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I love books.  I read a few every year, and I listen to a lot more. Since 2016, I have set a goal to read or listen to a certain number of books every year.

The goal in 2018 was 52 books.

I hit 62 last year.

Consuming that many books might sound ridiculous, but I have found a few hacks that help.  I will tell you about that in a minute.

But first, I want to highlight five of my favorite books from this year. These five are different from the ones I recommended on my 2018 summer reading list.


1.  The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle

Do you want to build and sustain a culture of loyalty, and consistent growth?  Then you need to pick up this book.

From Amazon:

Culture is not something you are—it’s something you do. The Culture Code puts the power in your hands. No matter the size of your group or your goal, this book can teach you the principles of cultural chemistry that transform individuals into teams that can accomplish amazing things together.

2.  Build an A-Team: Play to Their Strengths and Lead Them Up the Learning Curve by Whitney Johnson

We all want an A-Team, and this book gives you a seven-step process of how to lead your people up their learning curves.  This is a must-read if you want to know how to attract, and more importantly, retain great employees.

 3.  The Language of Success by Tom Sant

I love this book because I am a dork.  This book is all about the power of the written word and how to communicate the written word effectively and with clarity.  Communication within any business comes down to the words you use, the words you don’t use, and the implications of misused words.

From Amazon:

[This book] will give readers practical techniques to help cut through the fluff, guff, geek, and hyperbole, write exceptional business documents, and get their messages heard.

Trust me.  You can learn a lot about how to communicate with your customers and your employees by reading this book.

4.  The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It by Neal Bascomb

This is just an amazing story about 3 men and their quest to break the unbreakable record of the four-minute mile.  You will feel lazy when you read the story about these men and blood and sweat they put in to chasing each other and the clock.  This book might seem like a story of superior athletic performance, but I think it’s more about the power of mental toughness. And as a business owner, we could all use more of that.

5.  Own the Day, Own Your Life: Optimized Practices for Waking, Working, Learning, Eating, Training, Playing, Sleeping, and Sex by Aubrey Marcus

The title and subtitle say it all.  If you want to establish high-performance habits in every area of your life, then read this book and do what it says.  I practice many of the techniques in this book and I can tell you, they work.

Speaking of books hacks…here are a few techniques I use to consume more than a book every week.

Shawn’s Hacks for Consuming Books:

  1. I don’t watch TV.  Most of it is junk and a waste of time.  Sure, I catch a show on Netflix every now and then. But for the most part, I don’t watch TV.
  2. I don’t listen to the radio.  There are too many commercials for me, and I’ve never been into music.  I don’t miss the radio.
  3. I don’t have a budget for books.  When I see one I think I will like, I buy it.  I probably spend several hundred dollars a year on books.  But the return on the investment keeps paying off.
  4. I always have headphones with me. Always, even in the shower. I have a pair of waterproof, bluetooth headphones that I wear in the shower.  You can knock out a few chapters each morning in the time it take to get ready in the morning.
  5. I listen to books a 2x the speed.  It took me a while to train my ears to this speed, but I can knock out a book pretty quickly at that speed.


Reading (listening to) books has transformed my life personally, financially, and spiritually. I hope the books listed above will transform your life as well.

Give them a try and let me know what you think.

If books aren’t your thing, then consider this quote from Jim Rohn:

“Those who will not read are no better off than those who can’t read.”

If these books don’t spark your interest, then check out my book lists at kit.com/shawnvandyke. I keep a running list of all the books I consume each year.

One last thing before you go…

If you would like to learn more about the books I am reading on a monthly basis, then give me your email address below.  

I will send you an email once a month on what I’m reading and what I think about them.

Oh, I almost forgot…

I also wrote a book in 2018.

Profit First for Contractors: Transform your Construction Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money Making Machine

You can get the first two chapters for FREE and a bunch of other resources at ProfitFirstContractor.com

If you want to streamline your construction business and DOUBLE your profits next month…

download my FREE book: The Paperwork Punch List

Shawn Van Dyke is a construction industry consultant, business coach, and mentor to skilled trade business owners.  He is a Brand Ambassador for Fine Homebuilding, travels across the US as a keynote speaker, seminar presenter, and the author of Amazon’s #1 Hot New Release –  Profit First for Contractors.  Contact Shawn to have him speak at your event or invite him to train your team.

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