My Top Books for 2017

Nicole Smith Woodard
Nicole Smith Woodard
Published on January 29, 2018

Books make me happy. They bring me peace and calm, and information and perspective. I primarily read non-fiction – business, self-help, parenting, spiritual, relationships — and I treat myself to the mind-candy of fiction every so often.  If you don’t enjoy reading, try Audible.com – it’s perfect for listening to books while driving &/or multi-tasking.

Thanks to everyone who recommended books to me this year. Thanks, especially, to Lauren Midgley, Wendy Knutson, Wendy Kirby, Daniel Woodard, and the Cross Timbers Rotary Book Club.  Please let me know your favorite books!!

Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers Timothy Ferriss – This is typical of my reading list. How-to. Self-help. Engaging and encouraging.

Off Balance: Getting Beyond the Work-Life Balance Myth to Personal and Professional Satisfaction Matthew Kelly – Always a good reminder:  since “balance” isn’t possible, stop trying to achieve it and, instead, pursue satisfaction in all areas of life.

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis J. D. Vance – A memoir where a young Yale Law grad weaves his personal story in to the analysis of the disintegration of white, working-class America. Powerful. One of the most talked about books in 2017, and highly engaging.

Wealth Can’t Wait: Avoid the 7 Wealth Traps, Implement the 7 Business Pillars, and Complete a Life Audit Today!David Osborn and Paul Morris – This financial how-to was more concept than tactic and it resonated with me. David, incidentally, is the owner of the largest Keller Williams region and is in his early 50s.

Marrow Tarryn Fisher – Recommended to me in the spring as we Linda-lovers were managing ourselves in the midst of her decline, this is the story of the author, as her sister’s bone marrow donor, as she takes on a “soul marrow transplant”. Big love.  Gut-wrenchingly, painfully real, and I loved it.

Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury – An oldie, but a goodie. Did you read this in high school? I didn’t. Written in 1953, it’s set in the future where there are no books and society is driven by screens. Strangely, scarily accurate in our society today.

The Connector’s Way: A Story About Building Business One Relationship at a Time – Patrick Galvin – I heard the author speak at a conference and felt an instant connection. This is an easy, parable-type read, highlighting the seven simple yet powerful rules for building business one relationship at a time. I have some extra copies – let me know if you’d like one!

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End Atul Gawande – Another painful, yet precious and timely read this year as Dave and I manage our ongoing fears and concerns around his parents (both 86, in relatively good health, living in their Nashville home with second-story master). I highly recommend this for anyone who has aging parents. There is no “one right answer”, but this book gives us much-needed peace as his parents continue to live life on their terms.

Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work & in Life, One Conversation at a Time Susan Craig Scott – There’s no doubt that meaningful communication is the key to having meaningful relationships, but it’s not always easy. This book was one of my favorite life-changers in 2017.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine: A NovelGail Honeyman – Disclaimer: I read this while on vacation in Europe. What’s not to love about that?  I found that despite Eleanor’s weird quirkiness and complete lack of social skills, she totally cracked me up. I couldn’t put it down and the ending surprised me.

Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of LivingShauna Niequist – Another life-changer, I loved the author’s style of encouraging us to slow down, simplify, and focus on what’s truly most important: the value of ordinariness in day to day life and the precious people in it. (Truth: she’s saying to do this while she’s on a whirl-wind book promotion tour and has thousands of Instagram followers….?)

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo – Amy Schumer – A little unusual (and raunchy) way to start out the year and list, but hers is a compelling, fascinating read. Amy is a hard –working comic that, to put it mildly, was raised very differently than I was. No judgement.  Ok, maybe some judgement.

The Journey of the Heroic Parent: Your Child’s Struggle & The Road HomeBrad M. Reedy Phd – Another life-changer for me this year. Even though (especially because!) my children are grown, I continue to struggle with parenting issues. If you’re a parent (or you know someone who is), this is a powerful read. Some of it is from a pretty extreme perspective that I couldn’t relate to, but my big takeaway is that parenting is more about the growth and development of the parent than the child. (Thanks, Courtney & Jake!)

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone Brené Brown – I. Love. Brene Brown. Since I usually (also) get her books on Audible, I hear her Houston accent in my head when I read. This book didn’t change my life like her prior works have done, but it’s solidly applicable to life. Her statement, “True belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are, it requires us to be who we are,” pretty much sums up this work. Definitely recommended.

Before We Were Yours: A NovelLisa Wingate – Historical fiction based on a real-life scandal surrounding Tennessee Children’s Home Society Orphanage. It’s sad, horrific, and uplifting, all at the same time.


The above information regarding My Top Books for 2017 was provided by Nicole Smith with Keller Williams Realty. Nicole has over 22 years of experience helping families buy and sell homes in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. If you’re thinking of selling or buying, she’d love to share her knowledge and expertise via FREE Guides. 

The communities she proudly serves include SouthlakeFlower Mound GrapevineTrophy ClubKeller and Colleyville.

My Top Books for 2017
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