Best Reads of 2014

Best Reads of 2014

Another year, another bookshelf. I can’t say I read as much as intended, but I picked some gems. Below are some of the most impactful ones I enjoyed in 2014:

Unbroken. These days most books I read are on business, leadership and marketing. I forgot how refreshing it can be to read a great story; Unbroken is an epic true story about an Olympic track star turned WWII captive and his life after the war.

My big takeaway: My ‘challenges’ are a joke. 47 days lost at sea and 2.5 years as a prisoner of war were just the start for Louie.

Quote: “A lifetime of glory is worth a moment of pain.”

The Defining Decade. My peer group needs this book. Bad. The author Meg Jay is a psychologist who relays life lessons by retelling some of her patients’ stories – specifically 20 somethings. Each character seems like a part of me or a replica of a good friend. Bouncing through relationships, flailing through meaningless jobs and procrastinating on adulthood.

My big takeaway: Being a professional bruncher derails your family, career and relationships.

Quote: “Feeling better doesn’t come from avoiding adulthood, it comes from investing in adulthood.”

The Obstacle is The Way. During the lowest point I’ve had in four years with RevLocal, I heard an interview with Ryan Holiday. His book was one of the biggest things to pull me through and help give perspective. This dude has accomplished more in his young career than most, including leading NY Times best selling books launches and previously running marketing for American Apparel. This short read looks at people like Marcus Aurelius, Thomas Edison or Malcolm X and their ability to see eat challenges for breakfast.

My big takeaway: If you’re doing anything worthwhile, major roadblocks are inevitable. We must be able to quickly perceive the setback and act quickly as if it was part of the plan all along.

Quote: “Overcoming obstacles is a discipline of three critical steps…how we look at our specific problems, our attitude or approach; then the energy and creativity with which we actively break them down and turn them into opportunities; finally, the cultivation and maintenance of an inner will that allows us to handle defeat and difficulty.”

Leaders Eat Last. I’ve had a mancrush on Simon Sinek since the first time I saw his Ted Talk, ‘Start With Why.’ He’s brilliant at creating timeless frameworks for motivation and leadership. His new book dives into the biology and psychology of what organizations can do to make people feel safe at work and deliver incredible results. A lot of his studies relate directly to some of setbacks I had in 2014.

My big takeaway: I need to be part of the solution. And as much as we want to quantify everyone or lead through fear, its less effective.

Quote: “Truly human leadership protects an organization from the internal rivalries that can shatter a culture. When we have to protect ourselves from each other, the whole organization suffers….the strength and endurance of a company does not come from products or services but from how well their people pull together.”

Did you read anything awesome I should add to my list in 2014? Or what do you plan to read in 2015? Comment below!

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