My Goal to Read 75 Books – January 2017 Check-in

Erik Personal Growth, Thoughts of a Mastermind 12 Comments

“I don’t believe anyone can be “improved” by buying and reading a book. They can only be “improve, if that is the word, by their own actions.” – Felix Dennis

“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” – Issac Newton

“To have more, you simply have to become more. Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better. For things to change, you have to change. For things to get better you have to get better!” – Jim Rohn

Sitting in my bedroom on December 30th, 2016, I pondered what goals I should make for 2017 which would help me become the person I want to be in the future. I love reading books, so naturally, a goal to read a bunch of books would be a fine goal however, I wanted to push myself because the better I become in the early stages of life can only help the later stages of my life (the power of compounding for you personal finance people!).

Sitting there, I said to myself, “I know I can read one book a week. This is reasonable and I will be able to do this without too much sweat. Why not try to read multiple books in a week?” 75 books is a nice, round number greater than 52, but not too outrageous. With uncertain times ahead at work (sometimes will have super busy weeks and others not so busy), I didn’t want to set a goal I know I’d struggle achieving so 75 seemed to be just right.

By reading 75 books in 2017, I want to acquire a broad base of knowledge, build connections between different ideas in my head, and apply what I’ve learned in the books to grow and improve in my relationships with friends and family, my job, and in my general self. Starting the year, I had about 30 books on my Amazon Wish List, time will tell how many of these I get to and what I learn from each of the books I read. To paraphrase Felix Dennis’ words from above, it is not enough to only read a book; to improve, one must apply what they have read in the book to improve themselves.

This post is the first of twelve update posts on my goal to read 75 books. In this post, I will list the books I’ve read during the months with links to the book reviews I wrote. In addition, to these book reviews, I will summarize the actions steps I have looked to implement in my life as a result of reading each of the following books. Like I said above, it is not enough to just read if you want to improve.

In January, I read 8 books. This is a great start to 2017 and puts me on pace for 96 books read by the end of 2017, which would have me surpassing my goal. I’m definitely happy about the effort I put in to this goal and have certainly felt a difference in the way I think and communicate with others. I am able to express my thoughts clearly, comprehend and understand other’s points quicker and be able to ask penetrating and thoughtful questions in response to their points.

I can’t wait to see where my results will be after 12 months!

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant
Book Review
Action Steps and Takeaways: I need to question the default if I want to think originally. I need to welcome criticism and feedback from peers, managers, and friends to gain a better perspective on the world around me. I should praise someone’s character instead of praising the action as this is more effective in studies.
Money – Master the Game, by Tony Robbins
Book Review
Action Steps and Takeaways: There is more to life than building wealth and making money. Giving your time and money to good causes can be as beneficial to you as making more money. I need to think big if I want to achieve financial freedom. I need to be smart about my investments; low fee funds, diversify, many income streams, etc.
Modern Romance, by Aziz Ansari
Book Review
Action Steps and Takeaways: It is best to treat people on dating apps like people and not screen shots. It is important to treat dating apps and introduction services vs. dating apps. Once the date has been set, wait until the date to continue the conversation. It may be best to see one person multiple times than multiple people one time.

Think Like a Freak, by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
Book Review
Action Steps and Takeaways: Make it okay to say “I don’t know” to things don’t know about; it’s better to follow-up and be correct than to fake it and be wrong. Experiments are the best way to get direct feedback on life. I want to experiment socially with my friends and family to help get an understanding of what makes others tick. This way I can make a bigger impact in their lives.
How to Get Rich, by Felix Dennis
Book Review
Action Steps and Takeaways: The follow-through, the execution, is a thousand times more important than the idea. When I stop listening, I stop learning. If I’m unwilling to fail, I stand little chance of ever getting rich.
Shoe Dog, by Phil Knight
Book Review
Action Steps and Takeaways: To be successful in business, a person has to take risks, be bold, and look to produce value for many people. I want to brainstorm ideas to think of potential products I could create or sell to others to make an impact on their lives.
How to Think about Money, by Jonathan Clements
Book Review
Action Steps and Takeaways:  I want to continue to leverage my day job paycheck to explore opportunities in real estate. I’m young and have many paychecks coming in the future; banks love younger individuals with solid income. I need to continue to save double digit percentages of my income to ensure I’m on pace to be able to have options financially in the near future.
Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future, by Peter Thiel
Book Review
Action Steps and Takeaways: I need to think for myself; I should look to gather information for myself and form an opinion using my own findings. If I want to start a business, I should look to dominate a niche market, versus squeezing a small percentage out of a large market. I should make definite plans for the future. Planning is essential to achieving your success; it keeps you accountable.

There you have it! 8 books in January. As I stated above, this puts my on pace for 96 books in 2017, which would surpass my goal if I stay consistent and keep up my reading. I have a stack of 15 books on my table and am constantly looking for new books to read. I want to gain a better perspective on the world so that I can help others and improve my relationships.

How are you doing on your 2017 goals? Are there any books you think would be interesting for me to read?


Comments 12

  1. I think everyone should read the Slight Edge by Jeff Olson.

    I have read 4 of the 8 books you listed (2, 4, 5, and 8) and have plans to read two others: Shoe Dog and How To Think About Money.

    To be honest, for the first time in about 5 years I did not read any books in the month of January, at least not to completion.

    I am currently reading Tools of Titans.



  2. I can’t believe you read all those books, blog and work. You are a time efficient machine!!! I was able to read one book this month and hoping to read at least one in February. But we’ll see 🙂 I do have Shoe Dog on my list to read at the library.

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      Some would say I don’t get out enough… 🙂 But seriously, I try to make it “out” 2-3 times a week to see friends and family. Usually Sundays I’m able to read for a few hours uninterrupted. Most nights I’m able to get a post done if I’m not playing broomball or out with a friend.

      Thanks for stopping by Mustard Seed Money. Hope I can continue to provide you good books so you can grow as well 🙂

  3. Ah, I remember the days before babies when I had huge swaths of time for things like reading. Color me a vivid shade of envious green!

    That’s an interesting mix of books with a leaning towards out of the box thinking. Do you have any Buckminster Fuller on your reading list?

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  4. I’ve been listening to books on tape while going to and from work (beats the radio). A recent one I liked was “The 5 lessons a millionaire taught me about life and wealth”. It is easy to listen too, doesn’t get into graphs and charts and is only 2 CD’s so I didn’t get tired of it and start skipping tracks. I highly recommend books on CD/tape and when you want to go back just hit a rewind button and raise the volume a bit to pay closer attention.

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      Hey SMM, that’s a good idea. I’ve actually had multiple friends suggest this to me. I’ve tried this in the past, but each time I end up struggling to actually listen to the book because my mind will tend to wander. Maybe I need to try it again! Have a good one SMM

  5. Great list of books! Keep it up! I love that you are mixing up the types of books you read too. I think there is a lot you can learn from non-fiction and other types of books that aren’t directly related to finances, self-improvement, etc. One of my favorite authors is Tom Robbins. You should check out Jitterbug Perfume or Villa Incognito.

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      Definitely agree with you Stuart. I’m looking to mix in some more fiction books or non-fiction, non-technical books into my reading. I will have to check out Tom Robbins – thanks for the suggestions!

  6. Fantastic goal! Ditto Mustard Money: I barely have time to read a book a month. But there’s such a wealth of info in books, that I envy you if you reach your goal, or even come close!

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