At the end of the year, I take as an opportunity to reflect, as many do. Socrates believed in the power of reflection claiming, “The unanalyzed life is not worth living.” I may not hold the same zeal of remembrance as Socrates, but I do feel taking adequate time to reflect on past events presents a powerful opportunity. Rarely do I gain all the learnings of an experience in the moment. By looking back at a situation, my response, and what I could have done better, I gain wisdom I missed.
Today, I looked through the books I read in 2019. Flipping through my highlights, notes, and comments, it struck me how many ideas I’d forgotten from these powerful works so quickly. To help me remember, and maybe inspire some thoughts in you, here are the three most impactful books I read in 2019:
- Extreme Ownership – Hundreds of business books line my shelves. For a period, I dreaded reading another, feeling they all said the same things in slightly different ways. Then I read Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin which shattered my perspective. Jocko and Leif look at twelve leadership topics from their experience as navy seals and training officers of the seals. Through their training and experience as seals, they show the true power of understanding concepts so well to the point of communicating them clearly with very few words. Every one of my coaching clients reads this book during our engagement, for the core premise is the foundation for any great leader – owning your actions and mistakes no matter what.
- Atomic Habits – The term habit refers to, “small acts regularly completed creating lasting consequences.” James Clear describes the true impact atomic (very small) habits can make. Not only does Clear show the impact of habits, he takes it a step further by providing dozens of examples and suggestions on creating sounds habits in your life. His website hosts a dozen worksheets to identify, track, and amend habits to create the desired effect with minimal effort. Since reading Atomic Habits, I have a clear understanding of my positive and negative habits, and I actively try to create a life built to achieve my goals. For once in my life, this feels possible thanks to the ideas planted by James Clear.
- Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill took 25 years to write this book published in 1937. Hill interviews over 500 self made millionaires including Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Eddison, and Henry Ford to understand what allowed these individuals to rise above their circumstances to become wealthy and influential. The findings surprised me not in their complexity, but in how true they are over 80 years later. Certain examples and tangible thoughts made me chuckle in their antiquated nature, though it compounded the fact so many ideas remain true today. Hill found some keys to success in any business in his 25 years endeavor.
There you have it, my favorite books read in 2019. The newest books being published in October 2018, and the oldest in 1937. These books helped me expand my knowledge, understanding, and ability to be a better leader, business owner, and person. I don’t claim these books will change your life if read them. What I do claim is that they will challenge you think in new and different ways, stretching you be a better version of yourself after reading. This is the beauty of books, the opportunity to be challenged by great minds to grow into a better self. Enjoy!