I love books. Always have and likely always will. Non-fiction is a preference, without keeping to that genre exclusively. Favourites range from healthy lifestyle, philosophy and happiness; to personal finance, investing and economics, to business, productivity and marketing; and, of course, include web design, writing and blogging.
Note: You may want to check out "Books" in the navigation bar above to see the lists of books I've read in last few years. This list is updated quarterly. You can also see what book I'm currently reading in the right-hand navigation bar.
Given I read this much, I thought why not share insights gained by reading copious amounts? For starters, I thought I'd offer a short list of the top book(s) by category.
Do you have a favourite you'd like to recommend? If so, please use the comment section to add to top recommendations.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey: Hands down one of the most important career book you can ever read. This one I keep in my library for reference. Stephen's writing helps you become a better person and a better professional, all in one volume. Priceless and timeless.
The Lazy Investor by Derek Foster: Truthfully, anything by Derek Foster is worth a read. His easy writing style and personal success in investing, not to mention his and ability to retire in his early 30s, make his books worthy of a serious look. Derek is open and up front about how he views investing and, even better, he allows you to see how he evolves in his own views about investing, book after book. He also offers a unique Canadian perspective.
The Millionaire Next Door, and all his other titles for that matter, by Stanley J. Thomas is a good read for individuals who have more of a focus on maximizing income as opposed to focusing on expense - where the greater potential for wealth accumulation lies. Thomas's research frames that beliefs and personal perception are what is most important to accumulating wealth. Millionaires work diligently, tend to be understated, and are more generous than the rest of the population. Do you drive a second-hand Toyota? You might be one. This book is a fun and informative read.
The Last Lecture: Randy Pausch got it. This book, and his lecture at Carnegie Mellon University hit home. He asked us to dare to dream and fulfill the dreams we have for ourselves from childhood to adulthood. His powerful message is one of purpose, desire and fulfillment. He gave the world a gift to cherish for years to come before dying far too young.
Steve Jobs Biography by Walter Isaacson: This is a powerful book, along with Jobs' Stanford Commencement Address. It is not included it in the business section because the book does two things: It tells you to pursue your passion and love in life and also tells you everything you should know about how not to manage people. Knowing what drove him was what made Steve Jobs' life fulfilling and others willing to follow him, not his management abilities.
The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz: Why is is that, despite an ever-increasing standard of living, along with ever increasing options, we are increasingly dissatisfied with our lives? Barry does an excellent job of framing the issues that drive this dissatisfaction and convincingly concludes that more is in fact less. Barry has also delivered an excellent Ted Talk on some of the themes of the book.
Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes: Hands down the best book on nutrition available today and that's coming from having read over 30 and counting. Gary is the investigative journalist who single-handedly helped debunk cold fusion and, based on a suggestion, did the same in the field of nutrition. It is a hefty 450+-page book, but if you can't stomach the entire volume, I suggest reading the top 10 takeaways from the extensive research he conducted, which is available on page 454.
Your Money or Your Life by Joseph R. Dominguez: I now have a graph taped to my bedroom wall as a result of reading this book. Based on personal experience, the authors suggest that seeking freedom from financial pursuits is the ultimate objective for a happy life and that, as a result, measuring your progress of toward this objective should be front and center, since we all know that "what gets measured gets done". The book includes many examples of individuals or couples who achieved financial independence by following the tenets within it. It can act as a source of inspiration for anyone who feels that true financial independence is beyond reach.
Money and the Meaning of Life by Jacob Needleman: I was unsure whether to include this book under the "money" or "philosophy" header, as it really is the author's introspection on the place money has or should have in our lives and the personal struggle he has had and continues to have with it. This book is a bit of a tougher read. The author's writing style is not as approachable, but the main messages he offers are valuable and worth the investment.
Bloggers Bootcamp by Charlie White and John Biggs: This is a no nonsense resource that can help any blogger set up and run a (hopefully) successful blog. The authors' conversational style makes it an easy read and you really get a sense that they want to share their knowledge and expertise to make the blogosphere a better place.
Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely: A wonderful book that identifies predictable pitfalls associated with the human condition. Our lizard brain is more involved in decision making than we would like to admit, or worse, than we realize. Want to understand your predictably irrational behaviour? Read this book! If you want a preview of the themes Dan discusses at length, here's his Ted Talk.
I will admit right up front that I am not a big fan of fiction. I tend to read non-fiction and technical "how to" books. Despite this fact, here are a few favourites.
1984 by George Orwell: Wow! Big brother writing at its finest. George Orwell's suggestions about our potential future appears more insightful than any one of us could have initially envisioned. Reading this book provides an important reminder that we must guard our individual rights and be cautious with respect to whether we should accept any and all technological and societal change.
The Hobbit by Tolkein: A wonderful and whimsical read. I think everyone should read this delightful book. It is an escape from the every day and will leave you feeling light on your feet. Tolkien helps the reader get lost in the story and feel s/he is there, right along with Frodo. The story warms your heart and fuels your imagination. The book is hard to put down. I dare you to try.
The Wealthy Barber by David Chilton: Yes, it's an investment book, but it's written as a novel, so it's under fiction. I love this book because it is an easy read, the concepts are presented as common sense ideas and it's just plain fun. If there is a book I would recommend to anyone who is unsure about how to handle their personal finances, this is it.
A Guide to the Good Life by William B. Irvine: Stoics have had a bad wrap. Irvine provides a modern take on the practice of stoicism and offers compelling arguments for its practice in our everyday lives. His approach and suggestions on how to apply stoic practices to everyday life are compelling and can certainly, if applied, enhanced one's quality of life. I strongly recommend reading this work. You may wish to dispense with the history of stoicism, which he covers in detail at the beginning of the book and skip right to the meat of the text - how stoic beliefs can be applied to everyday problems we encounter as we live our lives.
I am sure I will add to and modify this list over time, but this is the short list for now.
Do you have any books to recommend?