I’m not gonna lie… When quarantine first started it threw this extrovert for a major loop. I suddenly found myself forced to be without people, my lifeblood and energy (I thrive by being around others!) and depression struck in a big way. In fact it was so intense I literally spent the first two weeks under blankets on the couch.
Once I figured out this “2-week quarantine” thing wasn’t going to end any time soon, I realized I had to do something. I had to be the one to take action and change where I was at. So in addition to finding virtual groups to be a part of on a weekly basis, I started reading.
I can count on two fingers how many non-fiction books I’ve read up until this point in my lifetime. Yes, I’ve written nearly 40 non-fiction books… but that’s not quite the same as reading for personal growth.
I’ve always been enthralled by people that say they read X number of books every week… and fiction was always where I went because it was an escape from my reality. In one of my mastermind groups I was confronted with the fact that I could not escape this reality, but if I wanted to thrive through it, I had to face it head-on.
And the first book they recommended set the stage for my newfound reading habit.
The Habit that Changed Everything…
In mid-March I ordered a book that changed everything and set the stage for massive personal growth. Now it’s not like I couldn’t choose from one of the 300 hard copy books in our private library (actually it’s probably way more than that…), but I kept hearing about this one book so I decided I needed to read it.
In addition to that, I did something I’ve never done before and started listening to audio books as well. Now, I’m a kinetic learner. That means I learn best by doing, which reading hard-copy books is the closest thing to having the author stand over my shoulder and give me advice as to what to do next, so audio books have always been difficult for me to stay focused on while listening. I decided to give it a go, though, as I wanted to listen to a specific book and I learned something about myself…
In order to hear the audio I needed to be distracted. So I started listening to audio books on my way to and from the store each day that I went in. If I spent time in my massage chair, I listened to an audio book. It got to the point that I developed a habit of being able to actually listen, hear, and absorb the information.
So if you’ve tried audio books before and just can’t get into them, try distracting yourself while listening.
How I Made this a REAL Habit
Every morning I make myself a latte or something small for breakfast… or both. I sit in our sunroom and listen to the cats’ water fountain (running water is sooo relaxing) as I ease my way into waking up. Since I was already doing this habit, I just added reading one chapter in a hard-copy book to the mix.
It was easy since I’m already sitting in my favorite chair enjoying my drink… well, as easy as it can be with three cats trying to get on my lap at once along with my book and my latte… LOL!
Needless to say, I take a 1-2 day break in-between every hard-copy book reading just to give my brain a chance to absorb it all. Then I select the next book. I’d say I’ve been averaging one hard-copy book every 1-2 weeks since I started, which is pretty good considering all the interruptions that can happen in the morning.
Then when I head in to the store, I start up my current audio book the moment I buckle my seat belt. I listen to it for about 20 minutes on my way in to “work,” then I do the same 20 minutes on my way back home each day. When I finish one audio book I usually take that 1-2 day break here too.
So I started the habit of reading two books at once, often on completely different topics…
The weird thing is even though the hard copy and audio reads are completely different books, different authors and usually different subjects (one might be personal growth and the other marketing), I can’t count how many times the chapter I’m reading and the one I’m listening to end up saying nearly the same. exact. thing.
Obviously I need to hear these messages in those moments… and it’s happened way too many times to be coincidence at this point. It’s almost magical.
My Reading List
I’ve shared my list on Facebook, but since people keep asking me for an updated list and I’d also like to keep track in one place just for myself, I’ve included my list below. I’m also including a couple of thoughts/notes about each book and separated them by hard copy vs. audio. Keep in mind that some books I may have started, felt I wasn’t ready for yet, and went back to much, much later to finish once I was ready to “hear” what the author had to say.
I’ll keep this list updated as long as I keep up this habit… which I hope is forever. 🙂
The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson – The first book I read that opened my eyes to how tiny habits can build up to big ones… and big ones can change your life. If you’re going to start anywhere or just looking for the next good read, this is one of the single-most important books I can recommend!
Business for Punks by James Watt – This is one that I started, paused before getting into the financial section (they’re not exactly sugar-coating anything) and then went back to and finished when I was ready. If you’re looking for strange, way-out-of-the-box marketing ideas and don’t mind the frequent F-bombs, this is an excellent read! (Also the design and layout of this book is ingenious. It makes me want my books to be like this one when they grow up.)
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson – Another one with language, this one also came highly recommended and opened my eyes to why it’s important to care about who you are… and why it’s equally important to stop caring about most everything else.
Fierce, Free, & Full of Fire by Jen Hatmaker – A birthday gift from my husband who said he picked it up because it reminded him of me… and boy was he right! If you’re a woman in business tired of being barraged by everything you “should” be, this is the book you must read next.
What You Do is Who You Are by Ben Horowitz – This one was a bit of a mind bender… The title is pretty misleading. It’s all about building your company culture, which laid the foundation for me to completely re-write all our “corporate” policies and employee handbook. My favorite quote from it was, “Culture is a strategic investment in the company doing things right when you are not looking.”
You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero – I’ll admit I haven’t read the first book in this series yet (I have it, just haven’t read it yet)… But at this point of my reading journey I was ready to re-energize my money mindset. And this book definitely triggered a dramatic change! My favorite quote: “The walls of your comfort zone are lovingly decorated with your lifelong collection of favorite excuses.” OUCH.
Because I get to listen for a longer period of time each day than read, I’ve “read” a lot more audiobooks than hard copies.
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill – While I’ve read bits and pieces of this classic over the years, I never sat down to listen to this book in its entirety until now. One word: WOW. Three words for you: READ IT NOW.
The Key by Joe Vitale – This one was interesting… and a good lifestyle mind bender.
Stop Doing that Sh*t by Gary John Bishop – I must admit, the best part about this book is Gary’s accent… and his sense of humor. If you need a no-nonsense kick-in-the-ass to get moving and quit sabotaging everything you work for, this is the book for you.
Unf*ck Yourself by Gary John Bishop – I actually read this one first before the above one, but I highly recommend you read the one I listed first… before this one. It lays a nice foundation… and this one will give you some serious insights and tools to change your circumstances.
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell – I’ll admit this was my least-favorite read thus far… It’s fairly redundant and full of stories, but there were a couple insights that made the time worth it.
Infinite Possibilities by Mike Dooley – Another mind-bender… I wouldn’t recommend that you read this one until you’ve read to Think and Grow Rich as he references it quite a bit… but man, what an eye-opener!
Homeless to Billionaire by Andres Pira and Dr. Joe Vitale – This was a super-inspiring story and one that encouraged me to play bigger.
What to Do When It Isn’t Working by Bob Proctor – Yeah, well, at the start of this virus mess it wasn’t working so I jumped into this mindset-shifting read.
It’s Not About the Money by Bob Proctor – Well, it really is about the money, but in this book Bob explains why… and it’s a great money-mindset mind bender!
Thoughts Are Things by Bob Proctor – In case you haven’t been able to tell yet, I got on a major Bob Proctor kick… This one seemed simple… yet was another mind-bending read.
The Science of Prosperity by Bob Proctor – Yep, I continued it… I’m just saying if you want a money shift in your life, binge Bob’s books!
You Were Born Rich by Bob Proctor – Another great read…
The Seven Lost Secrets of Success by Dr. Joe Vitale – Hopping back on the Joe Vitale train… This is an informative marketing read about one of the greatest advertisers of all time.
Zero Limits by Dr. Joe Vitale – I tend to get on an author kick and read everything I can find… And I’ll be honest… I’d started this book at the beginning of quarantine and I was no where near ready to implement it, so I let it sit. I went back to it only because I noticed I’d started it and never finished and was curious as to why. When I started it back up again I realized why I’d set it aside… LOL! However this time I decided I was ready to give its message a chance. I may not be 100% on board with the ideas in this book, but I’m open enough to try them. I do recommend you read everything else by Joe V. first as this one has got to be the biggest mind-bending read I’ve ever read and his other books will build a solid foundation for you to be able to understand this one. (I also highly recommend his books Attract Money Now and The Attractor Factor which I read a couple years ago.)