Stephanie Skryzowski: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Prosperous Nonprofit, the podcast for leaders who are building financially sustainable and impactful nonprofits and changing the world. I’m Stephanie Skrzewski, a chief financial officer and founder and CEO of 100 Degrees Consulting. My personal mission is to empower leaders to better understand their numbers, to grow their impact and their income.
On this show, we talk to people who are leading the nonprofit sector in new, innovative, disruptive and entrepreneurial ways, creating organizations that fuel their lives, their hearts and their communities. Let’s dive in.
Hey everyone. Welcome back to the prosperous nonprofit. I’m super glad you’re here and today you have just me and I’m going to share with you my favorite books of 2023. Now [00:01:00] you may or may not know, but I am a pretty big bibliophile. I love to read And in the past couple of years, I’ve really gotten back into it.
I think because of Libby, the, you know, library app where basically you can borrow books from the library and read them on the Kindle app on your iPad or on your Kindle. So this helps me churn through like a lot of books. I think in 2022 I read, I don’t know, 50 books or something like that. I read 48 books in 2023.
I was just looking at my Goodreads. In preparation for this podcast episode, and it said, you only read 48 books this year. Better luck next year. Cause I think I had set a goal of 60 or something, but that was totally arbitrary. And I’m quite happy with the 48 books I read in 2023. Now I will say, um, a couple of these, I did audio books and I.
Read a lot while I’m running on the [00:02:00] treadmill. Now I told my personal trainer this and she was like, how in the world do you read while you’re running? But I actually remember asking someone else this, who I saw, I think on Instagram or something, they read on their treadmill too. I’m like, how do you. Do that, aren’t you?
Like your brain is all bouncing around when you’re running, but you make the font, um, you know, the, the font size a little bit bigger on your iPad or on your Kindle, and I don’t know, it’s pretty easy. So I’m able to get quite a lot of books read that way. So killing two birds with one stone. So with that, I wanted to share with you.
Some of the books that I read this year that I would recommend, and I’m debating, do I start with like my absolute favorites or do I kind of lead up to that? I’m not really sure. So here’s what we’re going to do. I’m just going to go through. I like personal development. Professional development like business kind of books and very light literature, fiction, fiction books.
I don’t go [00:03:00] for any crime or murder or suspense or horror. Um, largely because I read before bed often. And I don’t know, my brain just can’t handle that stuff. I need light and fluffy or nonfiction. So that is where a lot of my recommendations were coming from. And since this is, you know, uh, a professional podcast, right, we’re talking about how to build a prosperous nonprofit.
I won’t go into too many of my fiction reads, but just know there’s a lot of like chick books. So, yeah. Bye. Lit, right? So love, I love me, Emily Henry. I like her books a lot. I’ve read a couple of Colleen Hoover’s, um, Sophie Kinsella, Jennifer Wiener. So if Curtis Sittenfeld, so if you know any of those authors, oh, Carly Fortune.
I’m just going through my good reads right now. Those are all the authors that I like in that kind of genre. It’s light, but still good writing and interesting books. So anyway, if you want to be friends on Goodreads, you can find me over there. Um, and if you don’t know what Goodreads [00:04:00] is, it’s a software where you can, you know, track what you have read, what you want to read.
It also connects to the Kindle app. So once you open a book on Kindle, Goodreads automatically knows, and then it can mark when you’re done. So it’s fun. I like keeping track of everything that I’ve read. Okay. So without further ado, the only one that I’m going to mention that is a fiction book for 2023 is Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmis.
Now I’m fairly certain I’m so behind the times, but I’m fairly certain there’s like a Netflix either show or a movie about this book. Now it is fantastic. Lessons in Chemistry. I absolutely loved it. Okay. The next book that I enjoyed this year is called the power of fun. How to feel alive again by Catherine Price.
Now what I realized actually at the end of 2022 was that I don’t have enough. True fun, right? Like I do things that are enjoyable and I’m not [00:05:00] living a miserable existence over here, but I don’t do enough that I really think is fun. And so I love this book because she really defines fun. And when she does that, you’re probably going to be like, Ooh, yeah, not having enough of it.k
But it’s so important. So if you feel like your life is just work and purpose and, you know, almost like that sort of routine, right? Of, okay, I get up every morning, I do my exercise. I pack my lunch. I eat my breakfast. I get the kids to school. I go to work. I do the thing. I come home, I make dinner. I did it at a, you know, like if that’s what your day feels like, which mine largely do.
And you feel like, Oh, I could use a little dose of fun. I would definitely recommend this book. And listen, nonprofit leaders, y’all, we don’t have enough fun. When I was reading this book, I was actually thinking, when is the last time that I can really say that I had fun? And I think it was like [00:06:00] months prior to when I was reading the book.
So the power of fun by Catherine Price. Okay. Similar. Um, Well, not really similar, I guess. Okay. Eve Rodsky. If you’ve not heard of Eve Rodsky, she wrote a book called Fair Play. And it was basically about what it says on Goodreads, it’s a revolutionary real world solution to the problem of unpaid invisible work that women have shouldered for too long.
And the sort of subtitle on the book says a game changing solution for when you have Um, too much to do and more life to live. So I feel like this kind of goes along with the power of fun because maybe you are shouldering way too much of the burden in your life and so you don’t have time for fun. So I love Fair Play, but that’s not really the book that I came to tell you about.
Um, I would say if you’ve not read Fair Play, start there. But the book I came to tell you about, it’s also by Eve Rotsky called Find Your Unicorn Space or Reclaim Your Creative Life in a Too Busy [00:07:00] World. And I really, really liked this one because as I was thinking about writing a book and just really just feeling burdened with the.
Um, and I’m going to talk to you today about, um, how do I find time for creativity, right? And maybe you’re thinking the same thing. Maybe you’re like, yeah, I have this nine to five job, but I really want to, um, do this. Maybe you really want to write a book. Maybe you really want to be a speaker. Maybe there’s something that you really want to do creatively.
Maybe there’s, you know, uh, Sort of visual art medium that you want to get into, right? I probably have told y’all that I got into watercolor painting last year, but it feels really hard to find that, that space and that time. And so. I love this book, especially for women, but I really like this sort of idea of unicorn space, the active and open pursuit of creative self expression and any form that makes you uniquely you.
So this is the one on my [00:08:00] list. If you haven’t read Fair Play, like I said, by the same author, Eve Rodsky, I definitely recommend it. But find your unicorn space, reclaim your creative life in a too busy world. Love it. Okay. So my next one, we are on number four now is the kingdom of prep, the inside story of the rise and near fall of J.
Crew. Okay. So hear me out on this one. Now I love J. Crew as a brand, right? I’ve worn their clothes for a really long time, but I also love the story of the brand. business, right? It’s really interesting to me to dive into case studies of businesses, especially of brands that I follow because I’m like, Oh yeah, I remember when that happened.
Oh, I remember when the quality of their clothing went way down. I remember when their prices went way up. Right. And so, um, I really liked this one. It was so interesting because I actually didn’t know the origins of J. Crew and [00:09:00] so it went back all the way literally to the beginning. Um, they started as a catalog company and then all through the eighties and nineties and early two thousands and you know, then the J.
Crew that I remember. And so to me, this was like, it was a cross between a, you know, an in depth business case study. As well as a sort of insider pop culture type inside scoop situation. So I loved this one. It’s called the kingdom of prep by Maggie Bullock. And I thought this was fantastic. And there, you know, there’s business lessons in here too, and lessons for you as a nonprofit leader in these types of books, right?
Like, Oh, you know, this type of leadership resulted for J crew and this type of outcome. Or, oh, they had this type of innovation that resulted in, you know, in this increase in revenue or whatever. So I think, you know, I always look to kind of pull those things out as I’m reading this type of book, but I really enjoyed this one.[00:10:00]
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Now my last recommendations are three in one. There are three books by the same two authors. And if you read one, you have to read them all because I said so. And I [00:11:00] read them all. Twice this summer, and I also listened to them all multiple times, so I got them on audiobook through the Libby, the library, um, app.
I borrowed them from the library, the audiobook version, and I would listen to them over and over and over again as I did my runs this summer outside. So I feel like I’ve memorized them, yet I want to read them again and again and again and again. And I feel like every single time I’ll hear something else.
Now I would also really recommend you both read the physical book, but the audio book is really good because in between each chapter or each section, there’s a little, um, almost like a podcast interview with the two authors and you get more insights, more. It takes more content than just the book itself.
So without further ado, let me tell you the three books that I would say were most impactful to my year. Now, the authors are Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy. And the [00:12:00] three titles are number one, The Gap and the Gain. Number two, Who Not How. And number three, 10X is easier than 2X. So if you just look for Dan Sullivan or Dr.
Benjamin Hardy, you will find these three books and they were game changers. Now here’s what I liked about each of them. The gap in the gain, the subtitle, the high achievers guide to happiness, confidence, and success. Now that seems pretty big, right? The guide to happiness, the guide to confidence, the guide to success.
Okay. Number one, sign me up. Number two, like, okay, that’s kind of broad for a book title. But what they do in each of these is explain one key concept. There is one concept in each of these books and they thread throughout, you know, how you can apply this to your life, to your business, to yourself, you know.
So that’s what I really liked about each of them. It doesn’t try to do all the things, solve all the problems. It’s one concept. [00:13:00] And it just goes really deep into each of them. The second book, Who Not How, that I mentioned by the same authors, the subtitle is The Formula to Achieve Bigger Goals Through Accelerating Teamwork.
And the idea here is instead of thinking when you have a problem, right, in your organization, instead of thinking, Like, okay, how am I going to solve this problem? The question is, who am I going to get to help me solve this problem, right? And I just thought it was, it’s so powerful, right? It’s such a simple concept that I have struggled with, especially in the early days of leading my company.
And I would imagine that you have too, especially nonprofit leaders. We have limited budgets, right? We have limited resources. We don’t have a team of a hundred people. But there are still ways to implement this who not how concept. And I think this could be a game changer for the way that you lead and, um, for your organization.
So love that one. And then the [00:14:00] third one, 10X is easier than 2X, again, same authors and the subtitle here is how world class entrepreneurs achieve more by doing. Less. Okay. We could cross off the word entrepreneurs and write non profit leaders, right? I think we all want to achieve more by doing less and also add in, um, with less resources too, right?
That’s like all of our goal. But the goal or the sort of idea in this one is that achieving 10X growth is exponentially easier than striving for 2X, right? Strange, because you’re like, well, 10X, don’t I have to do 10 times the work? No, basically you have to expand your thinking to think 10X bigger, not necessarily do 10X bigger.
Right? So anyway, it’s about quality versus quantity and that is really what’s going to drive your results. So I loved these books and I highly [00:15:00] recommend you read all three of them. So just to recap, my. Book recommendations. Some of my favorite books this year. Of course, not all of them. There are too many.
I, like I said, I read 48 books, so I’m only sharing just a couple with you. But number one, Lessons in Chemistry. This was the only fiction book that I put on the list, but I feel like it is absolutely worth a read. Number two, The Power of Fun. This one, we all need more fun, right? Nonprofit leaders. Y’all are doing the work and we all need a little bit more fun.
So the power of fun, number three, find your unicorn space by Eve Rodsky. This is awesome. How can we be more creative in a too busy world? Number four, the kingdom of prep, the inside story of the rise and near fall of J crew again. Amazing in-depth business case study that we can pull all kinds of learnings from.
And then finally at number five, my three in one. [00:16:00] Three books by Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy, the gap in the Gain who not How, and 10 x is easier than two x. Now y’all, thank you so much for listening. I don’t know if you’d love books as much as I do, but if you do, would you send me a book recommendation?
I have a want to read list on Goodreads that I’m always adding to. And so every couple of weeks I pop into the Libby app and download or reserve, uh, some of the books on my list. So I’ve got a long, long list of books that I want to read. And if we’re not friends over on Goodreads, you can feel free to go and find me there.
Um, because I post everything that I read there. So you’ll see all my. All my silly chick lit stuff as well as all of the business and personal development books I read as well. All right, y’all. I hope you’re having a fantastic day, a fantastic week, and let me know what you read. Let me know what you are consuming that’s helping take you to that next level.
Now I’ve had to remind myself many times [00:17:00] like, okay, what is going to best serve me? Is it scrolling Instagram or is it reading a few pages in a book? Nine times out of 10, everybody is reading the book, right? I’m not perfect. I still scroll Instagram. I still go deep, deep, deep into, you know, back pages of Instagram and you know, time is weird and it disappears when I’m doing that.
But nine times out of 10, reading that book or listening to that book is going to do more for me than scrolling Instagram. So just a little encouragement if you needed it today. All right, I’ll catch you next time.
Before you go, I just want to thank you for being here. To access our show notes and bonus content, visit 100degreespodcast. com. That’s 100degreespodcast. com. And I’ll see you next time.