I really look forward to doing these posts each year.
You can find 2013’s here. 2012’s here.
I kinda feel like it’s the post that takes me the longest to write each year. I read stacks of books. I choose the best of the ones I read to share with you.
When I say “best”, I really mean “my highly subjective favouritism” aka “the books that strike the bell of my soul for some reason or another.”
I’ve done some ranking this year. Because there were some that were total STAND OUTS for me. And some I’m not sure if anyone will “get” – or indeed if even I would “get” again if I re-read, but for whatever reason, I learned something good and wonderful from them or was touched by them in the moment.
Also, as always, these are NOT solely books that were published in the year of 2014. They are instead organised “autobiographically” – just like in High Fidelity – because I’ve read them this year.
Also, I don’t review like normal reviews. I don’t even know if I really talk about the books properly.
Funnily enough, I fell upon Amanda Palmer’s book review for the year + dug how she reviewed in her own “impressionistic + haiku” style.
I’ll continue to review in my patented “fluent in florid side-story” and “panoply of feeeeeeeeelings” style.
YOU ARE WELCOME.
Enough with the disclaimer-y shenanigans.
I fucking love books!
A++ BOOKS I EFFING DUG
Creating Room To Read – John Wood
Okay. I need to emotionally prepare myself to even talk about this.
But I don’t want to overtalk it so you go in expecting you are going to be reading The Greatest Book Of All Time, and then realise it is ordinary and wonderful and special, but definitely not the image I built it up to be, and be disappointed by that, when in fact this book is just so bloody great and it was just a case of disjointed expectations.
Honestly, I kept telling Chris as I was reading it:
This is the best book I’ve ever read in my life.
It’s not poetic. It’s not literature.
But it is inspiring as all freaking get out. Grounded. Heart-opening. Brilliant.
It’s the true story of a bloke who quit Microsoft to build libraries around the world, in the belief that books + education change lives + elevate poverty.
And build them he did. He applied his business brilliance to a non-profit model, and in the span of 10 years, built 10 000 libraries.
It inspired me, touched me, taught me some fantastic business lessons + was just a thrilling delight of a book to read.
If you were going to read any book from this list, LET IT BE THIS!!!!!!!!!! SRSLY!!!!! WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE + NOT CLICKING + GETTING IT ALREADY?????
You should read this: Before you were born. Every human should.
I Feel Bad About My Neck – Nora Ephron
This book should be in here purely because it’s:
- My very first Nora book
- What took me so freaking long to read a Nora book
- I ADORE her movies. ADORE. She wrote You’ve Got Mail. Sleepless in Seattle. When Harry Met Sally. She IS rom-com, man!
- I adore her movies so much, and they have such a distinct voice, and that voice IS Nora’s, so it felt like reading extended scenes out of YGM or WHMS, which is pretty much my version of heaven, therefore
- Reading her book was ecstasy and home all at once.
It should go without saying that I’m going to work my way through all her books now.
Don’t cry, shopgirl.
You should read this: If you are in possession of a vag.
Not That Kind of Girl – Lena Dunham
Yah, yah, blah, blah, controversy, Lena, yah.
Okay, now that’s out of the way, can I just say:
This book is fucking tops.
Her honesty was breathtaking. Her vulnerability is magical.
I reckon the sharing of her stories is immensely healing for so many young women who think
This only happens to me. No one else feels like this.
You should read this: If you feel like it. If you’re called. I wouldn’t push anyone into reading a book UNLESS IT IS CREATING ROOM TO READ AND OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU ARE READING IT ALREADY.
What was I saying? Oh yes. Read this if you’re cool with strong flavours.
Good to Great – Jim Collins
This is hilariously obvious to choose as a great book… considering how it’s #1 in Amazon in Business + probably has been for a zillion years.
But ya know… it’s popular for good reason.
It’s because Jimbo (yes, that’s what I call him in my head, and that’s what I call all Jims in my head – I’m physically unable to call them anything but Jimbo #sorrynotsorry) lays out a really good, clear plan for developing a company and taking it to the next level.
As my company is moving up into the 7 figure field, I needed something to give me a good overall plan of areas to focus on.
This book has been that for me.
Handy hint: This year, I bought some great business books as hardcover copies instead of Kindle.
And I use them as full study companions. I go through them with pen and highlighter, taking notes and paying attention.
Really sucking on the marrow of the book. Highly nutritious for le brain gizzards.
You should read this: If you’re doing over a half a mil’ in your business I reckon.
Popular: Vintage Wisdom For A Modern Geek – Maya van Wagenen
I didn’t expect to be so touched by this book.
I actually found it to be spiritual and self-helpish, with lots of wonderful Aha! moments.
Totally struck the bells of my soul.
I kinda wish I could revisit my angsty teenager self and hand her this book.
You should read this: If you want to know how to be popular/aka get over your own shit and just talk to people already.
What God Wants – Neale Donald Walsh
This one has been my “Dunny Read” of the year.
Aka: the book that lives in the cupboard beside the toilet and I read a page or two a day.
I wonder why it took me so long to get to reading it.
I bought it eight or so years ago in India, in a little bookstore in smoggy, dusty, claustrophobic New Delhi.
But then I remember that these things always happen at just the right time.
It’s been waiting for me to be ready.
It blows my freakin’ head off, this book does.
I mean, all Neale’s books are bloody tops.
This one has actually changed my perspective on a lot of stuff.
Like this conversation I had with Chris a few weeks ago.
We were discussing a friend making some difficult choices.
And usually I would so firmly know the answer of the choice they should make (bloody judgmental know-it-all Scorpio! hahahaha!).
But this time, I said to Chris:
“If God wants nothing for us but what we want, why would I want anything else. I only want that person to be happy if they want to be happy. If it’s their soul’s journey and desire to experience something else, why would I want anything but that? I feel free knowing this. It’s like knowing I just get to keep loving without worrying about the right or wrong choice for them.”
He’s a Neale-fan too, so he gets it.
It was a revelation.
You should read this: If you’re ready.
The Art of Asking – Amanda Palmer
I love how very much Amanda does Amanda.
The woman is bravely vulnerable and shares her heart with the world on a daily basis.
This book is delicious and compelling.
Read this if: You hate askin’ for stuff. Are a business owner or a creative owner. Or if you dig AFP and want to read her wonderful creative career stories.
THE REST OF THE VERY GOOD BUT NON-RACE LEADERS BOOKS:
Okay, I don’t have as much time as I usually do (I have a nine month old adorable baby who doesn’t feel great anywhere but in mama’s arms right now). So I’m going to make my “good reads but not A+++ books” reviews as succinct as possible. This should be fun.
What I Know For Sure – Oprah Winfrey
Oprah. Sometimes obvious but still useful.
The International Bank of Bob – Bob Harris
Fucking great. Highly inspiring. Best adventure/travel memoir of a Kiva donor who goes to visit peeps around the world who he has loaned money too.
The Glitter Plan – Pamela Skaist-Levy + Gela Nash-Taylor
I heart business women biographies for ever.
#GIRLBOSS – Sophia Amoruso
Think like a Stripper – Erika Lyremark
Same. Plus added raunch.
Yes Please – Amy Poehler
A little bit scattered, but some holy fucking WOW moments. You go girl!
The Wisdom of Compassion – Dalai Lama
Dalai Lama. Derp = of course it’s good.
Paradise in Plain Sight – Karen Maezen Miller
I will read every book from this zen monk for the rest of time.
How to Deal with Haters – Cyrus Kirkpatrick
Share Your Work – 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered – Austin Kleon
Buy it in book form, not Kindle. Kindle doesn’t do artsy books like these justice. Double thumbs up.
The Fence-Painting Fortnight of Destiny – Meshel Laurie and All That Happened At Number 26 – Denise Scott
These aren’t completely amazing, but they are funny and interesting. I think I just really like chick biographies. Heals something in me.
Mud, Sweat and Tears – Bear Grylls and A Survival Guide for Life – Bear Grylls
Make that all biographies. Also: I am a rabid ass Bear fan for life after these two brilliant reads. Highly highly recommend. Gutsy, sweaty self help that dudes + chicks love.
Sealed with a Kiss – Rachael Lucas and Love At The Speed of Email – Lisa McKay
My two rom com picks for the year. High fives!
Okay, books forever!!!!!
A SPECIAL NOTE:
If you haven’t worked out yet (maybe I haven’t mentioned it enough! Ha!)
I wrote a book. Well, it’s not really a BOOKBOOK per se.
It’s a workbook. One for you to write in and fill out.
There’s two versions: the LIFE + BUSINESS versions.
Both are bloody helpful.
The LIFE version guides you through the process of making peace with 2014 and working out all the medicine and lessons you received from it. I think so often we surge towards the new year without truly taking stock and celebration and resolving the year that was. I know this is really important work to do.
And it will get you to set goals for the next year in all areas of your life:
The response I hear from women about using the LIFE version is that more of their goals and dreams come true than ever before, and they end the year in a WAY better place than they began it in.
The BUSINESS version is (in my books) absolutely ESSENTIAL if you own a business.
I don’t really know why you wouldn’t get it, to be honest.
It will take you (in a really fun, loving, creative, easy, non-boring, doable way) through a full review of your business in 2014 from:
- what the money situation was like (gross/net/profit) (I can’t believe how many peeps don’t know their numbers in business. It’s so important possum. You need to know the numbers if you want to grow)
- what your top selling services/products were (this is HIGHLY insightful. I always have a major insight each year where I see how much time I’ve spent on shit that doesn’t earn much dobleros, and where I can easily earn more. I gave a copy of the book to our nanny, and the next morning she told me she had only just filled out this section and the book was already worth it for her because of the insights she’d gotten. Tops!)
- what worked and what didn’t (in marketing/staffing/contractors/suppliers etc etc)
And then it will help you create an easy, awesome business plan for 2015 including:
- income goals
- income streams (i.e. products and services)
- your business mission statement
- marketing goals
- staffing goals
- customer service goals
- social media goals
- and much much more!!!!
So here’s the thing:
I reckon if you have a business OR if you just want your life to be happier…
I have not a freakin’ goshdarn clue why you WOULDN’T buy the workbook.
This baby is not a flash in the pan. It’s not some new thing that hasn’t been trialled.
This shit works.
How do I know?
This is our SIXTH year of producing them.
We’ve sold over 50 000 copies and counting.
We have women who are die-hard raving fans of this book.
Who’ve used it every single year since it was created.
Because they get RESULTS from using it.
They see a HUGE difference in their life or business from using it.
It helps them have the life/biz they truly dream of.
So honestly, I say to you with love:
I don’t understand why you’d be interested in reading any of my shit if you aren’t bothering to invest in the (cheap as chips) workbook.
Because until YOU do the shit that’s going to move you forward (i.e. setting goals, aligning your actions with your intentions, investing in you, making positive change)… nothing will change. It’s all up to you.
You have complete responsibility over your own situation. You are the creator of your own world.
And you can be totally ignoring that responsibility, or claiming that nothing works for you, or just letting life take you wherever it leads.
Or you can step up, claim your role as Creative Queen of your Kingdom, and make those sparkling whispers of dreams and wishes inside you LET LOOSE into the world.
I mean, it’s up to you.
Only buy the freakin’ workbooks and use them if you want to be happier // more abundant.
If you don’t want that, CLICK AWAY NOW. RUNNNNNNNNN!
You can do whatever your heart calls you to in this magical world.
But it’s NOT going to just happen to you.
It’s something you need to choose for yourself.
Make the decision NOW, love.
What’s it going to be?
Choose to step up? Or Step Away?