Must-Reads of 2012

Posted December 6, 2012 by Rebecca Niziol in Life After Five

In 2012, I read fewer books than any previous year. I think it’s because I chose quality over quantity. I read a handful of books so profound, creative, or life changing that I didn’t need to pick up the next top seller when I finished them. Instead, I reveled in these stories or theories for weeks after I closed the book.

Here’s the best of my list from 2012, although not necessary published this year. It is a splattering of both fiction and non-fiction — in case you’re like CGN Founder Marcy Twete, who reads only the latter.

 If your to-do list is a mile long, and you’re looking for productivity tips then pick up…

  • Getting Things Done by David Allen – This book focuses on enabling your mind to relax in order to create clear thoughts that optimize organization, productivity, and creativity. Allen breaks down time management into strategies that actually work as soon as you implement them. I recommend taking action on the focus of each chapter, so that by the end of the book you’re a productivity maven with your own system in place.
  • Heads up: This book is “left-brain” heavy, so if you’re the creative type (like me), practice patience and just take in as much as you can implement in one sitting.





If you are the “sky is the limit” or “anything is possible” type, but have some hidden barriers to actually living the wildly successful and happy life you dream of, you must read…

  • The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks — If I could give one book to everyone I love, it would be this one. Hendricks explains self-sabotage in a way I’ve never heard before, in a way that’ll blow your mind and get you mighty excited. The Big Leap lays down the Upper Limit phenomena — we each have an internal gage for how much joy, love, or prosperity we can handle. Once you learn your limit, what your barriers are, and how you sabotage, you’ll start living in a whole new way.
  •  Heads up: You’re going to want to discuss this book with someone else, so find someone who has read it or buddy up with a book club, so you can talk about how it blew your mind.





If you enjoy things outside the mainstream and want a highly enjoyable and creatively written novel that you can then watch on film, try…

  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer This book is both intriguing and engaging. It tells the tale of a unique nine year old, and his experience with the tragedies of 9/11. From his hilarious and quirky point of view, Oskar unravels along a journey to find a mysterious lock to the key his dad left behind. Along the way human connection, memories of generations, and determination fill the pages. Foer has a knack for pulling out emotions you didn’t know you had inside of you when you least expect it.
  • Heads up: Due to alternating narratives, this book can be a bit confusing in the beginning. Just keep an open mind.




If you’re spiritually inclined and just want to give in to being happy, you’ll want to embrace…

  • Spirit Junkie by Gabrielle Bernstein — One part personal journey, one part words of wisdom, and a splash of practical application — Spirit Junkie can change your life, but only if you’re ready for it. Bernstein takes readers into the zone of vulnerability, and offers some hard-hitting truths around fear and love. Her cheeky tone and language makes this book approachable, and extremely easy to read. I took this book on vacation with me, and came back feeling awakened and transformed.
  • Heads up: Spirit Junkie has some “woo woo” moments, so if you don’t buy into New Age Spiritual Philosophy, you might want to skip this one.





If you want a more intelligent and well-written version of 50 Shades of Grey that is equally disturbing but without all the sex, you’ll want to indulge in…

  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn — This book keeps you flipping pages and staying up all night, because you cannot stop reading about the intoxicating characters and their disturbing relationship. Flynn gives us Nick and Amy, your typical couple on the outside but toxic and twisted on the inside. The plot carries readers on a more than bumpy road of suspense and deception in their marriage, and the lives they entangle in their mess. You’ll appreciate your own sanity or relationship in a whole new light after this favorite novel.
  • Heads up: She’s crazy and disturbing, but you’re going to want to stick with this one after picking it up. Don’t take on this read when you’ve got a big deadline ahead or you might end up having to crack out on coffee the next day.




If you wish your office worked more efficiently and peacefully, and want to know how to be a better leader, engage in…

  • Energy Leadership by Bruce D. Schneider — This book is all about energy, how it affects you and those around you. Schneider introduces the seven levels of energy, how they typically show up, and how you can use them effectively in life and at work. Once you grasp the concept, you’ll instantly begin to look at your world differently… figuring out what energy level you and others are experiencing at any moment. As he takes a near-failing business owner to success, you too can flip around any less-than-ideal circumstances.
  • Heads up: Not just for corporate America, this book’s principles can be applied to any area of your life for more power, energy, and success.






What are your favorite reads from 2012? Leave a comment below, so we can enjoy them too!

About the Author

Rebecca Niziol

Rebecca Niziol, ELI-MP, is many things: a life coach, yoga teacher, dancer, event planner, connection catalyst, and your new best friend. Her mission is to empower others to live the authentic life of their dreams. After years of traveling North America and Europe, she is happy to have found a home and community in Chicago.