2020 Book List

I started my reading challenge in 2019. My goal was to read 12 books that year. Because I spend lots of time in the car, I wanted to listen to them as well. I have absolutely LOVED my Audible subscription! It definitely makes things easier when you drive a LOT! I set out to read […]

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February 11, 2021

Neely Roberts

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I started my reading challenge in 2019. My goal was to read 12 books that year. Because I spend lots of time in the car, I wanted to listen to them as well. I have absolutely LOVED my Audible subscription! It definitely makes things easier when you drive a LOT!

I set out to read 12 and I did! I decided to challenge myself & double that for 2020! I’m excited to say I met and exceeded that goal! On to 2021!

*some excerpts & summaries taken from Amazon descriptions and the Audible Publishers summaries.

  1. Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson- This book has been around for what seems like forever. “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” That is one of my favorite quotes in this book! So many things in life we choose NOT to do because we are afraid. Then we get 5, 10, 25 years down the road and realize “I wished I would have.” Change is inevitable. It will happen. How you react to change determines your outcome. You can sit around feeling sorry for yourself, or you can get up & make things happen.

2. Eat the Frog: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating & Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy- In December of 2019, I was in Virginia at a conference with one of the top wedding photographers in the industry. When she was speaking, she talked about eating the frog first. Do what you dread and get it over with first. Once it’s done, it’s done! Hate working out, but are too tired when you get home? Get up 30 minutes sooner & tackle it then! Sitting on a project that you know has to be finished? Jump on it & finish it.

3. The Magic of Thinking Big by David J Schwartz- In his book he talks about Curing yourself of the fear of failure, thinking and dreaming creatively, you are what you think you are (THIS IS SO TRUE!!!), how to turn defeat into victory, use your goals to help you grow, how to think like a leader and so much more!

4. Cracking the Curl Code by Stephanie & Dennis Mero- The Meros are hair stylists that live in Florida. She had an absolutely horrific experience with a name brand product, designed for curly hair. When her hair, and others hair started falling out and becoming limp and lifeless (this was me!), she said “Enough!” She wanted to get to the bottom of it, so she wrote a book to help those of us with curly hair embrace what they have, and most importantly how to take care of it, without believing what the industry tells us (here’s a hint- the industry tells you the exact opposite of what high porosity & low porosity hair really are).

5. Murder in Little Egypt by Darcy O’Brien- One of my groom’s mentioned this to me when I asked about book recommendations. This story takes place in what’s known as “Little Egypt” in Southern Illinois. A prominent and well-loved doctor, Dr. Dale Cavaness hides some very dark secrets. Secrets of drinking, affairs, abuse, and murder! Events in the story are factual, and quite disturbing of what a father would do to not one, but two of his sons!

6. Rhinoceros Success by Scott Alexander- Success is difficult, however, you could wake up and be a rhinoceros. Dave Ramsey requires all of his employees to read this book. Charge your way to success, never worry again, manage your life, succeed in your hobby and so much more.

7. The Go-Getter by Peter B. Kyne Publishers- *Summary per Audible- This classic motivational parable shows you how to make your own opportunities in life.  The Go-Getter has inspired employees and entrepreneurs to take initiative, increase their productivity, and excel against the odds. In a time when jobs are tight and managers lack the time for mentoring, how can you maintain positive energy, take control of your career, and prepare yourself to ace the tests that come your way? By applying the timeless lessons in this wonderfully read parable, employees at all levels will learn to rekindle the go-getter in themselves.

8. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clayson- I really wanted to love this book, but it was difficult to listen to. I think I’ll buy the kindle version instead. The reviews are fantastic, however, I don’t think the audiobook is the way to go.

9. Start by Jon Acuff- The first 45 minutes- 1 hour of this book went slowly. I almost gave up. I put it aside for about 8 months but came back to it. I think I’ll buy the Kindle version so I can highlight the good stuff.

10. 12 Rules for Life by Jordan Anderson- If you purchase the Audiobook, the narrator is hard to listen to. His voice made it quite difficult to follow along. The book got excellent reviews and I’ll purchase so I can read it in my own voice.

11. Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs by Caitlin Doughty- Little kids ask questions about what happens when you die, as answered by a mortician. There were funny parts & odd parts. Something that stuck out at me was the story of forgetting to remove the pacemaker before the cremation process. YIKES!

12. Harvard Business Review– Sadly I don’t have the exact review that I read. It disappeared from my library.

13. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It, by Chris Voss- This was one of my FAVORITE books! Written by an ex-FBI negotiator, Chris goes in depth about hostage negotiations & how you can use those tactics in things like negotiating buying a car, buying a home, and negotiating a salary.

14. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell- Great book on thin slicing and how we can read someone without really knowing what we are doing. 

15. Linchpin by Seth Godin- Previously there were two teams in every workplace, which was management and labor. However, a third team has come around- the linchpins. Linchpins invent, take on leadership roles, get things done whether asked or not, and bring people together with connections. They love their work and enjoy making things happen each day. Linchpins are essential in businesses as well as indispensable. Linchpins get the best jobs and have the most freedom in their jobs.

16. Start with Your People: The Daily Decision That Changes Everything by Brian Dixon- I LOVED this book! This was one of my FAVORITES! In this book you will learn how friends are your secret advantage, how your spouse is your superpower, how to turn adversaries into your advantage, and how to serve your ideal client. Part 2 of this book goes over how to uncover your people first mission & Part 3 dives into how to make a living doing what you love. I loved this book so much that I bought it in a hardcover copy.

17. Melissa Explains it All by Melissa Joan Hart- If you ever watched Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Clarissa Explains it All or Melissa & Joey, then you are familiar with Melissa Joan Hart. In her book she explains how she was able to grow up in show business, and stay completely normal. Did she do some of the crazy teenage things- of course. Did she blow through all of her savings and end up multiple times in rehab? No. Her book was funny, lighthearted & real.

18. Do it Scared: Finding the Courage to Face Your Fears, Overcome Adversity, and Create a Life You Love by Ruth Soukup- I LOVED this book! It was recommended by one of my photographer friends and I couldn’t stop listening! What would you do if you weren’t afraid to go after your dreams? Dive head-first into the work you love? We always seem to find an excuse- I’m too old, I’m too young, I’m to broke, I’m not experienced enough, no one will like me, etc….. And the biggest fear out of all of this, is the fear of failure. Learn your Fear Archtype- this is the specific fear that keeps you stuck, and how to conquer those fears. Learn how to get honest feedback and understand the idea that “balance” is overrated.

19. What if it Does Work Out: How a Side Hustle Can Change Your Life by Susie Moore- I LOVED this book! Susie offers practical tips to help you turn your side hustle into something you love!

20. The Like Switch: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Influencing, Attracting, and Winning People Over by Jack Schafer, OK, so it’s no secret that I’m fascinated by FBI books about figuring people out & what makes them tick, and this book was no different. Here are just a few of the chapters of the book: The Friendship Formula, Getting Noticed Before a Word is Spoken, Building Closeness & The Perils & Promise of Building Relationships in a Digital World. In this book there are proven strategies on how you can read people in an instant and influence how they perceive you.

21. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl- Y’all…I wanted to love this book! There were over twenty-six THOUSAND reviews on Amazon, with 94% of those being 4 & 5 stars! I just couldn’t listen to the narrator. Dr. Frankl was a prisoner for three years in Auschwitz, Dachau and other concentration camps. For him to witness the absolute horrors of what took place, and yet still have a wonderful outlook on life, helped him survive those hellacious places! Because of the narrator, I’m going to purchase this book for Kindle.

22. How to have Impossible Conversations: A Very Practical Guide by Peter Boghossian- We all know that having impossible or difficult conversations are the worst! Our stomach gets in knots, our mouth gets try & we feel dizzy and out of sorts. I hate feeling like that. In his book, Peter guides you through how to have those tough conversations that many times pop up during Thanksgiving, or at the dinner table. Things like: climate change, religion, gender identity, gun control, race, or immigration. Somewhere, some day, you will be thrust in the middle of having an impossible conversation & Peter gives you the tools & tips to help with just that.

23. The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron- This book was recommended to me by a good friend who happened to be one of my grooms. I loved it!! The Enneagram is hugely popular these days, with folks trying to figure out what their number is from 1-9 (I’m a seven by the way!). For those not familiar with the Enneagram, it’s an ancient personality typing system to help you figure out who you are, what makes you tick, as well as learning about others. While I’m a my husband is a 5. I LOVE staying busy and having things to do, am an extrovert, spontaneous, I can get bored easily, am the eternal optimist and love an adventure! My husband loves adventure, but he also loves staying home, doesn’t like big crowds and is an introvert. We compliment each other very well, but sometimes I get bored staying at home (as in REALLY bored), and he gets tired of being on the go-go-go. This book helped me figure out not only myself, but what makes him tick, and what shuts him down. When I was listening to this book I was also able to figure out my mom (she’s a 1) and my sister (pretty sure she is an 8). The book is fascinating & I highly recommend it!

24. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert- I was excited about this book, however, to me it fell flat. I may need to purchase the Kindle version

25. Born to Win: Find Your Success by Zig Zigler- LOVED! You truly can’t go wrong with any Zig Zigler book. During his time on Earth, Zig Zigler was one of the TOP motivational speakers. Zig creates hope, teaching you how to plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.

26. Choose to Win: Transform Your Life One Simple Choice at a Time by Tom Zigler- Tom is the son of Zig Zigler, and those that know of Zig Zigler, know just how highly motivating and wise he is. Tom and this book are no different. Tom helps you figure out your why, which then leads you to how, opening multiple doors of what. Tom guides you with making one small choice, which then leads to more choices, all of which help you grow in your personal, spiritual, financial and personal life.

27. The Success Principles: How to Get Where You are to Where You Want to Be by Jack Canfield- If you are unfamiliar with Jack Canfield, he is the best-selling author behind the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. In this book, Jack teaches you how to build confidence, how to undertake challenges, live your life with purpose and passion and gives you strategies for success.

28. Caffeine by Michael Pollan This was a super fast listen as it was an Audible Original. Michael writes about how caffeine became one of the fastest selling and most used drugs.

29. **GOALS by Zig Zigler- There is an asterisk beside this book as, On Dec. 31st, I only had 2 HOURS left to read it….and I didn’t make it! UGH! I was bummed, but I included it as it is a great book from Zig Zigler. It will be on the 2021 list as well.


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