This is the first time I’ve ever done this list but I’m sure it’ll become an annual thing… Good forum of accountability for myself too. I’m going to let myself off the hook and say these are in no particular order. You’ll find an overview of the book plus what I liked about each one below. Let me know what your top reads were in 2010…
The Wolf of Wall Street – By Jordan Belfort
By day JordanBelfort made thousands of dollars a minute. By night he spent it as fast as he could on drugs, sex and international globe-trotting. From the binge that sank a 170 foot motor yacht, crashed a Gulfstream jet, and ran up a $700,000 hotel tab, to the wife and kids who waited for him at home and the fast-talking, hard-partying young stockbrokers who called him king and did his bidding, here, in his own inimitable words, is the story of the ill-fated genius they called…Wolf of Wall Street.” In the 1990s Jordan Belfort, former kingpin of the notorious investment firm Stratton Oakmont, became one of the most infamous names in American finance: a brilliant, conniving stock-chopper who led his merry mob on a wild ride out of the canyons of Wall Street and into a massive office on Long Island. Now, in this tell-all autobiography, Belfort narrates a story of greed, power, and excess no one could invent – the extraordinary story of an ordinary guy who went from hustling Italian ices at sixteen to making hundreds of millions. Until it all came crashing down…
Why I Liked It:
The book reads like a movie and in fact, there is a movie coming out with Leonardo DiCaprio playing JB and I believe Martin Scorsese is directing and Ridley Scott is producing. This is one of the most powerful stories associated with the danger of excess and can be an excellent cautionary story for each of our lives.
TheArt ofNon-Conformity – By Chris Guillebeau
The underlying message of Guillebeau’s book, based on his popular blog, is that “You don’t have to live your life the way other people expect you to.”Those who are open-minded, ready to challenge the status-quo, hard-working, and personally responsiblecan lead lives of rare authenticity through radical goal-setting, the author counsels, rewriting motivational standards in edgier prose: “The pathway to world domination, or whatever it is you want to do, begins with clearly understanding what you want to get out of life.” Although directed at readers of all ages, his message is likely to appeal most to those without dependents. Although he believes that “competence is your security,” many readers may feel a need for more of a safety net than that, such as a retirement plan. The ideas presented here are interesting, the advice grounded in logic and common sense, and, ironically, the outlook based in the same outside-the-box thinking that corporations are coming to adopt. The author challenges the status quo on college degrees, spending and saving, employment, collecting, and other issues, and coaches for success with a likeable, energetic voice.
Why I Liked It:
I’m a living testimonial that you don’t need to live your life the way other people expect you to and life is too short to live on other peoples terms.
Outliers – By Malcolm Gladwell
Outliers focuses more on the social and cultural context of individuals to explain their extraordinary success. As per vintage Gladwell, it takes a very eclectic path toward its subject, looking at everything from a genius who lives on a horse farm in Northern Missouri, to why Canadians are better hockey players (and which Canadians are the best), to why Korean pilots are more likely to crash planes.
Why I Liked It:
Malcolm argues a person’s success has much to do with such things as luck (circumstance, fortuitous or unlikely events), culture, environment growing up, and of course, practice. The last point is not terribly groundbreaking, but the rest flies in the face of what we typically credit a successful individual for. The best chapter is on “The 10,000 Hour Rule.”
Linchpin – By Seth Godin
And from Linchpin? “Everyone’s an artist now.” By Seth’s definition, an artist is not just some person who messes around with paint and brushes, an artist is somebody who does (and I LOVE this term) “emotional work.” Work that you put your heart and soul into. Work that matters. Work that you gladly sacrifice all other alternatives for. As a working artist and cartoonist myself, I know exactly what he means. It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it. The only people who have a hope of becoming linchpins in any organization, who have any hope of changing anything for the better in real terms, are those who have the capacity to do “emotional work” at a high level—to be true artists at whatever they set their minds on doing. The guys who just plod around the office corridors, just turning up for their paycheck…. Well, those guys don’t have a prayer, poor things. The world is just too interesting and competitive now. And Seth then challenges us, the readers, to become linchpins ourselves. To make the leap. To become artists. To do emotional work, whatever the sacrifice may be. It’s our choice, and it’s our burden. Seth won’t be there to catch us if we fall, but to become the people we need to be eventually, well, we probably wouldn’t want him to, anyway.
Why I Liked It:
I strongly encourage you to get this book and read it. Seth is right, we need you to make a difference, to stand for something. YOU need you to make a difference. A linchpin is someone that is remarkable. They bring the emotional labor to their work. They pour themselves into what they do because they know it is the right thing to do, and they become better people for living and working this way. This also makes them very scarce, and that scarcity makes them valuable – indispensable.
The Accidental Billionaires – By Ben Mezrich
You may think you know the story of the Facebook phenomenon, but you haven’t heard the whole story and never like this. Recreating the unbelievable rise of the world’s biggest social network—not to mention the planet’s youngest billionaire, Mark Zuckerberg—Ben tells a captivating story of betrayal, vast amounts of cash, and two friends who revolutionized the way humans connect to one another—only to have an enormous falling out and never speak again.
Eduardo Saverin and Mark Zuckerberg were two geeky, socially awkward Harvard undergrads who wanted nothing more than to be cool. While Eduardo chose the more straightforward path of trying to gain acceptance into one of the school’s ultra-posh, semi-secret Final Clubs, Mark used his computer skills by hacking into Harvard’s computers, pulling up all the pictures of every girl on campus to create a sort of “hot-or-not” site exclusive to Harvard. Though the prank nearly got Mark kicked out of college, he and Eduardo realized that they were on to something big. Thus, the initial concept of Facebook was born; what happened next, however, was right out of a Hollywood thriller.
Why I Liked It:
Mark had no idea what he was creating at the time – I doubt he thought it would blow into a 65 billion dollar company or whatever the insane number is. I think people that don’t understand “what’s possible” and don’t think about “limits” end up being successful for that reason in itself – they don’t know what’s possible. Similar to my transformation story.
Call Me Russell – By Russell Peters
This candid, first-person memoir chronicles Russell’s life from his humble beginnings in suburbia as a scrawny, brown, bullied kid with ADD all the way to his remarkable rise as one of the world’s top-earning comics. This is a shockingly honest book filled with poignant memories of his family, his life and his career. Call Me Russell is a deeply inspirational story for aspiring artists of any culture about having hope, working hard and dreaming big.
Why I Liked It:
First off, if you have never heard Russell Peters on you tube… search him NOW. He’s the funniest human being I know. A fellow Canadian I had to hear about his rise to the top in the comedy business.
59 Seconds – By Professor Richard Wiseman
Most people would like to be more creative, more persuasive and more attractive. For years, gurus and ‘life coaches’ have urged people to improve their lives by changing the way they think and behave, but scientific research has revealed that many of their techniques, from group brainstorming to visualization, are ineffective. Fortunately, psychologist Richard Wiseman is on hand to provide fast-acting, myth-busting scientific answers to a huge range of everyday problems. From job-hunting to relationships, and from parenting to self-esteem, personal and professional success may be less than a minute away …Find out why putting a pencil between your teeth instantly makes you feel happier. Discover why even thinking about going to the gym can help you keep in shape. Learn how putting just one thing in your wallet will improve the chance of it being returned if lost.
Why I Liked It:
Get this book if you want to keep your New Years Resolutions in 2011!
Catching The Wolf of Wall Street – By Jordan Belfort
In the go-go nineties Jordan Belfort proved to Wall Street that you didn’t need to be on Wall Street to make a fortune in the stock market. But his company, Stratton Oakmont, worked differently. His young Long Island wannabes didn’t know from turnaround plans or fiduciary trust. Instead, they knew how to separate wealthy investors from their cash, and spend it as fast as it came in—on hookers, yachts, and drugs. But when Jordan’s empire crashed, the man who had become legend was cornered into a five-year stint cooperating with the feds. This continuation of hisWall Street Journalbestseller,The Wolf of Wall Street,tells the true story of his spectacular flameout and imprisonment for stock fraud. In this astounding account, Wall Street’s notorious bad boy—and original million-dollar-a-month stock chopper—leads us through a drama worthy ofThe Sopranos, from his early rise to power to the FBI raid on his estate to the endless indictments at his arrest, to his deal with a bloodthirsty prosecutor to rat out his oldest friends and colleagues—while they were doing the same.
Why I Liked It:
I have personally met Jordan Belfort through his Entrepreneur Coaching and have attended a few of his live events and he’s one of the most engaging and entertaining people to listen to. Despite the devastation he caused his life it’s amazing to see him a changed man and prove that it’s never too late to start doing what’s right.
The 4-Hour Body – By Timothy Ferriss
If you know how successful The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss was, you’ll be excited about the release of his latest book, The 4-Hour Body. It has been described as the result of an obsessive quest, spanning more than a decade, to hack the human body. And, it contains the collective wisdom of elite athletes, doctors, and thousands of hours of personal experimentation. What I immediately like about The 4-Hour Body is that it promises to teach, in less than 30 minutes each, about habits most of us would like to improve. With so much going on in our lives, the idea of learning new skills in a short period of time appeals.
Tim makes a number of bold statements in his book, including how you can:
- Lose those last 5-10 pounds (or 100+ pounds) with odd combinations of food and safe chemical cocktails.
- Prevent fat gain while bingeing.
- Increase fat-loss 300% with a few bags of ice.
- Sleep 2 hours per day and feel fully rested.
- Go from running 5 kilometers to 50 kilometers in 12 weeks.
- Add 150+ pounds to your lifts in 6 months.
- And, also how he gained 34 pounds of muscle in 28 days, without steroids, and in four hours of total gym time.
Do any of these sound farfetched to you? As I said earlier, the book contains data from Tim’s own personal experimentation, and also data from several hundred men and women who used these techniques over a two year period.
Why I Liked It:
Anything that challenges the human spirit and pushes your body and life to do the “impossible” gets me fired up and this is what this book is all about as you can see in the video trailer below.
Do not read this book from start to finish… Most people won’t need more than 150 pages to reinvent themselves. Pick one appearance goal and one performance goal to start.
For most people, lifestyle change can be pretty daunting. So, the idea that you can change bad habits, one step at a time, makes this approach feel more doable. I think you’ll like the “Geek to Freak” and “Reversing Permanent Injuries” chapter the most.
Devotions for a Sacred Marriage – By Gary Thomas
This book of 52 devotionals is a companion to Gary Thomas’ bestselling work, Sacred Marriage. With all new material, Devotions for a Sacred Marriage explores how God can reveal himself to you through your marriage and help you grow closer to him as well as to your spouse. ??
Each of the devotions will encourage you to build your marriage around God’s priorities. Gary explores the process of two becoming one, learning to live with a fellow sinner, and sharing our lives as brothers and sisters in Christ. You will be challenged to embrace the profound and soul-stretching reality of Christian marriage.
Why I Liked It:
The book teaches you how to live with an imperfect spouse (that’s me) and still appreciate, love and respect them; how do you keep the happiness in your marriage despite the challenges; how do you continue to grow closer together when it seems like the world wants to pull you apart. This book involves only a 5-10 minute investment each week with your spouse and I truly believe this is the most important book out of my top ten list here. Even if you’re not raised in a faith-oriented upbringing like Flav and I were, I still think you’ll be glad you take the journey with your spouse using this book.
Which book are you going to pick up above? You could probably get all of these for less than $100 over at Amazon and I don’t make any commission off these recommendations. These were just my personal picks from 2010 that I wanted to share with you. Let me know what you’re reading and if you have any suggestions for me to read in 2011. Thanks
Vince Del Monte
P.S. Remember, if you buy 3 copies of The 4-Hour Body then I have arranged with Tim Ferriss, he’s a friend of mine, to set you up with one of the “Lost Chapters” that didn’t make it into the 571 page book. Just email your Amazon.com receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org
You can thank Tim for allowing me to hook you up with that offer for my readers.
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