What’s the last book you’ve read?

I’m guessing your inner dialogue might sound something like…”I haven’t read a book since high school. Last thing I read was the newspaper. I don’t have time to read.”

I get it. I haven’t always been a reader. I’ve always had the itch to read and have gone through phases, but in 2006, something changed. I read a book that converted me to a lifelong reader. And would you believe what book it was??? The Da Vinci Code. A-MAZ-ING! I couldn’t put the book down. I remember telling Amanda (now wife, then girlfriend) that I couldn’t talk at nights because I had to read. I was obsessed…and I have been ever since.

My system of reading has changed over the years, and, these days, I generally only read leadership or personal management books. It’s my oxygen. This magical system enables me to get it done every day: I wake up early and the first thing I allow myself to do is read. Period. 30 minutes. Everyone is sleeping (except the birds). There are no interruptions. It has turned into peaceful “me” time. It sets the tone for the day. It starts my day off right. Every day.

I read so much I don’t even remember the books I’ve read. Let that sink in a minute. I read so much I don’t even remember the books I’ve read. “So why in the world would you even read if you don’t remember the books you’ve read?”, you may be asking yourself. For this one simple reason…Reading, IMO, creates a mindset. It creates an opportunity to surround yourself with the best people you could ever hope to spend time with. Our lives are filled with background noise. Why not fill that background by learning from some of the best people on Earth? I’ve spent hours and hours with Navy Seals, business owners, thought leaders, famous speakers, athletes and more. I am picking their minds daily and retaining what applies to me and my journey.

Reading makes you think different. You find yourself referencing examples, stats, names (careful not to namedrop, tough guy!) and other things you had no idea you knew. When I was a kid, I always thought it sounded cool when someone was described as “well-read”. Never knew what it meant, but dang, it sounded nice. Well, now, at 35, I can claim the title “well-read”.

I’ve read so many books I can’t name them all, but for you to start your reading journey today, I’ve listed a few of the best:

  • Extreme Ownership (Jocko Willink) – Navy Seal book about leadership and accountability.
  • Start with Why (Simon Sinek) – Gets deep into why we do what we do.
  • The Alchemist (Paulo Coehlo) – One of the few fiction books I’ve read. Talks about seeing/not seeing what’s right in front of us. Awesome journey.

I use the same standard for every book I read: If I can take away at least one game changer (thought, action, philosophy) to implement into my life, I deem that book worth my time to read. If I read ten worthy books, I now have 10 daily thoughts/actions/philosophies that make me better.

Start today. Get one of these books. Heck, I’ll even be up for creating a book club.

This Week’s Happenings:
  • New course offerings for A Fighter’s Mindset here (Take a minute to check it out. 8 people have done it and 8 people have loved it. Self-directed course for as low as $299).
  • Driven: The Spaniard Podcast is in the last leg of development, and we will begin recording soon. September 1 is a tentative release date. The podcast will be an extension of our blog, diving deeper into topics to create thought-provoking conversation geared at creating better leaders (and readers, you :) )