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2018 Reading Challenge

January 19, 2018


It’s that time of year again… People across the world are making resolutions and goals to be better in the new year -- including all of us at S&S! One “goal” that I’ve seen circling social media over the last few weeks is that of reading more this year, which has me super excited! This year, I set a goal to read 75 books and even though I knew it was going to be tough from a timing standpoint, I’m already realizing how tough it might be from a “what am I even going to read?!” standpoint.


After stalking people on social media for their recommendations (and doing some more formalized research), I’ve come up with a short list of books that I’m hoping to read this year. While my genres of choice typically include true crime, mystery, or general fiction, my goal this year is read more books on sport, leadership, and the advancement of women. If you’re looking for more reading materials, then I highly suggest joining Goodreads (and adding me as a friend here). If you’re like me and looking to read more books from the #sportsbiz realm, I also suggest joining the Sports Biz Book Exchange (#SBBX) here, hosted by Mark Hodgkin.


In an effort not to overwhelm you—or potentially bore you—I wanted to include the top four books that I’m looking forward to reading this year! Without further adieu, here they are…


  1. Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun, and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

    • As the successful creator and producer of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, and other hit shows, you’d never guess that Shonda Rhimes was introverted, hated public appearances, and would have panic attacks before media interviews. She spent much of her career shying away from the spotlight and felt it was okay to do so because she had three children at home and was working on three hit television shows at the time. After solid self-reflection and some ‘help’ from her family, “Shonda knew she had to embrace the challenge: for one year, she would say YES to everything that scared her.”

    • I saw this one recommended on Audible and immediately added it to my list of books to read. Being a “yes” man or women often comes with a negative connotation (i.e. “you need to take time for yourself,” “you can’t say yes to everything,” etc.), but I love the idea of saying yes to things that scare you! Even though I haven’t read it yet, I have a feeling this book will be great for people looking to step out of their comfort zones and looking to new experiences. And if you enjoyed our recent post about working through your introverted qualities, then this book might be for you!

  2. I'm Happy for You (Sort Of...Not Really): Finding Contentment in a Culture of Comparison by Kay Wills Wyma

    • In this book, author Kay Wills Wyma explores our culture of comparison and how it can often hijack us from actually living our lives. The book summary explains: “Our friends become our audience and judges, and our kids become part of our brand. Add social media’s constant invitation to post and peruse, and it’s no wonder that we’re left exhausted, discontent, and lonely.” Though you’ll probably never stop comparing yourself to others, Wyma’s book offers ideas and advice to help change your perspective and “discover freedom, authenticity, and joy.”

    • How often do we compare ourselves to other people, even ones we don’t know? I know that I’m guilty of this; especially when it comes to women my age that are more successful than I am. Thanks to a job that requires me to spend a lot of my time on social media, spending my own personal time on social media has become habitual, as well as draining and unsatisfying. I’m excited to dive into this book and do some soul-searching.

  3. Weird in a World That's Not: A Career Guide for Misfits, F*ckups, and Failures by Jennifer Romolini

    • According to her website, Jennifer Romolini is the chief content officer of, a site founded by producer Shonda Rhimes. She was previously the editor-in-chief of HelloGiggles, the editor-in-chief of Yahoo Shine, and oversaw all editorial operations for Yahoo's Lifestyles sites, including Yahoo Health and Yahoo Food. The crazy thing about Romolini (and this book) is that she navigated an insane New York media market and “became a boss—an editor-in-chief, an editorial director, and a vice president—all within little more than a decade.” Her insights offer advice on “how to achieve your dreams, even when the odds seem stacked against you.”

    • About a week ago, I asked the Twitter sphere for some book recommendations and was extremely excited when Jess Smith (@warjesseagle) responded with a link to this book. Everything I’ve read says that this isn’t your typical how-to book for being successful, and I love that! It makes me think of the phrase “why fit in when you were born to stand out?” because I’m tired of seeing self-help books that all offer the same boring advice. Really looking forward to reading this one.

  4. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck

    • A world-renowned Stanford University psychologist, Carol S. Dweck dedicated decades of her life to research before discovering a “simple by groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset.” Through a thorough analysis of the difference between fixed mindset and growth mindset, Dweck’s book discusses how our efforts are “dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities.” Through self-reflection and a deep understanding of one’s self, you can help to shape your mindset and achieve your goals.

    • I have seen this book recommended on every possible book list, Twitter, list, and google search, and my friend Mark Hodgkin (see above, re: #sbbx) recommended this one to me personally, so it must be good! As it becomes increasingly important to discuss mental health in our work and personal lives, I love the idea of becoming more aware of my mindset and how it can affect my life. This one might be a bit serious for my taste, but nonetheless I’m excited to hear was Dr. Dweck has to say!


There are SO many books that I want to read this year, so it was really difficult to narrow down my “to-read list” to just four! If you’re looking for more reading inspo, however, I’d suggest checking out these recommended lists from GoodReads, Amazon, and Audible.


If you have any other book recommendations, we’d love to hear them! If you have any recommendations that you’d like to share, tweet me (@kfgwinning), our Sparkles and Sports account (@SparklesSports), or drop us a line here.


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