My 2014 Discoveries In Books


Books provide opportunity for discovery – both in the words of the book and in ourselves. 2014 brought many helpful insights and lessons into my life through the reading of the above books. Which of these books have you read? What takeaways did you gain from the books?

Here were mine divided into 3 categories (Fun Reads, Business Books, and Spiritual & Self-Development):


Love Life by Rob Lowe was an interesting view of Rob’s perspective on life, succeeding, and parenting. Reading another person’s perspective on parenting is a chance to ask one’s self, “Is that an approach I currently take? If not, why not? Should I consider incorporating that approach into my parenting?”

Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut was the first book of its kind that I’ve ever read. If you’ve never read Kurt’s books, he takes a unique approach in going in and out of stories and characters. He talks of politics, social issues, religion, and life by often making indirect references via other worlds. One of my favorite quotes was, All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist” referring to life and death. This quote is beautiful because it shows that no one ever dies – the memories of that person are always alive within you. Simply awaken the wonderful memories and smile.


How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie was an audio book that shared many good lessons on business and life along with a few strategies that didn’t align with my core values. This book lead me to writing the a post about how we choose to react to a book that teaches lessons we may personally not believe in utilizing (click here to read).

The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor lead me to writing LOTS of notes and making small, simple changes to my approach to both work and family. Shawn gives skills for leading others and yourself. I love this book!! To get a feel for Shawn’s approach, watch his TED Talk by clicking here.

Start With Why by Simon Sinek is one of my favorite books of 2014. If you want to connect with others and/or help spread a message, Start With Why is a FANTASTIC book – a MUST READ!! If you do not understand your “Why”, the “Why” of those you work with, and the “Why” of those you want to connect with, your possibilities for helping others in the biggest way possible is slimmer. Simon helped us evaluate how we share and connect with others in and outside of our organization. This book lead to us transforming the way we share with the media and news outlets. That change lead us to getting more interviews than ever before.

Love Is the Killer App by Tim Sanders and the title says it all. Imagine living a life focused on helping others – both in your work and personal life. Sanders does a masterful job of providing examples you can implement into your life on many levels and shares real examples of companies who have followed this belief system and live it in the workplace.

So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport took me on a journey of asking myself, “Maybe I’ve been saying that wrong for quite some time. Maybe I’ve been wrong when I’ve told others, ‘Follow What You Love’” Cal writes a great case for why following your passion may be bad advice and often is. More many people, learning a skill or topic leads to having the passion for it. My personal journey is proof of Cal’s theory. I did not grow up ever planning to speak or write professionally. As a teenager, I was not engaged on the topic I currently speak on. All of that changed when I became devoted to wanting to stop sexual assault and then began researching the topic. During my early stages of researching and learning, my passion began to grow. Check out this unique look at Passion vs Skill/Expertise by clicking here.


If Buddha Got Stuck by Charlotte Kasl shares the beliefs and principles Buddhism is built on and does so in a way that you can easily apply to many aspects of life. Each day I dove deeper into the book, I found myself updating my daily affirmations and continuously changing the way I view life all around me. My daily affirmations became much more focused on gratitude. References to goals and success in my affirmations were changed to being centered on effort and fulfillment. One of my favorite concepts from the book was being both an observer and a participant of your life. If Buddha Got Stuck is the most profound book I’ve read in 2014.

Buddhist Boot Camp by Timber Hawkeye was an audio book I listened to while working out. Maybe if I had not just finished reading my favorite book of 2014 (If Buddha Got Stuck), I might have enjoyed this audio book. If Buddha Got Stuck connected with me on a much deeper and more personal level than Buddhist Boot Camp. Timber shares wonderful lessons and yet at the same time seems to contradict them at times with negative comments about family members.

Live Your Truth and Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It both by Kamal Ravikant introduced me to Kamal and his powerfully simple and short books. Kamal writes books you can read in less than 2 hours that share his journey to loving himself and living his dream life. While sharing his “Aha” moments, you have the opportunity to ask yourself, “How would I apply this lesson to my life?” Both these books inspired me to write blogs. Upon finishing his books, I emailed Kamal – which lead to a fun conversation and someone I look forward to meeting up with in person. Click on the title of the blog you want to read: Live Your Truth and Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It

The Five Love Languages by Matthew Kelly resulted in me changing how I support my partner, Karen. By recognizing what she appreciates most, I am able to better to fulfill her needs. Likewise, the lessons in this book can also be applied to friendships, family, and professional relationships. The key is figuring out what each person’s Love Language is and the book will help you make those discoveries. The one caution with this book is to think any single love language is all you need. Once you learn a person’s main one or two, you still want to insure you are incorporating all 5 when appropriate and doing so in an authentic manner.

Essentialism by Greg Mckeown gets right to the point and challenges each of us to live by what is essential. Each day and in each moment of choices ask yourself, “What Is Essential Now?” and live the answer. In a society where we are bombarded with messaging and distractions, this book refocuses the reader on what is essential. Read the full blog on Essentialism by clicking here.

The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod has transformed my daily routine. Since reading this book, I’ve read more, exercised more, meditated more, visualized more, and read daily affirmations more than ever before in my life. This book is the reason that I read as many books in November and December as I had in the 10 months prior – which is really exciting because imagine how many books I’ll get through in 2015 with this approach. While the book can be repetitive at times (I scan through books when that happens), the approach Hal teaches works!!! Plus, his website provides additional resources to maximize your Miracle Morning.  You can read my full blog on The Miracle Morning here.

Life Is Short And So Is This Book is the last book I read (as in yesterday). Filled with simple, powerful approaches to daily life and making the most of it. For 99 cents on Kindle, this book is a no-brainer to purchase on Amazon. Read the full blog here.

Five Wishes by Gay Hendricks is a fun and intriguing exercise for evaluating how to live the life you are seeking RIGHT NOW. Hendricks takes you on a journey to your deathbed and then has you work backward to get to today. Along the way, he shares with you his own journey to discovery.

The Power of Positive Thinking by Normal Vincent Peale is built on a foundation of Christianity which he references throughout the book. The author lays out a formula for living life guided by positive energy – using examples from the Bible. If you are not Christian, you may find yourself wanting to replace faith-based references to fit your needs and/or beliefs.

Buddha In Blue Jeans by Tai Sheridan is one of the quickest books you’ll ever read and still provides opportunities for discovery. Best of all, Buddha in Blue Jeans is FREE on Click here to get now!!


Which of these books have you read? What discoveries did you have from the books? What other books did you read in 2014? What books would you recommend and why? Please share in the comments section below!

Life is Short And So Is This Book: Brief thoughts on making the most of your life by Peter Atkins

LifeIsShortAndSoIsThisBookGreat title that perfectly fits this quick read. Since I started reading this book on my Kindle while riding my bike in our basement, I hadn’t paid any attention to the title beyond “Life Is Short And.” I had no idea how short the book was. That fact does not takeaway from the value of the book. Each chapter gives you just the right amount of material to implement the belief or concept being shared into your own life.

To help open discussion and sometimes to further strengthen a lesson being shared, Peter weaves quotes from well-known writers, thinkers, and business professionals throughout the book.

The lesson that most stuck with me was “Small Steps” – focus on the small steps. Doing so will keep you focused on the action that is needed now right in front of you.

Additional favorite quotes included:

  • “Focusing on what matters means saying no to things that don’t matter. Otherwise, your life becomes cultured with distractions.”
    This quote reminded me to say “No” to engaging on FaceBook more than three times a day.
  • “It’s not that I’m smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” Albert Einstein
    Brilliant insight by Einstein. What would happen if each of us was willing to stay on a challenge until we could solve the situation?
  • “To make the most of your life, say no to things that don’t matter, work hard at what you love, and occasionally take time away from your core focus to rest so that your mind can be quiet for great insights to come.”
    For me, this quote had perfect timing. 2015 is going to include significant traveling, speaking, and writing. This week, I’m stepping away from my work to rest, rejuvenate, and expand my mind, body, and spirit. History has told me that the rewards of doing so are immeasurable.
  • “The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” Mark Twain
    Is each of us living fully? If not, what would it take for you to do so? Take Step #1 toward doing so in the next 30 minutes. Remember the lesson from earlier? One step at a time. The key is taking the step.
  • “Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out.” Oliver Wendall Holmes
    Once again reminding us to TAKE THE FIRST STEP.
  • “If you have close friendships and love your work, the odds are quite high that you’ll be happy most of the time.”
    Love is a great way to express how I feel about my work and my friends. A week ago, I was in Utah spending time with close friends in a Mastermind (6 friends and colleagues come together to discuss your companies, the future, and ask for input you are seeking in any area of your life). The 3 days wrapped up with skiing in the beautiful mountains outside Salt Lake City with a separate group of friends.

    As helpful as the life and business advice was from my Mastermind and as incredible as the views were, the invigorating mountain air was to breath in, and the joy of moving through the Utah snow was while skiing, it was the friends I was with that brought the deepest fulfillment. When I left Utah, I had been refreshed through relationships. Consider the possibility to take more time for friends in 2015.

At the end of my bike ride this afternoon, I suddenly realized I was in the last chapter of this powerful, quick read. Take 45 to 90 minutes to treat yourself to this inspiring read by Peter Atkins. Click here to find the book on

What do you do when a book shares a lesson or strategy you strongly disagree with?

I just finished listening to the best-seller book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie via While not typically considered controversial, the title of the book can provoke varying responses in people.

Do you want to “win” friends? Most people say, “I do not want to win friends. I do want to build wonderful friendships.” Other people may wonder, “Does ‘Influence People’ actually mean you are going to learn how manipulate others?

When I first heard of the book two decades ago, I had similar reactions and questions. Then, I stop and ask myself, “Why am I creating unnecessary drama over a title or certain lessons in a book?” Unfortunately if someone wants to, a person can take the lessons from many books labeled as classics and misuse the concepts. If we never read a book that has aspects we don’t like, we’d miss the opportunity to question and grow from differing outlooks.

I try to find the golden nuggets in each book I read (assuming the book is well-written and I can at least enjoy the reading process). If the current lesson I’m reading in a book doesn’t fit my personal beliefs and/or approach, I stop and ask myself, “Why does this disagree with me? Am I being close-minded or is there a valid logic to why this specific lesson or message isn’t sitting well with me?

For example: in How to Win Friends & Influence People, Dale shares how to use competition to motivate employees. While in the past I may agreed with that approach, my viewpoint has changed over the years. Competition can often lead to people continuously comparing themselves to the “other” team instead of focusing on the joy of their work. Long-term, competition can turn into a “us vs them” mentality.

By asking myself, “Do I believe competition is a good strategy for motivating my team?” I was able to have this discovery for myself. The result of reading that section of the book was a reinforcement in the belief that I want each member of The DATE SAFE Project excelling and thriving for the love of their own growth and discovery – for the individual to receive deep fulfillment from their efforts in helping spread our mission.

Sometimes we need disruption to help ourselves grow. Other times, your inner self is sending you an uncomfortable message because it wants you to avoid using a certain approach that is incongruent with your authentic self. The key is being open to that discovery and then making the choice that sits best with you

Live Your Truth by Kamal Ravikant

Upon finishing reading Kamal Ravikant’s first book, Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It, I found myself being gravitated toward his style. I’ve always loved easy, quick reads that get you thinking. Maybe that is intellectual laziness on my part or a magnetism toward simplicity.

Kamal’s 2nd book is titled Live Your Truth, a theme I’ve believed in for a few decades. Once again, Kamal did not disappoint. He takes you on quick journeys with many chapters only being a page to three pages in length. Many people will read this book in under 2 hours.

For those of you noticing, I am referring to Kamal Ravikant by his first name. The choice is intentional. Thinking of an author by the author’s first name makes the person more real. I would hope the same for the readers of my books and blog – that they would say, “Mike’s book” instead of “Domitrz’s book” (which seems cold and distant).

Kamal does a great job of pointing out there is no one way to discover your truth – that journey is yours to figure out. A book that was wonderful at helping me discover my truth was Unique Ability: Creating the Life You Want by Catherine Nomura and Julia Waller (click here to learn more).

If you love to have simple concepts and thoughts that challenge you to look inward, Live Your Truth could be an ideal fit for you. Kamal is great at sharing from his heart, his soul, and his own personal experiences of discovery.

He writes with words and language that inspires me to want to spend a week at the Monastery outside Big Sur to write my next book.

LiveYourTruthKey discoveries and/or lessons from this book for me were:

  • Resist Nothing. Go with the Flow. If life is a river and you try to fight the current, life will be an ongoing struggle for you. If you learn to go with the flow and be present in the moment, you will move down the river and onto the next moment of life – never getting stuck trying to go backward.
  • EFFORT is what matters and reflects who I am – not outcomes and results. Lots of outside forces can impact outcomes and results. The one aspect you have the most say in is your effort. If you give fully of yourself, you will always be growing and learning through every outcome and/or result. Thus, you will be living life fully and growing. That fulfillment lasts longer and is much more consistent than the high from an outcome or result.
  • Go ALL IN and Share with the World. You’ve only got one life. Why keep everything to yourself?
  • Forgiveness first lies in forgiving yourself. The person you are angry with, disappointed in, or hurt by is human, “Fallible, full of mistakes, trying to make his way through the world like the rest of us, afraid. Human.” Just like ourselves.

I especially enjoyed when Kamal tells the story of a lesson comedian Louis CK learned from legendary comedian George Carlin. Of course I’ll leave that for you to read yourself.

Treat yourself to this wonderful book of self-discovery and sharing by Kamal Ravikant. If you’ve read the book, please let me know your thoughts of what you discovered.

If you are a member of KindleUnlimited through Amazon, you can download and read this book for FREE!! Click here to download the book from Amazon today.

KindleUnlimited is an amazing program offered by Amazon that provides you thousands of books to choose from each month $9.99 a month. You don’t pay anything for the individual titles you want to read – just the $9.99 a month.