The Better Late Than Never 2017 Reading List

Late December and early January have turned out to be very busy, so my plans to put together a post outlining my 2017 reading list has been languishing on my to-do list. No longer though as I have finally found a few minutes to stop and put together the list. Why did I bother to put together a list for the upcoming year especially when I almost always have a book "in progress" at any given time? It was mainly driven by the suggestions on goal-setting that I recently wrote about. One of those tips was putting your goals in writing, so I did that with regard to what I hoped to read in 2017.

The reading list itself is a mix of non-fiction and fiction. I primarily read non-fiction and most of it tends to be about being a better leader, communicator, manager, more productive, etc. - your self-improvement type stuff in general. However, I did decide to mix in a couple titles this year that were a little different and touch upon some areas of interest outside professional development. For these non-fiction works, the goal is to read at least one per month. I should get more than that since I am still working on Mindset.

In addition to the non-fiction titles, I wanted to get back a little bit to reading some fiction as well. In 2016 I started reading Jack Reacher novels since I enjoyed the movie (I have yet to watch the second one) and there are tons of these, so they should keep me busy for a while. For 2017 I'm going to continue with the series and look to read at least one per quarter.

With that outline in mind, here is the list of titles in sort of chronological order for 2017:

Die Trying (Jack Reacher) (first quarter, finish by March 31) - I read the first Jack Reacher novel, Killing Floor, during 2016 and found it enjoyable. I started this one a couple months ago but got derailed, so hopefully I can pick it back up this quarter.

Sleep Smarter (January) - starting out with a book related to health since I've been working on so many changes in my life in this area. I know sleep is definitely one item where I need to make some more changes and it seems appropriate to tackle this first and reap the benefits for the rest of the year.

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World (February) - not sure where I ran across the recommendation for this book, but it follows along from some of the productivity recommendations I've shared about not trying to multi-task. That sounds great until you start dealing with what seem like the inevitable interruptions of daily work life (or personal!). Author Cal Newport supposedly will not only explain the benefits of being able to focus intently on our work, but he will also propose a plan of action to get me in the habit of doing this. It should be the next steps to take to turn the concept into reality.

The Good Book on Leadership: Case Studies from the Bible (March) - an intersection between leadership and the Bible? Sounds like an interesting read to me. Seems to have generally good reviews.

Tripwire: A Jack Reacher Novel (second quarter, finish by June 30) - this one should carry me into early summer.

Going Faster! Mastering the Art of Race Driving (April) - To be honest, there is a decent likelihood that I read this book a long time ago. I have a stack of racing/driving books stored away from about 20-30 years ago and I would not be surprised if this one was in there. Anyway, this will get me into something a little bit different. I do enjoy driving my MINI and anything that can help me in spirit is a good thing. Maybe I'll enjoy watching racing a bit more as well as I refresh myself on various driving concepts.

A Whack on the Side of the Head: How You Can Be More Creative (May) - the old adage encourages us to "think outside of the box" which basically means coming up with some creative solutions to the problems we are trying to solve. How exactly do you go about doing that? And what exactly is the "the box"? Hopefully, this classic book will help answer some of these questions and help me think about problem-solving in some new ways.

Juggling Elephants: An Easier Way to Get Your Most Important Things Done - Now! (June) - as you know, I am all about productivity and how to make sure things get done that need to get done. This sounds like a slightly different spin on the typical productivity books I read in that it uses the analogy of a circus to explore productivity concepts.

Running Blind: A Jack Reacher Novel (third quarter, finish by September 30) - yes, another Jack Reacher title.

The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals (July) - this title surfaced on several reading lists of people I follow on the Internet, so figured I would add it to my own lists. Summer is often a time when I am re-assessing goals for the year in preparation for the second half of the year, so the timing should be good as well. The description suggests this title will propose some nuts and bolts type practical steps to take in structuring efforts to pursue goals.

Speak Up with Confidence: How to Prepare, Learn, and Deliver Effective Speeches (August) - I do a lot of public speaking, so anything to help is a good thing. I ran across this title last fall when searching for some other books and commentators on those other books always pointed to Jack Valenti's work as the standard that public speaking books seem to be measured against. So time to get into this classic.

Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead (September) - They are one of the biggest and most dynamic companies out there and their technology continues to spread into all areas of our lives. Google also has lots of projects in progress that many are not aware of (Project Loon anyone?). To accomplish all of this, they have created a work environment that attracts great workers and gets maximum effort out of them. How do they do that? What can I take from that and apply to my own world and work?

Echo Burning: A Jack Reacher Novel (fourth quarter, finish by December 31) - the final Jack Reacher novel for the year.

Your Brain at Work (October) - this title should get me back into some concepts on how the brain works and how I can leverage that to maintain focus on tasks.

The Experience Economy, Updated Edition (November) - how do you please customers? The authors of this title seem to suggest a big component is through the experience customers have with us, at least according to the description. This may be a unique take on how to please customers and build a business, so I'm looking forward to reading this title.

Simplicity: Working Smarter In A World Of Infinite Choices (December) - we've all heard "work smarter, not harder". How do you make that happen? The reviews and information suggest this books, relying on actual research, provides a framework to make the changes necessary to get things done in a smarter fashion. This should wrap up 2017 in strong fashion.

That is my list. How is your 2017 reading list looking?


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