I am a voracious reader. I have no qualms about the date it was written or the original audience it was intended for. If a book calls out to me I will always flirt and bat my eyelashes back at it. However, I do have a few books I tell everyone to read.
A good book doesn’t just have the power to affect your emotions; it has the ability to help you transcend your way of thinking.
I read everywhere: in lineups, on flights, at bedtime, and on the subway. I sometimes read on my phone, on the ipad, or via my headphones. I even manage, the odd time, to read an ancient type of book called a “paperback” :)
Reading is how ideas live on through the days, months and even centuries. The people who read them enter into a covenant of time and attention, and when the book is filled with truth, they are better for it.
The bottom line is that leaders are readers.
And this reader’s life has been transformed by some key books that have resulted in major life changes, such as starting Brave Soles. The ideas and changes that happened in me and gave me the courage to dream again started inside of me. Many of those ideas were planted there by the books and writers through the centuries that have mentored me via their words.
I am often asked what I am reading. Although every hardcore reader will confess to having numerous books on the go, we all have our favourites: the ones we long to talk about and get other people talking about as well.
Although I do read a large amount of fiction, I also read a staggering amount of non-fiction. I wanted to share with you some of the books that have influenced my journey and reminded me to stay on the path. There are ten books here. However, I honestly read and listen to about 30-40 books per year, so I thought I would share some that stood out to me and why. Some of them are thousands of years old and some are only months old.
I feel they are timely and that I needed to give you a chance to know them.
Born a Crime - Trevor NoahTrevor Noah is funny, heartwarming and helped me see what it was like to live under the brutal reality of apartheid.
He also piqued my interest to understand apartheid more, so I researched it and discovered that, lo and behold, the crafters of apartheid took their templates directly from how Canada treated the First Nations people when we first became a country. As a Canadian, learning this took my feelings of moral superiority completely away and reminded me of what I want to build for my own family’s future.
Plus, the entertainment value of Trevor’s writing is worth it all.
Man’s Search for Meaning - Viktor FranklThis is actually probably my number one book that I have referred to over and over again in my life. I can’t relate to his physical experience, but I am intimately acquainted with suffering. Mr. Frankl helped me remember, at some of the lowest points in my life, what I wanted my life to be about.
Like millions of people around the world, I feel a deep, eternal debt of gratitude to his wisdom and insight into my own search to find meaning when it was hard to put one foot in front of the other.
The Four Agreements - Don Miguel RuizThis book has the power to change how you show up in your relationships - and mostly in the relationship you have with yourself and your dreams.
Mr. Ruiz has a firm, yet gentle voice and this is timeless truth that I quote to my team, over and over again.
Meditations - Marcus AureliusI can’t say I am a big fan of the Roman empire, but I think that Marcus Aurelius was a man who recognized he had to work within a system if he wanted to change things.
Ultimately, the only thing we can change is ourselves.
This was true 2000 years ago when he wrote it and it’s going to be true tomorrow morning when you wake up, too.
He is famous for his quote, “What stands in the way becomes the way”, and this truth was how Brave Soles ever came to be. I owe him for that little piece of wisdom :)
A More Beautiful Question - Warren BergerThis book changed how I approach problem-solving. What it’s really about is the courage to ask different questions to get different results. Sound simple? It is. Sound easy? It’s not.
However, asking different, more beautiful questions is the only way change happens. In life, in our communities, and in the world we want to continue to live in.
Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself - Dr. Joe DispenzaIf you sit with me for more than 4 minutes, you will know I am a hardcore Dr. Dispenza fan. His work has transformed my life. Until I read this book, I had no idea how stuck I was in my beliefs around what is possible. I have it in audio form and I randomly play sections over and over again, just to get the truths deeper in me.
We can decide what we want, but if we keep on reliving the problems and pain of the past, we will never arrive at the future we desire. This book is showing me every day how to create that future. (Thanks, Dr. Joe, you rock!)
High Performance Habits - Brendon BurchardAlong the habit theme, there are definitely habits I do want in my life and in the team I work with. We listen and work through Brendon’s material because I have seen the difference it makes to simply be willing to commit to a higher way of my own expectations for myself.
If you want to move your life or business forward, this is a great book to have in your toolbox to refer to again and again.
A Long Walk to Freedom - Nelson MandelaFew people in our generation can claim to not know who Mr. Mandela was. It’s easy to celebrate the headlines and the highlight reel of his life. It’s something else to build an appreciation for what it took to get to that place.
The level of commitment to fighting injustice, to not back down and to be truly willing to count the cost for change is, quite honestly, unimaginable. But his story proves that no cost is ever too great when you believe in something greater. I count myself privileged to understand his full journey through this book.
The Hero With A Thousand Faces - Joseph CampbellEveryone is on a journey. Joseph Campbell shows how every journey is a hero’s journey. There is an arch to our journey and a universal, timeless way to make sense of our story.
I bought this book for a business perspective on how to communicate but was captivated by the deep, unchanging truths I found within. It has helped me to see how my journey has been unfolding and how I want it to unfold in the years ahead.
A Life Less Throwaway - Tara ButtonThis book is out this year. Tara Button has a warm voice that reminds us to carefully consider what we want to own and why. It’s not a book on minimalism - it’s a book on maximizing what you have, what you want to own and where you want to invest your life.
I am on this journey with you. I am trying to learn how to see every area of my life through the lense of timeless choices that are worth my attention, time and reasources. Well worth the read and the fun exercises she includes in it.
The gift of reading is not a right, it’s a privilege. I want to exercise that privilege ceaselessly every day of my life.
“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.” – Lemony Snicket
I agree with Mr. Snicket. A good book will not only make you think - it has the power to change your life.
Let us know what you are reading and why!