So I’m embarking on something a little different here.
In my previous post when I introduced According To Me, I mentioned that I’m looking forward to putting together a few reviews on various things I’m interested in, whether it be a book I’ve read, perhaps a movie I’ve watched or even a glass of red I’ve slowly sipped away at on one of these cold winter nights.
The red wine critiques may be a challenge, even for an aspiring wine connoisseur like myself, but evaluating a few books I’ve read over the past few months is something I’ve wanted to do for quite some time.
So instead of sitting here and overthinking the idea, which I’m great at by the way, I’ve decided to dive right on in and put together a few paragraphs on three different books I’ve read over the past twelve months – who knows, you might like to read them too.
Now my review writing is in its infancy, I read all of these books a little while ago and I have a horrendous memory, so it’s a little scratchy, but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless – so let’s get started!
The 5am Club by Robin Sharma – 311 pages
The 5am Club was a book that I wanted to read for a long period of time.
I’d found myself consistently racing the clock at the beginning of the day, and late nights were turning into later mornings, most of the time I didn’t have time to eat breakfast, my favourite meal of the day.
So naturally seeing this book in the book store meant that I simply had to buy it, in order to try and enforce some sort of morning routine. My philosophy with a book like this is if you can at least take away ten percent from it, then it’s time well spent.
Without giving away too much, I found it an enjoyable read, it’s got a good storyline, which helps keep you entertained, therefore you don’t feel as though you are being spoken to the whole time, you actually feel somewhat immersed in story with some interesting characters involved.
It follows the story of two strangers, struggling in their everyday lives, who meet a peculiar man who actually turns out to be a tycoon of some sort.
He teaches them valuable lessons in managing stress, organising their lives and maximising productivity.
The premise of the book really is Win the morning, Win the day.
“Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life” is printed on the front cover. It’s all about kick-starting your day, early, free of technology, getting the body moving and creating positive habits.
There’s a relatively large focus on how this kind of routine culminates in success and how many successful people adhere to such a regimen.
Some books along the lines of this ‘self-help’ style can tend to be quite preachy, I definitely found that a little with The 5am Club. In an ideal world you’d take almost everything from the book and implement it into your daily routine, but we are simply aren’t wired that way – well I’m not at least.
I’d still say it is an enjoyable read, Sharma creates a pretty captivating storyline to follow, it can seem a little far-fetched at times, but there’s some valuable lessons along the way.
I wake up most days at 5:30am now, when I’m working, a little later when I’m not, and some of the lessons from The 5am Club have definitely helped with that – like I said earlier, ten percent.
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight – 383 pages
Shoe Dog is probably everything I expected it to be, it tells the story of Phil Knight, the founder of Nike, and his journey to business stardom.
I’ve always loved Nike, I think in the early days I just enjoyed the ‘swoosh’ and as a young and impressionable kid it seemed snazzy to wear Nike products.
As I’ve grown older I still love Nike but for different reasons, I’ve worked in a sports store for many years and I really do enjoy their products, so it would only be natural for me to enjoy the book aswell.
The first half of the book is fantastic, not to say the second half isn’t, but early on in the piece you really get a sense as to how hard Phil Knight had to work to build Nike from the ground up – I couldn’t even comprehend creating something that substantial and he absolutely poured his life into his business.
Shoe Dog is Phil Knight’s memoir, and it details his travel overseas to Japan by himself, as a young man with a dream, beginning with only $50, supplied by his father.
From selling imported shoes out the back of his car to working with the greatest athletes of all time, Shoe Dog details Knight and Nike’s remarkable rise.
The creation of Nike didn’t come without its struggles, Knight definitely sacrificed a lot, and I don’t know how anyone could be so unremitting, especially after reading the last few passages of the novel.
If you’re not someone totally enamoured with Nike I’d still recommend Shoe Dog as a good read.
I left the book thinking of Knight as a business marvel and an exceptional storyteller, as a person, I’m not so sure how I feel about him, but the personal and family sacrifices he made is probably the reason he transcended all of his obstacles and why Nike is what it is today.
The Resilience Project by Hugh van Cuylenburg – 247 pages
This one has been one of my favourite reads over the past year.
I first stumbled across Hugh’s work on a podcast he was guest appearing on, I was taken aback by his demeanour, how relatable he is, he’s just so human.
What an unusual assessment of someone you’re probably thinking, but it really is true, Hugh doesn’t act when he talks, he speaks with passion, it comes from the heart and I really do admire that about him.
I started listening to Hugh’s podcast The Imperfects, available on iTunes and Spotify and all that jazz, I’m sure you’ll find it if you want to.
I cannot recommend it highly enough, it’s amazing, and he does it with his good friend Ryan Shelton and brother Josh.
Anyway, I’m getting side-tracked, I’m here to talk about Hugh’s book The Resilience Project: Finding happiness through gratitude, empathy & mindfulness.
The Resilience Project was founded by Hugh, it delivers emotionally engaging programs to schools, sports clubs and businesses, providing practical, evidence-based mental health strategies to build resilience and happiness.
Now I’ve copied that word for word from the website, but I didn’t want to get it wrong.
As you can probably sense from that brief description, Hugh heads a pretty special movement, and it works to help people struggling with mental-ill health.
Hugh’s book The Resilience Project is as open and honest as it gets, he’s so real, and vulnerable and it’s unbelievably refreshing.
He tells his story, from his time working overseas as a primary school teacher to the infancy stages of The Resilience Project.
Hugh details his struggles, his triumphs and there’s so many valuable lessons involved when it comes to gratitude, empathy and mindfulness – three things I’m sure many of us could incorporate more of in our day to day lives.
The thing I enjoy about the book, is how self-aware Hugh is, and I think that is something so valuable to a healthy and happy lifestyle.
He teaches through examples, he doesn’t preach anything to the reader.
Check it out, it’s heavy at times, but that is what makes it such a great read.
Well there it is, short and sharp. I was honestly a fan of all three of these books, with Shoe Dog and The Resilience Project probably the most enjoyable in my opinion.
I implore you to give them a read, and let me know what you think in the comments.
Future book suggestions are also encouraged! Although I’ll warn you that I am a very slow reader…