Books I’ve read so far in 2019 and why you should read them too

Avatar simplyfunmi | June 1, 2019

Called to Create: A Biblical Invitation to Create, Innovate and Risk by Jordan Raynor

Anyone who knows me, knows how important my faith is to me. I believe that we are created in the image of God. While the bible is about the relationship between God and man and how He redeems us through his son so that we have hope of eternal life with Him, the creativity and innovation that God displayed throughout the bible is not lost on me.

Called to Create is a book that explains that we are designed to create just like our heavenly Father. What I especially love about this book is how it highlights the fact that you don’t have to be a pastor or priest to live a life of service to God and people. You can be an artist, a creative, writer, entrepreneur etc. Mr. Raynor gives numerous examples of successful entrepreneurs who are followers of Christ that have answered the call to create, innovate and take risks. Some of these entrepreneurs own companies like Chick-Fil-A, TOMS shoes, and others are creatives like C.S. Lewis, Johann Sebastian Bach, J.R.R. Tolkien etc.

This is a book that will inspire you regardless of whether you are an entrepreneur in the traditional sense or you’re someone is hard wired to create.

Excellence Wins: A No-Nonsense Guide to Becoming the Best in a World of Compromise by Horst Schulze

Mr Schulze is the co-founder of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, which as you may know is one of the best hotels in the world. In this book, Mr. Schulze take us on a journey from childhood when all he wanted was to work in a hotel to how he became a co-founder of The Ritz-Carlton and all the lessons he’s learned along the way.

“Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen”- this was the phrase coined by Mr. Schulze which became the slogan for the Ritz-Carlton hotel employees. What I love about this phrase is that it underscores the importance a value system that drives the development self governance first, which ultimately guides you to a path of excellence in all you do and say. If you’re in any kind of industry; service, health, not-for-profit, church, restaurant e.t.c., everything you do must be done with excellence because we are first ladies and gentlemen, and we are serving people who are also ladies and gentlemen. People have to be at the heart of what we do.

Serving others well must be the reason we strive to ensure that we pursue excellence in all we do. I loved this book so much because it struck at the heart of something that’s really important to me, something that I think is missing in a lot of organizations today, and that’s service to people. This is definitely highly recommended and a must-read for everyone, especially if you are running a business.

Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results by James Clear

If there’s a book I plan on reading at least once every year, it’s Atomic Habits. This book caused a paradigm shift in my approach to setting goals. Before reading this, I used to think you should focus on achieving your goals, and the strength of your willpower toward your goals determine success in any area of your life. While that sounds true in theory, it doesn’t fully capture the path to successfully building good habits to accomplish our goals. This book taught be that the strength of the systems you build is what ultimately determines your success, and that your willpower will never beat the your environment. Simply put, if you don’t have good systems in place, it will be difficult to build good habits and accomplish your goals. To borrow a quote from the book- “You don’t rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems”. The systems you have in place will help you continue to build toward your goals even when motivation fails you.

This book also talks about the power of compounding with our habits. It teaches that small gains or losses (your habits) from each day will compound over time, which can either increase or decrease the quality of your life over time. Small habits lead to meaningful differences, which gives the evidence of the kind of person you’re striving to be. Tiny changes make big impacts, hence the name Atomic Habits. This book was life changing for me and definitely a must-read for everyone looking to make self improvements.

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, by Brené Brown

I read this book last year but decided to include it on the list because of how impactful it was in my life. This book was my first introduction to Brené Brown, who is a researcher on shame, courage and vulnerability. A friend recommended this book to me when I was going through a tough time. I was struggling in a particular area of my life with feeling valued and struggled with my sense of belonging. Reading this book was a god-send in a time where I was reeling with disappointment and a feeling of unworthiness. Reading the book was a reminder that I needed to engage in wholehearted living again, to remember to be kind to myself as I worked to heal and forgive. This book also explains that vulnerability is part of our shared human experience and the need to be perfect stifles vulnerability, and is perhaps part of what’s wrong in the world today. The more we choose courage over fear, and allow ourselves become vulnerable, it opens the door to self acceptance, worthiness and connection.

What I love about this book also is that it doesn’t just give a feel-good message. This is based on many years of research. The scientist in me likes evidence and hard data, so this is right up my alley. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to understand the power of courage, resilience, vulnerability and shame, and how these concepts impact our world view, understanding of self and connection with others.

These are books I’ve read this year so far. I have other books on my list but will love to hear some of your recommendations as well. What are some of your favorite books?

Written by simplyfunmi

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