My Reading List for 2022

My Reading List for 2022

Like many of you, I create a reading list for the upcoming year. 

Before sharing my list, I want to remind you that reading is not about accomplishment. It’s not about quantity. As Charles Spurgeon once stated, “Little learning and much pride comes from hasty reading.” I’d rather someone read, learn from, and apply the principles of 3 books rather than skimming 30.

So read to gain knowledge and insight. Read to learn a new skill or refine an existing strength. Read for pleasure and inspiration. Just make sure that whatever you read, you allow those books to benefit both your personal development and also add value to the lives of the people around you. 

With that being said, here is my reading list for 2022…

  1. Concise Theology by J.I. Packer
  2. City of God by St. Augustine
  3. What Christians Really Believe and Why by Stanley Grenz
  4. Pensees by Pascal
  5. A Ready Defense by Josh McDowell
  6. Do You Believe? 12 Historic Doctrines to Change Your Everyday Life by Paul David Tripp
  7. Baby Wise by Gary Ezzo
  8. Cribsheet by Emily Oster
  9. Parenting by Paul David Tripp
  10. The Art of Public Speaking by Dale Carnegie
  11. Communicating for a Change by Andy Stanley
  12. Talk like Ted by Carmine Gallo
  13. Secrets to Dynamic Communication by Ken Davis
  14. The Accidental Instructional Designer by Cammy Bean
  15. Design for How People Learn by Julie Dirksen
  16. e-Learning and the Science of Instruction by Ruth Clark
  17. e-Learning by Design by William Horton
  18. The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien by J.R.R. Tolkien
  19. J.R.R. Tolkien: A Life Inspired by Wyatt North
  20. The Fellowship: The Literary Lives by Carol and Philip Zaleski
  21. A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War by Joseph Loconte
  22. Letters From Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien
  23. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  24. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
  25. The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
  26. The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
  27. The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
  28. Unfinished Tales by J.R.R. Tolkien
  29. C.S. Lewis—A Life: Eccentric, Genius, Reluctant Prophet by Alister McGrath
  30. Aesop’s Fables
  31. Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
  32. Atomic Habits by James Clear
  33. The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother LawrenceParenting by Paul David Tripp

 

Game Plan

What’s your reading list for 2022?

Send me a message and let me know which books you’re looking forward to reading this year (or maybe the books you’ve already read!).

 

Tweetable Lesson

Discipline Equals Freedom: Book Summary

Discipline Equals Freedom: Book Summary

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and I receive a commission if you visit a link and buy something on my recommendation. Purchasing via an affiliate link doesn’t cost you any extra, and I only recommend products and services I trust. All opinions are my own. For more details see my disclosure policy and privacy policy.

I recently read Discipline Equals Freedom by Jocko Willink. One of my development plans this year is to focus on mindset and mental toughness. Willink knows a thing or two about mental toughness since he was a Navy Seal. I love that he doesn’t pull any punches and doesn’t allow any room for us to make excuses.

If you are looking for a field manual to help you with both mental and physical toughness, I encourage you to read this book. You can purchase it here. (Affiliate Link)

Below are some of my highlights, taken directly from the book during my reading… 

 

Part One: Thoughts

    • We are the product of our mistakes…The most important thing to learn is that we have so much to learn…The most important thing to understand about regret is that in and of itself, regret is worthless. It does nothing for you. In fact: The only thing valuable in regret is the lesson you learned. (Page 51 · Location 545)
    • How do I deal with setbacks, failures, delays, defeats, or other disasters? I actually have a fairly simple way of dealing with these situations, summed up in one word: “Good.” This is something that one of my direct subordinates, one of the guys who worked for me, a guy who became one of my best friends, pointed out. He would pull me aside with some major problem or some issue that was going on, and he’d say, “Boss, we’ve got this thing, this situation, and it’s going terribly wrong.” I would look at him and I’d say:“ Good.”…So I explained to him that when things are going bad, there’s going to be some good that will come from it…Oh, mission got canceled? Good. We can focus on another one. Didn’t get the new high-speed gear we wanted? Good. We can keep it simple. Didn’t get promoted? Good. More time to get better. Didn’t get funded? Good. We own more of the company. Didn’t get the job you wanted? Good. Go out, gain more experience, and build a better resume. Got injured? Good. Needed a break from training. Got tapped out? Good. It’s better to tap out in training than to tap out on the street. Got beat? Good. We learned. Unexpected problems? Good. We have the opportunity to figure out a solution…Accept reality, but focus on the solution. (Page 60 · Location 664)
    • Don’t worry about motivation. Motivation is fickle. It comes and goes. It is unreliable and when you are counting on motivation to get your goals accomplished—you will likely fall short. So. Don’t expect to be motivated every day to get out there and make things happen. You won’t be. Don’t count on motivation. Count on Discipline. (Page 68 · Location 738)
    • People ask me, “How are you doing?”…If I were to speak truthfully when people asked me how I was doing, I would tell them: “It doesn’t matter how I’m doing.” Because that’s the truth. It doesn’t matter if I feel good or bad or excited or bored or happy or sad. IT DOESN’T MATTER. I am going to do what I am supposed to do. (Page 105 · Location 1096)
    • DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY…When you view things in your life from a long-term, strategic perspective, then absolutely: Do what makes you happy. The problem comes when people decide to let that ethos drive their daily life…These actions all result in short-term happiness. The problem is they all also result in long-term misery…Don’t do what makes you happy. Do what makes you better. (Page 107 · Location 1115)
    • THE COUNT IS ZERO. Wake up with that attitude every day. You have to prove yourself all over again. You have to earn your seat at the table. You have to GET AFTER IT. (Page 111 · Location 1145)

 

Part Two: Actions

    • By working out, you will increase your endorphins, testosterone, growth hormones, cardiac volume, insulin sensitivity, and natural killer cells. Those changes will help prevent or treat the following health issues: high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, insomnia, and depression…Working out will make you smarter. Yes: Smarter. It improves blood flow to the brain. It boosts growth hormones that promote growth of new nerve cells. It improves synaptic plasticity, the ability for neurons to send and receive messages. It releases brain chemicals that help cognition, like: dopamine, glutamate, norepinephrine, and serotonin. It also boosts the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that helps with mental processes. (Page 141 · Location 1422)
    • Discipline begets discipline. Will propagates MORE WILL. (Page 148 · Location 1481)
    • Everyone should train in martial arts, just as everyone should eat. (Page 166 · Location 1614)

 

Fuel: Feeding the Machine

    • Fasting will recalibrate what hunger is to you. You will realize that you aren’t actually hungry most of the time. You are just bored. And, at the end of a fast, your food will taste better, too. (Page 201 · Location 1895)

 

Repair and Maintenance: Injury Prevention and Recovery

    • My theory for overcoming injuries and illnesses is simple: DO WHAT YOU CAN…Take advantage of physical injuries and sickness by doing something you don’t normally have time for. (Page 207 · Location 1933)

 

Game Plan

The premise of this book is that being mentally and physically disciplined will lead to freedom. Freedom from anxiety, insecurity, and most importantly a self-defeating mindset. In which area do you need more discipline: mental or physical? After determining that, what is one thing you can start doing this week to increase your discipline in that area?

 

Tweetable Lesson

 

It Takes What It Takes: Book Summary

It Takes What It Takes: Book Summary

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and I receive a commission if you visit a link and buy something on my recommendation. Purchasing via an affiliate link doesn’t cost you any extra, and I only recommend products and services I trust. All opinions are my own. For more details see my disclosure policy and privacy policy.

I recently read It Takes What It Takes: How to Think Neutrally and Gain Control of Your Life by Trevor Moawad. One of my development plans is to focus on mindset and mental toughness. Moawad has been the mental coach for elite athletes such as Russel Wilson and championship teams like the University of Alabama Football Team.

If you are looking for a book to help you cultivate mental toughness, then I highly recommend this one.  You can purchase it here

Below are some of my highlights, taken directly from the book during my reading… 

 

Chapters 1-6

    • Neutral thinking is a high-performance strategy that emphasizes judgment-free thinking, especially in crises and pressure situations…Neutral thinking shuns all attempts at illusion or outright self-delusion, which are often the foundation of other motivational systems. Neutral thinking strips away the bull and the biases, both external and internal. (Page 24 · Location 327)
    • Staying in the moment, giving each moment its own history, and reacting to events as they unfold. It takes away emotion and replaces it with behaviors. Instead of asking, “How do I feel?” you should be asking yourself, “What do I do?” (Page 42 · Location 538)
    • People aren’t defined by the past unless they choose to live there. (Page 60 · Location 726)
    • Confidence is the belief that you can do what is demanded. (Page 63 · Location 767)
    • Our choices ultimately determine our behaviors and those behaviors ultimately determine our outcomes. (Page 74 · Location 884)
    • Reflect on your successes as much as on your failures. (Page 83 · Location 986)
    • The human mind absorbs negativity seven times more easily than it absorbs positivity. We also know that language is the most powerful carrier of negativity. (Page 88 · Location 1036)
    • Negativity affects you negatively 100 percent of the time. (Page 93 · Location 1094)
    • Negativity, in any form that we choose to bring into our lives, is poison. (Page 114 · Location 1318)
    • Words are tools, and they both predict and perpetuate performance. (Page 117 · Location 1351)

 

Chapters 7-12

    • Conscious competence is knowing how to do what you need to do when you need to do it and why you are doing it. (Page 175 · Location 1957)
    • As tennis great Billie Jean King said, “pressure is a privilege.” (Page 180 · Location 2001)
    • Average people become average by doing average shit. (Page 181 · Location 2014)
    • You can’t confront people who don’t know they don’t know. (Page 200 · Location 2211)
    • A role model is a heat seeker, not a heat deflector. (Page 228 · Location 2499)
    • The late comedian Gracie Allen said to never place a period where God has placed a comma. The idea of living neutral is putting a comma at the end of an event—good or bad—and knowing that the next words will determine how the sentence continues. (Page 233 · Location 2559)

 

Game Plan

  1. I encourage you to pick up this book. You can purchase it here. (Affiliate Link)
  2. Select one of the quotes above and ask yourself, “How can I practically apply this to my life?”

 

Tweetable Lesson

Ego Is the Enemy: Book Summary

Ego Is the Enemy: Book Summary

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and I receive a commission if you visit a link and buy something on my recommendation. Purchasing via an affiliate link doesn’t cost you any extra, and I only recommend products and services I trust. All opinions are my own. For more details see my disclosure policy and privacy policy.

I recently read Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday. One of my development plans is to focus on mindset and mental toughness. Holiday does a great job of diagnosing some of the common mental obstacles and challenges that high-achievers face and gives practical, time-tested principles to manage our ego and ultimately get us out of the way of our own self. 

If you are looking for a book to help you manage success and/or cope with failure, I highly recommend this book. You can purchase it here

Below are some of my highlights, taken directly from the book during my reading (any emphases are my own)… 

 

INTRODUCTION
    • Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, your worst enemy already lives inside you: your ego. 
    • For people with ambitions, talents, drives, and potential to fulfill, ego comes with the territory. Precisely what makes us so promising as thinkers, doers, creatives, and entrepreneurs, what drives us to the top of those fields, makes us vulnerable to this darker side of the psyche. 
    • The aim of that structure is simple: to help you suppress ego early before bad habits take hold, to replace the temptations of ego with humility and discipline when we experience success, and to cultivate strength and fortitude so that when fate turns against you, you’re not wrecked by failure. In short, it will help us be:
      • Humble in our aspirations
      • Gracious in our success
      • Resilient in our failures 
PART I: ASPIRE
    • So what is scarce and rare? Silence. The ability to deliberately keep yourself out of the conversation and subsist without its validation. Silence is the respite of the confident and the strong.
    • The power of being a student is not just that it is an extended period of instruction, it also places the ego and ambition in someone else’s hands.
    • Greatness comes from humble beginnings; it comes from grunt work. It means you’re the least important person in the room—until you change that with results. 
    • “The first product of self-knowledge is humility,” Flannery O’Connor once said. This is how we fight the ego, by really knowing ourselves. The question to ask, when you feel pride, then, is this: What am I missing right now that a more humble person might see? 
PART II: SUCCESS
    • Ego is a wicked sister of success. 
    • Sobriety, open-mindedness, organization, and purpose—these are the great stabilizers. They balance out the ego and pride that comes with achievement and recognition. 
    • A smart man or woman must regularly remind themselves of the limits of their power and reach. 
    • Ego needs honors in order to be validated. Confidence, on the other hand, is able to wait and focus on the task at hand regardless of external recognition. 
    • Creativity is a matter of receptiveness and recognition. This cannot happen if you’re convinced the world revolves around you. 
PART III: FAILURE
    • Ego loves this notion, the idea that something is “fair” or not. Psychologists call it narcissistic injury when we take personally totally indifferent and objective events. 
    • As Goethe once observed, the great failing is “to see yourself as more than you are and to value yourself at less than your true worth.” 
    • Do your work. Do it well. Then “let go and let God.“ That’s all there needs to be. Recognition and rewards—those are just extra. Rejection, that’s on them, not on us. 
    • Ego kills what we love. 
    • He who will do anything to avoid failure will almost certainly do something worthy of a failure. The only real failure is abandoning your principles…If your reputation can’t absorb a few blows, it wasn’t worth anything in the first place. 
EPILOGUE
    • From the book: I want to conclude this book with the idea that has underpinned all of what you’ve just read. That it’s admirable to want to be better businessmen or businesswomen, better athletes, better conquerors. We should want to be better informed, better off financially . . . We should want, as I’ve said a few times in this book, to do great things. I know that I do. But no less impressive an accomplishment: being better people, being happier people, being balanced people, being content people, being humble and selfless people. Or better yet, all of these traits together. And what is most obvious but most ignored is that perfecting the personal regularly leads to success as a professional, but rarely the other way around. 

 

Game Plan

Take some time to assess your ego. Which aspect of your life is your ego creeping into: aspirations, success, or failure? (Or if you are like me, you see your ego in each one of them.)

What is your ego telling you and how can you begin to combat it?

 

Tweetable Lesson

The Obstacle is the Way: Book Summary

The Obstacle is the Way: Book Summary

One trait that separates the “successful” (however you define it) from those who lack consistency with their results, is the way they view obstacles. Those who accomplish a lot see obstacles not as setbacks but as opportunities.

I just recently read Ryan Holiday’s book The Obstacle is the Way and I really enjoyed it. Holiday is a self-proclaimed Stoic and he takes this ancient philosophy and applies it to modern times.

In this book, Holiday gives a blueprint on how we can respond better to adversity through reshaping our perception, acting on the opportunity presented to us, and persevering regardless of the results.

I don’t agree with every premise in this book, but I do think Holiday does a really good job of sharing time-tested philosophy and showing the practical application.

If you are interested in this topic, I think you’ll enjoy this summary of the book through some of my highlights. 

 

Preface/Introduction

    • “The obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition.” 

 

Perception

    • What is Perception? It’s how we see and understand what occurs around us — and what we decide those events will mean.
    • Real strength lies in the control or, as Nassim Taleb put it, “the domestication of one’s emotions, not in pretending they don’t exist.”
    • Focusing exclusively on what is in our power magnifies and enhances our power.
    • Where the head goes, the body follows. Perception precedes action. Right action follows the right perspective.

 

Action

    • Action is commonplace, right action is not. As a discipline, it’s not any kind of action that will do, but directed action.
    • In a world where we increasingly work for ourselves, are responsible for ourselves, it makes sense to view ourselves like a start-up — a start-up of one. And that means changing the relationship with failure. It means iterating, failing, and improving.
    • To be physically and mentally loose takes no talent. That’s just recklessness…to be physically and mentally tight? That’s called anxiety…physical looseness combined with mental restraint? That is powerful.
    • As Duke Ellington once said, “Problems are a chance for us to do our best.”

 

Will

    • What is Will? Will is our internal power, which can never be affected by the outside world.
    • This is the avenue for the final discipline: the Will. If Perception and Action were the disciplines of the mind and the body, then Will is the discipline of the heart and the soul. The Will is the one thing we control completely, always.
    • It doesn’t always feel that way but constraints in life are a good thing. Especially if we can accept them and let them direct us. They push us to places and to develop skills that we’d otherwise never have pursued. 
    • To do great things, we need to be able to endure tragedy and setbacks. We’ve got to love what we do and all that it entails, good and bad. We have to learn to find joy in every single thing that happens.

 

Final Thoughts: The Obstacles Become the Way

    • See things for what they are. Do what we can. Endure and bear what we must. What blocked the path now is a path. What once impeded action advances action. The Obstacle is the Way.

 

Game Plan

First, I highly recommend reading this book. Second, what is one obstacle that is currently standing in the way of you accomplishing a goal? Ask yourself these questions:

    1. Am I seeing this situation in the right perspective or am I creating a story? Maybe you need to reframe your perception.
    2. What’s the next step I can take? See the opportunity in this obstacle.
    3. What can I learn about myself through this situation? Use this as a learning moment.

 

Tweetable Lesson

 

The Starbucks Experience: Book Summary

The Starbucks Experience: Book Summary

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and I receive a commission if you visit a link and buy something on my recommendation. Purchasing via an affiliate link doesn’t cost you any extra, and I only recommend products and services I trust. All opinions are my own. For more details see my disclosure policy and privacy policy.

I recently read The Starbucks Experience by Joseph A. Michelli and I have to say I was extremely impressed with the culture that Starbucks is cultivating internally with their employees which leads to exceptional customer service. 

If you are looking for ways to improve your team’s culture and/or increase your customer experience, then I highly recommend this book. You can purchase it here.

Below are some of my highlights from reading this book…

 

Introduction

    • The employee turnover rate at Starbucks, according to some reports, is 120% less than the industry average. Maryann Hammers states in Workforce Management, “Starbucks employees have an 82% job-satisfaction rate, according to a Hewitt Associates Starbucks Partner View Survey. This compares to a 50% satisfaction rate for all employers and 74% for Hewitt’s ’Best Place to Work’ employers.” 
    • The Starbucks Experience reflects tenets that are simple, yet not simplistic. They are results-oriented and can be deceptively powerful when applied:
        1. Make it your own
        2. Everything matters
        3. Surprise and delight
        4. Embrace resistance
        5. Leave your mark

PRINCIPLE 1: Make It Your Own

    • The “Five Ways of Being”
        • Be welcoming
        • Be genuine
        • Be considerate
        • Be knowledgeable
        • Be involved
    • At Starbucks, that discretion comes in the form of giving priority to being welcoming, demonstrating generally what being welcoming looks like, refreshing that image, and then letting people make that concept their own as they bring it into the lives of those they serve. 
    • The concept of what it takes to be genuine is fairly straightforward, but profound. At Starbucks, being genuine means to “connect, discover, and respond.” 
    • When Starbucks leaders ask partners to “be knowledgeable,” they are encouraging employees to “love what they do and share it with others.” 
    • Leaders encourage employees to go beyond just doing their day-to-day job, and instead invest with attentive, creative, and passionate energy. 

 

PRINCIPLE 2: Everything Matters

    • Howard Schultz is fond of saying that “retail is detail.” 
    • Managers have to constantly put themselves in the shoes of their customers, seeing everything from the other side of the counter.
    • Every company’s brand is nothing more than the sum total of the individual actions its people take. 
    • Not only does everything matter; everyone matters as well.

 

PRINCIPLE 3: Surprise and Delight

    • Consumers want predictable and consistent, with an occasional positive twist or added value thrown in. 
    • Rather than encouraging trite customer service sayings like “Have a nice day” or other scripted communications, successful leaders help staff look for genuine opportunities to do the positively unexpected. 
    • When businesses partner with customers in these personal ways, they create a loyalty that is far greater than what a company could obtain by simply serving a high-quality product. Business leaders give their people the opportunity and permission to make a real connection with their customers. 
    • Predictability produces customer delight…And even when something goes wrong, an employee or manager can still delight the customer by going the extra mile to make things right. Delight is the result of an unwavering commitment to creating a comfortable and trusted customer relationship.

 

PRINCIPLE 4: Embrace Resistance

    • Embrace Resistance…This principle requires leaders to distinguish between customers who want their concerns to be resolved and those individuals who will never stop complaining or be satisfied. 
    • Successful leaders do not hide from difficult challenges. They approach complex and controversial issues with a willingness to benefit from the concerns raised by commentators and adversaries.
    • District manager Renny Freet: “Embracing resistance is a lot about respecting other people’s perspectives.” 

 

PRINCIPLE 5: Leave Your Mark

    • Employee morale is three times higher in firms that are actively involved in the community than in their less-involved counterparts. When employees’ work environments match their personal values, they are more productive. 
    • Starbucks challenges its staff members to make their individual mark right where they live. In support of this, Starbucks makes a $10 per hour contribution, up to $1,000 per project, to the qualifying organization where the partner volunteers. 
    • To the benefit of Starbucks, volunteerism strengthens team identity and enhances leadership abilities. 

 

A Final Word

    • Your guiding tenets need to offer a flexible structure so that you can implement those values while fostering the special gifts and passions of young people.
    • Starbucks is an excellent model of how a company can become a learning institution. Starbucks leaders understand the importance of taking feedback, both positive and negative, and disseminating it throughout the company for collective education and adaptation.

 

Game Plan

Consider doing a personal inventory of how you stack up against the Starbucks Experience principles. Consider the following questions:

    • How consistently welcoming am I?
    • What details do I tend to overlook?
    • Where can I offer more surprise or delight in my workplace?
    • In what situations do I embrace resistance, and when do I run from it?
    • What mark am I leaving at work, at home, and in my community? 

 

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