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12 for 2021


For this holiday season, I have a gift for you. No, it’s not the Ebook you receive when signing up for my listserve. It's not a free fifteen-minute consultation that ends with me trying to pitch you into one of my higher-end coaching options.

I am gifting you twelve books that shaped my mind in 2021. Well, let me rephrase, I am recommending you buy at least one of the books in the header image of this blog post. Whichever book you choose can offer some guidance in 2022 as you continue to work on becoming one of the best versions of yourself.

On Monday, I posted the header image on Instagram and Facebook. I figured family, friends, and followers would appreciate some book recommendations for the new year before 2021 ends.

Here’s why I recommend each of these books in twelve succinct sentences.

1. In Will, I found Will Smith’s blend of his entertainment experiences with solid personal development advice helpful in thinking about how to prioritize family and professional responsibilities.

2. Ryan Holiday’s interpretation of stoic philosophies, as explained in his book, Stillness is The Key, inspired more disciplined behaviors and an expansive worldview.

3. Cal Newport’s book, Deep Work, helped me reconsider job priorities and offered practical strategies to improve as a writer.

4. Caste, The Origins of our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson broadened my perspectives of race and pushed me to greater depths in diversity, equity, and inclusion projects.

5. The forty-day fast from social media I completed in 2021 came from reading Jaron Lanier's book, Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now, and gaining support in Kerry Ann Rockquemore’s The Joy Collective.

6. From the audiobook version of Simon Sinek’s book, Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, I sharpened the tools to listen better to the reasons behind my professional and personal goals.

7. I've flirted with the idea of becoming a monk in 2021, and through Jay Shetty's book, Think Like a Monk, I discovered a way to bed monastery visions in my mind without a vow to celibacy or leaving my family!

8. After reading David Goggins’ book, Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds, my workouts went from easy to HARD.

9. I found Colson Whitehead’s dynamic book, Nickel Boys, instrumental in thinking about the research needed for my first novel.

10. Thanks to Alex Hutchinson’s book, Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance, I removed the mental and physical blocks necessary to run another marathon.

11. To connect with divine feelings of clarity in life, TD Jakes' book Destiny: Step into Your Purpose, helped illuminate bridges between my work, home, passions, and purpose.

12. David Baldacci’s novel The Winner, encouraged me to sign up for Masterclass and learn more about developing the skills to become a full-time writer.

When I posted this list to social media, my wife called me out. She said, "Did you know that all the authors in your post were men except for Isabel Wilkerson?" I chuckled and replied, "Nope!"

Books by women also stimulated my thinking and inspired me to act in 2021. I reread the late, bell hooks' book, Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom. Sistah Souljah, Carol Jenkins, Angela Duckworth, Tayari Jones, Stacey Abrams, Melissa V. Harris-Perry, and Vicki Robin were also among this year's favorite writers.

I can make an effort to read more books by diverse authors in 2022. Thanks to my wife, who always encourages me to become a better man, reading seven additional books authored by women is a goal. What's one of your 2022 goals? In the comment box below, let me know.

Share this post with one reader and click this link to see the books I published this year.

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