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My Top Ten All-Time Favorite Books

Every year I set a goal to read twelve books—mostly new, some repeats. I like to mix books from four categories: on life, on work, autobiographies, and fiction books. While I do a lot of research before making my final book list, I have embarked on some real duds over the years (which I now […]


Every year I set a goal to read twelve books—mostly new, some repeats. I like to mix books from four categories: on life, on work, autobiographies, and fiction books. While I do a lot of research before making my final book list, I have embarked on some real duds over the years (which I now give myself permission to quit!).

In an attempt to help in your own book reading endeavors, here are my Top Ten Most Favorite Reads of all time! These are the books I find time to reread every couple of years, they are that good!

My Top Ten All Time Favorite Books

On Life

1. The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer.

If you hang around here long enough, you know that I live my life and build my business in such a way to find harmony in work that fuels my life. It’s easy to get caught up in the rat race no matter how hard you try because our world is built on a hustle culture. I absolutely loved this book and feel it might be time for a reread. How to ruthlessly eliminate hurry in your life so you can stay awake to each day. So good. 

2. Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner.

I read Erin’s books years before actually meeting Erin in person. She is kind and genuine and so wise. Now I have the honor of calling her friend and watching as you truly chase after what is most important to her. In Chasing Slow, Erin talks about learning to identify what you truly value and chasing after those things instead of letting the world define what we should call important. It’s so good!

On Work:

3. Every Good Endeavor by Timothy Keller.

This is my all time favorite book on work! While work is so cultural, it is also a God given. I love this book for the christian perspective it brings to the work we do, and the beauty and honor that work can have when done in a healthy way.  It is written from a christian perspective. 

4. The Pumpkin Plan by Mike Michalowicz.

Have you ever seen a giant pumpkin? Now that we’re living back in Tennessee, we love to take a trip to Dollywood each Fall for the Great Pumpkin Luminary Nights and the past couple of years they have had giant pumpkins on display. To grow a giant pumpkin you must cut all other pumpkins off the vine so all the nutrients go to supply one… a concept Mike Michalowicz applies to business! We’ve all heard the concept of niche down to scale up, in this book Mike talks about how to give your energy to your best ideas and see massive results. I read this book years ago, maybe one I need to pick back up this year. It’s so good! 

5. Essentialism by Greg McKeown.

Ok, I already said this but THIS book truly is my all time favorite business book. I’m so glad I read it after writing The Blueprint Model because Greg and I are absolutely kindred spirits. I am a huge advocate in using data (particularly numbers) to tell us what is working and what isn’t in business, something I teach all my students to do using The Blueprint Model. In Essentialism, Greg McKeown dives deep into giving time and attention to what matters most. It is a MUST READ for every entrepreneur. Also a “must” for every entrepreneur is taking The Blueprint Model, just saying *wink*.

6. This is Marketing by Seth Godin.

Seth Godin is pretty much the only human I turn to for marketing advice. Why? Because he doesn’t just focus on the numbers of marketing but the psychology and human element behind it as well. While so many of my peers boil marketing down to a numbers game (you know I love numbers, but marketing just on numbers makes me feel icky), Seth Godin focuses on how to connect to your audience and truly benefit those you hope to serve… which I believe is the real key to building and serving your audience well.


7. Wildflower by Drew Barrymore.

Read it. It’s lovely. You won’t regret it! Better yet, listen to it! I love listening to autobiographies read by the author!

8. Lauren Graham Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham.

For all my fellow Gilmore Girl fans, this is a must read. Lauren Graham is Lorelai Gilmore. This book is hilarious and so good. I read it in a week at the beach, perfection. 


9. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.

My all time, all time, all-time favorite fiction book. It’s a beautiful rendition of the biblical story of Hosea and how God pursues us no matter what. I love it. The book was made into a movie released in 2022. For someone who loves the book, the movie was done well but read the book first!!!!

10. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.

SOOO good! I love this mystery style novel. It keeps you guessing and intrigued throughout. This book was also turned into a movie released in 2022 produced by my girl Reese Witherspoon which was excellent!

There you have it folks! My all-time favorite, can’t go wrong with, read em you won’t regret it, Book list!


Tell me in the comments :

 What’s on your “favorites” book list!




January 7, 2023

Jump in on the conversation, we read each and every comment!
And if you found this helpful, share with your friends!

  1. This is the perfect list that I have needed! I am entering a new season- I have run a photography business for 8 + years and have been in grad school the entire time as well as being married and having 3 kids along the way (with number 4 due any day now). I had set aside a lot of the “fun” reading I love, but recently committed to reading for fun and enjoyment again. My first pick had been the ruthless elimination of hurry as we are finally at this turning point in our lives of being done with school and evaluating with intentionality what is next for our little family! This is the perfect list of where to start enjoying reading again, and I am excited to dive in! I have loved following along on business advice for years, and we are praying through what my business will look like now that I am a professor and life with our littles! The 6 steps for 2023 email was a good reminder for us to get back to the basics of what our numbers really look like so we can breathe in this fresh start!

    • Shanna Skidmore says:

      Samantha! This feedback means the WORLD to me! Thank you so much for sharing and I’m so glad the past email and book list were helpful! I absolutely LOVED – all caps!! – the ruthless elimination of hurry. Sounds like you have so many wonderful things in your life going (and yay for baby #4), I’m sure you want to spend each moment as intentionally as you can!!! Sending Hugs! xo

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