Books that Inspired in 2016

A Year-End Round-Up


While you can’t move forward while looking backwards – it’s always a good idea to check your rear-view mirror from time to time.

So rather than try to project forward what 2017 might bring for us here at Testing the Muse, I really enjoyed pulling together last year’s round-up of “What’s on the Bookshelf”.

By sharing what books inspired me this past year, I hope to provide some insight into what makes this blog tick, as well as spark your interest in some of these titles and their real-life application for furthering your entrepreneurial pursuits.


What’s on Your Mind is What’s on Your Bookshelf

In 2015, I crushed through fifteen books and audiobooks – largely in the categories of entrepreneurship, personal development, finances, and humor.

Throw in the categories of travel, health/fitness and children’s books, and you’d get a very clear picture of where my interests (and head) are at 99.9% of the time.

Now this is not a numbers game.

I’m not attempting to reach some arbitrary annual “quota” of books.

I’m not in competition with myself, or anyone else for that matter. There’s just a heck-ova-lotta great books out there – old and new – that I want to consume!

And 2016 was no different…


Here’s a list of the books that I’ve either read or listened to in 2016:

  1. 6 Months to 6 Figures by Peter Voogd. Peter offered this to my audience as a freebie in January – hopefully you got your copy at the time!
  2. Will It Fly? How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don’t Waste Your Time and Money by Pat Flynn. As a member of this Book Launch Team, I promoted this book hard – not because there was any financial rewards (there wasn’t), but because Pat has given so much to his own audience over the years.
  3. The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure by Grant Cardone (audiobook)
  4. Outwitting the Devil – The Secret to Freedom and Success by Napoleon Hill (audiobook)
  5. Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown (audiobook)
  6. The 6-Figure Speaker by Brian Tracy. This was another killer freebie offered to us in 2016 (March).
  7. The Top Five Regrets of the Dying – A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing by Bronnie Ware
  8. The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace Wattles (audiobook)
  9. The One Thing – The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller. While I got this copy from the library, this book is so good, I had to buy a personal copy for home.
  10. The End of Jobs: Money, Meaning and Freedom Without the 9-to-5 by Taylor Pearson (audiobook)
  11. The War of Art – Break Through the Blocks and Win your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield
  12. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling (audiobook). Don’t ask… (but it was funny). I guess I have a new respect for Mindy.
  13. Tribes – We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin (audiobook)
  14. Wheat Belly – Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find your Path Back to Health by William Davis (audiobook). “Interesting stuff!” (said while eating a Club Sandwich).
  15. The Happiness of Pursuit – Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to your Life by Chris Guillebeau
  16. The Icarus Deception – How High Will You Fly? by Seth Godin (audiobook)
  17. What to Do When it’s Your Turn (And it’s always your turn) by Seth Godin. Three Godin books in one year, and I still haven’t scratched the surface of his library. There is something about his simple, yet powerful, messages on marketing that make his work particularly easy to digest (but not always simple to follow-through on). The hardcopy makes for an interesting coffee table book and was a gift from my Dad (thanks!)
  18. The Happiness Equation – Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything by Neil Pasricha (audiobook)
  19. The Art of Non-Conformity – Set your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World by Chris Guillebeau
  20. Elon Musk – Tesla, Spacex, and the Quest for A Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance (audiobook)
  21. Money: Master the Game – 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom by Tony Robbins (audiobook). I already own the [very large] hardcopy version of this, which I read as soon as it came out in 2014-2015. But I was compelled to grab the audio for a recap, and I’m glad I did. On a related note, I’ll actually have a few posts coming out in 2017 on investing as the simplest path to passive income.
  22. The E-Myth Revisited – Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber (audiobook). This is another one that I own in hardcopy, and read around 2009. But when I saw the audio version at the library, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to revisit this entrepreneurial classic.
  23. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I’m still working my way through this one…

…And countless Children’s Books, read aloud to my son and daughter.


A quick glance at this list will reveal a couple things about this past year.

Firstly, if you recall from my previous year’s wrap-up post – Focus for 2016 – I had dedicated 2016 to “Focus”. While that was way easier to promise than to execute, several of my reading choices reflected the overall intent (e.g. The One Thing, Essentialism, The War of Art, etc.).

Hands-down these books were the best reads of the year for me. They really helped frame the mindset I was seeking, and are well worth revisiting in the year(s) to come.

Secondly, there is a “happiness” theme that threads itself through this list (e.g. The Happiness of Pursuit, The Happiness Equation, The Happiness Project, etc.).

Seeking happiness, or greater fulfillment out of life, is truly a life-long pursuit.

Like any year, 2016 had many ups and downs – sometimes to extremes, where more questions are posed than answers available.

While the answers to life’s most elusive questions (i.e. “How can I be [more] Happy?”) can’t be found written in a manual anywhere – books can certainly help you start to ask better questions of yourself.


On that note, I already know 2017 has lots of change in store, so strap on your seatbelts!

If you have any favorites on your bookshelf from 2016, please add them below in the Comments section! I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks, and all the best in 2017.


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