Friday, March 7, 2008

Best of the Breed

When you read enough books about a particular subject you will eventually discover the Best of the Breed. These are the books that actually give you two to four hundred pages (or more) of quality information that stands out above all other books in their category.

This is my list of Best of the Breed books in their respective categories. I am not saying they won't be replaced by another, even better, book someday (Well, I am saying that for the last one) but these are definitely the finest works and worthy of ownership.

Audio Versions

Before I give the list, I want to say that one great way to stay motivated on a particular subject is to buy the Best of the Breed book in audio format. I listen to these CDs on my 1 hour commute to work. When I do, I get fired up all over again and rededicated to the material. I will say that being disciplined is better than being motivated but "self-inflicted" motivation is still an effective tool to keep on track of your goals.

Internalizing What You Read

It's not enough to read a book. Information that is life changing should be internalized. I have a simple definition for internalizing a book. Here it is:

If you can't teach it to others from memory start to finish, re-read it or listen to it again until you can.
Internalizing a book will make you an authority in some of the vital dimensions of your life. You'll be rich, successful, healthy and bound for Heaven. What more can you ask for?

Personal Finance

Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover is awesome! I am so excited about being debt free and building huge wealth in just 7 years (when I am only 45 years old). That is debt free as in no payments, including my house, woohoo!

Today I had a huge discussion with my wife about Dave's 6 simple steps to financial freedom and she is on board and ready to make sacrifices to get to freedom as fast as possible. This is literally our only financial focus for the next 7 years.

I won't reinvent the wheel with a summary of this book, you can read those on Amazon, but I will say that I have never been so excited after reading a finance book and I highly recommend you add this one to your library!


I love systems that tell me what to do, how to do it and when to do it and William J. O'Neils book does exactly that concerning investing in stocks. I have invested for years and my first three or four years were horrible (don't invest in stocks until you know what you're doing)! O'Neils book taught me how to choose winning stocks, when to invest in them and, the hardest part, when to sell.

It's unfortunate that I won't be investing in stocks for a while because I'm currently following the Total Money Makeover and the investing step is now a few years away but I will faithfully listen to the audio edition of How To Make Money In Stocks until I'm ready to get back to the market.

Human Interaction

No other book comes close to explaining how to get along with others. This book is full of useful information with very little fluff. Every chapter had me either saying "That's right" or "Wow! I never thought of it that way!". I thought this book was so excellent, I bought the unabridged audio version and enjoy every minute of it.

Mr. Carnegie details 30 principles worth memorizing and implementing with sincerity when interacting with any human being (including your in-laws - Ha!). When talking about his book I am hearty in my approbation and lavish in my praise. (Read the book and you'll understand).

Personal Effectiveness

I have listened to this audio book so many times I could probably recite it verbatim. This book really taught me I need to take personal responsibility. I haven't done that yet but at least it taught me I need to do it. Just kidding! (sort of)

Covey divides his book into 3 personal habits, 3 public habits (dealing with other people) and one encompassing habit that allows you to perform the other six with peak efficiency and effectiveness.

The biggest benefit I've received from this book is the skill of listening. Covey does a superb job of teaching a skill that is not taught by anyone else - school, parents, churches or otherwise. My parents used to tell me I need to listen. It seems like a lot of people tell other people they need to listen (to them of course). The problem is I didn't know how to listen and I didn't learn until I was 25 when I first read this book. Get it.


Napoleon Hill has interviewed more people viewed as successful than I will probably ever meet, successful or otherwise. In this book he details 17 principles he found common in all of the people he interviewed.

This was another book I bought in the unbridged audio format. Every word is necessary, relevant and very useful. I am implementing every principle in my Daily Discipline process. Success is not a matter of if but a matter of when.


Money, health, relationships and the Earth will all pass away. The best insurance in the world is not Whole Life or Term. It's Holy Insurance.

Let me get one thing straight - I can't prove anything in the Bible is true. I'm not going to try and prove to you it's true either. It rather annoys me when Christians tell you the gospel as if they know it's fact in worldly terms. They don't. They may know it's a fact in spiritual terms but spiritual terms provide no proof to others.

I believe Jesus died on the cross to save me from my sin because I choose to. Christians have a little buzz word called faith. Simply put, it means to believe without proof - end of preaching. :-)

Anyway, I love the King James Bible because it's poetic and a beautiful translation of scripture not to mention I have a Baptist background.

I didn't place the Bible last because it is the least important on the list. I placed on the bottom to signify that it is the foundation of all success in any area of your life. All the above books simply take what's already in the Bible and explain it in a different way. If you have a plan to be healthy, rich, successful, and so on, shouldn't you have a plan to live forever? This is definitely the book to internalize.

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