My Top 5 Books of 2016 (and My Top 4 of All Time)

In the last 10 years I have had the pleasure of reading over 350 books. Since that time I have used the concepts I have learned to write over 800 blog posts, publish two books, create two seminars, and pick up the guitar and put in over 1,200 hours of playing, all while finding new ways to enjoy time with my kids. The right books can lead us to a more profitable and fulfilling life.

I don’t know if you have discovered the joy that reading can add to our lives. Whether you already love to read or haven’t yet started, I want to share with you some of my more treasured books.

I have selected five of my favorites from the books I read this year. Additionally, I have included my four favorite books of all time that I believe nearly everyone should read to become amazing at what they do. So let’s jump in!

The Most Powerful
The most powerful book I read this year was Tattoos on the Heart. It’s the story of Gregory Boyle, a priest who has dedicated his life to helping gang members turn their lives around by employing them and showing them their true value. I found it inspirational to the point of personal frustration that I struggle to do more to help. I recommend this book to anyone who believes in second chances and realizes that we should do all we can to help others.

The Most Financially Rewarding
One of the books that took me much longer to read than I should admit, is Rich Dad, Poor Dad. A friend of mine suggested this book to me many years ago because it had such a powerful financial impact in his life. I’ve heard both positive and negative reviews of this book, and even had my own reservations. There are many things I disagree with the author on, but there are some great nuggets in here. Any discerning reader that can apply good judgment and knows to limit (or eliminate!) debt, should read this book to glean the good from the rest.

The Most Motivational
I enjoy Chris Hardwick. He seems to simply be a great guy who cares about others and enjoys life. He works hard and focuses on doing what he truly loves. It’s what his book, The Nerdist Way is about too. As someone who struggled with laziness, bad health, and a pointless existence, he decided to make something of himself. This book is his desire to help others do the same by providing a training camp of well-rounded success. The tone is humorous with a fair amount of swearing and suggestive language. If this doesn’t bother you, the book is extremely motivational.

The Most Valuable for Writers
The last two books I recommend this year are for niche audiences: writers and videographers. On the one hand, both are focused on videos as the writing book is for script writers. On the other hand, the writing book will help you better understand the writing process, and everyone should think about writing. Likewise most people shoot videos of family events, kid activities, and more. They might be worth considering.

Save the Cat is a fantastic book for script writers. From the opening story that explains why it’s important to have a “save the cat” moment in your work, the author pulls you in. This book is a great resource to really understand breaking down a story into components that make it compelling. I would recommend this for anyone who writes scripts, novels, stories, etc. In fact, as I proofed this post, and remembered how much I enjoyed the book, I realized I need to grab his other books too.

The Most Valuable for People Who Make Videos
The other book is How to Shoot Video that Doesn’t Suck. This guy is brilliant. He tells you all the information you need to know in order to create compelling and exciting videos. He does this without ever delving into the technical; he simply talks about what you need to make an exciting scene for the audience. Even if you simply want to create nothing more than compelling family videos, give this book a read.

The Most Amazing Books Ever to Grace the Planet
Okay, okay, these are my books. And yes, this is a shameless plug, but you will never, in your entire life, find another book that is more like these books than these books here.

In all seriousness, I wrote these books to help people. The first, How to Create Amazing Presentations, took years to compile the information, and, through trial and error, find the techniques that were most valuable to engage an audience and turn a speaker into a pro. If you apply the techniques in this book, I guarantee, you will be a better presenter.

Likewise, my book 7 Steps to Better Relationships is dedicated to helping people better understand one another and relate well. It’s compiled from some of the best stories and lessons detailed here on the Wowful Living blog. About ninety percent of the information is available here for free, or you can buy the book and take them with you wherever you go, neatly organized into 7 simple steps that make them easy to apply in your daily life.

The Best Books of All Time
Finally, here are the best, most powerful books I have ever read (save the Bible). If you are a person, you should read them. If you are not a person, kudos on learning the ability to read. Since you have learned how to read, whatever species you are, you may want to take a crack at these anyway.

The Power of Habit – You must read this book. We believe that we think and act in one way, but the science of the brain shows otherwise. Learn how to train your brain to work for you instead of against you. This book is not optional. Even if you are a blog-reading cat. Again, kudos on learning to read, but now learn something new.

Drive – For anyone who wants to accomplish something, read this book. Again, this delves into motivation, showing us how we are truly motivated vs. how we believe we are. It will help you motivate yourself and others. It has some super powerful concepts, and you can uncover the tip of the iceberg in the author’s Ted Talk.

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs – If you do presentations at work, at church, or elsewhere, you must read this book. You’ve seen those boring presentations that take years off your life; this book is the antidote that shows you how to stand out and wow an audience. Please, for all of us that must watch endless presentations, do this for us. For the record, you can’t go wrong with any of Carmine Gallo’s books.

One Small Step Can Change Your Life – Lastly, here’s the book that might have helped me the most. Do you find yourself procrastinating at the monumental tasks in front of you? What if I told you that you could plow through them like a freight train and enjoy the ride? It’s a simple trick that you really must read to bypass the fight or flight response in our brain that keeps us from progressing. It’s the trick that helped me publish two books last year, average over half an hour on the guitar each day, while reading over 25 books, writing a hundred blog posts, creating several videos, learning musical sight reading, learning a new programming language, building a new mobile app, and much more.

You must read this book. If you want the quick version, check out a similar book I read this year: Mini Habits. It’s good and gets the job done, but it’s not as compelling as One Small Step.

Make 2017 Amazing
There they are in all their digital and audio glory – the books that I have read or listened to that made the most impact on my life in 2016. I hope you find some that appeal to you and make a powerful, positive change in your life. I hope you have an amazing 2017.

David Bishop

David is CEO of Cedowin Productions, dedicated to helping you live your best life through positive habits. He has inspired tens of thousands to improve habits and communication through books, articles, workshops, and apps. He is the creator of AweVenture, helping families enjoy fantastic, active experiences and Zombie Goals, literally making building healthy habits a game. He’s authored several books including How to Create Amazing Presentations, 7 Steps to Better Relationships, and The Man in the Pit, which helps people who have loved ones struggling with depression.

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