Empty Shelf Book #1: Yes You Can!

Empty 1

Above is the first book I read for the #EmptyShelf Challenge. (Read here to join us on this fun challenge!)

Below is the format I plan to do this year for each book I read.

Title: Yes You Can! Behind the Hype and Hustle of the Motivation Biz

Author: Jonathan Black

What’s it about: The former editor of GQ takes a hard look at the truth and fiction of motivational speakers.

Why did I read it: Some of what I do for a living is motivational speaking. If you only read books that praise your industry you get soft and lazy. I like to know what the critics are saying sometimes to make sure I don’t end up full of hot air.

Favorite idea: That our focus as Americans shifted after 9/11. Prior, motivational speakers were all about how to be successful, make money, build empires, etc. Now, the message is more about meaning, purpose and doing things that matter.

Where can you buy it? Right here.

About Author

Jon Acuff
Jon Acuff


  1. I love it. Totally picking up that book. Love your “why.”

  2. tiffany

    Ooooh. Good format. #copying

  3. Great format! I may have to steal, er, liberate it!

  4. Interesting… Did any of the criticism ring true?
    I’ve already sketched out my reading plan for 2014. About 3 books a month, a mix of non-fiction, business and fiction.
    Hang on, should be fun!

  5. Super excited to join in on this!!

  6. M@

    I love the format, but there’s one more thing I’d like to see, if that’s okay. It’d be nice to have a general opinion of the book as a whole. I.e. I think your favorite idea field is great… but was that the only decent idea in the book? 😉

    I’m thinking about something to give a little context, maybe something like “I had a hard time choosing a favorite idea because it had so many,” or “now that I’ve told you the best idea in the book don’t bother reading the rest” or “the book was good overall, but I had a hard time getting over the lack of worship eagles represented in the text.”

    Just a thought… which I must provide in order to stifle my sense of intimidation by your mission and sense of shame for my unwillingness to accomplish a similar mission myself 😀

    • Dreama Pritt

      I was also missing the part of the review in which we find out if The Reader liked the book or not.

    • Liddy

      I, too, had hoped to see a little more of a review of the book. Recommended overall or not, what the reader liked and didn’t like about the book, etc.

  7. Love the book review format! Going to join Jason in the liberation! Thanks!

  8. Herb Willis

    Would you be so kind as to send me a copy of “Stuff Christians Like”, “Quitter”, and “Start”? I see you have extra copies that are taking up valuable space. 🙂

  9. A sense a little subliminal messaging on that upper shelf… Hmmmm. LOL. Ditto on the great format.

  10. I love this! I think I might start a tumbler just for this!! P.S. Totally stealing it!

  11. Love this idea. Can you send me the books you have authored to get me started free of charge? I promise to read them 🙂 …I’ve read in many books that the answer will always be no if you never ask, but I don’t like asking so I just punched fear in the face and started.

  12. Patty

    Yup. Using this format 🙂 And reading this book!

  13. I really like this format because it doesn’t require me to say if I like a book but focuses on the interest and takeaway. Books are subjective also hate to say I don’t like one. But this does leave room for me to elaborate my enjoyment if warranted.

  14. Al

    About to finish my first book of the challenge. I think I’ll adopt the same format to report back.

  15. Very nice format! I also noticed the “Acuff Stuff” shelf above. I’d gladly take a copy of Quitter off your hands! Hahaha

  16. That’s a different shelf!

    Those SCL pins – were those left over from the 2008 Skittles Shame a Thon?

  17. Grace

    Happy New Year, Folks!

    Jon said this is what HE plans to do for each book he reads, not what YOU have to do. I’m sure Jon would LOVE it if you modified YOUR format to convey YOUR own ideas!

    Franken-ize it!

  18. I can’t wait until the bookshelf is full so I can create an animation of the books growing. (As you go along, try to shoot from the same angle.)

    One side question: Why is your dad’s house so dangerous?
    – “Say to This Mountain, A Thousand Shall Fall, In My Father’s House.”

  19. Carrie

    okay apparently I’m dumb and didn’t know my own name on pinterest… carrietehbear

  20. Lyndsey Cook

    Please add me. Pinterest name is lynz0830

  21. Ericka

    This is a great idea! Add me to the board! Pint rest name: erickascrabeck

  22. John Stossel has a DVD series for schools that I have used in my classes in the past and one of them is on the law of unintended consequences. I mention this because he does a whole segment on the bike helmet phenomena. Pretty eye opening.

  23. Jamie

    Soo excited…I downloaded 17 books today and just finished the first one. (Mine is a virtual bookshelf)