Books I Read That Shaped My Year

At the beginning of 2018 I made the decision to try to read at least one book a month. I've always struggled to be a consistent reader: I go in waves of interest and the speed at which I read a book varies greatly based on my interest in it. In 2018 I finished 10 books and currently have 3 book that I recently started that will carry over into 2019 and a few I started and never finished. Some of them I would HIGHLY recommend, other's I struggled to get through. Here they are in order of impact:


Finish First by Scott Hamilton

I picked up this book in February right around the Olympics. He was commentating on the figure skating and talking about his book so I immediately ordered it. I read this book so quickly. I was done in a matter of days and kept revisiting parts of the book. It highly impacted the way I THOUGHT ABOUT MYSELF and my approach to everything in 2018. I believe the mental shift inspired by this book gave me game-changing confidence on race day at the Snowshoe National Championships in March.

Let Your Mind Run by Deena Kastor

I was riveted by Deena's story. She was running and racing at a time when I was more in to basketball and the budding WNBA, I never followed her career when she was at her peak, which made each story fascinating to me. The detail in which she describes training runs and races: her thoughts and physical sensations, it was so excellent and so applicable. I started this book at the beginning of June and read the first few chapters right before the Mt. Washington Road Race (another breakthrough race for me). It was a highly impactful book, one that I revisit for tips on mental training/toughness. And if you're looking to craft a good book list, just see what Deena was reading. I love how she highlights the books she read during her career: they greatly impacted who she became as a runner and a person.

Fail, Fail Again, Fail Better by Pema Chodron / Love is Letting Go of Fear by Jampolsky

To me both these books fell into the same category: a quick and inspiring read. I read them both in January and they helped set the tone for 2018. They are both broken down into very short chapters that can easily be read at the beginning or end of every day.

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

It's been a while since I've read a work of fiction (probably not since teaching high school English). I started this is June primarily reading it on our trip to Mexico and finished it while on our family Vacation in July. The descriptive detail, the sweeping story-there's a reason why this book remains a classic.

The War I Finally Won by Bradley

I read this book aloud to Sophia (it is the sequel to The War That Saved My Life) and I would HIGHLY recommend it as a family read-aloud. The writing is sweet and moving, the characters stick with you. I cried. There were chapters I struggle through. There were times Sophia laughed aloud. Even though it is considered Young Adult fiction, it is a must read.

The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle

Despite being a "business book," I found this read fascinating. Coyle talks about culture-creation in organizations (businesses, government etc). However, I read this book through the lens of a parent and took to heart many of the "culture creation" tactics he highlighted, applying them to the organization of "family" instead of "business." I started this book in February, paused to read Finish First and finished it in early March.

Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

You've probably seen his TED Talk, Simon Sinek is a great communicator and this book is no exception. While directed towards leaders in business, this book is offers advice to anyone in a leadership position. Reading about leadership is an invitation to step into a leadership role: it's a place I've only imagined myself in recently and books like these are confidence builders to help assume a role of "leader." I started this one in January and it took me a while to get through it.

You are Badass

I'd heard so much about this book that I decided it had to be good. It wasn't as good as I hoped. There were some good nuggets here and there, but for the most part it didn't feel like anything new to me.

Daughters of Distance by Vanessa Runs

This book was a gift and I enjoyed reading up on some of the "founding figures" in the trail running community. Although it isn't particularly well-written it was a worthwhile read.

Chase the Lion by Batterson

While I like the basic message of the book (go after the thing that scares you most) I just couldn't get into the writing. It was somewhat repetitive and I got the sense that the author was was watching the word count as he was writing (like he had to get to XXXX number of words per chapter). I might come back to this one and see if later chapters are more succinct, but the first two chapters just didn't draw me in.

There are three books I started in just this month and am currently working through. I'll let you know how those ones go!


What books made an impact on you in 2018?


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