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Top Books to Read This Year

4 Minute Read

This time of year, it’s just plain cold outside. Sure, some of you live a little closer to the equator, but for most of us—even here in Nashville, Tennessee—temps are a tad cooler than our noses and toes prefer.

Sometimes, the winter chill and shortened days make reaching our New Year’s goals all the more difficult. Hey, it’s tough to go for a run when the couch and a cup of hot cocoa are there to greet you each evening.

While we encourage intentional living and despise laziness, you might just benefit from giving in to the call of the couch—if, and only if, you’re holding a book.

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Motivational speaker Charlie Jones said, “You’re the same today as you will be in five years except for two things: the people you meet and the books you read.” He’s right! Next to relationships, books can be our greatest teachers.

If you’re going to have a Make It Happen year, you’ve got to use winter weeknights to your advantage. Determine what you’d like to learn and pick books suited to your goals. If you’re not sure where to begin, go with something in the leadership or business realm where personal and professional applications are always beneficial. To get your list started, we asked a few of our leaders about their recent reads. Check out their suggestions below.

Start With Why, by Simon Sinek

“I give this book five stars. It’s one of my all-time favorites now. It really taps into why we do things instead of just exploring what we do. It gives so many great real-life examples such as why would people tattoo the name of a motorcycle on their arms, specifically Harley Davidson? We don’t see many Honda tattoos! If you’re an Apple fan, there are a lot of good Apple stories in there too. I may read this one again in 2013.” —Jack, EVP of Business to Business

Tribal Leadership, by Dave Logan, John King and Halee Fischer-Wright

“This book talks about cultures and sub-cultures within a company. It really helps you to recognize what makes teams tick and what makes them successful. When putting new leaders in place, even the best leaders will fail miserably if their teams don’t accept them.” —Tony, CIO

Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand

“I’ll go way outside the typical leadership box and tell you that this was an amazing book. Unbroken is an incredible story of one man’s rise to fame, trials as a WWII prisoner of war, and later his personal redemption. I couldn’t put it down. I was continually amazed at the perseverance and will to live of one man. It sure makes our everyday problems seem rather small in comparison—really even nonexistent!” —Mark, CFO

The Advantage, by Pat Lencioni

This was the most valuable book I read last year. For me, it was his best book by far. It is not told in a story line like his other books, but it gives good, practical steps to a healthy organizational structure. It really brings out how much human capital plays into the success of your business—and how it trumps everything else.” —Debbie, EVP of Business to Church

As this list suggests, it’s not just the act of reading that counts—what you read matters much more. Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer gave a quick and easy tip we can follow when making our next selection at the library. He said, “If a man wants to read good books, he must make a point of avoiding bad ones; for life is short, and time and energy limited.”

Spend this season wisely. Develop a habit of reading books—good books at that—and commit to sticking with it throughout the year. You’ll be amazed at the advances you can make in your personal, professional, emotional and spiritual life by the simple turning of a page.

What books do you recommend? Leave a comment below!

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