People often ask me what is my favorite book? Or what are some books you would recommend I read? What I have found is that books are a very personal thing, and what I may enjoy or find interesting may not appeal to anyone else. Also, I believe that your opinion of a book is strongly influenced by other factors in life, such as: when you read it, whom recommended it, the situation or phase of life you were in when you read it, or just your particular mood at that moment.
I love to read, but this was not always the case. In fact in high school I probably only read 4 or 5 books total (cover to cover that is, I skimmed many or read cliff notes to ensure I could pass a test). So what changed my reading habits? I believe I can credit two people: my mom, and my first engineering manager and mentor, Allen Jones.
Some of my favorite books, and ones I have read more than once, came from my mother. The first one I recall reading, maybe as a 12-year old boy, was the The Greatest Salesman in the World – by Og Mandino. Something in that book moved me, and I later read many of Og Mandino’s books and enjoyed most of them deeply. She also gave me her copy of How to Win Friends and Influence People – by Dale Carnegie; Think and Grow Rich – by Napolean Hill; and Life is Tremendous – by Charlie Jones. These books changed my life, and I have reread them numerous times since. They are true classics, and ones that I gift often to young, emerging leaders.
Allen Jones was a bit different. I was about 20-years and just starting my career in engineering. During our weekly meetings and coaching sessions he would ask me what I was reading and share some books that he or his wife greatly enjoyed. At the time I was reading nothing, so I quickly started to read some to books so that I could participate in the conversation. During this time I read many of the books my mother gave me, most for the first time. I also read a number of books that he shared, including Ishmael – by Daniel Quinn and The Alchemist – by Paulo Coelho. It was during this time that my appreciation for reading took off, and my life would change dramatically.
Today I read on all sorts of topics, but will be honest that most of my reading is about leadership development and business strategy. However, if I were to suggest some books, I doubt these modern titles would make the list. The books I recommend are typically older classics that many others would also recommend. This morning I gathered a handful of favorites from my various bookshelves and snapped a picture (see below). I am sure you can google and find all of these somewhere, and I would strongly recommend all of them. However, as I mentioned earlier, books are personal and I expect each of us would have a completely different list. If your an avid reader please share a recommendation or two in the comments. Or if you are new to reading and would like a personal suggestion feel free to email me and I will gladly share a book or two that I think you would personally enjoy.
Happy reading and wish you all the best – Douglas Diemel