Readers are Leaders: My Top 6 Personal Growth Books in 2018

Every year I sit down and write out a list of goals. I believe goals excel us forward and keep us thinking about the future. This practice is absolutely essential in everyday life, but especially in business. In school I never considered myself to be a reader–in fact, I’m very slow. When the teacher would have us a read a paragraph silently as a group and look up when we were done, I was always among the last two or three to raise my head. I used to be incredibly embarrassed by it and for a long time believed I wasn’t intelligent because of my reading speed. I could not have been more wrong about that.


This year especially, I have discovered about myself that I am actually very intelligent; 2018 is the first time I truly believe that. I don’t believe intelligence can be accurately measured by IQ, or reading speed, or how well you do in school. As a matter of fact, some of the most successful people in history bombed in school and were told they would not amount to anything. Those same people set out and proved all of their critics wrong. Some of the most popular, successful individuals are known for being readers: Bill Gates reads 50 books a year, Warren Buffet reads 500 pages a day, and Mark Cuban reads for 3 hours a day.


That’s no coincidence.


Readers are leaders.


I set out to read several books this year, of all genres, but today I am sharing with you my favorite books on personal growth I have read this year. These books have been the most influential in my daily life in relationships as well as business. They’re game changers.


  1. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

If you have spent any time with me at all, you know how much I love Donald Miller. And you know that I can’t shut up about his books and podcast once I get going. I can’t help it. Donald Miller has revolutionized the way I see life; I’m not exaggerating. I read this book at least twice a year. Don forces you to take a long hard look at your life with honesty and face the facts by asking: Am I living a good story? So often we coast through life and mindlessly ‘do’ without understanding a simple truth, and that is we have control over what story we tell with our life. This book will change your life. I keep copies stocked on my bookshelf so I can give them away–it’s that good.


2. Quitter by Jon Acuff

Before I was a photographer full-time I had a day job and photography was my side hustle. I knew that I wanted photography to be my main hustle but I wasn’t sure how to get there. Then I stumbled upon this book. It walks you through the process of quitting your day job so you can pursue your dream job in a way that doesn’t cause you to resent your dream job later. Jon Acuff walks you through the possibilities, the realities, and the potential of quitting your day job when the time is right. If you feel stuck in the daily grind and desire to pursue your passion, this is a must-read.


3. Everybody Always by Bob Goff

In a world where there are so many standards and conditions for loving people, Bob Goff blows the roof off of what it looks like to accept and love people regardless of differences. He shows what it actually means to love like Jesus in a society that is being suffocated and battered by religion for not fitting the mold. This book will make you laugh so hard it hurts and cry so much you won’t be able to see for a day, but it is well worth your time. If it were up to me, everyone would read this book.


4. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

It’s no secret this book is incredible. You see it everywhere these days, and there’s a reason for that. Rachel Hollis gets extremely vulnerable about her life and the lies she believed that were damaging herself, her family, her business, and her relationships. She breaks down lies she used to believe about herself and exposes the truth. Her story is so incredibly relatable. If you’re a woman (or even if you’re a man in love with a woman) I encourage you to give this book your special attention.


5. You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero

Jen Sincero will make you laugh so hard you’ll pee your pants. Ask me how I know this.

She approaches the sensitive subject of money, or even better…being rich, in a refreshing and shame-free way. She breaks down how making money and building wealth is a result of a mindset and why it’s not shameful to make a nice living and actually spend your money on extravagant things. This book has completely transformed the way I view money, people with money, and even people without money. I grew up in a home where we always said things like, “Must be nice to go on an expensive vacation…” or “I can’t believe they just bought a new car.” I had no idea that this type of thinking was exactly what was hindering me from being financially prosperous as an adult. After reading this book and applying what she teaches, I am already seeing results and an increase in my bank account. This stuff works people.


6. Think & Eat Yourself Smart by Dr. Caroline Leaf

This doesn’t have anything to do with business…but aaactually, it does.

Dr. Caroline Leaf teaches you how to influence your mind and thinking simply by changing what you eat. What we put in our mouths greatly effects how we function cognitively, physically, and emotionally. She sheds light on the importance of eating real food and why it matters so much in a day in age where most of our food is created in labs. It’s no coincidence that our food is the most processed it has ever been and our population is the most sick and diseased it has ever been. This book will blow your mind and completely revolutionize the way you see eating.


I am always on the hunt for a great new book, so drop your favorites down in the comments below!

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