My Java Journal

The Books That Have Fueled My Journey: Call To Action

Last week I shared my attempt at a Happiness Project for 2019. Complimentary, but symbiotic to this effort, I am now reading Living Forward, and writing my Life Plan. A Life Plan is intended to shape how one wants to be remembered and help to articulate priorities. Certainly, an interesting exercise; it begins with writing your eulogy.

My Happiness Project and Life Planning, got me thinking about other books that have been influential or impactful for me. Reviewing my many notes and journals has been an important part of this work. It dawned on me that I had exposed myself to, and benefited greatly from, numerous books and podcasts over the past few years. Today I share a list of books (podcasts will have to be another post altogether) that have provided me guidance, inspiration and sizeable resource during this journey.

The list is chronological in accordance with the order I read them. Following the list I will highlight those most valuable to me. It is not inclusive as I have read and absorbed many more than those listed. They all added something to the journey though; some more than others. I hope this provides some value, or exposes you to a resource you otherwise were unaware, or maybe hadn’t considered worth reading.

There was no rhyme or reason to my approach, initially. I just started reading books that littered our home. Some were picked up by my wife or I during professional development sessions, some were gifts, others were bought and forgotten, others still, were recommended.

The entrepreneurial pursuit requires fuel. I needed to learn and build knowledge, so I started to consume everything I could get my hands on. I started to reread some books; only with pen and paper in arms reach the second time around. Others, like The Happiness Project, I read a third time, where the call to action was strongest.

Who Moved My Cheese?, by Spencer Johnson, M.D. was the first book. It stirred in me the need to explore and consider change. I did not produce any notes from this book, specifically, but it started the reading process. Chris Guillebeau’s, The $100 Start Up, was next. My goals were clear, but also broad. As a result of this book my ideas began to take focus. Still early in the process, it only got me started, but it remains a good reference book.

These two books are examples. One book was just lying around, the other was bought and than sat unread for a spell. Regardless, the questions I would need to work towards came from these early readings. The path was set, the journey begun.

A word about libraries. I have been using the public library as a primary resource. I am a prodigious user now, and rarely purchase books if it can be avoided. Some books, however, need to be bought, if only for the abuse they will endure. The Happiness Project, for example, emits a Day-Glo hue from all the highlighter painted between its covers. Indeed, it can’t even be in the bedroom at night because we’d get no sleep. Others can be checked out as needed, and the online access to libraries now is just so easy. I encourage you to get reacquainted with your local library. They are a great resource, and one that I would hate to see lose relevance to communities and society.

Okay, I’m off my pedestal now. Let’s get to that list.

Without further ado then:

  • Who Moved My Cheese? – Spencer Johnson, M.D.
  • The $100 Startup – Chris Guillebeau
  • Side Hustle – Chris Guillebeau
  • Pour Your Heart Into It – Howard Shultz
  • The Starbucks Experience – Joseph A. Michelli
  • How Starbucks Saved My Life – Michael Gates Gill
  • Problogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income – Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett
  • The One Thing – Gary Keller with Jay Papasan
  • Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture – Douglas Coupland
  • The War of Art – Stephen Pressfield
  • Do the Work! – Stephen Pressfield
  • Turning Pro – Stephen Pressfield
  • It’s Only Too Late If You Don’t Start Now – Barbara Sher
  • How To Live on 24 Hours A Day (essay) – Arnold Bennett
  • The Little Book of Lykke – Meik Wiking
  • Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want – Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy
  • The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin


This list is neither inclusive, nor exhaustive. I know somebody reading this is thinking, “Hey, where is Simon Sinek’s Start With Why?” Well, I’ve tried to read it several times but just can’t get through it. I will try again.

Furthermore, I cannot stress the impact of the vast number of podcasts that have filled in the gaps, or opened up entirely new avenues of exploration. Of the listed books, I can share with confidence that The One Thing had a significant impact early in my journey. As well, everything Stephen Pressfield wrote greatly stimulated my efforts with his direct calls to action – Do the Work! is pretty straightforward. The Happiness Project and Living Forward are pushing me to shape my goals, and guide my actions towards them, in deliberate and measurable steps.

It’s not easy. Writing ones eulogy is a hard task, I have no doubt the effort will be worthwhile.

So, please reach out and share any books that you might consider impactful or invaluable. Similarly, I’ll take any podcast recommendations too. Learning is half the fun.

“You cannot open a book without learning something.” – Confucius

Some final thoughts. The One Thing was good early in the process. The Happiness Project and Living Forward are forcing me to put to paper my goals, and a prioritized plan to meet them. Most noteworthy however was Stephen Pressfield. He had the most influence in getting me to take action. I implore you, acquaint yourself with Pressfield. Despite some overlap in his books, his message rings loud and clear: understand Resistance, decide to Turn Pro, and Do the Work!

“There are no secrets to success.It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell

Keep joining me each Sunday. I will tackle podcasts sooner than later, however this is a newer medium for me. There are more books than listed here, but there are hundreds of podcasts that I have digested.

Please, share with me the books you find indispensable. Likewise, pass my blog onto others you think might like to join, or benefit from the conversation.

One more quote? Sure. Why not? I think three is a record for a my posts …

“The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I ain’t read.” – Abraham Lincoln

Join me at Anabia Cupcakery Cafe this Friday, 15 February for Open Mic. The next Trivia night is Saturday, 23 February. The trivia theme this month is Love. Furthermore, there are prizes for trivia, so get your reservations in soonest.

Happy Sunday. Stay warm.