5 Prayer of Jabez
Although we’re not quite sure how a 92 page pamphlet got onto the bestseller list, there’s no denying that it did and took the Christian world by storm. It could be because this one IS the religious equivalent of a get-rich-quick scheme. The author, Bruce Wilkinson, brings to the reader’s attention a little known character in Chronicles, who offers a short, simple and straightforward prayer to God. Wilkinson says that if you recite this prayer every morning you will begin to see a change in your life. He makes sure to clarify that it’s not a magical prayer or anything but that the power is in what you believe will happen as a result of the prayer. Let it be noted that since its publication, ten different derivative products have gone on the market, including Prayer of Jabez for Women, the Prayer of Jabez Journal and the “Prayer of Jabez Music... A Worship Experience.” We’re just waiting to see when they release the Jabez coffee mug.
4 The Road to Wealth
Perhaps the reason this book topped the bestseller list is because its title makes it sound like a map to billionaire-hood. In fact, it’s much more helpful than just another get-rich-quick scheme. It’s the ultimate reference guide for personal finance, covering all the basics of student loans, getting started in your first job, investing, planning for a growing family and retirement. It of course can’t cover all the details you might need since they vary wildly from person to person, but it’s a great place to start. It’s easy to read and the advice is very practical and straightforward. SuzeOrman, the author, doesn’t even seem scared to give her opinion on certain financial decisions that a lot of people face. Although she won’t make you rich, this book’s strong point lies in its ability to give you the information you need to feel confident that your financial decisions aren’t completely moronic.
3 Jack: Straight from the Gut
It’s becoming more and more rare for people to spend their entire lives employed by just one company, but Jack Welch did just that at GE. Although you could argue that it was multiple companies, since he reinvented it multiple times over the years. Welch’s memoirs tell a story of astounding success with the primary factor being confidence: Confidence in people to function without the restrictions of bureaucracy, confidence in the free markets abilities to right itself mostly self-confidence. It takes a whole lot of self-confidence to have the guts to fire hundreds of people at a time and to maintain that it’s all for the best.
2 America’s Heroes: Inspiring Stories of Courage, Sacrifice and Patriotism
If you wanted to really feel proud to be an American, try reading the first two books on this list right after the other. From the genius and inspiration that John Adams and his colleagues provided we got a country that gave us this collection of stories of 9/11. This book traces the events of September 11th 2001 not through its causes or the number of casualties but through the heroic reactions of police office, firefighters, rescue workers and civilians all over the country. It’s packed with photos and some of the most impressive stories of bravery and self-sacrifice that you can find from our generation. It also involved some of the fastest publishing of our generation: The book came out less than two months after September 11th.
1 John Adams
If you haven’t fallen in love with John Adams yet, here’s your chance. Although for a long time Adams was the founding father who kids hadn’t heard of, he’s making a comeback. He was helped along by the 1969 Broadway musical called 1776 but this book is the kicker. David McCullough is known for his biographies that make very good reading but are still unswervingly historically accurate and well sourced and this one is no different. Not that there would be much excuse to be otherwise, since Adams left behind more letters and diaries than almost any other historical figure of the period. It’s from his correspondence that McCullough describes Adams’ fascinating relationship with Thomas Jefferson, his opposite in most ways, and Adams’ lifelong romance with his wife Abigail. The one problem with reading this is that you may come away feeling pretty insignificant because you will never be as cool as John and Abigail Adams. But don’t worry, that’s how the rest of us feel too.