Today I’m going to nerd out about something not law related (for once)….all the books I recommend from 2017, and what’s on my list in 2018! I always love hearing what others are reading, so I thought I’d share some of my own.
I’ve always been a voracious reader- when I was younger, my mom would take my books away as my time out (this is embarrassing, I know). For the past ten-ish years, no matter how stressed or busy the day gets, I end every day reading for at least a half hour- my mind is pretty much a hamster wheel of constant thoughts, and I learned pretty quickly in law school that if I didn’t give myself that time to switch gears from work to rest, I would dream outlines and statutes all night. How annoying/boring is that?
That being said, this year I also realized that reading business books before I go to bed isn’t a prudent decision for me either- it doesn’t allow for that crucial rest. Instead, I am making it a point once again to read fiction each day. Also, just FYI: I was a history/poli sci double major in college with a specialization in ancient and European history… so needless to say, most of my fiction choices revolve around those areas. Historical fiction may not be everyone’s cup of tea, so while the list below includes a few fiction options, I’ve specifically chosen some that I think anyone would enjoy.
A Quick Tip For 2018
My day to day reading/information consumption habits differs from most. Aside from reading each night, I start each day with intentional reading time: the day’s portion from my chronological bible, then about 30 minutes reading a new statute/legal article/etc on a topic I’m researching. I designate those articles in my “Reset Week” each month (more on that to come later), but they will either revolve around a common client issue or a more nuanced area of the law that I’m seeking further education on. This was a habit I picked up on in my last law firm- an attorney that I look up to immensely would be the first in the office by about an hour each morning. I would usually be the next early arrival with him, and I noticed he would spend that time catching up on the day’s case law from our state courts or Supreme Court. In a legal system such as ours (aka, common law), our case law is literally built off of cases that judges decide every day. Needless to say, it’s an ever-evolving system, and taking time to keep yourself apprised of those changes can make you a very valuable attorney very quickly. But I digress.
I still consider him one of the smartest attorneys I know- those daily moments of intentional learning added up to a very successful legal career. I’m not just talking about listening to another Gary Vee podcast either (as much as I love those)- I’m talking focused content. 30 minutes of intentional education each work day on your specific field adds up to 2.5 hours a week. Multiply that by 52 weeks, and you’ve spent 130 hours of intentional, focused education on your topic for the year. That’s nearly one full week of the year on raising the bar as an expert in your field. If you do that, how much better of a photographer/copywriter/coach, etc do you think you’ll be by next January?
Back To The Books
The other FYI? I am still a voracious reader. I stopped counting, but I usually read a book a week each week without thinking about it. So, my reading goal for the year may be a little different than most: I want to keep it restful and inspiring for myself without putting pressure on myself to read all the business books. I’m actually very picky about the business books I read, and I have no problem with stopping one midway if I realize it’s not helpful to my situation. Instead, it’ll be fiction each night, and I’m going to carve out time around lunch each day to read some of a business-centric book. I’m in a bad habit of eating lunch at my desk anyway, so this goal will help serve both purposes.
So without further ado, here are the cream of the crop from the last year that I recommend to all of my friends!
Best Fiction Books of the Year
- The Nightingale
- All The Light We Cannot See
- The Memoires of Cleopatra (Ya’ll, I’m super picky about my historical fiction books, and anything by Margaret George is fantastic)
- Beneath a Scarlett Sky (an inspiring true story, and arguably my favorite book of the year)
Best Nonfiction of the Year
- Garden City (my absolute, hands down favorite nonfiction rec from the last year. I bought this on my Kindle last year, loved it, purchased the audiobook as I was traveling around the state for depositions and hearings last January, then bought the hardcover. I credit this book as being a linchpin for me starting my business).
- Chasing Slow (a close second. I read this book twice in Q3, then bought the hard copy because I just loved it so much).
- Braving the Wilderness (and literally every other Brene Brown book)
- Daring Greatly
- Present Over Perfect
- Grace Not Perfection and A Simplified Life (both are super easy, knock-em-out in a weekend type books)
- Real Artists Don’t Starve
Currently Reading & Loving:
- Leaders Eat Last (I’m pretty familiar with this one already, and it’s been on my list for awhile!)
- How to Win Friends and Influence People
- 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You (excitedly nervous for this one)
- War of Art
- Rest: How You Get More Done When You Work Less
- The Compound Effect
- Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook
I think reading can change the trajectory of your business, y’all. I really do. I would love to know if I missed any you’d recommend, or if you’ve read any on my 2018 list!