December 14, 2019

Reading is the Way to Breakthrough Success

“Everything begins with an idea.”

These words written by Earl Nightingale nearly 75 years ago are still true today.

Ideas have the power to change change lives, unlock possibilites and inspire hearts. Ideas open doors and are the pathway to creating our best futures. The best way to produce great ideas is reading. Research has shown that reading boosts our mental capacity and creativity

A Habit of Success

Reading is a habit that produces uncommon success. Reasearch shows that 85% of self-made millionaires read two or more books every month? 

The great industrialist Harvey Firestone said, “Capital isn’t that important in business. Experience isn’t that important. You can get both of these things. What is important is ideas.”

Reading great books sparks creativity, peaks curiosity and engages our brains to think in new and exciting ways that produce great ideas. Would you be shocked to learn that 33% of high school graduates and 42% of college graduates will never read another book after they graduate.

Achieve Amazing in Just 15 Minutes a Day

People tell me all the time they don’t have time to read. Could any of us carve out 15 minutes a day to read? Obviously the answer is yes and if you read for just 15 minutes a day you could finish 30 books a year. 

What are your goals for 2020? By reading great books you’ll generate more ideas and see greater possibilities for achieving your personal, professional, financial and spiritual goals in 2020.

So what are you going to do with that Amazon gift card you received as a gift? Given reading has a very high personal ROI put a few books on your shopping list. Here is a list with links to some of the best books I read in 2019. (These are all affiliate links which means by clicking and buying the book you'll share a little bit of Amazon's wealth with us to keep our work moving—thanks in advance!)

Leadership and Personal Development

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker, PhD.

This book had positively affected the quality of my life for years to come. It's simple, choosing to sleep is a choice and has the power to positively enhance our lives. “There does not seem to be one major organ within the body, or process within the brain, that isn’t optimally enhanced by sleep (and detrimentally impaired when we don’t get enough).” 

The Wise Advocate: The Inner Voice of Strategic Leadership (Columbia Business School Publishing) by Art Kliener 

I am constantly reading about leadership. The was the most influential leadership book I read this year. It helped shape the development of our "Clarity to Win Leadership Experience." It is a cutting edge look at how neuroscience can help develop better leaders and produce winning culture.

Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft's Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone by Satya Nadella

The new CEO of Microsoft provides a refreshing (no pun intended) into the critical nature of building great culture, why it is vital and how he has affected cultural change at Microsoft.

The Power of the Other: The startling effect other people have on you, from the boardroom to the bedroom and beyond-and what to do about it. By Daniel Pink

Everything rises and falls with leadership. It's our ability to take people to places where they could not go on their own. You'll discover a powerful model that shows how to create connections with people that bring out the best in people.

Raise Your Thinking

The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt

My daughter-in-law, who is a high school teacher and coach, recommended this one to me. Wow! It powerfully explores how students inability to think critically and engage with ideas collides with three fundamental psychological principles and what happens when parents and educators—acting with the best of intentions—implement policies that are inconsistent with those principles. It was one of the best books I've read not only this year but in the past few years.

Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends On It by Ian Leslie

This book has been out awhile. I read it a second time this year when I was preparing for our Leadership Experience. Amazing comes to life when we nurture, develop and explore our curiosity. Curiosity combined with focus are the super skills of this generation. 

Unoffendable: How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better by Brant Hansen

I read this book for a second time this year. I think it's that good. I was drawn in as soon as I read, "Your life will become less stressful when you give up your right to anger and offense." Brant Hansen is a Christian radio show host and his candid and transparency make this book a fun and insightful read.

Faith and Spiritual Development

Knowing Christ Today: Why We Can Trust Spiritual Knowledge by Dallas Willard

This is not a new book. I've read it before and I read it again this year. Dallas Willard is one of my favorite authors. He died in 2013. He was one of the most beloved professors in USC history.

Why read this book? I think the Director of Religious Life at USC sums it up well, "Dallas Willard bridged the divide between philosophy and theology and showed us all how to bring together our spiritual and scholarly lives in a meaningful way." 

It's not a quick read, but it will take you places and expose you to think in ways that lead to the truth we all crave.

Fearless Prayer: Why We Don't Ask and Why We Should by Craig Hazen

I've seen Craig Hazen speak many times. His warmth and authenticity draw you in and his writing reflects the same qualities. It is a short read that takes what could easily be very complex and makes it simple, real and applicable. 


Miracle at Merion: The Inspiring Story of Ben Hogan's Amazing Comeback and Victory at the 1950 U.S. Open by David Bennett

I love biographies. Ben Hogan's life story is inspiring and intriguing. After surviving a near-fatal car crash in 1949, Hogan was not expected to ever play golf again. This book chronicles Hogan journey back to competitive golf and his triumphant victory in the 1950 U. S. Open at Merion.  

When Life Grabs You by the Baseballs: Finding Happiness in Life's Changeups by Jon Peters

Jon Peters was a record-setting high school pitcher who was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated when he was a teenager! By every outward appearance he had it all—but he didn't. Jon candor about his journey from stardom to defeat and finding the path to live a victorious life is inspiring.

Leaders are Readers

Knowledge is the frontier of tomorrow and it has never been more accessible than it is today. One of the most important aptitudes for achievement and contribution is unfortunately a mystery to the majority of people—simply because they choose not to read. Make reading a priority in 2020—a 15 minute daily commitment and you'll finish 30 books.

What did you read in 2019 that I should put on my reading list. I'd love if you'd leave your recommendation in the comments below.

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