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!

  • Maria Janowiak

    Thanks so much for posting this– I’d lost the blog url, but now have it bookmarked so I can some back more often! This is a great list, and I think Essentialism sounds like a great next book for me.

    I should do a better job of tracking what I read, but a few highlights from the past year for me were:

    The Sports Gene– A super interesting look at how genetics influence sports performance. (There’s a good TED talk by the author as well)

    Good to Great– This one’s been around awhile, but I liked the way that it clearly articulated some of the best characteristics of high-quality organizations.

    The Art of Nonconformity– A small little book that I bought to kill time while traveling without thinking much of it, this book was just a nice kick-in-the-pants reminder that we don’t have to do things how we’re “supposed to” and there’s lots of ways to live an awesome life and change the world.

    Bird by Bird– A funny little book on writing (and life) that provided a little extra encouragement for all my writing.

    • Thanks for sharing, Maria. Looks like some great books!! Do you recommend all 4 of the books?

      • Maria Janowiak

        I would recommend all 4 of them in general, but I’m less sure of which ones you might like best. I guess I’ll be interested in one in particular captures your interest. All the best!

        • I just downloaded “The Art of Nonconformity” audio book and “Bird by Bird” has been on my upcoming reading list. Thanks again.