Hi, my name is Chris and I’m an addict.
My drug of choice these days is one that seems to be ever present and always plugged into me at a moment’s notice. If I’ve had blank space or Over the last year my addiction seems to have escalated even more than when I developed it the year previous and has developed an even stronger hook into my life.
Yes, my name is Chris and I’m addicted to audio books.
Over the last year I’ve listened to 57 books – just over 1 a week – and at an average of over 6 hours per title, plus I’ve re-read/ listened to a few of my favourites on top of that. I can happily say I’ve spent a lot of time in 2018 listening and I’ve loved every bit of this addiction!
Pretty much anytime I had some downtime or was on an auto-pilot task e.g. walking the dog, commuting to work, doing the housework or exercising I was plugged in with my trusty earphones.
My flavour of choice tends to be an educational assortment of business, finance, entrepreneurship, self-development and psychology but there’s also been a few biographies, some fiction and a few others sprinkled on top as well.
Whilst not every book was a great one there’s been some truly fantastic content during the last 12 months and I thought I’d take a moment to share a few of my favourites with you. I’m personally always on the lookout for great content that’s worth a listen (or read) so hopefully some of these titles might prove enjoyable for you too.
Some of these books are brand new when I read them, whereas others have been around for a while – more often than not they’re not the most recently published due to them being audio books and i tend to read the more recent books in print. I’ve added links to them all on Amazon for convenience – i’m not incentivised for doing so, it’s purely to help if you want to check them out.
So, in no part here’s my top 6 books of the last year:
Whilst I’m not ranking these in any real order, if I was going to then I’d have to put this latest book from the marketing genius that is Seth Godin very near to the top. I’ve spent the majority of my career in marketing and it truly is a core passion, but I still got a ton of inspiration, ideas and innovation from this book and devoured it’s content in next to no time!
Seth manages to deliver his wisdom – and when it comes to marketing leadership there’s few better – in a way that both a seasoned marketer and a total novice will understand.
If you’re looking to get some understanding of the core concepts of branding, marketing and customer engagement or if you’re just looking to push your skills a little further you’ll get plenty of great insights from this.
Simon Sinek has become a very highly regarded expert and written a few books, but whilst I’ve read a couple of the others, this is by far my favourite. This book from 2014 focuses around the understanding of how some people and organisations can be more influential and innovative than others and some can much better define the “why” behind their purpose.
I personally loved this take on the subject and the author does a great job of explaining some of the ways in which truly great leaders and businesses build their businesses around the “why”. It might seem like a commonly explored subject, but this perspective is fantastic and is underpinned by some excellent insights into branding, personal and customer psychology. Simon Sinek uses some great examples from businesses, brands, leaders and influencers to delve into this subject in a way that’s both powerful and highly engaging.
So many of us, myself included, often associate the state of vulnerability as a position we want to keep out of our lives and typically connect it with emotions like shame, fear and worry. In this book Brene Brown PHD explores these areas openly and in a way that’s both insightful yet easy to relate to.
She shares numerous stories based on extensive research and clinical studies that delivers some incredibly powerful insights along with practical advice and strategies that can be adopted by pretty much anyone. Her insights aim to dispel the myth that vulnerability is a weakness or liability and that in fact when harnessed appropriately it can in fact be a massive strength and asset.
Although background is that of an academic researcher and she’s clearly highly knowledgeable on the subject her delivery and charm make the content both highly enjoyable and easy to connect with.
So this is definitely isn’t a recent book and I’m a little late to the party with it, particularly given that I believe it was originally published in the 1920’s, but that absolutely doesn’t detract from how great it is!
The book centres on a number of parables from ancient Babylon (stay with me here!) and discusses and explores several topics such as wealth, financial planning and building long term stability. The book maybe originally 100 or so years old but there’s still some enormously powerful knowledge and advice that’s both relatable and totally relevant still to today’s world. Whether you’re already doing well in these areas and have plans and strategies in place, or you’re in the unfortunate position of being completely the opposite, there’s absolutely something for everyone here.
I’d imagine that given the enormous success of the Leonardo DiCaprio led “Wolf of Wall Street” movie, that the name of Jordan Belfort may well provoke some pretty interesting emotions. I debated for a while over whether or not to give this a shot, mostly with my perspective muddied by that movie character, but I’m extremely glad it decided to give it a go.
Whether you like his character or outlook on like or not – and it can be quite hard at times to not be offended by certain things – there’s no doubting that there’s some fascinating sales and psychology techniques in this. I admittedly read this as a non-sales person and initially just from a perspective of intrigue (and a desire to better understand the thinking and perspective of a sales person) but came away with a ton of really valuable insights.
If you can put aside any preconceptions you might have on Jordan himself and if you’ve got even a passing interest in learning more about how a sales process can work well, then it’s worth a look.
So I came away wishing this book was perhaps a little more extensive in some of its writing and the depth of the subjects it covered but I more than got enough value from what was in here to highly recommend it. That might sound like I’m being critical but in fact it’s more the opposite as I found the concepts and content so enjoyable I wished there was more!
Contagious covers the subject of how certain brands, products, content and ideas can get more word of mouth or go more viral than others. It explores how some ideas and executions can create more word of mouth or go more viral than others and the methods behind creating that success.
In the world we live in today, filled with technology, social media and consumer empowerment this is a subject that absolutely relates to some many of us and certainly got my interest from the start. Whilst it doesn’t give you all the answers, if you’re involved in any way with a business or idea that you want to support the growth of then I guarantee that you’ll get some really thought provoking and practical takeways from this.
I found it incredibly hard to whittle this down to just half a dozen books and in doing so I’m leaving off some incredible books in favour of offering a more diverse blend of subjects. If you’ve not read any of these listed then I’d absolutely recommend giving any of them a go, whether in traditional print or audio book format – I’ve no ties or incentives in promoting, they’re just titles I believe offer a great read.
If you’ve got any suggestions for then I’d love to hear them so please drop anything you’d recommend in the comments or tweet me @ChrisWillmanUK.
Here’s to a 2019 full of even more great reads!