I challenged my self to rank the best five books that I read last year. This exercise allows me to go back and digest the information I learned from these books as well.
In total I read 28 books last year. Every book I read is for personal or professional development, period. I don’t read for any other reason. Some seek enjoyment from reading, I seek education and wisdom. A discovery I have learned in the last three years, is that it takes in some cases a lifetime of winning and failing to be successful. Many people who have done both winning and losing at high levels, were smart enough to put this information in a book for me to buy and learn from, I only wish I had this epiphany years ago.
So how did each of these books get the distinction of being my Top 5 best? There is nothing scientific about it. However, I do keep a spreadsheet (by title and author) and a star rating system with a few brief notes. I also write in my journal a few general thoughts that I took away from the book. So I do have those things, but really as I look back on each book it is more of a feel thing, and what do I remember most out of each book. Maybe, I will inspire you to read one of these books.
5. The Greatest Business Decisions Made of All Time (author: Verne Harnish and Editors of Fortune Magazine)
This book made the list, for a few reasons. I am just inspired by the business and the people who were/are running those companies and the decisions, the process to make those decisions, and ultimately the results of those decisions, of the biggest companies we all know today. The book was an easy to read format and didn’t over do it with the details.
Biggest Takeaway: Sometimes you don’t know what the future holds, you just have to make a decision, put all of your effort into it and see what happens.
4. The Gift (author: Ron Reynolds)
This book was a novel, a story. Typically not my kind of book. It was about an educated girl, who was recently divorced, down on her luck, not excited about anything, watching television everyday. She makes a decision one day to go in for a job interview selling seminars and training tapes (yes tapes). This leads her down a path where she ultimately works for the President of the United States. Since this book was written during the early 80’s and for those who were old enough to remember what those times were like (I don’t :)), but our newly elected President, Ronald Reagan was restoring HOPE back in America, and this story revolves around all of that.
Biggest Takeaway: We each control our own destiny and we can do whatever we want as long as we our passionate about it and work hard.
3. The Five Great Rules of Selling (author: Percy Whiting)
I was asked to read this book by a Sales Trainer for my Dale Carnegie Sales Training Endorsement. I read this book in about 5 days. What was really cool about this book, is that it was written in the 1950’s and dates back to the 20’s, and all of the Sales suggestions apply today. I would have never picked up a book that old, but I discovered while reading it that reading some of these older books like this one, is something I should do more of.
Biggest Takeaway: Rapport, Interest, Solution, Motive, and Commitment. This 5 step sales process worked in the 1920’s and it still works today, once you get to the table.
2. Rich Dad Poor Dad (author Robert Kiyosaki)
This is an older book. I had heard about it, and saw many presentations by Robert, but just had never read the book before. So I picked it up one day and read it in one sitting (I was on an airplane.) I liked the concepts he taught, and how he talked about his childhood which helped lead him to making the decisions he did. To grow up the way he did and be exposed to the two different philosophies of each of his fathers, must have been interesting to say the least.
Biggest Takeaway: Owning your house is better than nothing, but a home is a liability, not an asset as it takes money out of your pocket each month. Your 2 greatest assets: Your cash flow, and your ability to earn (hopefully)
1. Leading an Inspired Life (author: Jim Rohn)
No shock here for anyone who knows me. Jim Rohn and his principles changed my life. This book is basically all of his philosophies summed up in one book. It is a big book, but I read every single page, most of the stuff I had read and heard from him before, but this book and what you can learn from it can change your life. It changed mine.
Biggest Takeaway: Life is pretty much the same for all of us, you grow up, you go to school, you go to college, you go to work, have a family, retire. You have an opportunity to live a really cool life, so “Why Not You”. You have control over it all.