There’s nothing like the start of a new year to set goals, and this year I have a big one. Fresh off my success at reading 40 books in 2017, I’ve set a goal to read 50 books. I am determined to keep up the reading habit.
Need help getting in the reading habit? Check out my advice here.
Want to see my top reading picks from last year? Read 13 Best Books for Leaders.
Here are the rules I set for myself. Rules have no wiggle-room for discussion:
- The book has to be for me.
I don’t count books I read to my kids, even though I love reading to them. If I counted the books I read to my children last year, I easily would have read more than 50 books. That’s a nice bonus. But this is MY challenge, not my kids’ challenge, so the books I count toward my goal have to be for me.
- I have the read or listen to the entire book (not including the index or appendixes).
Skimming or skipping, to me, is cheating. There’s nothing wrong with it per se, but in my personal challenge, it doesn’t count.
- If a book bores me, it’s totally fine to stop reading it. But it doesn’t count toward my finished list if I quit.
There were several books I read last year that I couldn’t stand. I kept reading some of them, but I wish I hadn’t. They were just awful. This tends to be more of an issue with audiobooks, especially if the narrator is terrible. Be sure to listen to a narration preview before you download. You’ll thank me later.
Here are my guidelines. Guidelines help me stay focused, but they can change:
- Choose books that help me with my guiding word for the year.
My 2018 word is “Aware.” Anything I can read that helps me with that word is welcome. Last year it was “Leader,” so a lot of the books I read were about developing leadership skills.
- Keep two lists: Books I read and books I want to read.
I have a problem with indecision, so I keep a “For Later” shelf in my library portal so I always have something to choose, and I don’t spend hours searching. I spend a few times a year adding to my list. That said, my list is not the end-all-be-all. If Audible or a friend recommends a book to me, I can change course at anytime. My list is only a guide, not a bible. The idea is to read more.
I also keep a running list of books I finished. This helps me stay motivated because I can see my progress.
Currently, my list of books to read is at 84 and continues to grow as I peruse other lists like this one. That’s OK. I’m going to read 50 this year, and I have no plans to stop reading. Here are 25 books from the list of books I plan to read this year:
- Emotional Intelligence 2.0
by Travis Bradberry
- The End of Average: How We Succeed in a World That Values Sameness
By Todd Rose
- Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-up Bubble
By Daniel Lyons
- Hacking Growth: How Today’s Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success
By Sean, Ellis
- Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy
By Sheryl Sandberg
- Captivate: the Science of Succeeding with People
By Vanessa Van Edwards
- Barking up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (mostly) Wrong
By Eric Barker
By Malcolm Gladwell
- Pause: Harnessing the Life-Changing Power of Giving Yourself a Break
By Rachael O’Meara
- Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in A Distracted World
By Carl Newport
- The Obstacle Is the Way: he Timeless Art of Turning Trials Into Triumph
By Ryan Holiday
- The Gifts of Imperfection
By Brene Brown
By Robert Greene
- Type Talk: How 16 Personality Types Determine How We Live Love, and Work
By Otto Kroeger
- Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life
By Susan David
- Thinking, Fast and Slow
By Daniel Kahneman
- Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions
By Dan Ariely
- Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life
By Martin E. Seligman
- Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
By Carol S. Dweck
- Ego is the Enemy
By Ryan Holiday
- Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
By Doris Kearns Goodwin
- Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us
By Seth Godin
- Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… And Others Don’t
By Jim Collins
- Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ
By Daniel Goleman
- First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently
By Marcus Buckingham
All of these are on my “For Later” shelf in my Austin Public Library portal. They are almost all certainly on Amazon. You might even check your local independent bookstore (go local!). And there are quite a few on Audible.
Interested in reading with me? I plan to post about the books I read throughout the year, and I welcome your comments. I also welcome your books suggestions. Last year I included several suggestions and I’m glad I did. It varies my reading list and often brings a new perspective I didn’t consider.