I love to read. It wasn’t always that way. We were made to read in 1st grade and I hated it. However, all that changed in 2nd grade. That was when we were able to pick something from the prize box when we read so many pages. I couldn’t tell you a single book that I read that year, but boy do I remember those baseball cards that I picked out and how it motivated me to become a better reader. My teacher allowed me to read football books, baseball books, detective books, really any kind of book that I was interested in.. I read books that interested me … and, yeah I started my huge baseball card collection. Fast forward to present day and I am still reading books. My shelves may be full of books, but unlike many professors or business people, the books on my bookshelves aren’t just for looks, they have all been read. As 2019 approaches, I realized that I need a new batch of books to get me through the year as I ride the stationary bike at the YMCA or read right before falling asleep. Here are the 19 books that I plan on reading in 2019. I just went through Amazon and put them in my shopping cart and can’t wait for them to arrive. I will give you a quick summary of why I am wanting to read each book. Keep in mind, I am not saying these books are good books, like my previous articles Books for Coaches, Books for Leaders, Recommended Books for 2018, Underrated Books for Leaders but rather that these are the ones that I want to read for various reasons. I hope that they are good,otherwise I will have to toss the book and Mrs. Johnson might not give me credit for it thus denying me the next great baseball card from the prize box.
This is an older book (2003) but amazingly, I have never read it despite having a foreword written by one of my favorites – Dave Ramsey. I first learned about this when I visited Brad Lea at his Lightspeed VT headquarters out in Las Vegas. He has quite the rhino theme going in his office. If Brad says it is a motivational book that will get you off the couch and doing great things, then I want to read it also. By the way, Brad was on episode 066 of the Success is a Choice podcast. He has his own show that is one of the absolute business podcasts out there. There are no set questions. Dropping Bombs with the Real Brad Lea is just a conversation that cuts out the B.S. and keeps it real.
The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do by Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller
Ken is one of the foremost experts on leadership. You’ve probably read his book One-Minute Manager or one of his other 60 books. No doubt, you’ve probably been influenced by his leadership theories and philosophies through the years (and probably didn’t even know it).Mark Miller was a vice president for Chick-fil-A so I naturally am a fan of his. I pretty much love everything about Chick-fil-A. This book is also a parable style story so it should be easy to read and more fun than those normal boring books on leadership. Plus, I want to know what the secret to great leadership really is!
I really like reading parables that teach lessons (e.g. Jon Gordon, Todd Gongwer, Patrick Lencioni, etc…). Bob Burg was on episode 051 of the Success is a Choice Podcast. His original Go-Giver book is great and I expect this one to be, as well. The story is about two young ambitious businessmen who end up getting ahead in life by giving others what they want. I subscribe to this paradoxical form of success and leadership so I am interested to be entertained and enlightened with another of Bob’s books.
Players First: Coaching from the Inside Out by John Calipari
Not everyone likes John Calipari, the men’s basketball coach at the University of Kentucky. Some even say that he is an overrated basketball coach. I actually have felt like he is underrated at times. You see, I don’t believe coaching is about the X’s and the O’s but about the Jimmie’s and the Joe’s. He seems to have grasped that during his career. He takes big-time entitled basketball players on the fast-track to millions in the NBA and gets them to buy into a team concept. I want to find out more about how he does that.
Choosing to SEE: A Journey of Struggle and Hope by Mary Beth Chapman
Mary Beth is the wife of Grammy-Award winning singer Steven Curtis Chapman (who I grew up listening to). She is also the mother of Emily Chapman Richards, who was our guest on episode 075 of the Success is a Choice Podcast. That was one of my favorite episodes, by the way.The Chapman family experienced a terrible tragedy in 2008 when their 5-year-old daughter died after accidentally being hit by an SUV that was being driven by their son. As a result of this tragedy, the family went on to start an organization (Show Hope) that has impacted countless people.
Rachel is the daughter of Dave Ramsey, the money guy. Dave says that most of “buy things we don’t want; to impress people we don’t like; with money we don’t have.” His daily radio show and financial books have been a positive influence on my family. We even got his kid’s series of books for our son a couple of years ago to teach him about chores, allowance, and savings. I have never read a Rachel Cruze book and have only heard her speak a few times but if she is half as good as her dad, then this could be an interesting book.
We hear a lot about emotional intelligence, but this is the first time I have heard of emotional agility. Dr. David is a faculty member at the Harvard Medical School, so she knows what she’s talking about.Throughout my career, I have seen so many people fail to maximize their potential because they are stuck in a rut or can’t adapt to things. They struggle with seeing different perspectives. How many times do we hear something like “that’s not been done here before” or “that won’t work here”?
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
Amazingly, as much as I talk about mental toughness, resiliency, and grit, I have never read this book. I have even quoted a couple of it’s lines but have never read it. I figured that it is about time I stop reading articles about the book and actually read the real thing. This is one of the premier studies and works out there on the concept of grit. All the articles and quotes I have seen from Angela Duckworth have been impressive. I imagine the actual book will be pretty good too.
Kevin Eastman coached in the NBA forever and won a World Championship with the Boston Celtics. When I was a basketball coach, I tried to soak up as much as I could when I would hear him speak or see an article he wrote. The man has one of the all-time greatest basketball minds. During his long NBA career, he worked with the best. At the end of 2018, his first book was published. This book is sure to be packed full of awesome NBA stories of how the best were so good (other than just talent).
Madison Holleran seemed to have it all – a freshman track star at an Ivy League school, pretty, popular, and smart. But in 2014, she committed suicide. Mental illness and depression is a very real thing and it is starting to get more and more attention. Too many young people (as well as adults) are taking their own lives because they don’t see another option. Many times, we either don’t see the warning signs or don’t take them as serious as we should. I don’t coach any more but I coach coaches and I speak to student-athletes. This is a topic that I am far from an expert on and I want to learn more. It is written by a former ESPN reporter and professional basketball player.
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
This book is all about smacking fear in the mouth.That’s not really how it’s described but that’s what I think of. Actually reading this book will involve me overcoming one of my fears – the fear of reading some sappy book that my wife might read. Seriously though, I don’t think this book is like that but it’s by the same author who wrote Eat Pray Love (Yuck!). This book is about uncovering the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. This book should open up our creative side and help us live a more wondrous and joyful life whether we are looking to write a book, make art, embark on life-long dreams, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion.
One Word That Will Change Your Life by Jon Gordon, Dan Britton, and Jimmy Page
I love Jon Gordon books. Many of them are parables that are very easy-to-read containing great life and/or leadership principles. This is the only one that I haven’t yet read. With this book, instead of creating endless goals and resolutions, the authors found one word that would be their driving force for the year. No goals. No wish lists. Just one word. Simplify your life and work by focusing your attention on one word and concept.
Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running from Madness by Suzy Favor Hamilton
Suzy Favor Hamilton was one of the greatest runners in U.S. history. She was a three-time Olympian and was selected as the Big Ten’s Female Athlete of the Year three of the four years she competed at the University of Wisconsin. In fact, the Big Ten would later name the award after her. But then in 2013, the Big Ten announced that it would no longer have the award named after Suzy. It was discovered that for years she had secretly been working as a high-priced escort in Las Vegas. This book is about her struggle with anxiety, marital issues, postpartum depression, and bi-polar disorder. I have heard good things about the book and I think it might be interesting to take a look inside an athlete’s brain – especially an individual that seemed to have it all together. As a very very very – did I mention very – amateur psychologist, this appeals to me.
He might not technically be the Dos Equis guy, but Jesse Itzler just might be the most interesting man in the world. His previous book (Living with a SEAL) was entertaining and inspiring.He’s been a rapper, owned the Atlanta Hawks, climbed mountains, co-founded Marquis Jet, ran marathons, founded Zico Coconut Water, and is married to Spanx founder Sarah Blakely to mention a few things from his bio.
I just heard Mike for the first time on a podcast interview he did with Jon Gordon. It was so good, that I listened to it twice. His knowledge and insights of the NFL but more importantly, teams and human nature, were right on point. I never heard anyone break down some of the decision making in the NFL the way that he did. That interview made me want to get his book.
I first got to know Amy when she appeared on episode 060 of my Success is a Choice podcast. Her story is absolutely amazing and inspiring. I recommended her other book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do. Now, I can’t wait to dive into this book about parenting. All too often, I feel like I am a mental midget when it comes to parenting. I am ready to get some brain fuel from Amy.
Okay, brace yourself. I have never read a Harry Potter book, nor seen any of the movies. That kind of stuff doesn’t interest me a bit. However, I am interested in a person that was living in relative poverty who now is reportedly worth a billion dollars. This book can supposedly be read fairly quickly as it only has 80 pages. It is the text from her famous 2008 commencement speech at Harvard University. She says, “You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships until both have been tested by adversity.”
Raise Your Game: High-Performance Secrets from the Best of the Best by Alan Stein, Jr.
This is a friend of mine, who was known as the top performance coach in the country. He has worked with guys like Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant. Alan is now a professional speaker and I love listening to his insights and stories. I can’t wait to get this book. He has been working on it for awhile and it comes out in January of 2019.
In 2015, Jen became the first woman to be an assistant coach in the NFL when she became the linebackers coach for the Arizona Cardinals. She also has a doctorate degree. Boom! Mic Drop! I want to read what makes her tick and how she overcame the odds to break through the glass ceiling.
There’s the list. Hope that you enjoyed it. I can’t wait to get started. Now, you might not like taking the time to actually read a book. Instead, you might like to listen to audio books while you are out walking or on your daily commute. If so, then our friends at Audible have a great offer for you. Now, you can get a 30-day trial membership and a free audio book download if you are a first-time subscriber to Audible and visit AudibleTrial.com/SuccessIsAChoice. Even if you decide to cancel your membership, you still get to keep your free download.
#ShamelessPlug – If you know a student-athlete or coach, then they’d probably be interested in my book The Leadership Playbook: Become Your Team’s Most Valuable Leader.t It is packed full of practical insights and relevant stories to help student-athletes learn what it means to be a more positive leader and better teammate.
Jamy Bechler is the author of The Leadership Playbook, host of the Success is a Choice Podcast, professional speaker, and trains organizations on creating championship cultures. Bechler spent 20 years as a college basketball coach and administrator. He has worked with businesses and teams, including the NBA. Follow him on twitter at @CoachBechler. To connect with him via email or find out about his services, please contact speaking@CoachBechler.com.
Disclosure: We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.