One of the best bargains available to us today? Books. Why? A good book summarizes an expert’s best thinking on a subject for a fraction of the cost of a course, or a conference, or counseling.
Our problem, of course, is that precious commodity: TIME. Your life is busy—just like mine. So I’ll keep it simple.
I’d like to share with you the top 5 books I read this past year, the 5 strategies to read more books—and 5 ways you can find some free books.
(If you’re curious, I’ll also share all of the books I read this past year.)
Top 5 Books I Read this Past Year
I read 52 books over the last 12 months. It sounds like a book a week, but it wasn’t. (I didn’t read the Bible in a week!) Some books took time, and others deserved a serious skim (yes, skimming counts as reading). I already have about 30 books on my list for this year, and I can’t wait to tackle them.
Here are the top 5 books I read last year, in no certain order (click to read more info on each book):
- Proverbs (Kidner Classic Commentaries)
- Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals
- Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less
- Willpower Doesn’t Work: Discover the Hidden Keys to Success
- Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.
If you’d like to grab these books, just click the links above. If you read the books, I’d love to know what you think. (The rest of the books I read last year are below.)
Tell me what you think: What were the best books you read this past year? To leave a comment, just click here.
5 Tips on Finding Time to Read More Books
- Read with your ears. An easy way to read more books is to listen to them on your smartphone. This allows you to read while in the car, while exercising, or while doing yard work. Get started by downloading a FREE audiobook at Audible. They even allow you to exchange a book you don’t like, no questions asked.
- Keep a book on hand everywhere you go. I always have a book handy for idle moments—those cracks of time in the day when you could read instead of veg. Keep a book in the car for the checkout lines, doctor offices, solo lunches, and traffic jams. Or, if you don’t want a stack of books in your car, take your tablet with you. I always have an e-book I’m reading on my iPad mini so that if I’m never staring at the ceiling or stuck reading some magazine. I read more books this way.
- Learn how to read faster. This is a skill that will benefit you all your life. A few years ago I read a great book called How to Read Better and Faster. It really helped me read more—better and faster. It takes practice, but hey, what skill doesn’t?
- Make Gleaning Your Goal, Rather than Finishing—Consider for this next year a goal for reading that goes beyond simply finishing a book. Choose instead to glean from the book what God would have you get. Sometimes that means you don’t finish a book. Why waste your time? You may choose instead to capture some great quotes from the book; great quotes can serve as great summaries—and great takeaways. You’ll never remember all of what you read—an impossible goal. But just the process of reading stimulates your mind to think in ways it otherwise wouldn’t.
- Turn off the TV one night a week. Okay, obvious—but in a culture where the average home has the television on 8 hours a day, the obvious needs mentioning.
5 Places to Find (Free) Books to Read
Here are a few FREE ways to read more books, from sources both obvious and not-so-0bvious.
- Ask for Books as Gifts—Ever struggle to answer what you’d like for Christmas or your birthday? Me too. Now, you have a ready-made answer: “Give me a book you would recommend.” Books make great gifts to give as well.
- Your Nightstand or Bookshelf—Take a look at that stack of books on your nightstand. They’re totally free. I have a stack there to. Also, look at your bookshelf. We all have books we’ve stacked away that we meant to read but never got around to it. You could even re-read a great book you’ve read before.
- Your Local Library—In addition to physical books, most libraries now also lend e-books and audiobooks. Again, totally free.
- Free Kindle E-books—Bookmark this link and check out Amazon’s Top 100 Free Christian Inspirational E-books. You’ll need a Kindle or a free Kindle reader for your iPad or computer. If there’s another genre you’re interested in, just follow these instructions.
- Free Christian E-books —Here are a few good free Christian e-books I have found.
Tell me what you think: What book have you enjoyed this year? To leave a comment, just click here.
The Other Books I Read This Past Year
Listed in no particular order, here are the other books I read this past year. Just click on the book to read more about it.
- Holy Bible (I use the NASB Side-Column Reference Wide Margin edition)
- Psalms 1-72 (Kidner Classic Commentaries)
- Psalms 76-150 (Kidner Classic Commentaries)
- The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy
- The Loyalist Team: How Trust, Candor, and Authenticity Create Great Organizations
- Built for Growth: How Builder Personality Shapes Your Business, Your Team, and Your Ability to Win
- Fast/Forward: Make Your Company Fit for the Future
- Creating Great Choices: A Leader’s Guide to Integrative Thinking
- The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It
- Dancing on the Head of a Pen: The Practice of a Writing Life
- Lead with a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, and Inspire
- Steal the Show: From Speeches to Job Interviews to Deal-Closing Pitches, How to Guarantee a Standing Ovation for All the Performances in Your Life
- Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High
- Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus: How a Jewish Perspective Can Transform Your Understanding
- Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success
- George Washington on Leadership
- Herding Tigers: Be the Leader That Creative People Need
- The Leading Brain: Neuroscience Hacks to Work Smarter, Better, Happier
- The Reputation Game: The Art of Changing How People See You
- Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days
- The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups
- Well-Designed: How to Use Empathy to Create Products People Love
- Clouds, Lysistrata
- The Aging Brain: Proven Steps to Prevent Dementia and Sharpen Your Mind
- Republic (Book I-II)
- Ethics (Book I)
- The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans (partial)
- Wealth—Is it Worth it?
- The Prince
- Abraham Lincoln: An Illustrated History
- Stretch: Unlock the Power of Less and Achieve More Than You Ever Imagined
- The Bravest You: Five Steps to Fight Your Biggest Fears, Find Your Passion, and Unlock Your Extraordinary Life
- The Right—and Wrong—Stuff: How Brilliant Careers Are Made and Unmade
- Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader
- First Peter in the Greek New Testament
- Lead Yourself First: Inspiring Leadership Through Solitude
- Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World–and Why Things Are Better Than You Think
- Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity
- The Compassionate Achiever: How Helping Others Fuels Success
- Virtual Culture: The Way We Work Doesn’t Work Anymore, a Manifesto
- The CEO Next Door: The 4 Behaviors that Transform Ordinary People into World-Class Leaders
- Gargantua and Pantagruel
- Becoming a Writer
- On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft