Happy New Year!!!

The new year always brings with it the promise of a new dawn. It is an opportunity for us to reflect on the year that has gone by and assess the course through which we would like the new year to take. I had such a similar moment at the end of 2016 when I was planning my 2017 goals with my partner. I had read 12 books in 2016 courtesy of the book club and I wanted to challenge myself further. I do not know where the number 30 came from but it became the magic number that would define my 2017. It was more than double the number of books I read in 2016. If I used the logic of the 52weeks in a year, this would mean me reading 1,7books a week! I had just read a book a month! My partner and I decided to go for what we coined the ‘#30bookchallenge’. The first person to make it to 30 books would be bestowed a gift. It is safe to say I am waiting for my gift 😊.


Here is a list of the books I read in 2017

  1. Outliers-Malcolm Gladwell
  2. The Power of Habit-Charles Duhigg
  3. Making Money out of Property in South Africa-Jason Lee
  4. The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives-Lola Shoneyin
  5. The Smart Money Woman-Arese Ugwu
  6. Leading Women-Nancy D’Oreilly
  7. 48 Laws of Power-Robert Green
  8. Born a Crime-Trevor Noah
  9. Things a little bird told me-Biz Stone
  10. Thrive-Arianna Huffington
  11. Hlomu the wife- Dudu Busani-Dube
  12. You are a badass-Jen Sincero
  13. Miracle Morning-Hal Elrod
  14. The Yearning- Mohale Mashigo
  15. Dominoes-Somizi Mhlongo
  16. The way I see it-Lerato Tshabalala
  17. Zandile the resolute-Dudu Busani-Dube
  18. Letter to my daughter-Maya Angelou
  19. The richest man in Babylon-George Clason
  20. The White Masai-Corinne Hofmann
  21. Option B- Sheryl Sandberg
  22. A Good African Coffee- Andrew Rugasira
  23. Billionaire Under Construction-Dj Sbu
  24. Khwezi-Redi Tlhabi
  25. On becoming-Toke Makinwa
  26. Grit-Angela Duckworth
  27. Milk and Honey-Rupi Kaur
  28. Live Lead Learn-Gail Kelly
  29. Freakonomics-Steven Levitt and Steven Dubner
  30. Year of yes-Shonda Rhimes



I wanted a mix in my choices of books-fiction, non-fiction, African, business, motivational, poetry etc. It allowed me to get to know myself better on the topics that excite me but also pushed me to get out of my comfort zone.

So here are a few pointers on how I was able to read 30 books in one year:

    1. The saying goes ‘Don’t tell people your plans. Show them your results’. In this case, the opposite rang true. From the onset, I started telling people about the challenge I had set for 2017. But even more daring, I shared this on social media. I did this because by sharing this to the world there was no way I was going to allow myself to fail publicly. If I had kept it to myself, it would have been easy for me to give up mid-year and act like it never happened. Let’s not forget, once something is out there on social media it sticks. How embarrassing would it have been to be asked where I was on the challenge 5months after I had abandoned it?! I also appreciated the words of encouragement throughout the year. They kept me going.
    2.  Have a list. This helped me have something to look forward to. The list expanded throughout the year and I allowed myself to buy books on impulse. I needed to maintain excitement over the challenge and while I normally would for other forms of retail therapy, books became my obsession-a healthier obsession if I say so myself.
    3.  Schedule time to read. I started the challenge unsystematically and halfway through the year, I realized that I had not even read half the books I had set to read. I was on my 12th book and I was beginning to panic. Things needed to be done differently. I started scheduling time to read. An hour to 2 hours before bed worked for me and with time it became a habit which I hope to maintain.
    4. Make the most of your free time. We have a lot of idle time we often do not take note off. Waiting for a lunch meeting with a friend, sitting in the waiting room before a doctor’s appointment, on a road trip, on a flight- make the most of it. I started carrying a book with me wherever I went. It particularly worked for those moments when I was becoming impatient waiting for someone. I normally would have resorted to going on Instagram watching other people slay 😊 but this time I was working towards my challenge. There were times when I also had to MAKE free time especially on Friday nights when my friends would suggest we go out. Because I was now enjoying the challenge, the idea of being in bed, reading with a glass of wine on the side became appealing. I had to cut down on going out at times. This obviously had to be in moderation. I think I struck the balance well.
    5. Having an accountability partner. It often helps to have someone equally invested in a challenge with you especially when it’s a healthy competition. Like I mentioned earlier, there was something at stake and I was going to go for it. There is also another way of looking at it. On the 31st December 2017, I was on my last book, The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. I was not even half way through it. On that day my partner drew me a schedule for the day to determine how I was going to finish the book before we headed out for the New Year’s Eve festivities. It was this support that helped me finish more than 200pages before 7pm (with understanding!). Thanks T! 😊

Having thought it through these are my top 5 books in no particular order (Let’s not make it any harder).

  1. Miracle Morning
  2. The Year of Yes
  3. Option B
  4. Grit
  5. Hlomu the Wife

It’s the second week of 2018 and I am already seeing people start on their book challenges. I have decided to focus on other challenges but I will still be reading a lot and sharing my book experiences. Keep the reading going. Do not give up! Enjoy what 2018 has to offer. The pursuit of knowledge will always be worthwhile.


Lerato is a Supply Chain professional in the FMCG industry. Not satisfied with being confined to her day job, Lee is always reading something different. The development of women and Africa are what fuel her passion. She would one day love to have dinner with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and pick her brain on so many issues

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