"Re-Read" Library for Personal & Professional Growth

Uncategorized Mar 25, 2024

"Re-Read" Library for Personal & Professional Growth

In this blog we are going to discuss what is in my current "re-read library" and a few of my thoughts around getting more from what we read.

Every book within this library needs to earn, and continue to earn it's spot on this list. And if we cut to the chase and I could only recommend 3 of these books to you it would be the following... These are not only a part of me "re-read" library, but these are the books that I will typically "re-read" each quarter, every year: 


Welcome to a journey through the authors and pages that many of my core principles are informed by, filtered through and audited against. These particular books have also been fairly instrumental in helping me to hone specific skills and nurture my growth both personally and professionally.

This isn't just a list; it's a curated collection that has become known to me as my personal "re-read library". The books listed here don't just sit idly on shelves—they are active participants in my personal and professional growth. The books from this library have been, and will continue to be revisited regularly as they continue to reveal new layers of understanding each and every time I reengage with them.

I am a very ACTIVE reader. Meaning that each and every time that I engage and reengage with a book I am specifically looking for something that I can APPLY. What is learned through this application is where I find the most interest, excitement and growth in my life. And so these books mean much more to me then pages of great ideas, words and wisdom. I am just crazy passionate about the incredibly INTERACTIVE & GROWING RELATIONSHIP that I have created with them. This library, and many of the authors that make up this library, feel more like family and partners, then they do books... and I simply LOVE that.

So before we go any further, let's get one thing out of the way... As you'll see, this is not a small-library. And for some, this list will feel fairly overwhelming. So with that said, let's just start with answering the two most frequently asked questions I get around this collection. The first question would be: If you could only recommend 3 books from this collection, where would you start?

  • The Greatest Salesman In Th World ["This is not a book about sales." - DB] - Og Mandino
    • Reading Chapters 8 through 17 every quarter
  • The Four Agreements - Don Miguel Ruiz 
    • Reading Chapters 2 through 5 every quarter 
  • You Are Here - Thich Nhat Hanh  
    • Reading the entire book every quarter

The second question would be around authors. Such as, "who are your favorite authors", or "which authors have had the biggest impact on you", or some variant of that. And the answer to that is fairly simple... You will notice that my library leans fairly heavy on books from Og Mandino, Thich Nhat Hanh and Seth Godin. On a personal and professional level Og Mandino and Thich Nhat Hanh have had, and continue to have a HUGE impact on who I am and how I see just about everything. And Seth Godin's mindset and approach to business has also left it's mark on my professionally. 

So with all of that said, let's get on to the list, or the books that make up my "re-read" library, and we will follow that with some additional thoughts I have around getting more from what we are reading.

I hope the following is both helpful and insightful to many!

Here is the complete list of what has EARNED a spot in my "Re-Read Library" (I have read most of these at least 6 times, and some MANY more than that)... 

  • Og Mandino - Specifically read in this order
    *The principles that Og Mandino teaches within his writing are just as likely to help in someones personally as they are professionally, and the following books all short and yet powerful reads that include principles that have been core foundations for everything I do. Og Mandino has also found a creative writing voice that I feel is truly unique within the "personal development" genre. 
    • The Greatest Salesman In Th World
      • Reading Chapters 8 through 17 every quarter 
      • "This is not a book about sales. Applying the principles from the the 10 scrolls shared in this book to your daily life and marriage are a game changer. Apply the principles from the 10 scrolls into my daily life has been and continues to be life changing for me and all those that I interact with." - DB
    • The Greatest Secret in the World
    • The Greatest Miracle in the World
    • The Greatest Success in the World
    • The Choice
    • Mission: Success!
    • A Better Way to Live
    • The Return of the Ragpicker
    • The Greatest Mystery in the World
  • Thich Nhat Hanh (TNH) - Specifically read in this order 
    *TNH has been a major influence in my life around topics such peace, contentment, joy, gratitude, compassion and empathy. When it comes to MINDSET, I just want to be TNH when I "grow-up".
    • You Are Here
    • The Miracle of Mindfulness
    • Peace Is Every Step
    • Peace In Every Breath
    • Happiness
    • How to Walk, Relax, Love , Eat & Sit [This is a "5-Pack" of mini-read/prompts from TNH]
    • No Mud, No Lotus
    • Interbeing
    • The Art of Power
  • Seth Godin - Specifically read in this order
    *Seth Godin has been a major influence on my thought process as a small business owner. 
    • This Is Marketing
    • Tribes - We Need you to Lead Us
    • Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable
    • The Dip
    • Linchpin - Are You Indispensable?
  • Bhante Gunaratana - Specifically read in this order
    *Although TNH remains my primary influence in the area of happiness, joy and mindfulness, I feel that Bhante does a very good job at sharing these principles as well. And adding these three books to my library or re-reads has been a blessing that I enjoy coming back to from time to time.
    • 8 Mindful Steps To Happiness
    • Mindfulness In Plain English
    • The Four Foundations of Mindfulness in Plain English
  • Marketing and Sales Specific Books
    *My go-to in this area has been Seth Godin, but the following books are all "must reads" and "re-reads" for me in the area or marketing and sales. 
    • THIS IS MARKETING - Seth Godin (also mentioned above in the Seth Godin section)
    • $100M Leads - Alex Hormozi
    • SUPERFANS - Pat Flynn
    • START WITH WHY - Simon Sinek
    • BLOG: 1000 True Fans - Kevin Kelly - DIRECT LINK TO BLOG
  • Business, Money, Leadership, Time, Habits, Mindset, Thought Processes, Systems Specific Books 
    • The Millionaire Next Door - Standley & Dank
    • The 12 Week Year - Morgan & Lennington
    • The 4-Hour Workweek - Expanded & Updated - Revised Edition - Timothy Ferriss 
    • The Four Agreements - Don Miguel Ruiz
      • Reading Chapters 2 through 5 every quarter  
  • Honorable Mentions - These are books that I have read many times and I would recommend that others consider adding to their library, but are not on my "ANNUAL RE-READ LIST" 
    • Ninja Selling: Subtle Skills. Big Results
    • Buy Back Your Time - Dan Martell 
    • Co-Active Coaching - Kimsey-House, Sandahl & Whitworth
    • The Habit - Say Yes Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever - Michael Bungay Stanier 
    • Atomic Habit - Jame Clear 
    • The E-Myth Revisited - Michael E. Gerber
    • The ONE Thing - Gary Keller 
    • The Book Of Joy - Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu and Douglas Abrams
    • The Universal Christ - Richard Rohr  

Some of you will not care for these books simply because they may not give you any kind of "step-by-step instruction" on how to become or do something. Much of the content here is designed to help to grow a MINDSET and THOUGHT PROCESS that will allow someone to grow in ways that could help them to gain the mastery that they desire in these areas, rather than simply tell you exactly what and how to do something. And although it can be helpful sometimes to get that kind of specific instruction, that is not the type of book that has provided me with the continued growth that I continually crave and strive for.

And yes, I would recommend owning both the audio and hard copies of each of these.

Reading & Re-Reading: My Mindset & Habits Behind This Practice

Here are a few notes on my reading practice that might be of value to some:
  • I am always much more focused on and excited about the re-reads than I am about diving into anything new... My goal is always to find the books that truly IMPACT me, and then the goal is to go back to it over and over again to see what else I can get out of it and what else I can APPLY both personally and professionally (I'm ALL about the understanding and application - That is WHY I read).
  • I am aware that I will need to read certain books that might be considered "industry standards", but my real focus for reading is pretty consistently going to revolve around peace, contentment, joy, gratitude and compassion... Those are the areas that I get the most out of and that seem to have the greatest impact on both my personal and professional life.
  •  I own both the physical and audio books for almost every book that I re-read on a regular basis... and 90% of my re-reads are done while using both at the same time. Meaning I am reading along, taking notes, highlighting, underlining and HEARTING all over my books while someone is reading it to me (more on "hearting" in the next section). Sometimes, not a lot, but sometimes I will just use the audio book like I would a podcast, and just have it playing while I'm working out, walking, driving, relaxing by the fire... But most of the time I'm using the audio books while I'm reading the actual physical book. This way of reading is huge for me when it comes to truly staying engaged in what I'm reading. My mind is more likely to wander when I am just reading the physical book by itself.
  • Some have asked me how I get so many books read... Sometimes I get some done in the morning before anyone wakes up. Sometimes Dina and I will read instead of turning on the TV. Many of the books will only take 2.5-4 hours to read, and there are quite a few people who watch at least that much TV every week (some, every night).
  • Sometimes I'll just commit to read one chapter between calls and use this to help me to be more purposeful in my mindset and awareness as I go into my next call.
  • One practice I LOVE is picking a chapter, and then committing to reading that same chapter 3 times in a day. I get so much more out of a chapter when I do, and the repetition is just soooo good for me. And considering that most chapters only range from 5 to 30 minutes long I consider that a VERY reasonable and achievable goal. That's less than a 15-90 minute commitment/goal for the day.
  •  The last suggestion I'll make in this post is that I've spent years practicing the following... I'll listen to and audio book for maybe 5-10 minutes of an audio book while driving, and then turning it off and committing to trying to share the concepts I just heard with my "imaginary passenger" (typically I imagine that my 23 year old son is sitting in the seat next to me for this exercise). And I ask my self how I would share or verbalize the concepts I just heard if he were here with me now. And I'm not allowed to "ramble". I am only allowed the same amount of time to convey my thoughts as the time I had spent listening to the point being made. 
I hope something here is helpful or insightful, and inspires someone to dive a little deeper into the WHYhows & and whats of their reading practice.

❤️ Why I “HEART” While Reading ❤️

Q: So what the heck is “HEARTING”?

A: Many of us are used to underlining or use asterisks to mark up our books. Personally, I don't know if I'm even capable of reading a book without writing all over it (LOL). And all I’m suggesting with this "hearting" approach is that we get a bit more intentional, purposeful and passionate when we put ink to paper. I’m suggesting that if you read something that truly moves you or stirs some kind of genuine PASSION in you that you replace your typical “star” or asterisks with a HEART. Yup, HEART that baby!!!

I have two very basic reasons that I have gone to using a HEART rather than a simple star or asterisk:

  • I have decided that I want what I write to more closely reflect how I’m feeling at that moment. And if I’m loving something that I just read it makes no sense to me to put a star next to it. A HEART is simply more accurate to how I’m feeling at that moment.
  • It creates a completely different experience for me when I come back to re-read that passage at a later date. Seriously, just think about it… You’re coming back to a book you read 3 years ago. And when you turn a page, and see a HEART on it, how could you not just get jazzed and excited to see what had really moved you 3 years ago? There is nothing wrong with the “star” or asterisk approach, but it just doesn’t seems to have that same ingrained passion and effect on me when I see it. It seems “cold” in comparison.
So take the above suggestion to HEART, and start marking up those books. Be sure that you fill those pages with marks of passion that help you to better engage in what you are reading now and in the future.

An Active Vs. Passive Reading Practice

First Question: How much does your mind wander when you read?

...and please note that you are superhuman and I am truly jealous if this in not a problem for you.

Here are some fairly typical results that many of us experience based on a wandering mind:
  • We get less out of our reading… Sometimes it seems like we get nothing at all out of our reading sessions.

  • We start to feel that we are wasting our time and then reduce the amount and frequency that we are reading… Assuming that we don’t just give up on the practice all together.

  • We decide to give audio books a shot just to find out that our minds are no more focused while listening then when reading… Man we’re messed up…

  • Then based on the above points we begin to unjustly judge ourselves, and assume that we’re just not cut out or all that interested in this “reading-thing”.

Second Question: Is there hope for us?

Answer: Heck yeah there is!
I have found that the key, ok MY KEY to dealing with this wonderful but wandering mind has been to be intentional about making my reading an ACTIVITY rather than just a passive experience.
Key Concept:
I cultivate a PLAYFUL MINDSET and make sure that I’m seeing this as something enjoyable and playful. In other words I intentionally approach this “problem” as a game. A challenge. An ACTIVITY

So try a few of the following on for size. Remembering to be intentional about doing what it takes to keep it both interesting and fun. This should not feel like work. It should be something you’re excited and grateful to be doing.

FIRST ACTIVITY - Create an atmosphere of low commitment and then add in some repetition

  • I start by not allowing myself to read more than one chapter at a time. I don’t allow myself to think that I need to knock out multiple chapters or dozens of pages or do whatever it takes to get to the end. I intentionally set the bar low and only allow myself to see that I’m just committed to get through a single chapter on any given day. And since most chapters can be read in less than 10-15 minutes I’ve intentionally created and an atmosphere of low commitment.
  • BUT here’s the twist… Read that one chapter at least twice, if not three times each day. For example, once in the morning, once after work and then once again before you go to bed (or twice could work as well)... I get it that we all struggle to find a free hour or two to really dig in and read, but we all can find 10-15 minutes (you could make a game just out of finding those as well - that game can be made fun as well - seriously). 
  • Then here’s the next twist… Let the first read through of the day be light. Don’t even worry about getting much out of it. You’re just soaking in the basic concepts of what that chapter will have to share with you once you're ready for it. At most allow yourself to do some under lining if you’d like, but keep the “commitment” light. Then on either the second or third read through of the day commit to journaling for NO MORE than 5 minutes after that reading. There is magic in writing, but I’m serious when I say do NOT let yourself just keep writing past those 5 minutes. Put a limit on yourself, and see what a-ha’s you can document in that allotted time, but be intentional about keeping this a “low-commitment-game”.

SECOND ACTIVITY - Get excited and passionate about sharing. Commit to posting one book review per week - Here are a few ways to do that

  • Write a blog (keep these at one page or less - low level of commitment, but fun)
  • Record a vlog or video and post it to YouTube (keep these at 5 minutes or less - low level of commitment, but fun)

THIRD ACTIVITY - Do more than just listen. Play with these two audiobook exercises: 

  • Listen to one chapter per day. Listen to that chapter at least twice that day (remembering that most chapters will only take 10-15 minutes), but take notes the second time around, and journal your a-ha’s (feel free to to post a blog or vlog on any of those little gems as well).
  • Listen to for 5-10 minutes until you hear something that you just LOVE. Then turn it off, and commit to talking about that, out loud, to yourself, for the next 5 minutes (don’t go over 5 minutes). This will help you to internalize what you are listening to, and help you to become a more active reader and listener. This is an AWESOME game to play while driving. Yup.

I could certainly go on with a number of other ways to help you become a more ACTIVE reader, but play with a few of these, keep it interesting, and then come up with a few of your own. Remembering the key concept is to create an atmosphere of a FUN, yet LOW COMMITMENT level of reading for your practice.

And in conclusion, I just truly hope that something that was shared within this blog was able to able to help spark a renewed interest in your personal reading practice. Now go and get your read on!

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