My 2014 Discoveries In Books

2014-Mike-Domitrz-Books-Summary

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):

FUN READS

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.

BUSINESS BOOKS:

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.

SPIRITUAL & SELF-DEVELOPMENT BOOKS

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 Amazon.com. Click here to get now!!

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

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!

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 Audible.com. 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?

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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