Reading has always been something that I've enjoyed doing. I read a variety of non-fiction books, ranging from biographies to psychology to historical to self-help to spiritual books. And at the end of each book, I always discover new things and perspectives to apply in my own life.
Spending time reading is something many people wish they did more of. I know that was true for me. So earlier this year, I challenged myself to read 1 book per week. 50 books later, it's been such a fun year learning new things across a wide variety of books!
At the bottom of the page, I'll share some tips and tricks that can help you find more time to read if that's something you want to do more of in 2021.
But to start things off, I want to share with you what are my top 10 books that I enjoyed the most in case you might be interested in them.
And if you do read any of them, email me and let me know what were some of your own takeaways!
#10 - Becoming
Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, this is a pretty incredible book that everyone could learn something from. From growing up in the South Side of Chicago, making a successful career of her own before having to upend everything and move to the White House and live a life she never wanted in the first place, this book will teach you that we all never get to the 'finished product' in this life. We are all BECOMING the person we will eventually become.
#9 - Dream Big
Bob Goff isn't just one of my favorite authors but favorite people in general. If you have ambitions, goals and dreams that you are wanting to take flight and put to action, then check out this book. After you read it, you'll leave inspired to turn your thoughts into tangible actions.
#8 - Single, Dating, Engaged, Married
Let's be honest here.... many books, especially Christian books, that deal with the dating scene seem so out of touch for the 21st century. In the age of dating apps and social media, we need advice that we can actually apply to our lives. If you feel that way, then THIS is the book for you. And it's not just for single or dating people. Even married couples would be able to get something out of this book.
#7 - 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
This book as been around for a while and is written in an older way. But the principles Stephen Covey makes are timeless, and can actually be applied to parenting, which I found very interesting. It's definitely a book that you will be referring back to after you read it.
#6 - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
In this book, Donald Miller speaks about how our lives are made up of stories, and we should challenge ourselves to live a better story. Many times we settle for less, when God is calling us to live in a more exciting way. Don't be afraid of those moments in life where things don't go your way. Lean into them- it's all apart of your life story! Even when things get challenging, make it an exciting story to tell down the road!
#5 - The Next Right Thing
When I think of the words "The Next Right Thing," I immediately think of that song in Frozen 2. And although this book isn't based on that song, there's a lot of similarities in application. This book does a remarkable job guiding readers through what it means to handle those stressful moments in life when you have a major decision to make and you're not sure what to do. Simply focus on the next right thing. Don't focus on the entire path. Just focus on the next step. Each chapter ends with a prayer to help you in your journey to take steps forward in your life as you focus on what the next step should be.
#4 - Good to Great
Good is the enemy of great. Being complacent and satisfied at doing something "good enough" can hinder you from becoming great. This book studies how businesses make the jump from being a good company to a great company. And the principles learned in this book not only can be applied to businesses and organizations but to our own individual lives.
#3 - The Tipping Point
I'll be honest, I hadn't read any of Malcolm Gladwell's books before 2020, and this year I ended up reading several of his books. His writing style is so conversational, and he brings up so many fascinating examples from studies and other real-world examples to illustrate his points. The Tipping Point is one of those books that will stick with you for a while, and he explains how little things in life make a big impact.
#2 - Give and Take
We've all heard how "it is better to give than receive." But we think that giving to others is just the right thing to do, that it makes us feel good or something. But what if I told you that giving and helping others is also the thing that makes you successful in life? What if you discovered that the most successful people in life were the people that give the most? The fact is the "takers" don't get as far as the "givers." This book will make you re-evaluate what the world says about what it takes to be successful.
#1 - Essentialism
This book was so fitting for me to read in 2020. Our lives are too crowded with things that don't really matter. So much of life is figuring out what you deem as "essential" and doing more of those things. Saying NO to something is what allows you to say YES to opportunities you truly want to pursue. If we want to go deeper and live a more fulfilling life, we can't pursue everything. Ironically, to go farther, we need to focus on less.
Tips for Reading More in 2021
Figure out what interests you!
Whether its fiction, nonfiction, romantic, or historical books, find out what type of books you enjoy reading the most. Maybe you have a favorite author that you enjoy reading more than others. Figure out what you enjoy reading and pick up those books. Many times we think reading is boring because we think of all those reading assignments in high school where we were forced to read books we didn't care about. Remember, reading should be fun and enjoyable! So be sure to choose books that make you excited to pick them up and spend time reading.
Use the local library!
Even if you use Amazon for your books, they can get expensive depending on how much you're reading. I've discovered that libraries are truly amazing! You can rent pretty much any book you can imagine for no cost! And many libraries today have apps or online applications where you can reserve the book through the computer and pick it up at the front desk when you arrive- it's truly a seamless process! I will say however, that there are some books that I know I will want to refer back to over time. For those type of books, I order that actual book so I can underline and write in them so that it's easy for me to refer back to them.
Find the minutes in your day!
I used to think I had no time to read, but then I realized that I actually have time to read, it's just dependent on what I value. Think about all the moments and minutes in your day.... are there times where you can exchange time to read? For me, I wake up early to read in the morning, I'll read a little bit in the evening before bed, and then I'll read while I'm riding on the metro or spending time "waiting" on something. Instead of spending time watching TV or scrolling through social media, I'm using a lot of that time to read. Of course, I still watch TV and get on social media, but I've found that if I limit how much time I do those things, I can find a ton of time to read.
Don't feel like you need to start out reading 1 book a week. In fact, that's an awful plan because if that doesn't happen after Week 1, you're going to feel like a failure and give up on the goal of reading more. Start small. Try reading 15 minutes a day, and see where that goes! I didn't start out reading 50 books a year overnight. In 2018, I read 10 books, which came out to be not even a book per month. In 2019, I read 19 books, only slightly better than 2018. And in 2020, I read 50 books. It was a gradual process. Don't worry about how many books you're reading starting out. Focus first on finding CONSISTENT time to read each day. That will develop a love for reading and then that will propel you to read more & more.
Happy reading in 2021, and keep me posted on your journey!