Help Me Read Less This Year

I wish I could get paid to read.

That would be like getting paid to eat ice cream.

I heard recently that the average person reads less than two books a year. I have trouble wrapping my head around that statistic, because I love to read so much.  Two-book-per-year people make New Year’s resolutions like, “I need to read more this year.”  And that’s a wonderful resolution.

I’m not one of those people. Neither is Craig.

Craig shares my love of books. In the next few days, I’ll be receiving an email spreadsheet from him with his annual reading list summary for last year.  It will be broken down by:

  • Monthly pages read
  • Annual total pages read
  • Titles
  • Personal rankings
  • Total number of books read
  • Fiction vs. nonfiction
  • DNF (Did not finish)
  • Top 10 books of the year

. . . and about ten other categories. Last year he read around 60 books.  I read about 40. (If you’re a two-book-per-year reader, you probably have a therapist in mind for us.)

I can’t wait to see his results. I always look forward to his list, and his top picks from last year often end up on my shelf for this year.  His list inspires me to read more.

Book pileThis year, I want to read less.

And I need your help.

Here’s the thing. I read mostly nonfiction, and love the insights I get.  But I find myself reading a lot, but not applying much.  I stuff my mind with all these great ideas that I want to try, and then feel guilty because I’m not doing all these great things I need to do.

This year, I’ll still read quite a few books – both fiction and nonfiction. I enjoy the process, and don’t want to give that up.

But I want to decide on one significant book to focus on.

Just one.

And read it 12 times. Once per month.

So I need your suggestions.

If you were to suggest one book that would be worth spending an entire year on, what would it be?

I’m open to any kind of topic. It could be about productivity, relationships, faith, communication, business – it’s up to you.  I want to keep it in the nonfiction category for the purpose of the experiment.  I’ll track the insights, and implement the things I’m learning.

That’s my experiment for this year. I want to immerse myself in one book until it sticks.

I’ll collect your ideas for the next couple of weeks. Then, I’ll make the final decision.  I’ll let you know what it is, in case you’d like to join me.  I’ll write about what I’m learning occasionally, and we can chat together about it.

Kind of a mini-book club without the croissants or chairs in a circle.

You might not choose the same book to focus on that I do. That’s OK, because we’re all at different places in our lives.  We each need to choose the book that’s most relevant at the moment.  It will be interesting to see what others suggest.

You can share your ideas in the comments section – or by email – or text or skywriting or personal conversation or Facebook or Twitter (and I’m just getting on Instagram in the next few days). Whatever channel we usually use to connect.  (Craig – we need to do this over breakfast.)

I’ve always appreciated the conversation we’ve been able to have. So in advance, thanks. Can’t wait to hear your suggestions!

What one book would you recommend to spend an entire year focusing on? Add your comments below . . .

Senior Consultant at FranklinCovey; Author of "People Can't Drive You Crazy If You Don't Give Them the Keys"

  • Jeanne Vincent

    Thank you Mike for your comments/posts. I have so many books I have to ponder as to another great book I would recommend for you. As I was going through my Favorites list on the PC, this name particular jumped out at me because I had it listed so many times. Dr. Norman Geisler P.H.D. He wares many hats for Christian religion, moral living, and philosophy. This incredible man has produced 101 books, all are well worth reading. He has his own web site with his on line articles and interactive posts. Have a blessed New Year!

    • I remember when he spoke at our college back in the days when I was a prof in Phoenix. I remember thinking, “Wow – he’s really smart.” Guess he still is . . . thanks for the recommendation – I’ll add it to my list!

  • Jeanne Vincent

    Something challenging, with insight, faith based, with lots of communication, knowledge, productivity, investigations, interviews, and fact finding. This Christian Non-fiction book has it all. A challenge to most anyone’s intellect each chapter stimulating many thoughts, ideas and even more questions..
    A New York Best Selling Author and retired investigative reporter. Lee Strobel’s book, “The Case for a Creator”, investigates scientific evidence that points towards God. All his books are fact finding with creditable answers to questions we all have about God/Jesus and our Christian religion.

    • I appreciate your thoughts, Jeanne – I added your suggestions to the list, and will post what I end up with in a day or so. (And I’ve always liked Lee Strobel’s stuff.) Thanks a bunch!

  • Jason Bottcher

    “Recapture the Wonder” by Ravi Zacharias. It’s a great book that challenged me to rekindle the wonder of God in my life and talks about how to retain that wonder!

    • Great suggestion – I’ve always enjoyed Ravi’s work, and this is one I haven’t read. I’ll pick it up -thanks!

  • Jeremy Stephens

    Heroic Leadership: Best Practices from a 450-Year-Old Company That Changed the World. by Chris Lowney. Although Proverbs daily sounds good too

    • Thanks, Jeremy – That’s a new one for me – haven’t heard of it. I checked it out on Amazon, and it looks pretty interesting. Even if it doesn’t make my “top choice,” I think I’ll pick it up anyway based on your recommendation. Thanks for the suggestion! (Will post results in a day or so)

    • Yeah, I’ve had a number of people suggest Proverbs. It’s in the running . . .

  • Cory Shaull

    I have to go with the Bible. It’s my goal to make it through it this year. Life changing.

    • Thanks, Cory – I actually just finished it from 2015. Good stuff – and the author seems pretty credible . . . ! Will be posting results in a day or so. I appreciate you connecting!

  • pm

    “The Power of Persuasion” by Robert Levine. Educational to those who want to influence others, as well as to those who wish to recognize when they’re being influenced.

    • Thanks for the suggestion – I had forgotten about that. I read it when it first came out, and it’s become part of my thinking since. I’m just pulling all the suggestions together, and will write about what I decide in a day or so. I appreciate your input!

  • Craig Petinak

    That Craig guy sounds like a freak! I hold to my idea of Proverbs…..31 chapters….31 days in (most) months….

  • Mary Langer Thompson

    Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. It’s not too long, and C.S. Lewis was one of the top thinkers of the 20th century.

    • Thanks, Mary — I love C.S. Lewis, and it’s been a ton of years since I read Mere Christianity. Thanks for suggesting it – and even if that’s not the final “one” I choose for the year, I’ll definitely read it this year (several people suggested this one). Will blog about the final decision in a day or so. Thanks!

  • Steve

    The Bible, I have heard it is life changing. I would like to see you pull that off.

  • Lisa J. Loukoumidis

    I suggest “Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao” by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer.

    I am looking forward to hearing what you’re going to be reading and your insight!

    • Thanks, Lisa – I’m just finalizing the list from the different suggestions, and I really appreciate your input. Have always enjoyed Dr. Dyer’s stuff . . . and will definitely check this out!

  • Love this idea! Will be racking my brain for ideas. Can’t wait to hear what you come up with! (And I need to get a copy of Craig’s list too!)

  • Leah

    Happy New Year! I highly suggest “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy. For me, it was a life changer!

    • Leah – Thanks for suggesting the Compound Effect – I was actually thinking of that before I even did the blog request. I’ve read it several times, and love it. It’s definitely in the running . . . thanks!