I’m hooked on books. When I’m alone, I’m reading. When I’m driving, I’m listening to a book. On weekends while I’m working outdoors, I’m also listening to a book. While I’m waiting in line while buying family groceries, I’ll be reading from my phone. Yet, there are many great books I have not started.
Beyond Business Books
May I make a suggestion? Put down the business book, and read a piece of history, an inspiring autobiography, or something else from the arts and humanities.
As I get older, I’m valuing such books and see the positive impact in the way I approach my consulting business. Yet, there are so many great books I have not read yet.
Here are my top 5 books that I want to get through over the next 12 months. Will you join me?
1. Man’s Search for Meaning
I can’t believe I have not read this book as many of my peers have. This classic is on many must-reading lists of prominent leaders.
Perhaps I fear I’ll read something that’s far too heavy for me to absorb given the near-death sentence handed to Victor Frankl during the years spanning 1942 to 1945 in Nazi prison camps. It’s time to read this inspiring book by a great man.
2. Democracy in America
While my oldest son was working on history during his high school years, I had him listen to a series of complex lectures on world and U.S. history by the late Rousas John Rushdoony.
While I thought this teacher was a bit dry, I vividly recall my son telling me, “This is so good,” after asking him each day what he thought of the lectures.
As I took notes while listening to the classes, students were required to read passages from Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville. The book – more like a brick – remains on my bookshelf waiting to be read cover to cover.
In case the name escapes you, de Tocqueville toured the interior of our young nation in 1831 to study the inner workings of democracy in order to communicate his findings back home in France where their aristocracy was slowly fading in that changing nation.
What I’d really like to do is read the book while walking his footsteps way back when.
3. War and Peace
I’ve survived two of Dostoyevsky’s books, but I have never read Tolstoy fearing I’d never finish.
Not sure if this book is for you? Consider some of these excerpts from a HuffPost article:
- “At its core War and Peace is a book about people trying to find their footing in a world being turned upside down by war … “
- “He’s so successful, in fact, that many Soviet soldiers who were given sections of War and Peace to read in their barracks during World War II claimed to have been more moved by Tolstoy’s descriptions of the war than by the battle taking place before their very eyes. “
- “If you want to understand why Russians today have such a complicated relationship with the West, read War and Peace.”
- “War and Peace isn’t just a great novel. It’s also a guide to living.”
- “If a human being has ever experienced it, War and Peace depicts it.”
- “This book chock full of moments of human brutality, of battlefields drenched in blood, also contains some of the most powerful moments of transcendent bliss you’ll encounter in world literature … “
If you want to read the full story, the excerpts above are from the article 7 Reasons You Should Give ‘War and Peace’ a Chance which was updated July 16, 2014.
No more excuses. War and Peace is on the horizon.
4. The First Modern Novel
Here’s a trivia question. What was the first modern novel? I think the answer is Don Quixote, right? I’ve both heard and read that this is a highly entertaining and funny book.
I’m not sure when I’ll start the book, but it’s in my top 5 of great books to read.
What is illness to the body of a knight errant? What matter wounds? For each time he falls he shall rise again! Woe to the wicked! Sancho! My armor! My sword!
How have I not read this controversial classic? It seems like I have as I’ve heard so many quotes from this book. Then again, do I really want to read a book where we are told it’s better to be feared than loved and that the ends justify the means?
While books about politics and power are generally not my cup of tea, it’s time to dust off my paperback and start reading it.
Now it’s your turn. What are the great books you have not started yet? Start your list, and then start reading one about every 3 or 4 months.