The Selfie Vs. The Shelfie

With the advent of the cell phone camera, the selfie has risen to great prominence. But I would challenge you to grace me with a photo revealing another side of you; your bookshelf.

We know you look good but instead of showing me what you're wearing, show me what you're reading. Share with me your books and not just your looks.


Now honey, THAT's HOT!! ;)


Thankfully, my library has been 'built' by surrounding myself with people who love to read. Friends who talk about innovative ideas rather than gossip about people. Acquaintances who say, in the middle of a conversation, "Ohh!! You need to read this book to help with that situation."



 “Miss a meal if you have to, but don't miss a book.”
-Jim Rohn



Tim Sanders, former Chief Solutions Officer of Yahoo claimed, "When you fail to read, you fail to love." This floored me. When we don't read and expose ourselves to new ideas, we are proclaiming that we already know everything we need to know to improve ourselves and to bless others.


Who really believes this?


But it's true because when we fail to read, we might be missing out on an important piece of information needed not only to help our own life but also be a blessing to someone else. This 'reading thing' is bigger than you. This affects your network and future generations down the line.



Everything I've been blessed to build in the last two years, which includes successful school and community programs, are because of the grace and wisdom of God and books. My husband and I went from having a debt of almost $100,000 to now being debt free because of books. We had a staggering net worth of $-50,000 in 2009 to having a healthy net worth today because of books. Now, with teaching finance and creativity classes, running my own mentorship program and sitting on one of the most powerful board of directors in the nation, these are blessed opportunities because I invested the time to expose myself to new ideas, to take risks and to read.


Leaders are readers. There really is no way around it. Throughout my intense study of highly successful people, the same books keep showing up (book list below). Andrew Carnegie knew this and donated a majority of his fortune to building libraries and schools (with African-Americans and other minorities in mind). He knew people, especially those disenfranchised, needed access to ideas. Sadly, less than 3% of Americans have a library card and even less than that use it on a regular basis. Americans don’t really read anymore and this needs to change.



I hear it all the time, "Genein, I just don't have the time," or "It's boring and I fall asleep after 5 minutes." I hear you. Time is an issue but this is your life we're talking about. Try to read a little each day— either when you wake up, during your lunch hour or before you fall asleep. If you have kids, have a reading time where the whole family reads together. Turn off the TV for a hour. Trust me. It's worth it.


We can't expect our children to do something we're not willing to do ourselves. Leading by example is the best—and sometimes only—way.


If you're a slow reader, that's ok too. Read anyway. We can't get better at something we never do. Even though I prefer the ink on paper format, there are so many other methods to gather information; books on tape, TED Talks, and podcasts to name a few. Turn your car into a classroom and your commute into a learning experience.

"He who does not read is no better off than he who cannot read."
-Mark Twain


You're beautiful. I know it. But America better be beautiful since we surpassed $62 billion dollars in the cosmetics and beauty market last year. $62 BILLION DOLLARS on make-up, perfume, skin care and hair products!! That's a lot lipstick!

Once I saw this information, it made me take a closer look at my personal budget. How much money am I spending on my outsides (make-up, hair/skin care and clothes) versus my insides (personal and professional development books, seminars, conferences, mentorship and coaching)?


So yes, take care of your body. It's the only vehicle we have to get us through this thing called life. Get all dolled up. No harm in that. But also challenge yourself to invest IN yourself; in your cognitive essence, in that beautiful mind of yours. It's that investment that will certainly have an amazing return. And this return that will not only help you but inspire those around you as well.



If you choose not to read, you choose not to fully live (I didn't say merely exist, which is, sadly, most people's plight, I said 'FULLY LIVE'). But when you choose to read, you're choosing to identify and enter into opportunities that you're better prepared for because you took the time to build yourself. You took the time to discover new ideas. You took time to do the work.


It's your time and it's your choice.


Choose wisely.



So here are a few shout-outs to the book 'builders' in my life. I thank God for you. If anyone reading this blog ever wanted to buy me a gift, blessing me with a book that changed your life is the way to go!


Thank you and keep flippin’ those pages!


Good To Great by Jim Collins (Recommended by Misty)

On Fire by John O’Leary (Recommended by Coach Tony)

4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss and Emotion Intelligence by Daniel (Recommended by Daniel Luna)

Scaling Up by Verne Harnish (Recommended by Ash Sobhe)

Love Skip Jump by Shelene Bryan (Recommended by Samm Enman and Michelle Bentley)

Translating God by Shawn Bolz (Recommended by Ana and MZ Patiluko)

Made To Stick by Chip and Dan Heath (Recommended by Adam Dovico and Alegre Ramos)

Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Recommended by Dave Trejo)

Owning It by Alex Katijani (Recommended by the author!)

Drunk Tank Pink by Adam Atler  (Recommended at the Donorschoose Partners’ Summit)

Stutter Boy by Eric Garner (Recommended by the author)

Year of YES by Shonda Rhimes (Recommended by Monica Montoya)

Spark: Inspired Teaching, Thriving Schools by David Cohen (Recommended by the author)

Pennies To Dollars: Story of Maggie Lena Walker (Recommended by Trabian Shorters, CEO of BMe Community)

Originals:How Non-Conformists Move The World by Adam Grant (Recommended by Micheal Lim)

Prudence by Albert J. Jefferson III (Recommended to me by the author)

The Bible (Recommended by God)


My Additional Book List:


How To Win Friends and Influence People - Dale Carnegie

MONEY: Master the Game: 7 Steps to Financial Freedom - Tony Robbins

The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle - Steven Pressfield

The Art of Possibility - Ben Zander

Think and Grow Rich  - Napoleon Hill

The Richest Man in Babylon - George Clason

Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell

The Outsiders -  S.E Hinton

Email or text me with your top three! I would love to hear from you! -GL