My Summer “Inspiration” List…

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I’m currently spending time stomping around the mountainous regions of Northern Portugal, gaining inspiration and enjoying the “simple life”!

When I’m on vacation, I love to read – as it often provides inspiration for the music I compose and perform. Here is a list of some of the books I’ve been exploring this Summer…

“Family Friendly”:

UngiftedUngifted – by Gordon Korma

A ‘normal’ middle-schooler is placed in the ‘gifted’ program – and everything changes! I’ve got two kids – one is going into 5th grade and the other into 7th grade, so we all really enjoyed this book.

wonderWonder – by R.J. Palacio

“I must be one of the wonders of god’s own creation…and as far as they (Doctors) can see they can offer no explanation” – this is a quote from Natalie Merchant’s song, “Wonder” and an intro to the book. Like me, Natalie has spent time working with the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp for seriously ill children. This book’s a great reminder to be thankful…

candymakersThe Candymakers – by Wendy Mass

My Mom has owned frozen yogurt/candy stores (called “Cravings“) for much of our adult lives (she recently sold the business). This is a story about four children who are chosen to compete in the national candy making contest of a lifetime… sugary fun! My daughter really loves this one 🙂


heaven is for realHeaven is for Real – by Todd Burpo

A remarkable true story about a 4-year old boy who visits heaven and returns with amazing stories. I was fascinated by the concurrent story of a girl named “Akiane” who had similar visions and translated them into art…


evernoteEvernote Essentials – by Brett Kelly

I’ve been using Evernote for many years. It’s an awesome tool for organizing composition ideas, travel, writings, notes, journals, wine, receipts and lots more. In fact, all my “Naked Piano” albums were “written” in Evernote – including research, song titles, and themes.

emailEmail – by David Sparks

If you’re an Apple user, read this iBook on your iPad – it includes screencasts, videos and tons of great email tips.


paperlessPaperless – by David Sparks

A great compliment to Evernote Essentials…You’ve heard about going “paperless“, this iBook (great on iPad) really can help you get there. After reading this, I purchased a Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner, and I’m getting close to realizing the “Paperless” dream…


tribesTribes – by Seth Godin

I love all of Seth Godin’s books, and follow his daily blog. He’s a prolific writer – but also an excellent creative thinker. This book discusses groups with shared characteristics.


david goliathDavid & Goliath – by Malcolm Gladwell

I’m a sucker for books based on historical and biblical stories… this one provides lessons which can be learned from the epic battle 3000 years ago between a shepherd boy and a mighty warrior.


jab jabJab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook – by Gary Vaynerchuck

I originally heard about Vaynerchuck through his wine library tv and blog. He’s a high-energy “can do” personality with tons of creative ideas. This book is about marketing in a competitive, social-media environment.

Self Development:

zenZen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – by Robert M. Pirsig

A wonderful book which explores basic philosophy and the art of living. I’ve been listening to the audio-book version and find it’s a perfect compliment when I’m running along the Shining Sea Bikeway


create a mindHow to Create a Mind – by Raymond Kurzweil

I once spent an afternoon interviewing Ray Kurzweil – he’s been named one of the most influential modern thinkers of our time. He also helped launch the digital music revolution in the early 1980’s..

quietQuiet – by Susan Cain

The front cover sums it up best: “The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking”… You may not expect this from me, but I’m an introvert in so many ways. I can definitely relate to this book’s premise…


self relianceSelf Reliance – by Ralph Waldo Emerson

I grew up near Walden Pond, so Summer always has me thinking of Thoreau and Emerson…I remember hiking through these woods and swimming in the “kettle hole” during my college years. Emerson’s essay is best enjoyed in connection with Thoreau’s “Walden” (another Summer favorite)…


human natureTreatise on Human Nature – by David Hume

My desire to read Hume came directly from reading “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”…


Want to comment on any of these books? Got a great book you’re reading? Be sure to leave a comment below…

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