Top 5 Books I Read this Past Year

Plus tips on finding the books to read and the time to read them.

One of the best bargains available to us today? Books. Why? A good book summarizes an expert’s best thinking on a subject for a fraction of the cost of a course, or a conference, or counseling.

Top 5 Books I Read this Past Year

(You can even read while floating in the Dead Sea. Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Our problem, of course, is that precious commodity: TIME. Your life is busy—just like mine. So I’ll keep it simple.

I’d like to share with you the top 5 books I read this past year, the 5 strategies to read more books—and 5 ways you can find some free books.

(If you’re curious, I’ll also share all of the books I read this past year.)

Top 5 Books I Read this Past Year

I read 52 books over the last 12 months. It sounds like a book a week, but it wasn’t. (I didn’t read the Bible in a week!) Some books took time, and others deserved a serious skim (yes, skimming counts as reading). I already have about 30 books on my list for this year, and I can’t wait to tackle them.

Here are the top 5 books I read last year, in no certain order (click to read more info on each book):

  1. Proverbs (Kidner Classic Commentaries)
  2. Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals
  3. Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less
  4. Willpower Doesn’t Work: Discover the Hidden Keys to Success
  5. Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.

If you’d like to grab these books, just click the links above. If you read the books, I’d love to know what you think. (The rest of the books I read last year are below.)

Tell me what you think: What were the best books you read this past year? To leave a comment, just click here.

5 Tips on Finding Time to Read More Books

  1. Read with your ears. An easy way to read more books is to listen to them on your smartphone. This allows you to read while in the car, while exercising, or while doing yard work. Get started by downloading a FREE audiobook at Audible. They even allow you to exchange a book you don’t like, no questions asked.
  2. Keep a book on hand everywhere you go. I always have a book handy for idle moments—those cracks of time in the day when you could read instead of veg. Keep a book in the car for the checkout lines, doctor offices, solo lunches, and traffic jams. Or, if you don’t want a stack of books in your car, take your tablet with you. I always have an e-book I’m reading on my iPad mini so that if I’m never staring at the ceiling or stuck reading some magazine. I read more books this way.
  3. Learn how to read faster. This is a skill that will benefit you all your life. A few years ago I read a great book called How to Read Better and Faster. It really helped me read more—better and faster. It takes practice, but hey, what skill doesn’t?
  4. Make Gleaning Your Goal, Rather than Finishing—Consider for this next year a goal for reading that goes beyond simply finishing a book. Choose instead to glean from the book what God would have you get. Sometimes that means you don’t finish a book. Why waste your time? You may choose instead to capture some great quotes from the book; great quotes can serve as great summaries—and great takeaways. You’ll never remember all of what you read—an impossible goal. But just the process of reading stimulates your mind to think in ways it otherwise wouldn’t.
  5. Turn off the TV one night a week. Okay, obvious—but in a culture where the average home has the television on 8 hours a day, the obvious needs mentioning.

5 Places to Find (Free) Books to Read

Here are a few FREE ways to read more books, from sources both obvious and not-so-0bvious.

  1. Ask for Books as Gifts—Ever struggle to answer what you’d like for Christmas or your birthday? Me too. Now, you have a ready-made answer: “Give me a book you would recommend.” Books make great gifts to give as well.
  2. Your Nightstand or Bookshelf—Take a look at that stack of books on your nightstand. They’re totally free. I have a stack there to. Also, look at your bookshelf. We all have books we’ve stacked away that we meant to read but never got around to it. You could even re-read a great book you’ve read before.
  3. Your Local Library—In addition to physical books, most libraries now also lend e-books and audiobooks. Again, totally free.
  4. Free Kindle E-books—Bookmark this link and check out Amazon’s Top 100 Free Christian Inspirational E-books. You’ll need a Kindle or a free Kindle reader for your iPad or computer. If there’s another genre you’re interested in, just follow these instructions.
  5. Free Christian E-books —Here are a few good free Christian e-books I have found.
Bonus for bloggers: If you blog, you might consider joining one of the blogger review programs. I regularly get free books from Baker Publishing and the Booklook programs in exchange for an honest review. If you’re willing to write a brief book review, this is a great way to get new, free books.

Tell me what you think: What book have you enjoyed this year? To leave a comment, just click here.

The Other Books I Read This Past Year

Listed in no particular order, here are the other books I read this past year. Just click on the book to read more about it.

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