My Top 10 Favourite Books of 2013

Yesterday I read Jonathan Canlas' book, "Film is Not Dead", and realized that, 'Wow, I actually read a lot of books'. Everything from time management and how to save money to marketing, photography, fitness and home organization - and I've even started reading baby books to help get ready for our new little boy who's on his way in April - so I thought I'd start blogging some info and recommendations about some of them. Just a heads up, you won't find any info about Twilight, or Harry Potter here. Sorry.

...and by the way, If you're looking to get back into shooting film, or try it for the first time, the "Film is Not Dead" book is a must read! Not only is Jonathan Canlas' work stunning, he's also not at all shy about telling you how he does it. There's also tons of info about various films and how to exposes properly for each one.


Change Your Life in 7 Days - Paul McKenna

Without a doubt, this was the most helpful book for me in 2013. Paul McKenna, if you don't already know, is the world's most renowned hypnotist. He's worked with dozens of celebrities and has written countless books ranging from getting rid of a phobia, losing weight, quitting smoking to making you sleep, and be more confident.  If you've learned a bad habit , you can unlearn it.

The concept behind each one is the same. Reprogramming your subconscious to be more aware of what it is that you really want. Visualizing your goals and making the right decisions to get there, without even knowing it. Whether you believe in hypnotism, or not, isn't really important and this book has less to do with that and much more to understanding yourself, your goals, your true desires and giving you the focus to get there.

Dane Sanders - Fast Track Photographer Business Plan

If you ask me, business plans Suuuuuuuuck! Unfortunately, if you want to run a successful business, chances are that you're going to have to write one. One way or another you have to know your bottom line, what it is that you're trying to achieve, how you're going to do it, is it worth even doing, are there people out there who'll buy what you're selling...the list goes on and on.

Dane has a way of writing that I find incredibly unique. He writes like he's sitting there with you, explaining the entire process to you. Like he's your buddy. He gives you very specific assignments to do throughout the book - but don't worry, they're fun and creative - so that you're not just sitting around reading and by the time you're finished the book, you're also finished your business plan.

Picture Perfect Practice - Roberto Valenzuela 

Without a doubt, the single most influential, informative and logical approach to photography, posing and lighting that I've come across. I think I own almost everything that Roberto has available. His videos are amazing!!

The number one thing that Roberto explains throughout his lessons is that photography isn't about memorizing photos and poses from your favourite photographers, it's about learning and understanding what makes a great photo and why you're drawn to a particular photograph. This book is full of exercises that make you put down the book, head outside, or wander around your house looking for 10-20 shots that you must complete before moving on. 

This book will make you think and look at scenes differently. In the end t'll make you a better photographer, hands down.

Fine Art Wedding Photography - Jose Villa

If you haven't heard of Jose Villa yet, then it's about time you did. Rated 1 of the 10 best film photographers in the world. He shoots cover-after-cover of some of the most popular and elegant monthly wedding magazines worldwide. 

What I love about this book is that it's not only filled with romantic and dreamy photos with such buttery smooth bokeh that they'll make your mouth water, he also gives you the full breakdown of exactly how he shot it. What camera, lens, aperture, shutter speed, time of day and lighting direction. He has no secrets when it comes to his work. He'll also tell you the lab he uses, the book designers, name it. He sounds like an incredibly humble guy too.

The Luminous Portrait - Elizabeth Messina

If you loved Jose's book, then you'll probably love this one just as much. Full of beautiful, soft portraits, and creamy pastel colours, this book is pretty easy to read, or just leave lying on your coffee table to glance through every once in awhile. 

You can really tell through her photographs that Elizabeth Messina has a real connection with her clients. She shoots with a Contax 654 Film camera, (same as Jose Villa), which allows her to slow down and focus on her subjects.

The Wealthy Barber/The Wealthy Barber Returns - David Chilton

I got the chance to meet David Chilton a couple of years ago when my mom and I went to one of his book signings in Sarnia,Ontario. What a really nice guy. Super down-to-earth, funny, full of great stories and super humble. He makes the thought of saving money for your future sound fun...almost.

One thing is for sure and that's that no one will give it to as straight and understandable as he will.

How To Win Friends and Influence People - Dale Carnegie 

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” 

In a nutshell, this book is a step-by-step guide on how to get everything you want from someone, by giving them everything they want.  Respect, sales, chores, you name it. You'll catch more flies with honey than you will with vinegar is the basic premise behind this book, or as Dale Carnegie says, 'You'll catch more fish with worms than you will with strawberries and cream, because that's not what they like to eat'.

Time Tactics of Very Successful People - B. Eugene Griessman

This is by no means a 'How-to' book. It's written with actual stories of how real, successful people that we all know, got to where they are today. Strategies and tips on how to save you time and make everything you do more productive. 

Did you know that Mary Kay - one of the worlds largest cosmetic companies, with over 200,000 employees - contributes much for her success to one tiny little daily ritual? At the end of each day she writes down the 6 most important things that she needs to do tomorrow. That's it. It keeps her and her employees focused and on track, which leads to greater productivity, 

This book is full of great ideas and tons of short  stories to keep you interested.

EntreLeadership - Dave Ramsey

Anyone can start a business, but without clear, practical business principals and great leadership skills they may not reach the goals that they had in mind. Dave Ramsey has excellent advice on being a leader and working in an ever-growing company. 

I love the "Teachable Moments" that Dave talks about throughout the book. I'll be the first to admit that I can get frustrated with others when a job isn't done properly, but learning to see situations like these as opportunities to teach can be far more rewarding, for you and the others involved, and helps insure that it'll be done better the next time. 

Steve Jobs - Walter Isaacson

I went through a faze this year where I sucked up all of the information I could find on Steve Jobs. I find his life, passion, drive and achievements fascinating. He was a man with a vision who, even when he was down and at his lowest and lost almost everything, predicted greatness and didn't stop until he reached it.

He changed life as we knew it, but even more, he is a symbol for how powerful a dream and vision can really be.