Every year a dozen or more books cross my desk in search of recommendations.  Some are outstanding, some so-so and some just plain not worth the paper they are written on.  The following are all in the outstanding category – worth a read if you are looking for any of these topics. Let’s start with the photography category:

Photoshop CC and Lightroom: A Photographer’s Handbook

If you want the manual that didn’t come with your copies of Photoshop or Lightroom or Bridge, then this could be your book. You won’t find gimmicky special effects here, but you will gain the basic knowledge to do quality editing with these Adobe products. Laskevitch is an Adobe certified instructor.otoot

The beginning section of the book deals in setting up your software, the most common ways to set your preferences and the tools needed to do your basic editing.  The second half of the book details the “workflow” – what to do first, second, etc.  Certain editing tasks can be done whenever, but they usually work best when done in a logical order.  This is where you’ll gain the priceless knowledge of someone who knows what he is talking about – having set up workflows for hundreds of corporate and individual photographers.

344 pages.

Photographic Composition: Principles of Image Design

Ever heard the saying “Great photographers make pictures, they don’t take pictures.”? What they are referring to is composition. It is the one element of the photo that can make the difference between “Wow” and “Ho-hum.”

Rissler includes a very thorough discussion of the topic and accompanies the discussion with 250 black and white images to illustrate the concepts. Diving much deeper than just the “Rule of Thirds,” Rissler discusses form, proportion, brightness, contrast, texture, harmony and structure – all elements that can affect composition.

If you are serious about your photography, this is a worthwhile read.

Hiking Ohio by Gary S. Williams

Ohio certainly has an abundance of hike-worthy areas across the state, and Williams has corralled 83 of them for this compendium.  Each trail is described with its physical attributes and things to watch for while hiking. Hikes are grouped by geographical region and are accompanied by simple maps and GPS coordinates.  Each is assigned a difficulty rating so you’ll know what you are signing up for. If you’ll be spending some time hiking in the Buckeye State, this is a perfect place to begin your research.  298 pages.

Get Sponsored by Jeff Blumenfeld

Ever wonder how certain adventurers afford their round-the-world odysseys?  Wish you could get someone to send you?  While it’s certainly not an easy thing to do – it is possible…if you’ve got some marketing savvy.  That’s where this book comes in.

It won’t teach you how to pack or how to reach a mountain peak, but rather, it prepares you for the uphill climb of finding the appropriate sponsor, assuring them of your qualifications and finally putting together a sponsorship deal.  Blumenfeld even give you his top ten tips for obtaining sponsorships.

The deals are not easy to do, but if you’ve got a special talent and a special dream adventure, this book may be just what you need to get it financed.

240 pages

Doing Business God’s Way by Santiago Riviera

No matter what your business or life plan, there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it.  Riviera takes you step by step, aligning your goals with those of the creator.  In an easy-to-read book, Riviera helps you ground yourself and see life as it was meant to be lived.

While the business world can seem entirely unrelated to Christendom, there is a place for Christ in every business, and Riviera makes a good case for why sustainable businesses do just that.   Before you’re done, you’ll have a complete checklist to guide your journey.

Pocket Man by Scott Jordan

Just released, this fun-to-read book is written back the inventor of the SCOTTeVEST, the jacket or vest with dozens (literally) of pockets for every electronic gadget imaginable.  Told in a hilarious manner, it’s the story of how he promoted himself and his invention to enviable success in a short amount of time.  Not a step by step guide, but rather a series of stories and anecdotes that anyone could and should try to emulate if they want success for their business.

Grab a copy, get yourself a cold one and be prepared to not want to put this one down.  A great story and one that should give hope to many other serial entrepreneurs.