35. The 17 Indisputable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell
  36. The Ambition by Lee Strobel
  37. The Art of War by Sun Tzu
  38. The Black Echo by Michael Connelly
  39. The Black Ice by Michael Connelly
  40. The Bourne Betrayal by Eric Ledbetter
  41. The Bourne Deception by Eric Ledbetter
  42. The Bourne Sanction by Eric Ledbetter
  43. The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka
  44. The Closers by Michael Connelly
  45. The Concrete Blond by Michael Connelly
  46. The Draining Lake by Amuldar Indriadson
  47. The Five Temptations of a CEO by Patrick Lencioni
  48. The Illiad by Homer
  49. The Last Coyote by Michael Connelly
  50. The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly
  51. The Lovers Dictionary by David Levithan
  52. The Matterhorn A Novel of the Viet Nam War by Karl Marlantes
  53. The Metamorphosis by Kafka
  54. The Moose Jaw by Mike Delaney
  55. The Odyssey by Homer
  56. The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
  57. The Snowman by Jo Nesbo
  58. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
  59. Trunk Music a Harry Bosch Novel by Michael Connelly
  60. Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield
  61. When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka
  62. Who’s There by Seth Godin
  63. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
  64. Good to Great by Jim Collins
  65. Great Leaders Grow: Becoming a Leader for Life by Ken Blanchard & Mark Miller
  66. Ten Years of Moon and Mists by Prabhu Iyer & Tamaswati Ghosh
  67. Interview with The Vampire by Ann Rice
  68. Void Moon by Michael Connelly
  69. 1984 by George Orwell
  70. The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni
  71. The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly
  72. The Poet by Michael Connelly
  73. The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly
  74. Knock, Knock by Seth Godin
  75. Sadhana – The Realisation of Life by Rabindranath Tagore
  76. James Bond: The Man with the Red Tattoo by Raymond Benson
  77. Magic Seeds by VS Naipaul
  78. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  79. An Autobiography – The Story of my Experiments with Truth by Gandhi
  80. The Perfect Punk by Kenneth Elroy
  81. Wool by Hugh Howey
  82. Illusion by Frank Peretti
  83. Problem of Belief by Donna Leon
  84. The Bible Jesus Read by Phillip Yancey
  85. Politics, Love & Things that make you go Hmm by Richard Wiseman
  86. Chasing The Dime by Michael Connelly
  87. Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz
  88. The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth by John Maxwel
  89. The Windup Bird Chronicles by by Haruki Murakami
  90. The 60 Minute Leader by Jim Rohn
  91. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  92. The Sin Collector by Jessica Fortunato
  93. The Sin Collector: Thomas by Jessica Fortunato
  94. A Real Piece of Work by Chris Orcutt
  95.  Vanishing Elephant by Haruki Murakami
  96. How to be a Winner by Zig Ziglar
  97. The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Peale
  98. The Tao of Leadership by John Heider
  99. The Black Box by Michael Connelly
  100. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
  101. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  102. Today Matters by John Maxwell

2 comments on “A Gift to Myself

  1. […] time planned for training was moved toward my professional life and a deep dive into the world of literature. I read more books and greater variety than any time in my life. My appetite for reading became […]

  2. […] wanted to drop everything and read it immediately but held off. I had set a goal to read 100 books during 2012 and tackling the 1232 page behemoth would put that achievement just beyond my grasp. […]

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