5 Book Recommendations For The Rest Of 2012

There’s a saying: “Not all readers are leaders but all leaders are readers.”

That can take the form of a physical book, an eBook, an audio book, or various other ways of consuming the information. The important thing is you’re reading.

Books on a Table

Image via Creative Commons

I’ve done quite a bit myself this year. I’m over my goal of 24 books for the year and continuing strong.

Through these 24 books, I obtained great ideas, new insights, and created new thought patterns.

All from picking up a book.

Today, I’d like to share with you what I feel are 5 books you should read before the end of the year.

    1. EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey – Dave shares years of insight into how he does business.  He gives you the nitty gritty on how you can build a successful business. All while staying out of debt. One of the best leadership books I’ve picked up all year.
    2. In a Pit With a Lion On a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson – This is the story of Beneniah and how he battled a lion in a pit on a snowy day. One of those bible stories you rarely, if ever, hear told. Lots of practical advice you can apply to your life and leadership.
    3. Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt – An honest and open look at how Michael Hyatt has built his platform. He started with a meager readership and has now grown his readership to over 300,000 readers a month. If you’re looking to build a platform, you need this book.
    4. How To Win Friends and Influence People  by Dale Carnegie – I consider this to be the authoritative book on the subject of winning friends and influencing people. This book has stood the test of time and the principles are still applicable today. One of the books you should read at least once a year.
    5. The Hunger Games (Trilogy) by Suzanne Collins – What? A set of fiction books on a leadership site? Yup! And I’ll tell you why. The story. It’s well written, engaging, and exciting. You can enjoy a brief escape from the monotony of more business books and still get something out of it. Study the writing, learn how to tell a better story… How to draw readers in… How to get them to want more. Suzanne did that with these books. See what works and if you can apply it to your writing and leadership.

There you have it. Five must read books before the end of 2012. You’ll gain leadership insights, learn how to build your platform, and maybe even escape to a futuristic world.

Question: What book do you recommend reading before the end of 2012? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I’m a bit behind on what I want to read over the coming weeks and months. You have several on your list that I want to read.

    • I think that’s a common thing for many people. There’s always great new books coming out. Anything on your list you’d like to share?

      • I am reading The Lion, the Witch andvthe Wardrobe. Then another fiction book called the Search Committee. I want to read Hunger Games.

        • That’s a great book. I re-read it before the movie came out.

  • Wrecked by Jeff Goins and Love Does by Bob Goff.

    • I’ve got Love Does sitting on my shelf, ready to read. It may be next after finishing $100 Startup. Wrecked also looks great. Care to share any insights you gained from those two books?

      • I’m looking forward to $100 Startup, after I get through the six or so books I’m trying to work through in parallel. Are you enjoying it so far?

        • Yeah, I’m about a third of the way through $100 Startup and it’s been fantastic. The encouragement you can get from hearing the stories of others who have succeeded is great. Lets you know there’s still opportunity out there to do the things you love. I’m hoping Chris dives a bit more into the nuts and bolts of starting up but I’m not sure if that’s the direction the book will be heading.

      • I didn’t see Jon’s reply until after I wrote mine. Love Does and Wrecked are similar in that they challenge you to step out of your comfortable life. To start doing something. Anything. Love Does is about showing love in tangible ways instead of just saying it. Wrecked is about letting God wreck your heart and start living a life of meaning. They are both great! I just started $100 Startup as well.

      • Love Does is full of so many practical ideas and stories of inspiration about how to live a life of love in action.

        Wrecked came at a great time for me as I was heading to Guatemala for missions.  I’m reading another great book now on the same topic – Kingdom Journeys by Seth Barnes.

        •  I’m with you on Love Does. I finished the book 2 weeks ago or so and must say it was fantastic. It’s making me change the way I see the world and how I interact with others.

          • Very cool!  I’d love to hear more about the way it’s changing you – perhaps a blog post idea?!

            • A future blog post is possible. Not sure if it will happen so I’ll give you a brief synopsis.

              Bob’s encouraged me to take more risks. To ask more questions. To get more involved with community.

              The story isn’t all about me or all about you. It’s about us. And I need to be living a life that reflects that.

  • The only one of those I’ve read so far is “How To Win Friends and Influence People”. A few of the others I’d like to read, but aren’t as high a priority for me as some other books on my life.

    • It seems a lot of people have read How To Win Friends and Influence People. It’s a great book on relating to people and gaining their friendship. What are some of those other books on your list?

      • I’m currently working through James White’s “The King James Only Controversy”, C.S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity”, Homer’s “The Illiad”, and for professional growth, a book called “Earned Value Project Management”. I’m also about 1/5 through Tacitus.

        I recently finished John Maxwell’s “The 5 Levels of Leadership”, John Perkins’ “Confessions of an Economic Hitman”, and Dr. William Davis’ “Wheat Belly”..

        I have what could be a bad habit (or even a good one?) of acquiring tons of books, both physically and electronically. I probably have over 1000 books on my iPad between Kindle and Adobe. My wife doesn’t let me know about library sales anymore.

        • Eric, have you read all of these books :)?

          I don’t buy or borrow a book until am done with the one am reading – what you call overly cautious!

          it’s only recent that I began to read two books at a time – and even give myself the freedom of not finishing 🙂

          • I haven’t read all the books on my iPad. Most of the Kindle books and pdf’s I get are free, so I download them for later, and they just keep on coming. I have no idea if I’ll ever catch up with them.

            Many people can only read one book at a time. I tend to have several going. I try to keep one paper book going at home. I have one on my iPhone to read while riding back and forth to work. I keep all my pdf books on my iPad. My job offers a subscription to Safari Tech Books, so I keep one of those open at work when I get time to read. That way, on any given day, I have a non-fiction book I’m learning something new from, I have a professional book I’m also learning something from that makes me better at my job, and I sometimes have a fiction book going “for the heck of it”. But also, if I have an appointment or I’m stuck waiting for somebody, I usually have something I can read with me.

            • wow, way to go! great reading plan!

              I also have many free ebooks on kindle. am always trying to catch up :), doubt that will happen soon

        • Wow! That’s a lot of books. I’ve never heard of Tacitus before. What is that about?

          The 5 Levels of Leadership was a stellar book. What did you think of it?

          Haha Eric… I know that bad habit. Something about cheap books draws us in, huh? Library sales (especially when they’re by the bag) and thrift stores are my weaknesses. I can stock up on hundreds of books for cheap.

          • Tacitus was a 1st century Roman historian. He picks up right after the fall of Nero and goes into the early 2nd century. I’ve been trying to read the “Great Books of the Western World” lately, although I’ve only succeeded in getting myself into the middle of 3 of them without finishing any.

            5 Levels was a good book. John Maxwell never fails to surprise me.

  • “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek has been outstanding so far, as has “Crucial Conversations”. I’d also add in “Presentation Zen” by Gar Reynolds for anyone who spends any time crafting presentations, and “Thou Shall Prosper” by Rabbi Daniel Lapin, which has provided me with an amazing wealth of information and thought-provoking ideas far beyond what I had expected. And Eric Reis’ “The Lean Startup” is wonderful even if you don’t consider yourself a startup for the way it discusses facing pivots, those moments when you realize some aspect of your business model has to change and what to do when that happens.

    I’ve now added the Batterson book to my list. Thanks for that.

    • I’ve had Presentation Zen sitting around on my hard drive for awhile. I’ll have to read through it soon. Heard lots of talk about Lapin’s book as well.

      Thanks for sharing what you’ve been reading. Looking forward to seeing what I can get out of them.

    • Start With Why was terrific. Simon Sinek is a great Twitter follow as well

  • Great books, so far I have read 1 of the 5 on your list, but had another one on the trigger to buy. Drawing readers into your content is important if you want to continue to have readers. A book I am reading now is Risk by Kenny Luck. So far its a great testimony for me.

    • Haven’t heard of Risk before. What’s Risk about? Taking chances and doing something?

      • Yes, Kenny Luck is the president and founder of Every Man Ministries and men’s pastor at Saddleback Church. He was a Corporate Exec heading for CEO and just gave everything up for God’s vision for his life. So far its totally awesome read. I would recommend it for anyone seeking guidance from God and might be afraid to take the next step.

        A friend at Church recommended I read it. So far so good.

        • That’s quite the career move. It’s always amazing to hear such daring career changes. It makes me wonder if it’s something I could do. That’ll be a book I’ll add to my list.

          Have you heard of A Hole In The Gospel? Sounds like it may be along the same lines.

          • Never heard of the book, I will look at that one also. Thanks for the suggestion.

            • You’re welcome. It’s the story of the founder of World Vision and how he left a good paying job to start up the non-profit. Huge faith factor!

  • Great list. We have similar taste in books. My recommendation is “Love Does” by Bob Goff. It is by far one of my favorite books so far. I also just read an advance copy of “Wrecked” by Jeff Goins. Also very good. It will release next week.

    • That’s awesome. It’s always interesting to see others with similar tastes. Like I mentioned to Jon, Love Does is on my bookshelf waiting to be read.

      Any other recommendations you would like to offer?

  • I have a few of these books on my list.

    I encourage you to read the series- Wrath and Righteousness by Christ Stewart. It’s fiction but you almost wouldn’t know it because of all the current events woven in (this is a series re-published, it’s amazing and eerie, so much of the “Fiction” has come true since it was originally written and published!)

    • Wrath and Righteousness sounds like an interesting book. It can be disconcerting how close some early fiction can mirror our current society, huh?

      • No kidding. But this book really has hooked me. I can’t wait for more. The first book is a little slow as it is sets the stage, but it is worth reading.

        • Awesome. I’ve just gotten back into reading fiction. Sounds like one I’ll have to pick up for the library.

          • I believe it was first released under the name The Great and Terrible. I’m not sure if it has any changes to it from it’s original version. I’m reading this new publication and am nervous to switch over to the first publication series in case there are differences.
            I don’t read much fiction, but I am really enjoying this. It’s sort of like the Left Behind Series

            • Yeah, that looks to be right. I’d be willing to buy the updated version if they had it in print rather than just on the Kindle.

              I’d be interested as well to know if there are differences. A couple of websites said the new release was adapted from the previous books. If you find out, I would love to know the differences.

              • If I find out I will let you know. I don’t use my Nook much, I prefer to hold actual books.

  • I’m trying to finish the Francis Chan “trilogy”…already read crazy love and erasing hell and i just started forgotten God last night. already read the hunger games and platform.

    • Francis Chan is an amazing author. I just finished Crazy Love and want to read the others. He pulls no punches and lets you know what he feels and believes. It’s challenging and encouraging at the same time. What did you think of Crazy Love?

      • it honestly hurt to read because of the things you just said. erasing hell seemed more like it was “here are the facts” and crazy love was like “God needs you to let Him change everything about you right now” haha…i need to read it again after FG

  • I didn’t do well last year, but this year my reading has improved. I read my first C S Lewis book – Screwtape Letters – after you recommended it :). It’s one of my favorite reads for the year.

    I am currently reading ‘The DNA of relationships’ by Gary Smalley. Powerful book for any person seeking to improve their relationships – from marriage, work, kids e.t.c

    • Wow! I’m glad you enjoyed it after I recommended it. You never know how someone else will enjoy something you did.

      Smalley has been a great author and inspiration. Will have to take a peek at that book and probably pick it up. Always looking to improve my relationships.

      • it’s true Joe, you never know!

        I’ve added your recommendations for the year and others from the community to my to-read list.

        A very helpful post, as always!

  • Joseph,

    Great conversation. I like Hero by Derwin Gray, Linchpin by Seth Godin, Killing Cockroaches by Tony Morgan, and Leadership As An Identity by Crawford Loritts. Great books.


    • Derwin Gray… He’s the tackling preacher, right? Linchpin was awesome. I listened to the audiobook version and was hooked. Killing Cockroaches sounds like it could be a winner by the title alone.

  • Great list Joe! Mark Batterson also wrote another great book, Primal. And I would add Mark Miller’s new book, Great Leaders GROW, and Jeff Goins new book, Wrecked.

    • Thanks for the recommendation on Primal. I’m also looking forward to reading his newest book Circle Maker.

      I still have to get to Great Leaders GROW. It was very exciting to receive it in the mail.

  • Thanks for the ideas, Joe. I’ve already read a couple of these. Dale Carnegie’s is a classic. I read the first of the Hunger Games. I tend to stay away from series as I love to get a variety of reading in. Another similar read, that I found better is a book called “Divergent.” I’m also a creative writer and would like to see some poetry on the list. I’m currently reading Pablo Neruda and a book called “Mink River” by Brian Doyle. Of course the Bible is a good book to visit and revisit. There are just too many books and too little time. Gee, my first book didn’t make the cut for your top five: “A Train Called Forgiveness.”

    • I know what you mean about series. They can be very time consuming and similar. I’ll have to check out Divergent. If it’s anything like The Hunger Games, I’ll blaze through it.

      Sorry about not including your book on the list. Haven’t had a chance to pick it up and read it yet. Who knows, it may make the next cut!

      • You know I was just kidding about my book, Joe, but I’d be honored and delighted if you did read it.

        Divergent is by Veronica Roth. She just released a second to the series called “Insurgent.” It’s different than Hunger Games, but is written similarly and moves quickly in first-person like Hunger Games. The premise is based a city that’s been split into different factions and on making choices when one comes of age, between the faction of their childhood, or one of the others.

        “The Lightning Thief” by Rick Riordan is another first to a similar series. Too many books, and I prefer non-fiction reading, but strive for variety.

  • DS

    Joe – sounds like you’ve received quite a few recommendations. Fun to see Wrecked, Jeff Goins book mentioned so many times.
    My Recent List has included:
    Creating Your Business Vision, Michael Nichols (ebook at MichaelNichols.org)
    The Secret, Mark Miller
    Great Leaders Grow, Mark Miller
    Courageous Leadership, Bill Hybels
    Love Does, Bob Goff
    Platform, Michael Hyatt
    Everyone Communicates – Few Connect, John Maxwell
    Creating Your Life Plan, Michael Hyatt (ebook at MichaeHyatt.com)

    Want to Read List:
    Running for My Life, Lopez Lomong

    • DS, I have! I know I don’t have the time to read all of them but it’s great to have a waiting list.

      I’ve read quite a few of the books on your list and must say they’re stellar. Platform, Everyone Communicates, Creating Your Life Plan, etc. And I’ve heard nothing but praise for Love Does.

      Never heard of Running for My Life. Is it a story of escape or about physical fitness?

      • DS

        “One lost boy’s journey from the killing fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games” published by Thomas Nelson
        Refugee turned Olympian – carried the US flag during opening ceremonies in Beijing.

    • I love Love Does as well as Mark Miller’s books.

      • DS

        What are you reading this month?

        • Recently finished Switch (Heath bros), Draw the Circle (Batterson), and 12 Elements of Great Managing (Wagner, Harter). Currently in the middle of So, You’re New to Sales (Flanagan) and America the Beautiful (Carson). Next will be Crucial Conversations (Patterson).

  • Joe, I have so many books that I recommend, which is why I’m always doing it on my blog. You have some great suggestions and the lists below are full of good ones.

    • I’ve noticed that recently on the blog. Seems like quite a few recommendations. Keep them coming and my to-read list will continue to grow.

  • I’m looking forward to reading Tim Kellers book on marriage, Dan Allenders “Leading with a Limp”, and a book detailing the crisis in Zimbabwe called The Fear by Peter Godwin

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  • In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day is such an empowering book about courage and manhood! So glad to see that on here! Blessings – Ryan

    • Glad you like it too Ryan. It was recommended to me by Kevin Miller of Free Agent Academy. Such a powerful message that we rarely hear. How has it affected your life?

  • Joe – I haven’t read the Hunger Games (saw the movie), but I am digging your other 4. I went to Mark Batterson’s church in DC and love all his books. How to Win Friends and Influence People is my all-time favorite book on leadership. I enjoyed EntreLeadership (book and conference) and I randomly ran into Michael Hyatt last year and decided to read Platform. It completely shaped how I thought about my blog!

    Btw, really like this post idea. I have a master list of books, but might do a little one like this too. http://www.nathanmagnuson.com/favorite-books-on-leadership/

    • Thanks Nathan. How was Mark’s church in DC? Seems like it’d be a great place to attend. That’s so cool you randomly ran into Michael Hyatt. How did that happen?

      Took a quick look and you have a great list of books there. Look for a comment from me soon on the post! I’d love to see a little list as well. BTW, there’s a new list coming sometime next month for leaders to read by the end of 2013.

      • National Community Church was amazing. I was heavily involved for 3 years and only just recently moved away. I miss it! I suppose my post is a great big repository, but a short list might make it easier for people to commit to one or two. I did finally set up an Amazon store like yours though. How about that? http://www.nathanmagnuson.com/store/

        • Great job Nathan! Congrats on getting the section up and running.