My 2015-2016 Reading List

I finally get to post my third summary edition of a year's worth of reading (for reference, here's the first year and second year). From April 2015 to March 2016, I've managed to read, and learn from, a total of 74 books. That's 217 in total since becoming truly free to pursue.

I can't believe I've just wrapped up three years of what I consider hard-core reading. I love diving into so many exciting topics and it gets even better when I get to draw connections between subjects and ideas I previously thought unrelated. 

An unexpected benefit of all this reading and this blog is how the two have come together. Through Free to Pursue, I've found the opportunity to not only share what achieving and living FI means and offers, but also to help put great new ideas I stumble upon out there in a meaningful way for the vast majority of us who would never manage to get through so many books. Whether you've been moved to read one of my book recommendations or have benefitted from some of the "lightbulb moments" I've shared, I always appreciate hearing the information put forward in these and regular posts are useful. I often feel you fuel me more than the other way around.

I finally read Pirsig's Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance this year and I'm grateful I did. It was so powerful, it's one of the rare books I decided to make a permanent part of my library. 

It helped me understand why I've learned more through self-education than I ever did in structured learning. It turns out you learn more when there's no external driver to your accomplishments, just your appetite to discover. Grades and set curricula tend to kill the appetite for learning. We seek direction from the outside and just try to "get through" the learning process, as opposed to thrive within it.

When we're free to explore, driven only by our curiosity, the information sticks. It sticks because it's interesting. To us. Now. Not only that, but satisfying our curiosity in one area usually makes us aware of other topics that might interest us just as much, if not more. 

The result is that my reading list grows exponentially. For every book I read, ten more titles seem to end up on the list. Of course, I will never get through them all, as interests change, the recency effect often dictates choices in the moment and, well, there are only so many hours in the day and one can only read so much.

As an aside: If you want to get a sense of the insights I've gained from becoming an avid reader, you may want to check out this post.

The books below represent the full list of what I've read cover to cover this past year. If they become favourites, then they either fuel some posts or they appear on a list of book recommendations. I know I can offer more in this area and, if you have suggestions on how you'd like me to organize recommendations, I'm all ears. For now, my list of Top 12 Life-enhancing Books is the best place to start.


I abandoned more books in this third year than in any other (these books don't make the list). I think this "book sampling" helps me better understand where my interests lie and what type of writer I most enjoy. Plus, with such a large reading list, I'm not going to invest in a book that doesn't captivate my interest. If feels too much like school and the material doesn't stick anyway because I just can't get lost in it.

The 74 books I did manage to finish this past year, despite a schedule that's been more full than the previous two, included a number of topics, namely money (finance, investing, economics, the wealth gap), health and wellness (food and exercise), and philosophy and psychology (happiness, culture, learning and shopping vs minimalism). I also managed to increase my consumption of works of fiction and memoirs and/or autobiographies to a dozen books. I'm rediscovering that books offer insights into the human experience in ways we rarely share directly with one another and these insights are as, if not more, powerful than learning about the world around us.

Sources for My Ever-growing Wish List

As introduce above, there's no set method to how I choose what I'll read next, really. I depend on recommendations from F2P readers, fellow bloggers, podcasters, conference keynotes, writers, friends and family.

I have the following people/sources to thank for suggestions that made it on the list below: Eric BarkerRaptitudeStacking BenjaminsAustin Kleon, and The Escape Artist. I also tend to follow the book recommendations of authors whose books I enjoyed, so many of those listed early in the year lead me to books later in the year. Other sources of inspiration include Ted, documentaries available on Netflix and VimeoThe School of Life, a conference I attended every September and "further reading" ideas and references within books I'm currently reading.

The desire to research a topic I want to write about on this blog also drives my reading choices. My eagerness to attempt to offer well-informed commentary lead me to read and write about pharmaceuticalsurban livingbalanceinvestingthinking and the impact of lifestyle.

I do also appreciate the suggestions I receive from family, friends and F2P readers (thanks Daniel and Haddie for suggestions for the the coming year). Any way of narrowing down the myriad of reading options available is always helpful because, no matter how voracious one's appetite, there's simply no way to read it all. Though, I admit that I've learned the hard way to ask what else someone has read and enjoyed when they choose to recommend a book. Context is everything.

A Year of Books

Here is the past year's reading list, in all its glory, from earliest to most recently read. The book covers you see are my top picks of the past year. 

Apparently, this year was a bit different. I started off reading far more than in later months. Early 2016 has been a very busy time and, though I still read roughly a book a week, that's hardly in line with my usual pace. We'll see how the 2016-2017 stretch goes.


April (12):

May (4):

June (7):

July (10):

August (5):

September (4):

October (8):

November (5):

December (6):

January (5):

February (5):

March (3):

What's Up Next? 

I'm likely going to be into strategic thinking, education and behavioural economics and psychology for a while, with an additional sprinkling of fiction (inspired by To Kill and Mockingbird and The Little Prince this past year, what powerful reads!) and "how stuff works" topics, likely inspired by How We Got To Now.


Having a peek at the sidebar to the right is the best way to see what I've recently read and where I'm headed next. I usually update it every week or so, depending on how many books I manage to devour. A word of caution though, some of my "Currently Reading" ends up being trashed in favour of better selections if they can't keep my interest. I'd suggest going with "Just Finished" instead to know what I've enjoyed and likely what I'll be writing about next in the coming weeks/months.

Related to "Just Finished", I couldn't have chosen a better book to finish this latest 12-month stretch. I read When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi in a single day because I just couldn't put it down. It's a must read for anyone wanting to learn from a man who sought to understand how to live well by finding purpose and meaning, from his childhood to the every end of his all-too-short life.

Kalanithi has rekindled my appetite to explore the classics. Somehow, many of these works—which inspired him to live his best life—explore the human condition to greater depths than most modern works. Maybe time to ponder was a more valued part of life than it is today. 

What about you? Anything in the list above you loved? Hated? I'd appreciate hearing what you've found to be some worthwhile reads...and what to avoid! 

And, if you have any questions about the titles above, drop me a line or leave a comment and I'll be sure to respond.

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