Top five books I’ve read

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Books, check’em out…

Like most teenaged boys I loathed reading the books that were assigned in school. With wrestling and Boy Scouts (and friends) as my main focuses, I didn’t have the time…or motivation. Cliff Notes were a fantastic short cut for a while, but the teachers escalated the bare minimum arms race and developed tests that weren’t covered by shortcuts.

However, in 1997 Sebastian Junger’s The Perfect Storm changed all that for me. I was attending the U. S. Coast Guard Academy at the time and he gave a presentation along with members of the Coast Guard and Air Force crews. I found the true life adventure genre imminently engaging. I immersed myself into Jon Krakauer and the adventures of Shackleton. When I discovered beer brewing I read every book I could get my hands on; then did the same when I began training for triathlons. I’m now firmly in the “personal growth” genre and I’d like to think that I’m not just reading self-help books, but am digging deeper into self-discovery. Of course, I may just not have discovered the truth yet.

Here are the top five of all books I’ve read. Please connect with me on Goodreads for full reviews:

  1. The Bible: This book was given to me numerous times over my life, but it wasn’t until 2014 that I began to read it. It is the most popular book of all time and I grew up thinking that the Bible was a collection of old stories written by dead men meant to imbue us with a set of values. Though that is literally true, I best heard the Bible referred to as a maintenance procedure card for your life and the more I study it the more I realize its depth.
  2. The Happiness Trap: This book was given to me at my first outpatient therapy and was my introduction to Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT). Through ACT you are taught to be present with your feelings (you must first understand them), choose a direction congruent with your values (you must first understand them), and take action. ACT puts you in the driver’s seat, focusing on strength rather than pathology.
  3. Seven Princples for Making a Marriage Work: Dr. Gottman was suggested to me by my current therapist. What I appreciate about his work are the practical efforts you can make to improve your marriage. Instead of general tips for communicating, he breaks down a healing conversation into five specific steps. Instead of urging for more quality time, he lists six recurring events to be performed over the span of six hours each week. I like checklists.
  4. The Goal: I borrowed this book from an employee/mentor of mine who first turned me onto the simple math behind very complex workflow management. Little did I know that two years later I would implement Theory of Constraints across 15 component repair/manufacture shops and Dr. Goldratt wold end up framing how I view the world.
  5. Deep Work: The only book on the list that I discovered myself! Cal Newport has come to shape the way I organize my time and effort: deep versus shallow. I read his books, follow his blog, listen to his podcast, and plan to have him speak at our annual program management review.

One response to “Top five books I’ve read”

  1. […] Now I actually enjoy solitude when I exercise, so mainly listen in the car. Unfortunately though, because I feel compelled to keep up with any podcast to which I’m subscribed I’ve culled my subscriptions back down to eight. Not all of the below shows are still in my queue, but they’ve each shaped the way I think and were not mentioned in previous lists: […]

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