January Book Review

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For years I have been a collector of books, but would never characterize myself as a reader. In 2018, I decided from being a collector to being a consumer of books. My specific goal is to read 50 pages a day. 

Every month I'll pick a few to share. In January, I read 9 books (whoa!), below are the top 3!

January was the month of business books. Honestly, that will probably be a lot of 2018. It was difficult to pick just three, a lot of the books I read I really liked. I'll include the whole list at the end.


Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
by Greg McKeown

If you feel like you are being pulled in a million directions and don't have time for the things that really matter to you, this book is for you. It will be a catalyst to help you figure out how to create better habits to live the life you want. 

  • Essentialism is a life book. It pertains to every aspect of your day-to-day life. In fact, he suggests you to make decisions based on what is ultimately essential to you.

  • McKeown walks you through 4 parts (Essence, Explore, Eliminate, Execute) of how to start to think as an essentialist. From creating space in your life to why play is important to setting boundaries, he gives practical application and shows success of each process.

  • As much as we want to compartmentalize our lives, we are one person. Body, mind, and soul. You need to know what is essential for you and start to get rid of the things in your life that are non-essential to how you want to be and live.

  • Stop playing the victim to your own life, you have the power to choose most things in your life. When you say yes to everything you lose focus and vision for your life.

For me, being an essentialists means...

  • Choosing to get up at 5:30 a.m. to spend time praying and reading my Bible.

  • Choosing to say no to certain work opportunities so that I have time to spend with my husband.

  • Choosing to write down at least 5 things I'm grateful for everyday.

  • Choosing to not watch TV (and I love TV) in order to learn, study, and launch a new business.

  • Choosing one day a week where I do no work and spend time resting, creating, and time with my husband or friends.

What choices are you making to make yourself and your life better? 

Meaningful quotes from Essentialism:

"If you don't prioritize your life, someone else will."

"The ability to choose cannot be taken away or even given away-it can only be forgotten."

"If it isn't a clear yes, it's a clear no."

"...part of living the way of the Essentialist is realizing respect is far more valuable than popularity in the long run."


Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average
and Do Work that Matters
by Jon Acuff

I think I'm such a big Jon Acuff fan because as he speaks he doesn't put people into some invisible mold of who you are "supposed" to be.  He comes from the thought that you are made individually and uniquely. 

The book starts of stating the 5 phases we go through in life; Learning, Editing, Mastering, Harvesting, and Guiding. Acuff makes the realization that because of technology and advancement of society these stages no longer correspond with specific decades of your life as they would have in the past. You can be in any of these stages at any point in your life. 

  • Right now is the time to start, no matter your age, stage of life, or your past.

  • Acuff gives plenty of encouragement but also challenges you to push your own limitations and thoughts.

  • At the end of the book he has an entire list, by chapter, of implementation questions and actions to help you move forward.

  • If you died today what would you regret not doing? This is were you will find meaning in the things that you do (What are mine?) AND Are those the things I’m spending my time on?

A Few implementation questions that helped me:

  1. Writing down fears and then a truth that "de-bunks" that fear

  2. Writing a list of first steps for my big goals.

  3. Answering the question, "If I died today, what would I regret not being able to do?"

  4. Knowing the expectations I have for myself and my business.

Meaningful quotes from Start.:

"The Internet revolution isn't over. It's barely started. And one of the biggest things it's done is radically shorten the path to reaching your dreams."

"Whatever you're going to do, do it with purpose."

"If I died today, what would I regret not being able to do? Are those the things I'm spending time doing right now?"

"Don't buy the lie that changing the world has to be a chore or make you miserable. Be brave enough to have fun with whatever you whittle down in your life."


Building a Story Brand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen
by Donald Miller

Calling all business owners! 

StoryBrand is all about teaching you to clarify your message so that you can communicate clearly to your customer. Their tag line is, “If you confuse you lose”.

With the book, you gain access to the StoryBrand framework and an amazing step-by-step walk through. If you put in the work while reading this book, you will come out not only with a clearer message for your customer but a clearer understand of what you should be working towards as a business owner. 


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I WISH I’D HAD THE COURAGE TO LIVE A LIFE TRUE TO MYSELF, NOT THE LIFE OTHERS EXPECTED OF ME.
— Bonnie Ware, author of Top Five Regrets of Dying

Other January books: 

Free To Be Co is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. (Note: all the images are links to purchase the books)

Book ReviewDanielle Kwok