“To read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries.”  – A C Grayling

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Next to my bed on my bedside table I have 7 books. Most of them are books related to personal development. The other few are business or finance related. I tend to read more non-fiction than I do a good novel. The reason being is I love to learn and apply proven strategies into my own life. The downside is that as a result I am not as creative (although The Start of Happiness has become a great way for me to explore and develop this!).

However, the truth is these books have been sitting on my bedside table for the last 2 years and for some of them I haven’t even read a page.

Whenever I come across a good book I put it in this pile, thinking to myself that “I have to read this at some point”. However, life gets in the way. The only time I used to read was on holidays.

Something has changed in my life. I have now read six books this year and we’re only a few months in. I’m feeling more motivated, confident and in-charge of my life than I have ever felt before. There’s just something about reading that draws you in. It gets your mind flowing. It does actually get your creative juices flowing. It helps you to take action which is the critical piece of the life puzzle.

Why has all this changed all of a sudden?

A beautiful thing has happened.

I now catch public transport.


In fact, my productivity levels have gone through the roof since I’ve started catching public transport. I’m currently sitting on the train as we speak heading over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and I’ve already typed 300 words of this post. This is a different day for me however, as normally I read.

The six books I have read are:

  • The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team (by Patrick M Lencioni)
  • The Seven Secrets to Wealth (by John Fitzgerald)
  • The Art of Possibility (by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander)
  • The Hunger Games (by Suzanne Collins)
  • Screw It, Let’s Do It (by Richard Branson)
  • Catching Fire (by Suzanne Collins)

To be able to read six books in just a few months and at no extra disadvantage to the use of my time feels great. Now, I think I’ll save the topic of productivity for another week, but my juices are flowing right now as a result of reading and I just need to get the message out to you that reading is amazingly awesome.


What has motivated me about the 6 books I have read? Let’s explore:


Book #1: The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team

The first book I read this year was The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team. This book is an amazing read for anyone that is looking at building a team, be it managers in business, coaches in sports teams, teachers in school and even ‘family teams’.

To put this into context of how I have applied the learnings from this book into my own life, I’ll let you in on some details on my own life and my own team.

As the Area Talent Manager for Australasia in a well-known multinational company, I am responsible for all leadership, training and development, performance management, reward & recognition and motivation tools, team building tools, coaching and mentoring framework, employer branding, culture and wellbeing strategies and more. This is mostly part of implementing an effective talent (people) attraction and retention strategy. I am responsible for the markets of Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa and the Solomon Islands.

Now, this is a LOT to cover, and all I have is 3 people in my team. Working as a team and being as effective and efficient as possible is critical to our success.

The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team identifies 5 key areas of which if one is lacking, the team will be dysfunctional.

The book has shaped the way I conduct my meetings with my team as well as interact with each team member on a daily basis. As a result, we have been able to implement some big initiatives in the last couple of months that will see ongoing success and return on investment well into the future.

Check out the book here.


Book #2: The Seven Secrets to Wealth

The second book I have read this year is The Seven Secrets to Wealth by John Fitzgerald. This has to be the most straight-forward, simple book on property investing that I have ever read.

If you’re keen to learn the ins and outs of property investing, then I highly recommend this book. Note that the content and data is based primarily on the Australian property market.

But how has reading this book motivated me?

While reading this book, my mind was buzzing with ideas around how to make cashflow not only in property but also from other sources. It motivated me to attend a couple of seminars and look more deeply into the property market. As a result, I have recently seen a consultant who has mapped out a schedule for property investing for me. Whether or not I start doing it is another question… but you never get results if you never take action!

On top of this, it reinforced the fact that wealth is not built through working as an employee in a company. It has motivated me and inspired me to look into alternative sources of income to ensure I retire happy, healthy and wealthy.


Book #3: The Art of Possibility

Ok, I’m going to admit. This was the least favourite of my books that I have read this year.

After hearing some great reviews of this book and with a title that just screams out something that I’d be excited in, I was overly disappointed.

The book was a lot more ‘technical’ than I expected, digging quite deeply into one’s conscious. The other thing that I didn’t enjoy were the examples provided. The authors are part of a world-class orchestra and all of their examples revolve around this. Simply put, I couldn’t relate to this book.

In saying that, I’m glad I gave the book a shot. However because of my low levels of engagement it did not motivate me to take action in my life.

What I learned from reading a disappointing, low-engaging book like this is that if you’re not feeling engaged while reading, then don’t read it! You need to feel excited and energized but what you’re reading. If you’re doing this, then you know you have found something that you are passionate about and want to actually apply the principles into your own life.

Hopefully you’re somewhat energized and excited while reading this 😉

Keep in mind, this is purely my opinion on this book and as per other reviews I’m sure you might be able to get a lot from this. Don’t just dismiss this book because of my feedback, there are loads of positive reviews on this book. The key message I want to get across is to find another book if you’re not feeling engaged, motivated or inspired by it… I did, and it helped me regain that excitement, being book number four.

Check out the book here.




Book #4: The Hunger Games

This book didn’t provide the same level as motivation as a couple of the other books, however it absolutely captured my imagination. And imagination is so important when it comes to being able to look for opportunities and create success in your life.

While reading this book, it was one of the highlights of my day. I was absolutely engaged every time I read The Hunger Games and I would eagerly await my next train trip so I could continue reading.

The Hunger Games created more happiness in my life. Reading the book was great, but so was the anticipation. Anticipation is half the value of happiness. When you anticipate something with excitement you are happy and motivated during this time.

Reading ‘The Hunger Games’ proved this to me.

Ever read a book where you can’t put it down? This is exactly how I felt reading this book. This is fantastic. It creates energy. It creates positively. It fosters your imagination and it gets your juices flowing. This is what reading is all about!

Check out the book here.


Book #5: Screw It, Let’s Do It

This has by far been the most enjoyable read for me this year. Richard Branson has had a life like no other. It’s absolutely extraordinary and such an interesting read. His business ideas and his success are based on such an optimism and positive outlook like I have never heard of.

This book has been a major catalyst for me in exploring business opportunities and taking action. More importantly, it has heavily reinforced the fact that you have to be having fun in whatever it is that you do. If you’re not waking up super-excited and passionate about what you’re doing every day then you need to make a change.

Richard Branson did this on a number of occasions. When you’re passionate and interested in something you are also much more likely to succeed. Branson represents the epitome of demonstrating this.

I now have a plan in place to make some huge life changes and this book has been a big confirming factor for me. More on these big life changes shortly 🙂

Check out the book here.


Book #6 Catching Fire (Part Two of the Hunger Games)

The second part of the Hunger Games is just as good as the first. Again, it captured my imagination and helped build excitement, positivity and anticipation that led to more energy in my day.

I’m actually also half-way through the final book in the Hunger Games trilogy and I’m absolutely loving it! Will be done with book #7 shortly 🙂

Check out the book here.


What Are You Reading?

What are you currently reading?

Are you getting motivated, excited or energized by what you’re reading? If not, then ask yourself why are you reading it? Explore new books and find what truly excites you. You will not only learn some new things, but you might just uncover a hidden passion or interest of yours. Perhaps it might create the little bit of motivation you need.

Whatever you do, make sure you continue reading. And if you’re not reading a book at the moment, head to the local library and grab yourself an exciting read. You won’t regret it 🙂

What are you reading or what have you read that has motivated you to change something in your life?


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About the author 

Brendan Baker

Brendan Baker is Australia's leading personal development blogger and and helps people build and grow online businesses based on their passions. He has created the Launch Your Life Academy and Your First 1000 Subscribers. Connect with Brendan: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

Brendan Baker is Australia's leading personal development blogger and and helps people build and grow online businesses based on their passions. He has created the Launch Your Life Academy and Your First 1000 Subscribers. Connect with Brendan: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

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  1. Hi Brendan!
    Great post! Reading is so important but you are right, difficult to find time. Glad you found a new way to get your reading in! I am reading “Put Your Dreams to the Test” by John C. Maxwell. It’s a great read that explores deep into the difference between having a dream and actually achieving it.
    After reading your comments about “The Hunger Games”, I am inspired to read it!
    Have a great day – wishing you all the best success.


  2. I also think its important to mix in fiction as well. For example, I’m addicted to Lee Child Jack Reacher books. Lee certainly knows how to tell a good story and reading his books has helped me to become a better story teller and writer.

  3. I too do same things, while I have nothing to do except waiting. I always carry two books with me. And this is a great way to wait and to learn . I am planning to buy The Seven Secrets to Wealth and The Art of Possibility very soon.
    Thanks for your useful post.

  4. I need to follow your lead Brendan and mix in some fiction . I heard, as you said, that it expands your imagination and creativity.

    I’m reading “Accidental Creativity” and “Platform” by Michael Hyatt. It’s easy to get caught up just reading, nodding, and going to the next book..I need to work more on implementation rather than just absorbing.

    Great reading list Brendan

  5. Great post. I’ve got so many books, that its a challenge to get them all read. I read at least 3 in one go. At the moment I’m reading “Gold Rush” by Michael Johnson – What Makes An Olympic Champion?, “7 Steps To Freedom” By Ben Suarez and “Maximum Willpower” by Kelly McGonigal.

    I’ve read Screw Lets Do It, which is brilliant. Another great book for me is “Mastery” by George Leonard.

  6. I have been reading The Success Principles by Jack Canfield.
    This has been a very inspiring book. I am trying to implement his principles as I go along so I have been reading it for a while, not to mention that it is a pretty long book. Every principle makes a lot of sense and they seem obvious but Jack presents them through story telling like the Chicken Soup for the Soul books which make it inspiring to know that there are other people that have gone through some of the same things or more to get to the successful positions they are in today.
    I will have to check out Screw It, Let’s Do It!

    Thanks of the post!

    1. Hi Shawn,

      Do it.. you’ll love Screw It, Let’s Do it!

      I’ve heard of The Success Principles but again I haven’t read that one yet… I’ll be sure to add it to my reading list! Thanks for the great suggestion 🙂

  7. I need to start reading more. I know it’s incredibly important.

    One mistake I wanted to highlight that I feel people make about failing to read is they don’t realise the potential of it.

    For e.g You can get a person who have spent their whole life mastering something, have 50+ years experience in a field and then at the end of that period decide to write a book. They write the book and then put it for sale for £12-15. They’re giving away 50 years worth of hard work, time and experience for just £15!

    The problem with this is the majority of people don’t BELIEVE that for just £15 you can have a book that can teach you wonderful insights, give you little gems of advice. It’s not in their reality.


    1. Hi Joe… you’re so right. There are some absolutely amazing books and lessons in life that are being sold for chips! Or even free from the library…

      The thing is, when someone reaches that time in their life, it’s not about the money… it’s about making a difference in this world and helping the lives of others. That’s why there is so much fantastic knowledge being passed down from generation from generation. We’re the smartest living humans that have ever lived… but if we continue to write like we are, we are also setting up future generations for even more success.

  8. I’ve been reading the book called “The Magic of Thinking Big.” It’s been long on my reading list and I finally got to read it now. It is a great book, full of wisdom spelled out in simple words.

    I recently started a habit of replacing TV watching at night with reading books I am interested. I find it to be a very rewarding experience and highly recommend anyone to give it a try.

    The key is to only read what you are interested, not just books you think you have to read or should be good to read. Let interests guide you to form a reading habit which will no doubt benefit you the whole lifetime.

    1. Hi Harry,

      I haven’t heard of The Magic of Thinking Big but it sounds great.. I’ll look in to getting it for a read for myself!

      Replacing TV with reading is such a great idea… how do you feel after watching 2 hrs of TV vs how do you feel after reading for 2 hrs? Now times that by 5 times a week and you’re starting to really change your life!

  9. “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill

    It’s an old and odd book, full of pseudo-suggestive writing, semi-mysticism, and strangeness . . . and yet it was such a powerful motivating force for me. And many others. It literally changed my thinking around in a single read. I can honestly say that I finished that book a completely different –and better — person than when I started it. Highly recommended.


    1. I love Think and Grow Rich… a definite must read for everyone. It shifts your mindset like no other… in fact, I think I might even read this again in the next couple of months!

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