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My Favorite Books of 2008

OK, it is time again. Each January, I write down a list of my favorite books I read over the past year. This initial blog includes my list for last year. It was tough, as several caught my eye and intrigued me. They covered issues like personal growth, leadership, spirituality, social awareness and communication. I recommend these half dozen books to you.

1. Tribes, by Seth Godin (Penguin Group, New York, NY)
This book just came out in 2008. Seth Godin is a respected voice in marketing and trends. Tribes convinces the reader that marketing any idea now requires a leader—who is launching a tribe. New ideas, new programs, new products—all catch on when the leader understands how to form a tribe (a following) that interacts not only with the leader but with each other. It is an easy and a fun read.

2. The Dream Manager, by Matthew Kelly. (Hyperion Publishers, New York, NY)
I re-read this book, which came out in 2007. It transforms the way managers look at the people they lead. The book is an argument for leaders connecting with their team members to help them realize their dreams, not merely get them to work harder on their job. Kelly argues executives will gain far more engaged employees through this paradigm shift than by motivational speeches.

3. Brain Rules, by John Medina. (Pear Press, Seattle, WA)
John Medina has some counter-intuitive realities to share in this “heady” book about the brain and how it works. The book is full of rules that help our minds work at their maximum level, including rules governing the role of exercise, sleep, repetition, stress, wiring, vision and gender. Medina talks about how our brains encode information and why we remember and are shaped by stimulus.

4. Do Hard Things, by Alex and Brett Harris (Multnomah Press, Sisters, OR)
This book was written by two brothers—young people, both 19 years old. That alone caught my attention. But these brothers have articulated a truth I’ve held for years: that we under-challenge and underestimate the power of young people. In the book, they tell their story, how they launched the “Rebelution” and how they’re calling students to do “hard things” that will transform the world.

5. The Sacred Echo, by Margaret Feinberg (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI)
In this deeply spiritual book, Feinberg talks about a popular subject: just how does God speak to people today? However, in the book she uncovers a new insight—that God often finds ways to repeat (like an echo) those themes he wants us to embrace. He impresses us over and over again so we can walk more confidently in the path we were wired to take. It’s a great thought provoker.

6. Leadership Gold, by John C. Maxwell (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN)
John has been a personal mentor for me, since 1983. This book contains much of his timeless leadership truths, put in a memorable way. He and I talked over this book as he wrote it; in fact he ends the book with one of our “Habitudes”™(Life Sentence). It includes forty years of leadership learning from his career. It’s full of nuggets that help you lead smart, magnetically and productively.

Did you read any of these? What did you think? What good books did you read? Chime in.

–Tim

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My Favorite Books of 2008