My Six Favorite Reads of 2017

Q9KNRI9EU2The late Charlie “Tremendous” Jones used to say, “You will be the same person in five years as you are today, except for the people you meet and the books you read.”

For most, meeting new people is the easy part, especially if you’re out and about every day. The hard part is dedicating the time to reading every day.

In 2017, I read a lot of good books. 18 to be exact. Not as many as I had wanted, but better than none. Some of those reads were really good, while others were a little tougher to get through. Regardless, I learned something valuable from each one.

When looking at which books I’d recommend to others, I’ve narrowed it down to six. These six books have provided me a lot of value, insight, and even corrective action.

If you read them, I’m confident they can do the same for you. Here’s the list:

1. Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

Having a strong drive and extreme pride are certainly important qualities. However, our ego has the ability to have detrimental affects on us as well. In his fourth book, Ryan Holiday shows us how we can harness our ego, while providing several examples of people who have, and haven’t, managed their egos effectively. As I was reading this book, I kept being reminded of one of the first leadership lessons I learned, from Trumaker CEO Mark Lovas: “Off self, and on purpose”.

2. The Front Row Factor by Jon Vroman

The Front Row Foundation is an inspiring organization that puts people with life-threatening illnesses and conditions in the front row of the event of their dreams. Through the inspiring stories and lessons of leading that organization over the past 10 years, Jon Vroman teaches us all how to be better “moment makers”. This book, which has accumulated 154 5-star reviews on Amazon, isn’t just another self-help book. It is well worth the read.

3. Giftology by John Ruhlin

I’m a horrible gift giver. Maybe it’s not my love language, maybe I don’t carve out enough time to give more thoughtful gifts, or maybe I’m just not that good at it. However, this is on my list of things I’d like to start doing better. This book has served as a great start for me, and I’m hoping to use many of the gift-giving ideas shared in this book in the future. John Ruhlin is someone I’ve known for a long time, and this book is a shining example of how corporations can reach high levels of success by taking care of their employees and customers.

4. The Marriage Mantra: 10 Guiding Principles to Building a Beautiful Marriage by Girish Kumar

As business people, it’s really easy to spend all of our time reading about business and professional development topics. However, we don’t spend enough time learning, caring, and nurturing the relationships that matter most to us. My recommendation is that every third book you read should be focused on improving either your marriage or relationships with those around you. In this book, Dr. Kumar gives some very practical advice that we should all be following but often times aren’t.

5. Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt

Regardless of what business you are in, building a positive online presence is vastly important. For most people, it seems like the challenge is knowing where to start, and also managing all the day-to-day responsibilities that come along with having a family and a full-time career as well. Michael Hyatt does a great job laying out simple actions that anyone can follow to build and maintain a positive presence in the world.

6. Integrity Selling for the 21st Century by Ron Willingham

On January 16th, I started a new job, and this book was required reading as part of my initial on boarding. In the end, I really enjoyed reading this book. Inside it, Ron Willingham lays out a very easy, simple-to-follow structure for leading sales meetings, and also for maximizing your effectiveness throughout the sales cycle.

One thing that’s important to keep in mind about books is, not every book will appeal to the reader. Some topics aren’t as interesting, sometimes a writer’s style just doesn’t vibe with you, and some books just aren’t easy to follow. However, I’ve always found it valuable to at least take one piece of value from everything you read.

If that valuable nugget can be something you can take action on immediately, that’s the best recipe for improved results. Knowledge is great, but if isn’t put into practice, then what was it for?

What were your favorite reads of 2017? Please respond in the comments below.

Bret Barrie was a Hall-of-Fame and Presidents’ Club-winning sales rep and is a top-producing sales leader in the medical device industry. He is also the author of The Selling Edge: How to Reach the Top in any Sales Industry. A baseball enthusiast and fitness junkie, he is happily married with three children and lives in the greater Sacramento area. For more information, visit

About Bret Barrie

Husband & Father | Sales & Leadership Expert | Baseball Enthusiast
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