Book Club

I Bet You Won’t Guess My Top Books of 2021

2021 was all over the map. So too were the books I read. From memoirs to habits and business how-tos to philosophy, these were my top books in 2021.


I have to admit, I initially had little interest in reading this book. Sure, I like Will Smith. I follow him on social media, and he’s a classic light-hearted entertainer. I figured his memoir would be the same: fun stories but not a lot of depth. Then I heard Oprah say it was one of the best memoirs she’s ever read, and we know how much Oprah reads. So I figured, what the heck and picked it up. As always, Ms. Winfrey was spot on.

Will is hands down one of the best books I’ve ever read. It’s of course funny (I literally laughed out loud several times), but it’s also incredibly vulnerable and wise. I had no idea how much life Will Smith has lived. When summed up in classic TV show intros (where my fellow 90s kids at?!), the water appears shallow. Wadding into this book, however, was like diving into a deep, magical ocean. It’s so freaking good. Pick up Will today.

Four Thousand Weeks

I picked up Four Thousand Weeks looking for help to better manage my time. I thought it would be filled with practical tips and solutions. It wasn’t. It has none of that. Instead, it gave me what I was really looking for but didn’t realize: a mindset shift. I always figured if I could just get the right system and technology in place, the exact right combination, that would remove all my stress about the never-ending to-do list and always feeling like there’s no time for rest. I understand now after having read this book that I was looking through the wrong lens.

This book gave me permission to take full control over my time. I understand now none of us will ever ‘manage’ time. Time moves forward whether we like it or not. What I can manage is how I spend my time and what I give that every-dwindling resource too. For us lawyers, who are constantly pulled in 100 directions and asked to do something for everyone, this book can be liberating. It’s a great reminder that we are not only lawyers and how we want to be lawyers is entirely up to us. Pick up Four Thousand Weeks today.

Think Again

Think Again should be mandatory reading for everyone in our profession. Lawyers can be so conservative and resistant to change. We live by the mantra “that’s how it’s always been done”, and it will be our downfall. This book is a great reminder to question everything, even your most strongly held beliefs. It doesn’t say we should live on the whim of a leaf blowing through the wind, but it does remind us that things change. And when we aren’t open to considering new perspectives or new information, we get trapped and stay stagnant. Adam Grant hits it out of the park again with this one. Pick up Think Again today.

Shoe Dog

I loved Shoe Dog so much, I had to write about it twice. Again, another one I never thought I’d read, but I kept hearing other entrepreneurs talk about it so I figured there must be something to it. Although a little slow-going at times, it’s fantastic. I didn’t want it to end. I wanted to keep hanging out with Phil Knight in Oregon in the early days of Nike.

Most of the book is about Nike’s humble beginnings when it was still called Blue Ribbon and Knight’s love of shoes. It’s about struggle and triumph and the decades-long journey that leads to what is often called an “overnight success”. You can read the lessons I learned from Shoe Dog and how they apply to my practice, but I’d recommend reading it yourself if you want to feel inspired to keep going. Pick up Shoe Dog today.

The High 5 Habit

This book came along at the right time. I’ve loved Mel Robbins for some time. Her advice is real and practical. The High 5 Habit is no exception. It’s loaded with simple, specific actions to take to refocus and strengthen your confidence. I have to admit; it does feel silly at first. Giving yourself a high-five seems juvenile, but the science and research she includes will convince you otherwise.

In the middle of last year, I started to feel overwhelmed and exhausted. The day-to-day work of holding space for clients in the middle of some of life’s biggest storms was, yes, rewarding, but also really heavy. Implementing the tools from The High 5 Habit helped me navigate through a tough year and set me up to take back control of how I wanted to practice. Pick up The High 5 Habit today.

What’s the best book you read last year? What’s next on your reading list?

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