Reading for me is a wonderful combination of necessity and recreation.

Some books that I read give me an opportunity to learn, whilst some keep me entertained.  Of course, the very best have a way of doing both.

Every year, I set out to read every day, with the goal to complete 25 books and in 2018, I have had the privilege of learning from, and being entertained by, some terrific writers.

Here are my favourite books from 2018:

10.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 – J.K Rowling.  This deserves to be higher as it was a wonderful end to the series, but after making it through each of the Harry Potter books over the past few years, I was relieved to be finished.

9.  What You Make It: The Authorized Biography of Doug Pinnick – Chris Smith.  The obscure King’s X are one of my all-time favourite bands and this biography of lead singer and bassist, Dug Pinnick, is a wonderful insight into a complex, misunderstood man and musician.  I admired Dug before reading this, I wanted to give him a big hug and welcome him into my family afterwards.

8.  Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World – Bob Goff.  I had heard about this book from a few other authors and it was a delight to read.  Wonderfully optimistic and eccentric, Goff has been able to express his faith through actions that are simultaneously life-changing and ordinary.

7.  The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life – Erwin McManus.  Erwin is one of those great story-tellers who has the ability to turn the Bible into an inspiring, compelling message that can be applied to your life.  I’ve read a few of his books over the years and this was one of his best.

6.  Leather Soul: A Half-back Flanker’s Rhythm and Blues – Bob Murphy.  One of my favourite footballers, Bob’s autobiography was both entertaining and insightful.  His chapter on player nick-names had me snorting with laughter on a crowded train on the way to work.  Very embarrassing, but worth every chortle.

5.  Flesh: Bringing the Incarnation Down to Earth – Hugh Halter.  Christians are often accused of being judgmental and hypocritical.  If more of them read this book, they wouldn’t be.  I heard Hugh preach early in the year and this book was a timely reminder to me of how to be a better follower of Jesus.

4.  The Power of a Positive Team: Proven Principles and Practices that Make Great Teams Great – Jon Gordon.  Some of Jon’s ideas have been credited with helping to create the amazing culture at the Richmond Football Club, helping them to win the 2017 AFL Premiership.  After reading this, you can see why.  Mandatory for anyone who works with, or leads, others.

3.  Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance – Angela Duckworth.  You’ve seen the TED Talk, now read the book.  One of the most helpful books that I have read in a long time that has relevance for me as a leader and a parent.  I’ve quoted it over and over again this year.

2.  Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen.  Honest, poetic and always passionate, this is one of my all-time favourite autobiographies.  If you love inspiring tales, rock and roll or just great writing, then this is the book for you.

1.  The Excellence Dividend: Meeting the Tech Tide with Work That Wows and Jobs That Last – Tom Peters.  When it became obvious that I was going to re-enter the corporate world again and lead teams, this was one of the books that I turned to for inspiration and guidance.  I got that and so much more.  This is a must-read for any leader, or a Tom would say, a MUST-READ!

As always, there are a few books that were very unlucky to miss out, especially “Inspired” by Rachel Held Evans and “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek, so overall, it was another beneficial year of reading.

What was your favourite book (or 10) that you read in 2018?