Another year of reading has flown by! For those of you die hards who wait for my updated reading lists, I've moved from quarterly updates to an annual summary now that I have a "Reads and Reviews" (aka "Books") section in the top navigation bar. There, you can view my reading list to date, past years' reading lists and the image of all books read since April 2013, aka the F2P "Wall of Books":
From April 2016 to March 2017, I've managed to read, and learn from, a total of 70 books. That's 287 in total since becoming truly free to pursue.
I'm now up to four years of what I consider hardcore reading that I started, for all intents and purposes, by accident. 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.
I've appreciated the continued opportunity to share some of the big (and not so big) ideas these books contain and have even expanded my references to them by reviewing some of these as part of a new Book Reviews series in collaboration with Rockstar Finance. Whether you're an avid, occasional or non-reader, I'm hoping you find some of the references, quotes and reviews sprinkled here and there on this blog useful and—hopefully on occasion—thought provoking.
This year, I chose to revisit some classics, including "Animal Farm", "Brave New World", "Fahrenheit 451" and, still on my list as partly reread, "1984". Somehow, with everything going on in this crazy world, these selections felt appropriate. Along with those, Neil Postman's non-fiction "Technopoly" was also rather and fitting within this mix. Postman's prescience blew me away.
I'm also grateful to have discovered some great works on learning and productivity, including:
- All works on learning and creativity from Ken Robinson and Anders Ericsson
- Tony Schwartz's latest books on productivity and engagement
- The latest from Cal Newport, Nicholas Carr and Winifred Gallagher on how to regain our hold on attention in this increasingly connected world (and it matters because deep attention makes us happier and more fulfilled)
- Even a book that I thought controversial (at least for me) and somewhat repugnant: Pierre Bayard's "How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read"
A final theme was money and relationships. You'll see a number of books below that address this theme, from the small to the voluminous, these books share stories and approaches that I appreciated as I try to better understand how money both exemplifies and amplifies what we care about, no matter what we we think or say. These works solidified in me the understanding that money's impact on our lives and relationships can run surprisingly deep.
The books listed below represent the full list of what I've read cover to cover this past year. If they became favourites, and many either fuelled some posts or appeared 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.
I abandoned SO many books this year. As always, these books don't make the list (for more on my book-reading process, see this post). It was well within the thirty percent range, and some I dropped even having made it two-thirds of the way through because I just couldn't read another page. I think I'm just not as patient as I used to be to follow someone's writing when I feel they weren't all that invested in it (either by not thoroughly exploring their ideas, writing it just for the money, or being so verbose and boring that it seemed the reading would never end). And there's no shortage of books to read so why bother slugging through a selection that's just not doing it for me?
The 70 books I did manage to finish this past year, despite a schedule that's been more full than the previous three, included a wide range of topics, beyond those I highlighted above, such as the human condition in general, speaking, psychology, philosophy, health and wellness (food and exercise), minimalism, and entrepreneurship.
...the insights hit harder when I'm not looking for them.
I'm also continuing my explorations of a greater number of works of fiction beyond the classics. It's wonderful to get into a character's head in a way we can never do when spending time with a friend, family member or stranger in real life. I seem to learn just as much, if not more, from these books. I think it's because my guard is down as I get lost in the story and the insights hit harder when I'm not looking for them.
Sources for My Ever Growing Wish List
As introduced above, there's no set method to how I choose what I'll read next, really. I depend on recommendations from you the 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 Barker, Farnam Street, Ryan Holiday, J. Money, The Escape Artist and authors who send books my way. (Though I never make a promise to read a given book...that would defeat the purpose of being free to pursue, wouldn't it?)
I also tend to follow the book recommendations of authors whose books I enjoyed, so many of those listed in the first half of the year informed my selections later on. Other sources of inspiration include Ted, documentaries available on Netflix and Vimeo, The School of Life, and a conference I attended every September and "further reading" ideas.
A Year of Books
Here is the past year's reading list, from earliest to most recently read. The book covers you see are my top picks of the past year.
Similar to last year's pattern, the back end of the year is much more loaded with titles than the first half. I think it might in part be weather related. (Who wants to read tons when the sun is shining?) Only time will tell whether this pattern will continue this year.
- The Narcissism Epidemic by Jean M. Twenge and Keith Campbell
- We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- I Know I am But What Are You? by Samantha Bee
- Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative by Ken Robinson
- Peak by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool
- Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton
- The Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins
- Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel
- A Mouthful of Air by Amy Koppelman
- Cesar Millan's Short Guide to a Happy Dog by Cesar Millan
- Cesar's Way by Cesar Millan
- Will It Fly? by Pat Flynn
- Our Iceberg Is Melting by John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber
- One Beg One Bank Account & Workbook by Derek & Carrie Olsen
- The Recovering Spender by Lauren Greutman
- Deep Work by Cal Newport
- Ego Is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
- RAPT by Winifred Gallagher
- The WAR of ART by Steven Pressfield
- Payoff: The Hidden Logic that Shapes Our Motivations by Dan Ariely
- How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World by Harry Browne
- Money Talks: When to Say Yes and How to Say No by Gail Vaz-Oxlade
- Barking From the Front Porch by Gerald Sliva
- No News Is Bad News by Ian Gill
- How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read by Pierre Bayard
- The More of Less by Joshua Becker
- Simplify by Joshua Becker
- Enough by Patrick Rhone
- My Exile Lifestyle by Colin Wright
- You Can Buy Happiness (and It's Cheap) by Tammy Strobel
- Do Less, Get More by Shaa Wasmund
- The Butterfly Effect: How Your Life Matters by Andy Andrews
- Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology by Neil Postman
- Rich Habits by Thomas C. Corley
- Pogue's Basics: Money by David Pogue
- Work Less, Live More by Robert Clyatt
- The Power of Full Engagement by Tony Schwartz
- The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock
- The Index Card by Helaine Olen and Harold Pollack
- Knockemstiff by Donald Ray Pollock
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
- Get a Life, Not a Job by Paula Caligiuri
- Scuba Diving Safety by Dan Orr and Eric Douglas
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
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