Our Top Five Books of 2019 | GBP038

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In this last episode for 2019, Dr. Chris Cloney shares how he applies the lessons in books to his business and his life. Plus, he dives into the five books that made the biggest impact on him this year.

What’s the best way to learn from reading?

There are some reasons why reading is important for developing your online business and getting you exposed to new areas. So then what’s the best way to learn from reading? How do you get the most out of it? Below are five tips.

Tip #1: Mark up your books

Your brain doesn’t absorb near as much if you’re just reading and leaving them all pristine. So now I go totally the other way- my books are totally marked up. They’re re-read several times and there are notes in the margins. I find that a much more effective way to learn while you’re reading.

Tip #2: Make a table of contents on the back page

Once I’m done with the book, I flip to the back page and scroll through my dog-eared pages. I then pull out some of the biggest lessons that I learned and put them in a table of contents in the back with the page number. This gives you a central location and resource for the important concepts that you learned.

Tip #3: Recall and relation are more efficient than rote memorization

On the back page table of contents, I use a system of bullets, which are generally the main points. Numbers designate core points. If the book has a four-step process and it’s lined out that way, then the bullets will be the small items and the numbers will be the core points. Then there are arrows that point elements that relate to GradBlogger, DustSafetyScience, my business, or my life.

Tip #4: Take action

Pick one thing from the list of things you wrote down in the back of that book and take action on it right away. If I’ve done this for every book that I’ve read this year, it means I’ve actioned 20 things or 24 things.

Tip #5: Revisit important concepts at least once

When I go to migrate books I’ve finished reading to the normal bookshelves at the end of the year, I’ll take a second with each one to think, “Okay, what do I remember coming from that book?”

That recall will really lock in the lessons learned. You flip to the page and say, “Hey, these are the things that I remember and these are things that maybe I forgot.” You’ll find that you’re able to pull the information a lot more easily when you’re going about your business and your life after that.

Top Five GradBlogger Books of 2019

Now I want to move into the top five books I read this year in these five different categories.

1.  Educated by Tara Westover

The first one here is under the category of non-business books. Tara was the youngest of seven children born to survivalists in Clifton, Idaho. The book talks about her journey through childhood and how just messed up it was. It’s a pretty crazy book, but really interesting.

The biggest takeaway from this book is that the mind is extremely malleable. Tara admits that she remembers things from her childhood and adolescence that she’s not sure were real or if she’s remembering the correct version. She’s met with her brothers and they remember the same thing extremely differently.

This is important if you’re running a business or you’re trying to do something big in your life because you get to choose which truths are correct. The past is really what you make of it. Everything that got you here might not be what’s going to get you to the next stage, but you do have a bit of control there.

2. The Guru in Your Golf Swing by Ed Hanczaryk

This one was the best personal development book. It is a really fun story.  It’s half true in the sense that Ed Hanczaryk was a golf instructor. He’s a former PGA pro from my neck of the woods here in Canada. He was my golf teacher a couple of years ago before he wrote this book.

This book is all about him travelling to the Kingdom of Bhutan, where he learns Buddhist meditation by trading golf lessons with the world-renowned monk there. It’s a really interesting take on this whole mindset of meditation.

The biggest takeaway from this book is in the early chapters, where he talks about this concept of changing your focus from the golf ball to the golf club, so you have a lot more success. A lot of people focus really hard on the golf ball when you should be thinking about the club instead. How does the club feel? How does your body feel while you’re swinging the club? That’ll get you a better result at the end of the day.

If you’re focusing so hard on the end goal of what you’re doing that you lose sight of the actual day-to-day operations, you can get in a really hard spot with your business. This was the big takeaway for me: focus more on the club, focus more on the feeling and on your body than on that goal.

3. Tribes by Seth Godin

This one was my choice for the best business philosophy book. It is all about leading a movement, becoming a leader -inciting a ruckus, to use his words. I talked about this in the very early on in GradBlogger Episode #3, Causing a ruckus – create the change you want in the world. No matter where I’m at in my business or my life, reading this book really has something for me for that time of need. It teaches that when you have the right mindset about it, you can incite a movement.

4. Superfans by Pat Flynn

The best getting-started-in-online-business book this year is Superfans by Pat Flynn. Pat’s message is that building superfans in your business is the most powerful way to become an authority and build a profitable business.

I got a chance to interview Pat Flynn on this book in GradBlogger Episode #19: The power of superfans to grow your blog and your business. The funny thing is, I got that interview because of a superfan. Somebody reached out to him to promote Pat’s book on their podcast, and he said, “It really doesn’t fit with my audience, but I know this guy, Chris. He runs a podcast about online business for academics. It’d be a great fit.”

I remember that I was on a golf course in Ontario when that individual texted me and said, “Would you be interested in having a Pat Flynn on GradBlogger?” I almost lost it. It’s such an important thing to have done, so I was really excited about it. It was a superfan of my work that got me the interview with Pat Flynn on his new book, Superfans.

5. The E Myth by Michael Gerber

For me, this was the best business-growth book. The premise is that small businesses – and you can also think of online businesses this way because most are also small businesses – go through cycles. Those cycles are dominated by the personal growth trajectory of the owner. The only way to get your business to be bigger and better and to grow it is to become better yourself. He gives really specific guidance on both these cycles and how you are going to go through them.

The biggest takeaway from this book is that you will have to transition, as you grow your business, from a technician, to a manager, to the visionary within your business. If you’re feeling stressed, it might be because you’re in the middle of one of these cycles. You’re moving from the technician to needing to be a manager. Maybe you’re moving from being a manager to needing to be a visionary. This book is exactly what you need if you’re in one of those ruts. The really big takeaway is that there are different skill sets that you may not have but that you need to make these transitions.

What was the best book you read in 2019?

Tell us about a book that really impressed you in the comments below or tag @gradblogger on Instagram or Twitter.

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