For as long as I can remember, I have always kept a note on my phone with a list of books. These books typically come from one source and that is a question that I pose to any individual that I happen to strike up in conversation at work, on a plane, at a restaurant, at an event, etc.

“What is one book you would recommend?” I always ask. That’s usually followed with a, “What kind of book?” It doesn’t matter – if a book changes someone’s life, it is either emotionally, spiritually, professionally or a mental escape that made a significant impact on their life and I want to see what impact it will have on mine.

Keeping Track

Keep a note on your phone and add to the bottom or randomly within the note every time you hear of a new book to read. This can be a suggestion gathered from a conversation like the one outlined above, it can be a mention from your favorite podcast or television show, a speaker that you hear at a conference or in a list of “other books written by <insert favorite author of latest book here>.”

At the top of the note I write JANUARY and then proceed to read the books in the list. After the last book I have officially completed, I then write FEBRUARY and continue with the list. That way I can see what months I read the most books and what months I don’t read any for future reference in months to “try harder” to read at.

Interestingly enough, the current book that I am reading about what makes great leaders great, specifically looking at past United States of American Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson, it states that all great leaders READ – A LOT! So why not read more? There’s literally no argument that could justify me against it!

2019 Books Read; A short review!

The Suffragette Derby by Michael Tanner

Genre: Historial Fiction

On Wednesday 4 June 1913, fledgling newsreel cameras captured just over two-and-a-half minutes of never-to-be-forgotten British social and sporting history.The 250,000 people thronging Epsom Downs carried with them a quartet of combustible elements: a fanatical,publicity-hungry suffragette; a scapegoat for the Titanic disaster and the pillar of the Establishment who bore him a personal grudge; a pair of feuding jockeys at odds over money and glory; and, finally, at the heart of the action, two thoroughbred horses – one a vicious savage and one the consummate equine athlete. Taken together, this was a recipe for the most notorious horse race in British history. One hundred years on, this particular Derby Day is remembered for two reasons: the fatal intervention of Emily Davison, a militant suffragette who brought down the King’s runner, and the controversial disqualification of Bower Ismay’s horse Craganour on the grounds of rough riding – the first and only time a Derby-winner has forfeited its title for this reason. The sensation of Davison’s questionable interference in the name of suffrage has overshadowed the outrage of Craganour’s disqualification and the intricate reasons behind it. Now, with a view to allowing this scandal the attention it deserves, Michael Tanner replays the most dramatic day in Turf history – and finally uncovers the truth of the Suffragette Derby.

I found this book in the middle of a crazy adventure backpacking through the United Kingdom with my sister, best friend Randi and her oldest little brother Warren Clayton. I love books and was quickly finding that collecting books like I always seem to do wasn’t a great idea as my backpack was already full when we set foot in London, let alone the weight of adding all the books in!

Instead, my amazing sister noted that I was enthralled with the book on our short adventure stop, wrote down the name and ordered it on Amazon to give it to me for Christmas that year! This book was the combination of everything that I love; politics, sports, drama, and horse racing! It will really make you think and, especially post being in the UK, I was continuously amazed with just how young our country really is in comparison to the Old World. Buy here!

Fearless by Eric Blehm

Genre: Biography, War Stories

“When Navy SEAL Adam Brown woke up on March 17, 2010, he didn’t know he would die that night in the Hindu Kush Mountains of Afghanistan—but he was ready. In a letter to his children, not meant to be seen unless the worst happened, he wrote, “I’m not afraid of anything that might happen to me on this earth, because I know no matter what, nothing can take my spirit from me.”

Fearless is the story of a man of extremes, whose courage and determination were fueled by faith, family, and the love of a woman. It’s about a man who waged a war against his own worst impulses, including drug addiction, and persevered to reach the top tier of the U.S. military. In a deeply personal and absorbing chronicle, Fearless reveals a glimpse inside the SEAL Team SIX brotherhood, and presents an indelible portrait of a highly trained warrior whose final act of bravery led to the ultimate sacrifice.

Adam Brown was a devoted man who was an unlikely hero but a true warrior, described by all who knew him as…fearless.

My wonderful boyfriend knows the way to my heart and this was before we started dating in 2019! For Christmas in 2018, he had given me a stack of his favorite books that he thought I should read. I absolutely enjoyed each and every single one of them, but this was the first one!

Warning – I read this book on a plane flight back from a friend’s wedding and found myself sobbing unconsolably at the end. I couldn’t even explain to people why I was crying besides pointing at the book so it was one of those moments! Buy here!

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

Genre: Business, Self-Help, War Stories, Leadership

“Combat, the most intense and dynamic environment imaginable, teaches the toughest leadership lessons, with absolutely everything at stake. Jocko Willink and Leif Babin learned this reality first-hand on the most violent and dangerous battlefield in Iraq. As leaders of SEAL Team Three’s Task Unit Bruiser, their mission was one many thought impossible: help U.S. forces secure Ramadi, a violent, insurgent-held city deemed “all but lost.” In gripping, firsthand accounts of heroism, tragic loss, and hard-won victories, they learned that leadership―at every level―is the most important factor in whether a team succeeds or fails. 

Willink and Babin returned home from deployment and instituted SEAL leadership training to pass on their harsh lessons learned in combat to help forge the next generation of SEAL leaders. After leaving the SEAL Teams, they launched a company, Echelon Front, to teach those same leadership principles to leaders in businesses, companies, and organizations across the civilian sector. Since that time, they have trained countless leaders and worked with hundreds of companies in virtually every industry across the U.S. and internationally, teaching them how to develop their own high-performance teams and most effectively lead those teams to dominate their battlefields.

Since it’s release in October 2015, Extreme Ownership has revolutionized leadership development and set a new standard for literature on the subject. Required reading for many of the most successful organizations, it has become an integral part of the official leadership training programs for scores of business teams, military units, and first responders. Detailing the mindset and principles that enable SEAL units to accomplish the most difficult combat missions, Extreme Ownership demonstrates how to apply them to any team or organization, in any leadership environment. A compelling narrative with powerful instruction and direct application, Extreme Ownership challenges leaders everywhere to fulfill their ultimate purpose: lead and win.”

This was the second book from the grouping that my boyfriend gave me for my birthday/Christmas. An amazing insight to political and war strategy, as well as the ways we can use these leadership tactics in day-to-day was a huge benefit for my young company (Western Insights Media).

Another benefit to this book was truly understanding the War on Terrorism. I highly suggest in the current world that we are living in, we need to be as familiar as we can with war, past wars, successes, losses, and heroes. Buy here!

Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen

Genre: Fiction, Young Women, Classic

“Sense and Sensibility is a novel by Jane Austen, and was her first published work when it appeared in 1811 under the pseudonym “A Lady”. A work of romantic fiction, better known as a comedy of manners, Sense and Sensibility is set in southwest England, London and Kent between 1792 and 1797, and portrays the life and loves of the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne. The novel follows the young ladies to their new home, a meagre cottage on a distant relative’s property, where they experience love, romance and heartbreak. The philosophical resolution of the novel is ambiguous: the reader must decide whether sense and sensibility have truly merged.”

Another product of our trip to the UK, we made a pitstop in Bath, the town that Jane Austen lived when she wrote some of her work. There we were able to go to the Jane Austen center and see the world that Ms. Austen had lived in. Pride & Prejudice is one of my favorite books of all time and, in a light bulb shattering moment, I realized I have never read any of her other works! I picked up her entire collection in one hardbound book and this was the first book that I read in that book!

An amazing love story, for most Jane Austen fans, they are split with Sense & Sensibility and Pride & Prejudice for their favorite books. I am thankful for this experience abroad and for the amazing authors that have entertained us for eons! Buy here!

The Art of Selling by Tom Hopkins

Genre: Business, Self-Help

“Now, in this fully updated and revised edition of the million copy seller, Hopkins shows how you can succeed in the profession of selling.

  • How to create the perfect selling climate
  • Specific questions and tie-downs
  • Referral and non referral prospecting
  • How to “sell” the most important people you know
  • Effective phone techniques
  • How to finesse the first meeting
  • How to handle objections and what to do when you hear the word “no”
  • How to test different closes and master sixteen powerful closes
  • How to plan for greatest selling impact
  • And he shows you how his great selling techniques can be yours!”

Another way that I find great books to read is by ALWAYS buying a book when I go through an airport. Airports are full of what kind of people? Business individuals, speakers, travel bloggers, and political members. The bookstores at an airport are targeted around these people – you’ll typically see the latest in history books, current politics, and leadership/business books available right at the entrance of the book store! Grab one, get reading!

This is how this book came to be in my possession! It wasn’t purchased on the flight where I found myself sobbing over the book above, but I hoard them near my packing supplies to always take them with me! Buy here!

How Clients Buy by Tom McMakin & Doug Fletcher

Genre: Business

“How Clients Buy is the much-needed guide to selling your services. If you’re one of the millions of people whose skills are the ‘product,’ you know that you cannot be successful unless you bring in clients. The problem is, you’re trained to do your job—not sell it. No matter how great you may be at your actual role, you likely feel a bit lost, hesitant, or ‘behind’ when it comes to courting clients, an unfamiliar territory where you’re never quite sure of the line between under- and over-selling. This book comes to the rescue with real, practical advice for selling what you do. You’ll have to unlearn everything you know about sales, but then you’ll learn new skills that will help you make connections, develop rapport, create interest, earn trust, and turn prospects into clients.”

This is another airport book buy and I definitely needed it. I found that I was struggling personally with my business to SELL my services for the price that I needed to ask to actually turn a profit. While I still struggle with this, I am better! And that’s all we can ask for! I got better because of reading books like this!!! Buy here!

Mental Toughness a collection by the Harvard Business Journal

Genre: Business

“If you read nothing else on mental toughness, read these ten articles by experts in the field. We’ve combed through hundreds of articles in the Harvard Business Review archive and selected the most important ones to help you build your emotional strength and resilience–and to achieve high performance.”

This is a book that I picked up in the Portland, Oregon, airport on the way to the UK for our trip. It was a great collection of essays that helped build my business background and information not only on business and mental toughness, but in the style of business essays that are published in the Harvard Business Journal (you know, in case I ever want to be published there as well!) Buy here!

Outliers; The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

Genre: Business, History

In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of “outliers”–the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different?

His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. Along the way he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math, and what made the Beatles the greatest rock band. 

Brilliant and entertaining, Outliers is a landmark work that will simultaneously delight and illuminate.

This was the last book from my boyfriend’s gift collection and while highly touted I honestly wasn’t such a fan! I’m not sure if it was because I had just read a series of books chock full of to-do lists and action items, but I found myself frustrated and lacking by Gladwell’s grouping of stories.

While highly interesting, I wish that I had pivoted my mindset to allow this world-renowned and loved book the success it deserved in my life. Buy here!

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

Genre: Fiction, Romantic


“This version of the Bennet family—and Mr. Darcy—is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help—and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.
Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches.
Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . . 
And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.”

I’m not sure what it was, maybe just to many business books at once, but I didn’t find myself picking up another book until this book happened to fall into my possession. I’m not sure which airport it came from but, as a fan of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice and ABC’s The Bachelor & The Bachelorette television series franchises, I couldn’t put it down! I definitely recommend for a junk quick read for those who love either of those shows for a laugh! Buy here!

A Deeper Wild By William Sullivan

Genre: Historical fiction

“William L. Sullivan’s historical novel is a rollicking saga of the Oregon frontier. “A Deeper Wild” tracks the remarkable adventures and conflicting loves of Joaquin Miller, the pony express rider, gold miner, outlaw, and county judge who galloped to world-wide fame as the “Poet of the Sierras.””

I picked up this novel at the Oregon State Fair. I try to stop by the state fair to support the agricultural community, partake in mom’s family tradition of getting fresh scones and Dairy Wive’s milkshakes, and, for me, see the Oregon author groups. It is my hope and goal that maybe one day I can be amongst those people. I’m so intent on trying to make them feel special that I slowly work my way around the table talking to everyone and getting to know not only the stories that they wrote but who they are as people. At the end, I go back to buy the few books that I can afford at that point in time and add them to my reading list.

This was a great tale about Oregon’s most infamous outlaw and hearing the adventures and the roguish, unsettled ways of these towns that I know so well now was crazy! From the coast to the tri-cities of Washington to Idaho – I thoroughly enjoyed this unique way of learning Oregon history! It also had an underlying current of feminism, a topic I felt well-versed on after reading the Suffragette Derby at the start of the year! Buy here!

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

Genre: Classic, Non-Fiction

“Pride and Prejudice is a novel of manners by Jane Austen, first published in 1813. The story follows the main character, Elizabeth Bennet, as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education, and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of the British Regency. Elizabeth is the second of five daughters of a country gentleman living near the fictional town of Meryton in Hertfordshire, near London.Page 2 of a letter from Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra (11 June 1799) in which she first mentions Pride and Prejudice, using its working title First Impressions. (NLA)Set in England in the early 19th century, Pride and Prejudice tells the story of Mr and Mrs Bennet’s five unmarried daughters after the rich and eligible Mr Bingley and his status-conscious friend, Mr Darcy, have moved into their neighbourhood. While Bingley takes an immediate liking to the eldest Bennet daughter, Jane, Darcy has difficulty adapting to local society and repeatedly clashes with the second-eldest Bennet daughter, Elizabeth.Pride and Prejudice retains a fascination for modern readers, continuing near the top of lists of “most loved books.” It has become one of the most popular novels in English literature, selling over 20 million copies, and receives considerable attention from literary scholars. Modern interest in the book has resulted in a number of dramatic adaptations and an abundance of novels and stories imitating Austen’s memorable characters or themes.”

If I were to recommend one book to someone, this would be the book. I fall so entrenched into the Old World through Austen’s writings, she makes me believe in love, in myself, and in my ability to write. It’s an amazingly crafted story line and I highly suggest you read this! Buy here!

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Genre: Fiction, Political

“Who is John Galt? When he says that he will stop the motor of the world, is he a destroyer or a liberator? Why does he have to fight his battles not against his enemies but against those who need him most? Why does he fight his hardest battle against the woman he loves?
You will know the answer to these questions when you discover the reason behind the baffling events that play havoc with the lives of the amazing men and women in this book. You will discover why a productive genius becomes a worthless playboy…why a great steel industrialist is working for his own destruction…why a composer gives up his career on the night of his triumph…why a beautiful woman who runs a transcontinental railroad falls in love with the man she has sworn to kill.
Atlas Shrugged, a modern classic and Rand’s most extensive statement of Objectivism—her groundbreaking philosophy—offers the reader the spectacle of human greatness, depicted with all the poetry and power of one of the twentieth century’s leading artists.”

This was a book that came highly recommended by my boyfriend and his entire family that enjoys to read – one of those group, “oh yes!” responses when they asked what I was currently reading. In fact, those responses were the sole motivation that kept me moving forward.

I have NEVER come so close to quitting a book before. The thing about Atlas Shrugged was how wordy it was but, on top of that, I had a perpetual headache that refused to go away through the month and a half that I read this book. I couldn’t get very far in one sitting as the headache was too strong. I hated everything about it. I hated that it make me, a very laidback individual, angry and judgemental of the world.

It’s exactly what I needed, however, which is most likely why it caused such intense emotions in me. I constantly let people walk over me or take credit for things that they shouldn’t or give people credit because I worry about them being left out.

An interesting twist was this book led to a very interesting conversation in a trip to Nashville last year but I’ll save that for another blog!

What is one book that has changed your life that you recommend I should add to my list?

Comment below – let me know what book you recommend! I love the wide variety that I get!


9 thoughts on “2019 Books in Review

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