July Reads: The Tipping Point, Shoe Dog, and More!

reads Aug 01, 2017

It's crazy to think that since January 1st 2017, I have finished 39 Audiobooks and 10 books in text.

A whopping 49 books in 7 months! That's 1.61 books per week, 7 books per month, 82 books per year! Who knew that this was even achievable for a SUPER busy person like me. I knew I didn't think so. My real goal was one book per week for an entire year, and I'm definitely ahead of pace. The crazy part is that you can do it too. There are practical strategies that I have implemented that will help you accelerate your self-development to a whole different level.

I am self-employed, basically fulfilling 3 different job titles but with about 10 different types of job responsibilities. My work sometimes follows me home, even when I try to avoid it, but it's inevitable that I always have something to do. My point is, I'm just like you. If you think that you are too busy to do what I have done this year, then think again. Here are a few steps that I recommend you take if you want to accelerate your learning.

1. Get Creative

One of the best things that I have done is getting creative with my time. Try "killing two birds with one stone" when it comes to your reading or learning. For me, I try to kill as many birds as I can with one stone. When you start batching tasks together you can kill a whole bunch of birds. At some point, you'll become bird killing assassin, and you won't ever go back. Here's a few examples: For me, I sometimes read an e-book on my iPhone as I rock my daughter to sleep, sneaking in 10-15 minutes a night. It's the times when I choose to eat alone for lunch, which I try to do 2-3 times a week, and get lost in a book while I eat. Get creative!

2. Get Offline

If you listen to our Podcast, you may have heard my co-host Wes Gay talk about how many books you can read if you disconnect from social media. The stats show that we spend anywhere from 2-3 hours per day on our smartphone (that's crazy to me), but if we spent that time reading we would read approximately 6 novels a month or 14 leadership business books a month. Maybe you don't totally disconnect, but maybe you limit your time.

3. Get Listening

Who says you have to drop everything you are doing to read a book? Audiobooks are great! I blogged about how the average American spends 101 minutes in their car everyday and I have taken massive advantage of my car time. You can read about that in my blog "Life Hack: The 90 Minutes Difference That Can Make All The Difference". In the blog I talk about how I made the switch from listening to things like sports talk radio, mainstream music, and the latest in the political world to audiobooks on business and leadership. Since I started with my accelerated self-development journey this year, I have developed some awesome habits and hope to keep them forever. Now, for the books I read last month... Here they are.  

"The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell

This is the second time that I have gone through this book, which means it's good enough to read twice (or more). In my opinion, this is a must read for all walks of life and business. I found myself reading this as a business man, applying some of what I learned to my parenting, and also sharing every detail with my wife (for what it was worth) because she is an educator. The content in this book can be applied across a wide variety of careers, lifestyles, and scenarios because of it's focus on human psychology and sociology.

The first time I read this book, which was last year, I promised myself I would do it again... So I did. And yet again, the content was eye-opening, I found that I learned more this second time than the first (that usually happens). This one will definitely be on my list for next year as well.

Rating: I rate this book a 5 out of 5 stars because of the thought provoking ideas, detailed research and real-world illustrations given.

( iTunes: E-Book, Audiobook  |   Amazon: Book )  


"Shoe Dog" by Phil Knight

Shoe Dog is the autobiography of Phil Knight, the founder of Nike. Amongst all my business and leadership readings, I felt that I need to start reading more biography type of books. This one was the perfect blend of entrepreneurial persistence, grit and determination in the form of a story. Today, we see Nike for what it is, one of the world's most prominent brands, but there is something special that connects you when you know the story behind the company.

I may have drank the Nike juice. Lately, I have started noticing that I favor my Nike's rather than other brands. The story behind Nike's existence is sure to make you a brand advocate too.

Rating: I rate this book a 5 out of 5 stars for an AWESOME, well-written, inspiring autobiography.

( iTunes: E-Book, Audiobook  |   Amazon: Book )    


"The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership" by John Maxwell

This is a classic leadership book and should be read and reread by all leaders. This book lays out the foundations of leadership, speaking on the laws that a leader must understand and follow to be successful. I have always loved John Maxwell's books and resources because he knows how to relate to businesses, non-profits, churches and individuals.

As one of the industry's top leadership guru's, John Maxwell gives deep and meaningful insight in the core concepts of leadership.

Rating: I rate this book as a 5 out of 5 stars as a classic book on leadership that all leaders must read.

( iTunes: E-Book, Audiobook  |   Amazon: Book )      


"Growth Hacker Marketing" by Ryan Holiday

I actually read this book a while back, maybe about a year ago, and thought it was simple, concise and straight to the point. I promised myself I would revisit it, so I did. Growth Hacker Marketing is a book that all beginner, novice, and expert marketers should read. The book's concepts revolve around digital media marketing, creating business growth through sales, and learning how to create trends.

There is actually much creativity throughout this book that will change your perception on how you should market to your consumers. it actually details many creative ways to reach the most people with even the smallest of budgets. While listening via audiobook, I found myself flipping back and forth through my notes, entertaining new ideas that can help my business. The book was deep and thought provoking material, no wonder I promised myself I would go through it again.

I rate this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars for creativity in marketing and sales.

( iTunes: E-Book, Audiobook  |   Amazon: Book )      


"Traction" by Gino Wickman

Gino Wickman takes us through his Entrepreneurial Operating System, which can be customized to any business. This system is very well thought out and can be applied to any business. If you are looking to systematize your business so that you are able to track your tasks, results, people, and production, then look no further than this book. Wickman's system will get your business back on track and operating coherently with your goals.

In Traction, you’ll learn the secrets of strengthening the six key components of your business. You’ll discover simple yet powerful ways to run your company that will give you and your leadership team more focus, more growth, and more enjoyment. Successful companies are applying Traction every day to run profitable, frustration-free businesses—and you can too.

Rating: I rate this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars for a great strategy and system that, if done right, can make a huge impact of your business.

( iTunes: E-Book, Audiobook  |   Amazon: Book )    


"Extreme Ownership" by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

This one hit me on a whole new level. Extremes Ownership describes the mind-set and principles that enable SEAL units to accomplish the most difficult missions in combat, Extreme Ownership shows how to apply them to any team, family or organization.

Each chapter focuses on a specific topic such as Cover and Move, Decentralized Command, and Leading Up the Chain, explaining what they are, why they are important, and how to implement them in any leadership environment.

My favorite part of this book is that it has powerful instruction and direct application, Extreme Ownership revolutionizes business management and challenges leaders everywhere to fulfill their ultimate purpose: lead and win. Leading SEAL units on the battlefield, to me, is the ultimate test of leadership. Decisions need to be made quickly and decisively. Leaders are trained to take complete ownership of those that they are commanding. This book will leave you realizing that true leadership means owning up and making no excuses.

Rating: I rate this book a 5 out of 5 stars!

( iTunes: E-Book, Audiobook  |   Amazon: Book )  


"Living Forward" by Michael Hyatt

This was the second time (this year) that I have gone through this book. In January, I listened via audiobook and it was the very first book I blogged about this year. Now, going through it a second time I actually decided to read it in text (because I felt it was that good). It was one of those reads where you have to fight the urge not to highlight the whole book. Michael takes you through actionable content that will force you into deep self-reflection mode, which I believe is not done enough with many people. In his book he states that "most people spend more time planning their two-week vacation then planning their life." It's unfortunate how many people are living their lives aimlessly, with no clear purpose and direction.

A popular phrase that is often said is that "everyone ends up somewhere, but few end up somewhere on purpose." This read will help put the purpose and intention behind your life and is perfect for those who need help finding it.

Living a life of intention means establishing clarity on what your purpose is in life, formulating a plan to achieve your purpose, and sticking to it until it is fulfilled. This book is great for those of you who have never written out a detailed life plan. In fact, one of the reasons I decided to go through 52 audiobooks and 12 books this year is because I had a detailed life plan written out. I have labeled "self-development" as a major category in my life and have engineered a very detailed plan on what exactly I was going to accomplish this year in regards to this category. Books are just one of the many things I have planned out for this year in the "self-development", along with programs, mastermind groups, and conferences I will attend.

I highly recommend this book as key starting point for any individual who wants to get the most out of life.

Rating: I rate this book a 5 out of 5 stars, which is why I read it again this year!

( iTunes: E-Book, Audiobook  |   Amazon: Book )  


Building A Story Brand (Advanced Copy) By Donald Miller

I literally wanted to highlight this whole book. I would have turned this cleanly white covered book into a glowing neon yellow object.

I have recently become a huge fan of Donald Miller because of his StoryBrand company. Don helps businesses clarify their messages and gives them practical advice for utilizing these messages in their marketing campaigns.

Could it be that the reason people aren't buying is because your messaging on your website isn't quite clear? Maybe. Many businesses think that simply putting their website up will lead to massive sales, but that is completely wrong. You must understand the customer, their needs, struggles, opportunities, and much more to understand them at a deeper level.

Then you can place your business as the answer to get your customer what they truly want. It's not manipulation, its making an offer that meets your clients needs, which will ultimately solve their problems and give them satisfaction. You just have to clearly understand them. The StoryBrand framework that you will learn in this book is pure GOLD and can be applied towards any business.

Rating: I rate this book a 5 out of 5 stars for immense value that is given in regards to branding and marketing.

( iTunes: E-Book  |   Amazon: Book )


Parting thought:

I highly recommend signing up for audible.com to get your self-education started through audiobooks! See the link below:


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