I have a confession to make. I can’t honestly remember reading very many books through my years of formal education. K-12, and even college. I am sure I did, or I would not have graduated, but the only reason I did was because I had to, not because I wanted to.
Then something significant happened. In my first real professional position where I had significant growth opportunities and the possibility to earn more money. I got promoted to a leadership position where I was now formally in charge of eight people. I use the term “in charge” to mean working with, because that is what it was and is. We work together, I just happened to have a different title.
At this time, I am now responsible for leading people. As I look to my education for guidance, where I earned a Bachelors and an MBA in Business, I couldn’t recall one idea that really set me up for success in this new role. I am sure there were several, but I was just taking classes and not applying the stuff, so it didn’t stick. So I turned to the next best thing, which was reading lots and lots of books. This time because I wanted to.
As much as I thought I hated reading, I really hated to fail even more. So, I started reading any leadership book I could get my hands on. This turned into a real passion for me. I would have never thought I would become a big reader, but there I was, reading book after book.
I then had a mentor, an author, ask me this question: He said “Do you have a personal development plan?” My answer was a very clear, No. Even though I was reading and attending seminars. It was more random than planned. After he asked me that, I made it a point to make personal growth and personal development a strategy. And by making it a strategy, it meant I must manage it and measure it for it to become a part of what I do.
All of this started happening in and around 2006 and 2007, but it didn’t become part of what I did until 2011. Since 2011, I have been tracking how many books and what books I have read. I also, have a very simplistic grading system where I rank the books on a scale of 1-10, by using asterisks. One asterisk means it was not a very good book, and ten asterisks means it was a great book.
Another simple way I grade the books I read is by highlighting the books on my spreadsheet that have had a major impact on my. In some cases seriously altered my way of thinking and changed my life.
Change my life is a rather big and bold testament. Let me clarify. What I mean is that these books shifted my way of thinking. It challenged me in a way that no experience or other book had. It usually took something that I thought I knew or had experience with, and gave me a totally different perspective on whatever it was. These highlighted books are game changers for me. They usually also gave me success in whatever it was I was doing at the time I read them. These books help shape who I am today.
What is interesting as I finished up my 300th book this past week. I was surprised to see that only a handful of them were highlighted. I have compiled
I am sharing that list with you here today.
As a Man Thinketh; James Allen https://www.amazon.com/As-Man-Thinketh-James-Allen/dp/1503055361/
Leading an Inspired life; Jim Rohn https://www.amazon.com/LEADING-AN-INSPIRED-LIFE/dp/1935944991/
Five Major Pieces to the Life puzzle; Jim Rohn https://www.amazon.com/Five-Major-Pieces-Life-Puzzle/dp/0939490021/
The Wisdom of Andrew Carnegie as Told by Napoleon Hill; Napoleon Hill https://www.amazon.com/Napoleon-Hill-Wisdom-Carnegie-8-2-2005/dp/B00HTJSNJU/
Think and Grow Rich; Napoleon Hill https://www.amazon.com/Think-Grow-Rich-Masterpiece-12-Nov-2014/dp/B011T7M4SI/
If You’re not First, You’re Last; Grant Cardone https://www.amazon.com/Youre-Not-First-Last-Competition/dp/0470624353/
Relentless (From Good to Great to Unstoppable); Tim S. Grover https://www.amazon.com/Relentless-Unstoppable-Tim-S-Grover/dp/1476714207/
Rich Dad Poor Dad; Robert Kiyosaki https://www.amazon.com/Rich-Dad-Poor-Teach-Middle/dp/1612680011/
Linchpin (Are you indispensable); Seth Godin https://www.amazon.com/Linchpin-Are-Indispensable-Seth-Godin/dp/1591844096/
Hot Button Marketing (Push the emotional buttons that get people to buy); Barry Feig https://www.amazon.com/Hot-Button-Marketing-Emotional-Paperback/dp/B015QKCOBG/
What Clients Love ( A field guide to growing your business); Harry Beckwith https://www.amazon.com/What-Clients-Love-Growing-Business/dp/0446556025/
Selling the Invisible (A field guide to Marketing); Harry Beckwith https://www.amazon.com/Selling-Invisible-Field-Modern-Marketing/dp/0446672319/
Leadership and Management
Coaching for Performance (Growing Human Potential and Purpose, the principle practice of managing and leading); John Whitmore https://www.amazon.com/Coaching-Performance-Potential-Principles-Leadership/dp/185788535X/
Coaching for Improved Work Performance; Ferdinand F. Fournies https://www.amazon.com/Coaching-Improved-Work-Performance-Revised/dp/0071352937/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1485946404&sr=1-1&keywords=coaching+for+improved+work+performance
Primed to Perform (How to build the highest performing cultures through the science of total motivation); Neal Doshi and Lindsay McGregor https://www.amazon.com/Primed-Perform-Performing-Cultures-Motivation/dp/0062373986/
Go For No; Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz https://www.amazon.com/Yes-Destination-How-You-There/dp/0966398130/
Spin Selling; Neil Rackham https://www.amazon.com/SPIN-Selling-Neil-Rackham/dp/0070511136/
Decide (Work Smarter, Reduce Your Stress, And Lead By example); Steve McClatchy, https://www.amazon.com/Decide-Smarter-Reduce-Stress-Example/dp/1118554388/
The Richest man in Babylon; George S. Clason https://www.amazon.com/Richest-Man-Babylon-George-Clason/dp/0451205367/
Creating Wealth, Robert Allen https://www.amazon.com/Creating-Wealth-Retire-Allens-Principles/dp/1451631588/
I know for a fact that all three hundred books have contributed to my growth and to my success thus far. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without investing the time in reading. I have a goal to get to a thousand books read in ten years, and I can’t wait to hit that milestone.
As I always say. If you want to earn more, you first have to learn more. This learning must include reading, doing, attending seminars, taking courses, finding a mentor, etc. All of these learning efforts will help you get where you want to go, much quicker than you could ever do it on your own.
To your success and your future.