You can get through your reading list in 2021!

For the first time in 2020, I didn’t reach my reading goals. I was aiming to read 35 books last year, which was a stretch for me as I’m not the fastest reader and was having a baby mid-year. I made it to 33, and am setting my sights on reading 35 books in 2021. Who’s with me?!

Finding the time to read can be incredibly challenging, which is why I recommend the following resources and will be sticking to these in the coming year to reach my goal.

Reading Resources:

  • I use Goodreads.com to prioritize my reading, set an annual reading goal, keep track of all my favorite books and see what my friends are reading as well. Follow me and join to keep yourself accountable to your reading goals!
  • My clients are all over Colorado, which means I drive A LOT. As a proponent of walkable cities, improved mass transit networks, and living a sustainable lifestyle, my incredible amounts of vehicular travel is not something I’m proud of. But, commuting and travel time are great opportunities to “read” through audiobooks, and I take full advantage with a subscription to Audible. you can buy and keep audiobooks forever, which is perfect for those books you want to revisit.
  • Here’s a fact: libraries are the bomb. Did you know that your library likely has thousands of audio books and e-books available for you to check out FOR FREE. The best app I have found for downloading free audiobooks from the Library is the Libby app by Overdrive,  plus having a Kindle account for free e-books and an e-reading device like the Kindle Oasis.

Book Recommendations:

Here’s a list of the books that inspire me to do my greatest work, live my best life, and be intentional in my business and investment decisions.

Business & Leadership Books

  • The E-Myth, by Michael Gerber – This book rocked me during the time when I was regularly working with small business owners in Downtown Colorado Springs. So much so that I have read it at least 4 times. The E-myth is essential for any small business owner, especially technical service providers who aim to run a successful business and not let the business run you!
  • The 4 Disciplines of Execution, from Franklin Covey – 4DX is the ultimate productivity and accountability system, and something I’ve integrated into my own work environment. A quick read with plenty of actionable advice to help you focus on your goals and actually accomplish them too!
  • The Lean Startup, by Eric RiesLean Startup is a great practice in taking small, quick, resource efficient, and measurable steps towards growing your business, something that has helped me immensely as I launched my own firm in 2019. It’s a great read, even if you aren’t an entrepreneur but are looking for tools to better implement new ideas and programs.
  • Dare to Lead, by Brene BrownAre you ready to rumble with vulnerability? Have you clarified your life’s values, and are you living these values day in and day out? Everything Brenne Brown has written has changed my worldview, but this book in particular gave me some incredible and actionable ways to live out my values and become a better leader.

Community Building Books:

  • Vital Little Plans : The Short Works of Jane Jacobs I am constantly revisiting this book, and I actually haven’t finished it! This is one of those books that lives on my bedside table and is like a bible for city builders.
  • Alienated America: Why Some Place Thrive While Others Collapse, by Timothy P CarneyThough strongly right leaning and occasionally repetitive, Carney captures exactly what seems to be going on in American society today. His insights are not not one size fits all or doomsday-ish, rather emphasising how we got here and how micro-erosions in social structures have led us to this point. A must read for anyone who is engaged in community development.
  • Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time by Jeff SpeckBefore I review this, I should note that I am a Jeff Speck devotee, and may have fawned over him a bit the first time we met a few years back. I’ve also had the privilege of seeing Jeff Speck’s “super secret” go to karaoke song list that he keeps in his wallet, and he liked a tweet of mine once, so I feel like we are almost pals and this may be my greatest accomplishment in life. Ok, this book is THE superlative guide to how a walkable downtown can change the way we live, and it’s a must read for anyone who develops property or works for a city. That is all, just go read it.
  • Startup City: Inspiring Private & Public Entrepreneurship, Getting Projects Done, and Having fun, by Gabe KlienA change in government, what an impossible thing! A change on our streets, and no passing craze (yes I did just watch the Lion King. I’ll stop now) This book is a fun approach to public space planning design, and management, and if you are into the Lean Startup methodology like me, this seems like the way to go when aiming to implement positive change in our communities! While I have been behind the scenes and know it is hard, we can in fact create change and Gabe shows that there is light at the end of the government tunnel if we take action.

Investing Books:

Disclosure – many of the following books offer specific investing strategies. I am not a financial advisor and encourage all readers to seek the guidance of a professional financial advisor if you are looking to make specific investing decisions.

  • Dividend Growth Machine, by Nathan WinklepleckIf you are looking for a practical and actionable way to get into investing in individual stocks without feeling like you are just randomly stock picking, Nathan’s book is a great starting point. Having put his advice to use, I particularly like his insights on investing in  “Dividend Kings”, those stocks that are known to pay out larger than average dividends, and reinvesting the dividends back into your portfolio. My husband ended up building an entire calculator from this book so that we knew which stocks to buy, and when, to contribute to our diversified portfolio of ETF’s, Mututal Funds, Real Estate and Individual Stocks.
  • Own It: The Power of Women at Work, by Sallie Krawcheck Sallie is at the top of my list of the best, most badass boss babes in business, and her book is gold. If you are a lady, are married to a lady, have a friend or colleague who is a lady, have a daughter who will one day be a lady, or know any ladies…you should read this book.  A great reminder that we all need to be investing in ourselves and our futures. I particularly love the sexist theory on air conditioning in office spaces.
  • The Essays of Warren Buffet: Lessons for Investors and Managers This is the best “learn from those who have done it well” type of investing books. Warren’s essays provide such common sense advice, but it’s amazing how often we all fall into the traps that make 99% of us significantly worse investors than Warren Buffet. What are the key takeaways? Never forget the fundamentals: is the price lower than the value? Are you properly diversified in a portfolio? Do you understand the business and how it makes money? Are you investing in junk? It’s a great read and perfect for anyone early in their investment journey.
  • The Perfect Investment: Create Enduring Wealth from the Historic Shift to Multifamily Housing, by Paul MooreThis is a super actionable and pragmatic guide to real estate syndication and investing in the multifamily space. While I have not yet syndicated a deal, I feel like this book gave me a base set of knowledge that equips readers to step into this investing space. If you are looking to invest in large multifamily deals, this is the book for you.

Books for When You Need a Mental Escape:

  • Sourdough, by Robin SloanI will warn you in advance that this book is, well, weird. Something about a story that tells of a woman spiritually connecting with a sourdough starter, then meeting a group of vagabond food technologists and being convinced by these things to leave her job in the startup world I just connect with and, if nothing else, is a definite mental escape.
  • Nothing to See Here, By Kevin WilsonHear me out as this is another weird one, but a quick and quirky read for whenever you need something fun. Follow Lillian’s bizarre encounter with some unique kids and their political family….trigger warning for anyone sensitive to flame throwing children.
  • Educated, by Tara WestoverIf you ever needed a reason to be thankful as well as completely ashamed of for your own boring upbringing  at the same time, and I mean that in the nicest way possible, this is the book for you.  A true story, Tara’s journey is nothing but inspiring and impossible to put down.
  • Where’d You Go Bernadette, by Maria SempleHilarious and heart wrenching at the same time, this book is full of satirically genius one liners, perfectly petty neighbors, a lot of insanity, and if you are struggling with your own bouts of anxiety, a reason to feel you aren’t the craziest person on this planet.
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