Day #546: The Top 10 Books I read in 2014

This is the time of the year to make lists. Everything that happened in 2014. I read and recommended a lot of good books this year and even though I can’t list them all here, here is my list of the top 10 books I read this year.

The list is in no particular order.

#1 Linchpin by Seth Godin: Linchpin is one of my favourite Seth Godin books.Most of Seth’s book have been about creating remarkable products or having a message that changes the world, in this book is about you-your choices, your future, and your potential to make a huge difference in whatever field you choose.There used to be two teams in every workplace: management and labor. Now there’s a third team, the linchpins. These people figure out what to do when there’s no rule book. They delight and challenge their customers and peers. They love their work, pour their best selves into it, and turn each day into a kind of art. If you are thinking of building a list of books to read for 2015. This should top the list.

#2 Start With Why by Simon Sinek: This book is a game changer for leaders in politics, business and society. Simon Sinek’s TED Talk that comes with this book has over 20 million views.Why do some leaders inspire a movement, sell a great product or create a successful company and some don’t? Those leaders start with ‘Why’. This is the most important element 0f any anything we set out to do. Why should we care? Why do you care? Asking ‘Why’ seems like a simple thing to do. Try it.

#3 The War of Art by Steven Pressfield: What keeps so many of us from doing what we long to do?How can we avoid the roadblocks of any creative endeavor—be it starting up a dream business venture, writing a novel, or painting a masterpiece? Best selling author- Steven Pressfield gives you strategies on how to defeat ‘the resistance’. The enemy within that stops you from writing that best seller you have been putting off, creating the company, or non profit that would change the world. Whoever you are, I best resistance is kicking your ass everyday by making you give up those goals you promised yourself you would achieve.

#4 The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin: This is another of my favourite Seth Godin book. Everyone knows that Icarus’s father made him wings and told him not to fly too close to the sun; he ignored the warning and plunged to his doom. The lesson: Play it safe. Listen to the experts. It was the perfect propaganda for the industrial economy. What boss wouldn’t want employees to believe that obedience and conformity are the keys to success? But we tend to forget that Icarus was also warned not to fly too low, because seawater would ruin the lift in his wings. Flying too low is even more dangerous than flying too high, because it feels deceptively safe. The big question from this book is: how high will you fly?

#5 David And Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell: In David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages, offering a new interpretation of what it means to be discriminated against, or cope with a disability, or lose a parent, or attend a mediocre school, or suffer from any number of other apparent setbacks.Gladwell’s works are thought provoking and they help us see another perspective to how we see the world.

#6 Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky: According to productivity expert Scott Belsky, no one is born with the ability to drive creative projects to completion. Execution is a skill that must be developed by building your organizational habits and harnessing the support of your colleagues.While many of us focus on generating and searching for great ideas, Belsky shows why it’s better to develop the capacity to make ideas happen-a capacity that endures over time.

#7 Aleph by Paulo Coelho: I read only 2 works of fiction this year and Paulo Coelho’s Aleph was one of the best books I ever read. This book chronicles Paulo’s pilgrimage through the trans Siberian railway, the longest in the world to find answers to deep spiritual questions that had been bothering him. The book is riveting and engaging. I advise you read it slowly.

#8 I know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou:Like Aleph, I selected I know Why The Caged Bird Sings for it’s personal and soulful appeal.Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is an amazing book everyone should read once.

#9 Daily Rituals:How Artists Work by Mason Currey: This book’s appeal was the simple way it detailed the lives of many creative people in history. From their daily habits to how they got their work done. Like the fact that Descartes liked to linger in bed, his mind wandering in sleep through woods, gardens, and enchanted palaces where he experienced “every pleasure imaginable” or that Anthony Trollope, who demanded of himself that each morning he write three thousand words (250 words every fifteen minutes for three hours) before going off to his job at the postal service, which he kept for thirty-three years during the writing of more than two dozen books. It’s a deep, poignant piece of research into the lives of some of history’s greats. Perhaps you will find one or two things to pick up from here.

#10 The Start-Up of You  by Reid Hoffman: LinkedIn co-founder and chairman Reid Hoffman and author Ben Casnocha show how to accelerate your career in today’s competitive world. The key is to manage your career as if it were a start-up business: a living, breathing, growing start-up of you.Why? Start-ups – and the entrepreneurs who run them – are nimble. They invest in themselves. They build their professional networks. They take intelligent risks. They make uncertainty and volatility work to their advantage.

Honourable Mentions

The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris: Anything Tim Ferris is an amazing read. Check out his blog here.

Education of Millionaires by Michael Elsberg: This book is a really great book. It got me thinking about some key skills you need to succeed that are not taught in school.

What book was your favourite book this year?

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