5 Best Books to be Reading Right Now

By Books, Leadership, LifeNo Comments

Rockwell Kent

As a life-long reader, one of my favorite things to do for people is to provide curated customs lists of recommended books. Most of my recommendation lists have been curated based on each friend’s specific interests or topics (mindfulness, spirituality, business, leadership, etc).

Now, I’ve had several friends ask me what books that I recommend in the midst of this crisis — so I thought I’d share them with you. I’ve read every one of these books — some several times. (All links go to Amazon.)

“Biography of Silence” — Pablo D’Ors

This is the best book I’ve ever read on the power and importance of meditation in modern times.

“Man’s Search for Meaning” — Viktor Frankl

Much has been shared about this classic — but it remains the source code for finding meaning in suffering.

“Red Teaming” — Bryce Hoffman

I have been thinking about how different the reaction to the pandemic from businesses and governments would be if they’d read this book. Disclosure: Bryce is a great friend and client — but the endorsement is 100% sincere.

“Everything is F*cked” — Mark Manson

The awesomeness of this book is indescribable. It is a blend of research, satire, history, philosophy and so much. It is the perfect book to buy today and start reading right now.

“The Power of TED” — David Emerald

The only fable in this list, this is the best book I’ve ever read about getting out of a victim mindset — and for dealing with people with a victim mindset.

I’d love to hear your top 5. Please share in the comments!

Enjoy and be safe!

5 x 7 – Day 1: Top 5 Books I Read in 2018

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Each day during the last week of 2018 I will be posting a list of 5 things to read, listen to, think about, explore, ponder. Day 1’s list is the top 5 books I read in 2018.

  1. The most intellectually stimulating and challenging book I’ve ever read. Peterson posits that we are in a necessary age of chaos and new rules are needed to establish order. Not societal rules or laws, but personal rules. Throughout the sharing of his 12 rules (which sprang from a question he received on Quora), Peterson blends his unique and deep knowledge of Jungian psychology, mythology and religion. Definitely like nothing I’ve ever read – and one of the few books that I pick up and re-skim the passages that I highlighted.

    Best quote: “Life is suffering. Don’t make it worse.”

  2. This one has been out for awhile. It is the best book I’ve ever read on the discipline of being a creative. I highly recommend reading this one then the follow-up called “Turning Pro”.  Pressfield blends his personal story with fresh insights and tough love on how to battle your inner demons and outer distractions as it relates to living as a professional creator. This book is required reading for anyone leaving the comfortably numb world of a career for the call of the wild of creating art in the world.

    Best quote: “Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”

  3. Attached.” – Amir Levine & Rachel Heller
    This book is a well-researched and well-written deep dive into the psychology of Attachment Theory. The authors present research and case studies that each of us have a default attachment style that is highly influenced by our childhood. I read this book fairly early in 2018 during a time of great relationship turmoil. It was eye opening to learn that a lot of my responses to this turmoil were programmed into my subconscious as an attachment style.

    Best quote: “It is very important that you be compassionate with yourself. The worse you feel about yourself, the more you’ll want to go back to the false safety of the bad relationship you were in. Your attachment system gets activated more when you feel bad about yourself”

  4. “Made for These Times” – Justin Zoradi
    I’ve had the privilege of getting to know Justin prior to and after reading his book. There’s something about knowing the author that gives a book extra flavor and context. Part memoir, part manifesto, Justin practically explores the call to a mission and to a great work through the lens of Christianity. His concepts deeply resonated with me and affirmed my own convictions that we all have something do in this life that only we can do.

    Best quote: “Perhaps the Devil’s genius isn’t that he turns people into mini-evil versions of himself but rather gets them so preoccupied with their own inner monologue that they never break out of being insecure, mediocre, small and soft.”

  5. “The Code of the Extraordinary Mind” – Vishen Lakhiani
    This book could also be called “How to blow up your life”.I was already deep into the process of re-programming my life when I read this book, but it was very affirming of my inner work and journey. This is my go-to book I recommend for anyone that is ready to begin the journey of living as their true selves. Practical, agitating, funny, this book guides you through the process of examining your beliefs, behaviors, biases and internal operating system. It strips you down to your bare bones and then provides tools for re-building your life.

    Best quote:“Much of growing wiser and moving toward the extraordinary is really about becoming aware of the models of reality that you carry with you without realizing it.”

Runners Up:

“Growing Influence” – Ron Price & Stacy Ennis

“The Power of TED” – David Emerald

“Shoe Dog” – Phil Knight

For my entire list of books I read in 2018 (and prior), go here. 

I would love to hear from you! What are your top books of 2018?

My Book List – Updated 9/14/22

By Books, LifeNo Comments

“What books have you read?” is one of the most common questions I get. So here’s a running list of them!

A note: all links go to Amazon, but please support a local bookstore if you can. I also didn’t include most of the fiction books I’ve read.

Most recent reads:

“Here is Where: Discovering America’s Great Forgotten History” – Andrew Carroll

“How Not to Be Afraid” – Gareth Higgins

“Wandermust” – Mike Green (listen to him on my podcast here)

“Existential Kink” – Carolyn Elliott

“The Tacos and Chocolate Diet” – Drew Myers 

“New Seeds of Contemplation” – Thomas Merton

“Whole Brain Living” – Jill Bolte Taylor

“First, We Make the Beast Beautiful” – Sarah Wilson

“Addled: Adventures of a Reluctant Mystic” – Jessica Davidson


What I’ve read in 2021

“Recipes for a Sacred Life” – Rivvy Neshama

“Blue Truth” – David Deida

“Conscious Loving” – Gay & Kathryn Hendricks 

“Recapture the Rapture” – Jamie Wheal 

“The Happiness Trap (Illustrated)” – Russ Harris

“One Minute Wisdom” – Anthony de Mello

“Essentials” – David Whyte

“Green Lights” – Matthew McConaughey 

“The River of Doubt” – Candice Millard

“Intimacy with God: Introduction to Centering Prayer” – Thomas Keating

“Driven” – Doug Brackmann & Randy Kelley 

“The Hero Within: Six Archetypes We Live By” – Carol Pearson

“Everything is Spiritual” – Rob Bell

“Experiencing God Directly” – Marshall Davis

“Mary Magdalene Revealed” – Meggan Watterson 

What I read in 2020

“A Year with Thomas Merton” – Thomas Merton

“When Things Fall Apart” – Pema Chodron

“Resilient” – Rick Hanson

“The Comedians” – Kliph Nesteroff

“Love Wins” – Rob Bell

“Lamb” – Christopher Moore

“Skeptic” – Michael Shermer

“Be Here Now” – Rob Bell

“Time Off” – John Fitch, Max Frenzel

“Oneing: Liminal Space” – Various Writers (link goes to Center for Action and Contemplation)

“The Secret of Magic” – Deborah Johnson

“The Gospel According to Jesus” – Stephen Mitchell

“What is the Bible?” – Rob Bell

“The Hermetica 101” – Matthew Barnes

“The Lion Tracker’s Guide to Life” – Boyd Varty

“Reflections” – Hermann Hesse 

“Keep Going” – Austin Kleon

“The Art of Possibility” – Rosamund Stone Zander & Benjamin Zander

“Talking with Strangers” – Malcolm Gladwell

“Practical Mysticism” – Evelyn Underhill

“The Road to Character” – David Brooks

“The Art of Happiness” – Dalai Lama & Howard Cutler

“A Wrinkle in Time” – Madeleine L’Engle

“The Art of Loving” – Erich Fromm

“Selected Poems” – Walt Whitman

“Discernment” – Henri Nouwen

“The Coddling of the American Mind” – Greg Lukianoff & Jonathan Haidt

“Building a Story Brand” – Donald Miller

“The Dichotomy of Leadership” – Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

“Anam Cara” – John O’Donohue

“All the Light We Cannot See” – Anthony Doerr

“Misquoting Jesus” – Bart Ehrman

“Sex. Comedy. God.” – Pete Holmes

“Everything is Fucked” – Michael Manson

“Gnostic Philosophy” – Tobias Churston

“The Three Questions” – Don Miguel Ruiz

“This” – Michael Gungor

“Outliers” – Malcolm Gladwell

“Madeleine L’Engle Herself: Reflections on a Writing Life” – Lindsay Lackey (Compiler)

“To Kill a Mockingbird” – Harper Lee

“The Five People You Meet in Heaven” – Mitch Albom

“Illusions” – Richard Bach

“Start Finishing” – Charlie Gilkey 

“I Hope I Screw This Up” – Kyle Cease 


What I read in 2019

“Atomic Habits” – James Clear

“Smile at Fear” – Chogyam Trungpa

“Into the Magic Shop” – James Doty

“Proof of Heaven” – Eben Alexander

“Stillness is the Key” – Ryan Holiday

“The Three Marriages” – David Whyte

“The Molten Phrase” – ET Crisler (out of print)

“You Are Not So Smart” – David McRaney

“The Gift of Fear” – Gavin De Becker

“The Book of Five Rings” – Miyamoto Musashi

“Biography of Silence” – Pablo d’Ors

“Leaders Eat Last” – Simon Sinek

“Meditations of the Heart” – Howard Thurman

“The Third Door” – Alex Banayan

“On the Brink of Everything” – Parker Palmer

“The Obstacle is the Way” – Ryan Holiday 

“The Artist’s Journey” – Steven Pressfield

“Ishmael” – Daniel Quinn

“Paths to God” – Ram Dass

“The Untethered Soul” – Michael Singer

“Care of the Soul” – Thomas Moore

“Sovereignty” – Ryan Michler

“New Power” – Jeremy Heimans & Henry Timms

“Book of Mercy” – Leonard Cohen

“Sapiens” – Yuval Noah Harari

“Educated” – Tara Westover

“Original You” – Thomas Moore

“Do the Work” – Steven Pressfield

“To Stop a Warlord” – Shannon Sedgwick Davis

“21 Insights for 21st Century Creatives” – Mark McGuinness

“The Antidote” – Oliver Burkeman

“The Discomfort Zone” – Marcia Reynolds

“The Way of the Superior Man” – David Deida

“Braving the Wilderness” – Brene Brown

“Hillbilly Elegy” – JD Vance

“On Writing” – Stephen King

“If Life is a Game, These are the Rules” – Cherie Carter-Scott

“The Inner Voice of Love” – Henri Nouwen

“Can’t Hurt Me” – David Goggins

“Plan B” – Anne Lamott

“Beneath the Wheel” – Herman Hesse 

“Rework” – Jason Fried & David Hansson 

“10% Happier” – Dan Harris

“Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” – Robert Pirsig

“Smarter, Faster, Better” – Charles Duhigg

“Man’s Search for Meaning” – Viktor Frankl

“The Prophet” – Khalil Gibran


What I Read in 2018

“Made for These Times” – Justin Zoradi

“How to be Free” – Joe Blow (Anonymous) 

“Think and Grow Rich” – Napoleon Hill

“Love Does” – Bob Goff

“As a Man Thinketh” – James Allen

“Steal Like an Artist” – Austin Kleon

“Scary Close” – Donald Miller

“The Zahir” – Paulo Coelho

“The Divine Dance” – Richard Rohr

“Growing Influence” – Ron Price & Stacy Ennis

“Inside the Body of God” – Karen Curry Parker

“Turning Pro” – Steven Pressfield

“For One More Day” – Mitch Albom

“Shoe Dog” – Phil Knight

“The Barbarian Way” – Erwin Raphael McManus

“Ideas, Influence and Income” – Tanya Hall

“The Power of TED” – David Emerald

“Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions” – Richard Erdoes

“The Artisan Soul” – Erwin Raphael McManus

“Discipline Equals Freedom Field Manual” – Jocko Willink

“The Heart of the Enlightened” – Anthony De Mello

“The War of Art” – Steven Pressfield

“12 Rules for Life” – Dr. Jordan B Peterson

“Iron John” – Robert Bly

“The Pilgrimage” – Paulo Coelho 

“Hardwiring Happiness” – Rick Hanson

“Steppenwolf” – Herman Hesse

“Conversations with God” – Neale Donald Walsch 

“The Tao Te Ching” – Lao Tzu

“Love YourSelf Like Your Life Depends On It” – Kamal Ravikant

“Wild at Heart” – John Eldredge

“The Devil and Miss Prym” – Paulo Coelho

“The Code of the Extraordinary Mind” – Vishen Lakhiani

“Born to Run” – Bruce Springsteen

“Extreme Ownership” – Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

“The Witch of Portobello” – Paulo Coelho

“I Heart Creativity” – Courtney Feider

“Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It” – Kamal Ravikant 

“Feeling is the Secret” – Neville Goddard

“The Gnostic Gospels” – Elaine Pagels

“The Daily Stoic” – Ryan Holiday & Stephen Hanselman

“Dinner with Buddha” – Roland Merullo

“Essentialism” – Greg McKeown

“Beyond Belief” – Elaine Pagels

“Attached.” – Amir Levine & Rachel Heller

“Breakfast with Buddha – Roland Merullo

“Living Buddha, Living Christ” – Thich Naht Hanh

“Loving What Is” – Byron Katie

“Christian Mystics” – Matthew Fox

“Tribe” – Sebastian Junger

“The Celestine Prophecy” – James Redfield

“Leadership and Self Deception” – The Arbinger Institute 


Previous Readings by Category

Personal Growth / Psychology 

“Unbeatable Mind” – Mark Divine

“Grit” – Angela Duckworth

“The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” – Mark Manson

“The Ego is the Enemy” – Ryan Holiday

“A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” – Donald Miller

“The Go-Giver” – Bob Burg

“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” – Stephen Covey

“Notes to Myself” – Hugh Prather

“The Power of Habit” – Charles Duhigg

“Believe It and Behave It” – Kate Harvie

“Phil the Logger” – Brandon Wright

“The Noticer” – Andy Andrews


“Heretics to Heroes” – Cort Dial

“Start with Why” – Simon Sinek

“Tribal Leadership” – Dave Logan et al

“Play Bigger” – Al Ramadan et al.

“Traction” – Gino Wickman

“American Icon” – Bryce Hoffman

“Red Teaming” – Bryce Hoffman

“Pyromarketing” – Greg Stiesltra 

“Good to Great” – Jim Collins

“Make the Noise Go Away” – Larry Linne

“Made to Stick” – Chip & Dan Heath

“Switch” – Chip & Dan Heath

“The Complete Leader” – Ron Price & Randy Lisk



“The Book of Joy” – Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Douglas Abrams

“The Book of Awakening” – Marc Nepo

“Writing Down Your Soul” – Janet Conner

“Outwitting the Devil” – Napoleon Hill

“Awareness” – Anthony De Mello

“A Hidden Wholeness” – Parker Palmer

“The Power of Now” – Eckhart Tolle

“The Way to Love” – Anthony De Mello

“The Divine Arsonist” – Jacob Nordby

“Prayers of the Cosmos” – Neil Douglas-Klotz

“The Alchemist” – Paulo Coelho

“Warrior of the Light” – Paulo Coelho

“The Magician’s Way” – William Whitecloud

“The Last Shaman” – William Whitecloud 

“Siddhartha” – Herman Hesse

“The Four Agreements” – Don Miguel Ruiz

“The Fifth Agreement” – Don Miguel Ruiz & Don Jose Ruiz

“The Mastery of Love” – Don Miguel Ruiz

“The Mastery of Self” – don Miguel Ruiz, Jr

“The Art of Stillness” – Pico Iyer

“The Five Levels of Attachment” – don Miguel Ruiz, Jr

“A New Earth” – Eckhart Tolle

“The Fifth Mountain” – Paulo Coelho

“Treasure Inside” – Ron Price


“Blessed are the Weird” – Jacob Nordby

“A Whole New Mind” – Daniel Pink


History / Biographies

“In the Garden of Beasts” – Erik Larson

“Education of a Wandering Man” – Louis L’Amour


“Markings” – Dag Hammarskjold

“Manuscript Found in Acra” – Paulo Coelho

“Adultery” – Paulo Coelho

“Letters to a Young Poet” – Rainer Maria Rilke