It’s a list. A book list amongst other things but it’s my book list and having read 84 books this year; it’s nice to sit back and reflect on the best read and hopefully inspire you to pick one of them up or share your thoughts if you read them as well. You can find a full list by following me on Goodreads (@mindfullifter). Note that the links below are designated as either BL – Blog or AF – Affiliate Link. I use affiliate links here to help support the Mindfullifter and Books And Beers social media sphere so if you enjoy the site then consider supporting.
The Artist’s Way – Julia Cameron – How Do You Start Your Day? (BL) This was a life changer for me this year. It was inspired by a conversation on the Tim Ferriss podcast about morning routines and ways to start the day with a fresher perspective. Little did I know that this would become one of the most important routines in my life, not just day. Without question, Morning Pages happens to allow those free flowing thoughts to dump out of me each morning. Sometimes it can be a great idea, sometimes it is garbage and mind dumping. The point is that it starts my brain flowing and if it is garbage or negative thoughts I immediately dump them out on the page to be let go so I can begin fresh. I highly encourage you to pick this book up or at the least google Morning Pages and begin a routine of your own. Try it for 30 days and see how you feel. The Artist’s Way (AF)
The Art of Travel – Alain de Botton – Word-painting our Thoughts (BL) To find a book that immediately sets you off on a journey to read everything written is a sign that there was a visceral connection. I picked this book up before heading on a trip to Europe for two weeks and couldn’t have been happier taking this book on the trip and reading it as I went along. Mixing historic figures with philosophical ideas and teachings is a book make for me. Ideas like word painting, coined by John Ruskin, to capture the essence of what we truly see in as much detail as possible because something I thought about for the rest of the year. When I returned home I quickly went out and picked up as many books as I could including Religion for Atheists (BL) and The Course of Love (BL). Pick up any Alain de Botton book or check out his website and school (The Book of Life or The School of Life). The Art of Travel (AF)
Tools of Titans – Tim Ferriss – This one hit late in the year and I’ve not even finished it. It’s on this list. If you follow this blog you know my attitude towards his podcast; I’m a big fan. There is a certain part of me geared towards always motivating myself forward into whatever I take on. This podcast is lighter fuel for that motivation. Tools of Titans distills that lighter fuel into something you can carry with you at all times. A reference book of all of the great leaders who have visited the podcast and their key ideas. This book will sit nearby all year as I work to build new things and take on new ideas. If you are on the fence with this book then I encourage you to check out the podcast and have a listen to a few and see what you think. Tools of Titans (AF)
The Art of Possibility – Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander – Possibility (BL) Consider the timing of this book in my life and the start of Books and Beers as serendipity. This also came out of a podcast recommendation and took some digging to find but was well worth the search! There is a story in this book about a violist and the quartet that left me speechless with chills. Inspiring doesn’t begin to describe the story and really sunk in the idea to trust myself and trust what I was doing was on the right path. Those stuck feelings I was having; all in my head and this book reminded me of that fact at a perfect time. The Art of Possibility (AF)
The 10X Rule – Grant Cardone – Motivating Factors (BL) There was a freight train of a book this year that become my number one recommended book to friends and family. It was Grant Cardone and the 10X Rule. Say what you will about sales tactics and self-help books; this is truly one of the most motivating books I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening too. Yes, get the audiobook because Grant reads it himself! Two key ideas I will leave you with that Grant does a much better job at describing but are still burning hot inside. 1) Success is not finite. I repeat, success is not finite. If you have an idea and you think it’s been done before, success is not finite and is a function of the energy you put into it. This was a big one for me taking on new projects this year that I felt insecure about taking on because of the fear they would fail having already been attempted. 2) Set your goals so big that regardless if you fail you will still fail far ahead of what you would have done if you set small step-life goals. If you want to know how true this is look at Google and realise this is an ingrained motto within the hallowed halls. Think as big as you possibly can and go for it. Wow, felt like I was channelling some serious motivational energy right there. Go get it! The 10X Rule (AF)
Honourable Mention: It’s hard to funnel a list of 84 books down to five so here are a few extras. As I reflect back on the bigger list there are pieces taken from each book and I hope that you find something that suits your needs from them.
The Places That Scare You – Pema Chodron – What Scares You? – A Book Re… A Book We All Need (BL) This book really needs no introduction as Pema Chodron has become one of the most pronounced writers on mindfulness and Buddhist teachings in the last twenty to thirty years. This was the second book by her I ever read and one I go back to every year as a reminder to myself to look within at the things that scare me. Although the title reflects difficult times, we are often dealing with difficult situations throughout our life at different levels. Examining those difficult feelings in a mindful way and realising that they are but fleeting thoughts has been one of the biggest life changers for me to date. The Places That Scare You (AF)
Seneca – Letters from a Stoic – Seneca’s Philosophy and Picking My Own Brain (BL) One of the most famous stoic writers in history this book distills many of Seneca’s thoughts down through a series of letters on how to live. Philosophy as not just a way to think but as a way to live life. A lot of thoughts intermingle with those of mindfulness so it was easy to connect to this one. Each letter provides an interesting new thought and a couple of reads will usually uncover something new to enjoy. I loved this quote in particular:
“Nothing, to my way of thinking, is a better proof of a well ordered mind than a man’s ability to stop just where he is and pass some time in his own company.”
Fiction: Yes I do read fiction too! I know this list is non-fiction rich so here are a couple of books I also read this year and recommend. Sorry, no full write-ups on these ones as I tend not to take notes and enjoy simply being immersed in the story! Finished off Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy this year with The Hero of Ages (AF) and what a great story. Easily one of the better fantasy trilogies I’ve read in my day. Well written and the story itself is as intriguing as it gets. In fact, the story was so popular that I know there are at least three follow-up stories in this universe that I need to get my hands on.
Neil Gaiman’s American Gods (AF). All I can say is there was an 180-degree turn on this one after reading it a second time. The first read through there was absolutely no connection in my mind. For whatever reason this year I decided to give it another read and loved it. Most of all the writing to me was extraordinary and if you listen to the audiobook there is an interview with Neil at the end where he describes his writing process. I almost wanted to quit my job on the spot to go pursue writing stories (It’s never too late).
A big list! Thanks for sticking with me to the end and I look forward to seeing what 2017 holds. There is already a pile of books big enough to cover the entire year and more so stay tuned.