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Ask Dave

No Way To List Them All

Sam asks Dave what books have had the most impact on his life. Dave loves to read, so it's impossible to list them all.

QUESTION: Sam on Twitter asks Dave what books have had the most impact on his life. Dave loves to read, so it’s impossible to list them all.

ANSWER: There’s no possible way to list them all. I read like I eat. I love to read. It’s one of the gifts that my mother gave me. She taught me that the answer to any question is somewhere in a book. If you have a question and you can’t get your question answered, it’s somewhere in a book.

Did you know that there are no babies that come with manuals? When I got married, they didn’t give me a manual for marriage. When I started a business, they didn’t teach me how to run a business. When I became a leader, I didn’t know how to lead. I didn’t know how to raise girls. I didn’t know how to raise boys. I didn’t know how to deal with teenagers. I didn’t know how to interact with others. I didn’t know how to sell. I didn’t know about Twitter or advertising or tribes or marketing. All of these things came from books.

I can’t point to one book. I’m a Christian, so I’m going to say the Bible. That would be true. I’m not being sarcastic. It is true. It’s in there. And obviously a person of faith should have your handbook. That ought to be your thing.

There are just so many books that have impacted me. It’s almost like what was the last one I read? That’s my latest favorite one. That’s not always true because some of them are bad and I throw them away. I usually mention them on the air if I like them. I usually give them away or tell you to go get them if they’re important books to the answer. Have you ever noticed how many of the answers to the questions on this show are, “Hey, get this book and read it”?

If you’ve got girls, you need to read Meg Meeker’s Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters. That’s the latest parenting book I’ve read. Actually, her other one was Boys Should Be Boys. Excellent. Meg is just an excellent writer on parenting. Just incredible. If you’re married, you need to be reading. The latest one I read is Eggerichs, Love & Respect—just really rich. Just good stuff. If you want to learn about one of the best thinkers, Tim Keller. I just read his book on generosity. It is really good from a theological and doctrinal viewpoint, very balanced, very straight on. He’s not a gnostic. The guy is great. He doesn’t think stuff is evil but understands that stuff is to be managed for God. Just very well done. Some of these guys think you have to get rid of all your stuff or you’re not holy. If you have stuff, you must be materialistic. That’s just not accurate.

I love it. Just get in there and read. Read, read, read, read, read. Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I love Kiyosaki. That’s his first book. He and I disagree about some stuff, but I think that book is something everybody ought to read. It’s really good. QBQ is a good one by John Miller. You always hear me talk about Boundaries. Boundaries is incredible, by Dr. Henry Cloud—his consummate work. Thou Shall Prosper by Rabbi Daniel Lapin is a great one. I just wrote the foreword to the re-issue of it. If you want to learn about leadership, you’ve got to read John Maxwell. He’s got a new one out right now. Jim Collins has got a new one out right now. The first one is Built to Last, then Good to Great. His research is incredible. Seth Godin, if you’re going to learn about marketing, you’ve got to read Seth. He’s one of the best marketing minds out there right now. The book Tribes is his last big one. Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers—that one’s good.

See what I mean? I just can’t stop. I’ve got a 1960s copy of How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. That one’s just been redone. The Carnegie course is just life-changing. If you’re going to win, you’re going to read. If you’re going to win at your marriage, you’re going to read marriage books. If you’re going to win at parenting, you’re going to read parenting books. If you’ve got 12-year-olds, you need to read Parenting Today’s Adolescent by Dennis Rainey. It’s classic. Some of these are old books. Some of them are kind of hard to find. Of course, if you’re looking for a job, we’re always throwing out Dan Miller’s 48 Days to the Work You Love. You just have to read. The average millionaire reads a nonfiction book a month. Charlie “Tremendous” Jones was an unbelievable proponent of literacy. His famous saying was, “Five years from today, you’ll be the same person you are today with the same problems you have today and the same income you have today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” Those are the variables that’ll change the trajectory of your life. They’ll move the needle for you.