2015 End-of-Year Book Survey Results

Hosted at Perpetual Page Turner


  • Number of Books Read: 61 (see Book List)
  • Number of Re-Reads: 5
  • Genre You Read the Most: Business


1. Best book you read in 2015?

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

The Hard Thing about Hard Things

2. Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love, but didn’t?

Winning the Story Wars by Jonah Sachs

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read? 

Killing Patton by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard – I’ve really enjoyed most of the other books in this series, but this one lost its way. It was as if O’Reilly and Dugard forgot that they were supposed to write about General Patton rather than snippets on all of the most powerful men in WWII.

4. Book you “pushed” the most people to read (and they did)?

The ONE Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

5. Best series you started in 2015?

The Wayward Pines series by Blake Crouch – This story really drew me in. I pounded out all three books in a couple weeks.

Also, I have to throw out an “Honorable Mention” for The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King – I started the series last year, but I read the majority of the books this year. Awesome story from one of my favorite writers of all time!

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?

 Blake Crouch, author of the Wayward Pines series mentioned above

7, Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Psych Ward by Stephen Seager – I don’t read about the medical world very often, but this book was fascinating. Seager details all of the crazy events that progressed during his year as an intern in a psych ward.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Pines by Blake Crouch, the first book in the Wayward Pines series

9. Book you read in 2015 which you are most likely to re-read next year?

The Big Short by Michael Lewis – I’ve already read this book twice, but I just watched the new movie starring Christian Bale, Steve Carell, and Ryan Gosling, which made me want to read the book again. Lewis is one of my favorite story-tellers, and I also love reading about the subprime mortgage crisis.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?

Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath

11. Most memorable character of 2015?

 If we’re talking about memorable characters from books I read in 2015, I’d say Roland Deschain from The Dark Tower series.

If we’re talking about characters from books that came out in 2015, I’d definitely say Mark Watney from The Martian by Andy Weir.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?

 All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

13. Most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2015?

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson

The Road to Character by David Brooks

14. Book you can’t believe you waited until 2015 to finally read? 

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

15. Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2015?

“The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of a doubt, what is laid before him.” -Leo Tolstoy, quoted in the book The Big Short by Michael Lewis

“I must explore and experiment. I am never satisfied with my work. I resent the limitations of my own imagination.” -Walt Disney, quoted in the book How to Be Like Walt by Pat Williams

“In any human interaction, the required amount of communication is inversely proportional to the level of trust.” -Ben Horowitz in the book The Hard Thing about Hard Things

16. Shortest and longest book you read in 2015?

Shortest: Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (110 pages)

Longest: The Dark Tower by Stephen King (845 pages)

17. Book which shocked you the most?

Room by Emma Donoghue

18. Favorite book you read in 2015 from an author you’ve read previously?

Influencer by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler

19. Best book you read in 2015 which was based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure?

The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King, recommended to me by my brother-in-law Mitch

The Dark Tower Series

20. Best 2015 debut you read?

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

21. Best world-building/most vivid setting you read this year?

The Martian by Andy Weir

22. Book which put a smile on your face/was most FUN to read?

 Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll – Weird read, but very entertaining and creative

23. Book which made you cry or nearly cry in 2015?

The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King

24. Hidden gem of the year? 

Misbehaving by Richard Thaler

25. Book which crushed your soul? 

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

26. Most unique book you read in 2015?

Lost at Sea by Jon Ronson

27. Book which made you angry (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer

28. One book you didn’t read in 2015 but will be a top priority in 2016?

Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Review: “Becoming Your Best”

Book Review
Book: Becoming Your Best: The 12 Principles of Highly Successful Leaders by Steven Shallenberger

Reviewer: Bobby Powers

My Thoughts: 7 of 10
I absolutely love reading leadership books. There’s something special about learning life principles from those who have already tackled the challenges that await us in our lives. Although Becoming Your Best is definitely not one of the best leadership books I’ve read, I still learned a lot from Shallenberger. Specifically, I really enjoyed the quotes that he interspersed throughout the book from other leaders. This book is similar to many of John Maxwell’s books in that respect: great inspiration in the form of short leadership “tweets” from impressive leaders. 

Takeaways from the Book


  • “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” -Helen Keller
  • “Be determined that you will not sit idly on the sidelines of life when issues of character come up.”
  • “He who is plenteously provided for from within, needs but little from without.” -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


  • “A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.” -Antoine De Saint-Exupery
  • “Speed is irrelevant if you are going in the wrong direction.” -Mahatma Gandhi
  • “Consider leadership as a type of stewardship. What can you do with the opportunity, position, gifts, talents, and skills that you have to contribute?”
  • “The best leadership often occurs when you connect your personal uniqueness to that of your organization(s).”
  • “Highly successful people create a vision, develop goals and a plan to accomplish their goals, and then focus on what matters most through pre-week planning to make the goals a reality week in and week out.”

Pre-Week Planning

  • “Your efficiency, flexibility, and stress management will significantly improve if you engage in careful and thoughtful preparation of what you’ll do in the upcoming week….You take 15 to 20 minutes on Saturday or Sunday and develop a detailed plan for the upcoming week.”
  • “You should determine what matters most this week for each of your roles, whether as a leader, an employee, a spouse, a parent, or in organizations, clubs, and your community.”
  • “As you reflect on each key role, stay focused on what matters most, giving priority to what is most important. Come up with two or three things that you can do this week in each role.”

Climbing Stairs

The Importance of Lifelong Learning

  • “It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.
  • “The important thing is to not stop questioning…I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” -Albert Einstein
  • “Take the attitude of a student, never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new.” -Og Mandino
  • “Many authors pour their life experiences into their books so that others can benefit from them. Reading, then, is a way to hyper accelerate your development by learning from the successes and failures—and the research—of accomplished men and women. I’ve found that highly successful leaders almost always read voraciously.
  • “When you read and learn from others, you’re loading the files into your mind so that you can access them when you need them.”

Building Trust

  • “Isn’t it true that you are often more open-minded when you hear your leaders speak candidly about their own performances and the improvements that they need to make?”
  • “Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly and they will show themselves great.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “Be trustworthy and loyal, especially to those who are absent.”

Learning from Failure

  • “High achievers typically experience at least three to four major failures and seven major successes in their careers. Every highly successful leader who I know or who I have studied has failed—not once, but many times.”
  • “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted with the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is precisely why I succeed.” -Michael Jordan
  • “Champions know that success is inevitable, and that failure is best accepted as feedback leading to further improvement.”

Famous Failures

Other Thoughts

  • Control what you can control. Make a list of what you can control and focus on those items. Refuse to dwell on things that you cannot control.”
  • “Even though you may live in a stressful world carry your own peace within you.”
  • “You live longer once you realize that any time spent being unhappy is wasted.” -Ruth E. Renkl

Think you’d like this book? Purchase it from Amazon:

Other books you may enjoy:
The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell

Other notable books by the authors: