Reading List – January 2021

Reading Can Change Your Life — By Reading Just 10 Pages A Day.

Statistically, reading gets the short end of the stick — sideways and on fire, with rusty nails protruding from it.

Gnarly tree branch on shoreline

Millions of people consider reading to be boring and tedious.

Alternatively, there are millions of people who dream of reading to their hearts’ content and can’t.

male hands holding a book and flipping pages

Did you know…?

There are almost half a million words in our English Language – the largest language on earth, incidentally – but a third of all our writing is made up of only twenty-two words. (This stat is from 2013, and I’m confident that with today’s texting & abbreviated vernacular, it’s even less now.)

Choose Your Words on scrabble tiles

It is estimated that more than $2 billion is spent each year on students who repeat a grade because they have reading problems.

Ugly Stats:

More than three out of four of those on welfare, 85% of unwed mothers and 68% of those arrested are illiterate.

60 percent of America’s prison inmates are illiterate and 85% of all juvenile offenders have reading problems.

Which Leads To…

When the State of Arizona projects how many prison beds it will need, it factors in the number of kids who read well in fourth grade.

Little girl reading a book, blurred foreground

Amazing Stats:

Benefits of Reading Books: How It Can Positively Affect Your Life:

  • Strengthens the brain
    • Increases empathy
    • Builds vocabulary
    • Prevents cognitive decline
    • Reduces stress
    • Aids sleep
    • Alleviates depression
    • Lengthens lifespan
Little boy with hat on and a book in his lap, laughing broadly

Being a huge proponent of reading and its benefits, I’m also a firm believer that easing yourself into the habit of reading is not only beneficial, it’s 100% doable.

long-haired man floating in blue-green water, reading a book

Start out by just reading 10 pages a day.

That’s it.

Ten pages.

Here, I’ve listed the top three books I read (or reread) in January 2021. Perhaps one of them will spark your interest…

Arm and hand holding up six books

For the record, I am not paid by these publishers, authors or Amazon for posting & promoting their links on this blog.

Book #1:

Einstein’s Cosmos: How Albert Einstein’s Vision Transformed Our Understanding of Space and Time (Great Discoveries), by Michio Kaku

Einstein's Cosmos:  How Albert Einstein's Vision Transformed Our Understanding of Space and Time (Great Discoveries), by Michio Kaku

I first read this book in 2013 and wrote a review for it on Amazon. Here’s a snippet of that review:

robot made of Amazon boxes

“Mr. Kaku doesn’t bombard you with boring, watching-the-grass-grow physics terminology.


Hippo yawnly widely

Instead, as he introduces the terminology, theories or explanations, he first explains the theory and then gives a real-world comparison, enabling the reader to actually envision what’s being explained.

The explanation of bending space and time, in a text book, would potentially warp some brain cells, right?

Instant friggin’ migraine.

Headache Migraine GIF

Not here! Mr. Kaku delivers the basic premise with a real-world, completely-relatable explanation, enabling the reader to not only “get it,” but to also encourage and provoke the reader to want to know more.

jimmy fallon lol GIF by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Otherwise, you’d have a bunch of mumbo-jumbo about quanta, atoms and neutrons that would bore you tears by the time you reached the third pageIF you made it to the third page.

complex math written in neon green

I could sit here all day and write about what I’ve learned about the Theory of Relativity and the Theory of Special Relativity and String Theory (or M Theory), but this book is well worth reading for yourself.

Don’t even get me started on Schroedinger’s Cat!

Book #2:

The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts (How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate), by Gary Chapman

The Five Love Languages:  The Secret to Love That Lasts (How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate), by Gary Chapman

You guessed it; This book falls into that Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus genre.

Except it’s way easier to understand and very simple.

bilingual language of love GIF by GIPHY Dating

There are the five love languages:

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Acts of Service
  3. Receiving Gifts
  4. Quality Time
  5. Physical Touch

Everyone interprets love differently and, therefore, everyone displays love in a different way.

heart made of lighted rope in the sand

For me, I am a gift giver (Gift giving). I will spend days, weeks or even months searching for the perfect gift for someone. I want to give them the perfect give so they know how much they mean to me.

hand extended holding large acorn, blurred background

Or…if I’m just out and about and happen to see something that I think they would like — a book, their favorite candy bar, whatever — I’ll pick it up and give it to them, just to let them know they’re on my mind.

I cannot tell you how many times this has backfired on me.


Because we all perceive love differently.

dozens of pink, dark pink and fushia hearts

So if I’m giving the perfect gift to someone — in my effort to show them how much I care for them and that they’re on my mind — and that person interprets receiving love as “Words of Affirmation,” then it’s a swing and miss.

Hey batter, batter!

That person doesn’t give a rip about gifts. That person wants/needs to hear how much they’re adored/cared for/loved/appreciated/admired.

Couple with breakfast tray, man extending something to woman

Understanding how your partner receives love (perceives love) is the critical point.

How we show love, and how we receive love (how we interpret love being shown or said) can be completely different, too.

All You Need Is Love & Mojitos in neon sign

To say that I love giving gifts would be a gross understatement.

But I could not care any less about receiving gifts. When someone gives me a gift, I’m uncomfortable and awkward.

…and also…

…because I interpret receiving love as “Act of Service.” Relax. It’s not about someone waiting on me hand and foot. It’s about someone doing the little things to let me know that they care about me.

Relax written on restaurant storefront window.

The Five Love Languages explains each love language, and it even has a little quiz to help you discern which love language is your receiving love language, if one doesn’t jump right out at you.

Little boy helping little girl with paperwork on clipboard

If you’re in a relationship, this may help speak a language that your significant other knows and understands.

stick figure holding onto red heart

If you’re single, this may help when you meet someone who sparks your interest.

My explanation may be more complicated than the dang book.

Trust me on this one.

Trust me, I'm a bike mechanic sign

It’s an easy, simple read.

And it may help strengthen your relationships.

Book #3:

Failing Forward; Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stone for Success, by John C. Maxwell.

Failing Forward; Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stone for Success, by John C. Maxwell.

The title of the book doesn’t really leave a lot of mystery as to what’s in between the covers.

There are seven principles for failing forward:

Principle #1:

Reject Rejection

“Achievers who persevere do not base their self-worth on their performance. On the contrary, they have a healthy self-image that’s not dictated by external events. When they fall short, rather than labeling themselves a failure, they learn from mistakes in their judgment or behavior.”

No sign, buried in the dirt

Principle #2:

Don’t Point Fingers

“When people fail, they’re often tempted to blame others for their lack of success. By pointing fingers, they sink into a victim mentality and cede their fate to outsiders. When playing the blame game, people rob themselves of learning from their failures and alienate others by refusing to take responsibility for mistakes.”

Index finger with sunglasses

Principle #3:

See Failure As Temporary

“People who personalize failure see a problem as a hole they’re permanently stuck in, whereas achievers see any predicament as temporary. One mindset wallows in failure, the other looks forward to success. By putting mistakes into perspective, achievers are able to see failure as a momentary event, not a symptom of a lifelong epidemic.”

White clock with hands with Temporary written on it

Principle #4:

Set Realistic Expectations

“Unrealistic goals doom people to failure. For instance, if a person hasn’t exercised for five years, then making it to a gym twice a week may be a better goal than running in next month’s marathon. Also, some people insensibly expect to be perfect. Everyone fails, so expect setbacks and emotionally prepare to deal with them.”

Vintage green typewriter with Goals typed on paper

Principle #5:

Focus On Strengths

“Don’t invest time shoring up non-character flaws at the exclusion of investing in your strengths. People operating from a position of strength enjoy a far lower rate of failure than those laboring in areas of weakness. You’re built to give your talents to the world; be diligent about finding expressions for them in your career.”

Full Power t-shirt on body builder

Principle #6:

Vary Approaches To Achievement

“In the Psychology of Achievement, Brian Tracy writes about four millionaires who made their fortunes by age 35. On average, these achievers were involved in 17 businesses before they finding the one that took them to the top. They kept trying and changing until they found something that worked.”

Abstract horizontal lights against abstract darkness

Principle #7:

Bounce Back

“Rehashing missteps and blunders for too long sabotages concentration and eats away at self-confidence. When dealing with failure, achievers have short memories. They quickly forget the negative emotions of setbacks and press forward resiliently. While taking pause to learn from failures, achievers realize that the past cannot be altered.”

Squishy balls with smiley faces

Listen, I know there are ten quadrillion leadership/pep-talk books out there, give or take. This one resonated with me, because it was broken down into seven easy-to-understand principles (listed above), all of which assist me in maintaining my focus on my goals.

Give it a spin. It’s easy to read and very relatable.

More soon,


Restart. Refocus. Reinvent.


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