I've been trying to read more lately. Julien Smith has always pushed me to do this and a note he wrote me recently still makes me smile when I think about it. I'm trying to read a variety of books. Fiction hasn't sneaked in there for a while now, but I don't want to read the same old same old so I try to mix it up a bit.

After a trip to Thomas Nelson , where I spoke to their marketing department about the changes in the market place, my friend Jeff Loper who works there gave me his copy of A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller after I commented on the cover catching my eye in the lobby. Then the other day I was determined to finally get around to reading Linchpin since I'm a big fan of Seth Godin and the book has been sitting on my shelf calling to me for weeks.

Yes, even with my love for reading books on other devices, I actually read both of these books in the good old fashion way. Paper and glue binded together in the classic form of a book. Go figure. *grin*

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years is the sort of feel good reality book that everyone can read and appreciate. From the cover you might think it is a book about biking (and that is a small part of it), but it is about so much more. I had never heard of Donald Miller before, but after reading this book I certainly am curious to read more. He talks about the importance story plays in one's life and how each of us should try to have our lives tell the best possible story.

He is a natural story teller and the casual, honest way he writes invites you in and won't let go. There is more then one story in the book that will pull at your heartstrings and make you a bit misty eyed for sure. Of course, by the time I finished, I was filled with the urge to go on a canoe trip and to pass the book along to someone else immediately. My mother-in-law currently has the book and I can't wait to hear what she thinks.

Linchpin arrived when it came out and my first thoughts were, "well this is awfully big for a Godin book."

I think that is why I didn't dive right in like I usually do with anything he writes. It is longer then it needs to be and you'll find yourself reading similar things over and over again, but this will just make the ideas stick even more then if they were said just once.

Seth Godin writes with a fist full of passion and that is why I am such a big fan. He defines a Linchpin as somebody in an organization who is indispensable, who cannot be replaced and has a completely unique job. We all know that sort of person. Some of us are that person. But, he takes it a step further and talks a lot about being an artist. But, he is not talking about someone who paints and does sketches, he is talking about people who do emotional work. I loved that concept and it hit home for me in a big way since a punching the clock sort of job has never been the right one for me.

Be sure to check out the Linchpin Prints from Hugh MacLeod after you read the book. I bought them even before I read the book because I loved what they said and I'm a huge fan of Hugh's work as well. If anyone I know personifies someone being an artist and a Linchpin, it is Hugh.

Both of these books are the type that we all should read. With graduation time happening right now I also think that either of them would make a great gift for someone leaving high school or college. I know I'm planning on giving some of each as gifts in the near future.

One warning though about both of these books. They are written in such an honest, passionate way that you will be effected by reading them. Where that takes you, I can't tell, but I promise you will be thinking different about things when you close the book and put it back on the shelf.