Back in February of this year, I had shared 5 books that I wanted to read this year in order to help improve my communication skills, increase my knowledge of history and its impact on today’s world, and to become a more well-rounded financial advisor. 

Now is the time to face you, and tell you all how I actually did. Sure, I could wait a couple more weeks until the end of 2021, but let’s be real… I’m not doing a lot of reading these next few holiday prep weeks!  

Here we go:

“Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear” by Elizabeth Gilbert 

If you have even the slightest dream of being a writer, are a writer, or for some reason are hiding from your calling of being a writer, this book is for you. This book can inspire anyone who has the ability to create…. which is everyone! 

The premise of the book is not to let an inspiring moment or story pass by you. If you don’t write it (or create it), someone else will. It’s a “seize the moment” type message. This book left me better than it found me, which is one measure of a successful read! 🙂  

“Shoe Dog” by Phil Knight 

Will you learn a lot of new principles or skills by reading this book? Eh, probably not. Will you be fascinated by the origin story of an American giant and be inspired by a compelling tale of grit and determination? Absolutely! 

I’d recommend this book to anyone. It’s not a difficult read or one that requires a lot of steady focus, so listening to the audiobook is great. If anything, it’s a great conversation piece if you are struggling to come up with something to talk about at your next holiday party. 

“Truman” by David McCullough 

When I read Big Magic and Shoe Dog, I burned through them. Neither took me much longer than a week to get through, because they were simple reads with a quick flow. Truman is a bit slower of a read, but no less interesting. This is a good read for anyone interested in history or leadership development.  

My most basic takeaway from this biography is that leaders can come from the most unlikely of places. Background, family status, and even physical stature do not make a leader. Truman’s bravery in war, ability to mentally rise above financial hardships, and capacity to build relationships were particularly inspiring.  

Lastly, he cared less about wealth and more about leaving a good name – a real legacy.  

“Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi 

We all know the old adage, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” It’s true… and I already knew that was true before reading this. What I needed was a kick in the rear to actually get to know more people. This book gives a lot of practical suggestions for how to connect with people in ways that are most meaningful to them. Some of the suggestions are obvious, but some are truly unique and likely to bolster your networking success! 

“Devil Take the Hindmost: A History of Financial Speculation” by Edward Chancellor 

Alright everyone… I just couldn’t do this one. I’m sure it’s a good book. However, I ordered the book and it arrived looking like a history textbook. It was already December, I was burnt out for the year, and I couldn’t bring myself to read it. It’s on my list for next year.  


I did read some other great books this year that weren’t on the list like Retirement Stepping Stones by Tony Hixon and Spark Joy by Marie Kondo. I am excited to put together my list for next year. Suggestions welcome!