Another year of reading has come and gone. From April 2017 to March 2018 I've read and learned something from a total of 34 books. That's 321 in total since becoming truly free to pursue, but it's far from my usual 60-70 books per year.
I slowed down this year for a number of reasons, but I don't intend to continue this unfortunate trend, despite viewing this tracking as a reductionist measurement that really doesn't consider what's involved in the act of reading itself.
This is not a race. It's a worthwhile activity, no matter how we approach it and it offers much more context and consideration than the sound bites we tend to get from other information sources.
I can't believe it's now been five years of reading, writing and coaching since I left my corporate job in 2013. It feels surreal.
I'm so fortunate to be in a position to exercise my desire to be a perpetual student on an at-least-part-time basis. My nose is in a book almost daily and it fuels a great deal of my learning, writing and speaking.
Some of the highlights of this year of reading include Eric Barker's Barking Up The Wrong Tree, The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes, The Year of Less by Cait Flanders, Do Over by Jon Acuff and The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander.
Every year I notice some themes emerging in my selections. This year, some of my selections have been fuelled by:
- A continued fascination with behavioural economics, probably because I still want to better understand my own behaviour when it comes to money
- A desire to improve my technical skills in order to launch a YouTube channel (or two)
- A pull toward older books to remind me that many ideas we think are "new" are anything but. (Two examples: The Naked Ape by Desmond Morris and The Culture of Narcissism by Christopher Lasch)
- The #MeToo movement, in an effort to better understand how we got to where we are
- Trying to get my head around worrying trends in geopolitics
The books listed below represent the full list of what I've read cover to cover this past year and many of them were quoted in my writing and/or appeared as book recommendations where appropriate during the same period.
Of note is that, again this year, there are SO MANY books I started to read but abandoned or set aside for a wide variety of reasons, the concept being somewhat explained in my post on How I Read Books. My abandon rate this year was far higher than usual. Not sure why that is but I suspect it might be attributable to the following:
1. I found myself preoccupied with matters on too many fronts that made it harder to focus on this activity for a bit.
2. There are a number of books from which I just wanted to extract some specific information and didn't intend to finish the volume, at least for now. One such book is How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren, which I consider more of a reference than a cover-to-cover read.
And, as I stated in last year's review, there's no shortage of books to read so why bother slugging through a selection that's just not doing it for me?
Sources for My Ever Growing Wish List
I've never had a set method to how I choose what I'll read next, really. I depend on recommendations from you dear 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, J. Money, The Escape Artist, Raptitude and authors who send books my way, either to proof or as the final release. (Though I never make a promise to read a given book...that would defeat the purpose of being Free to Pursue, wouldn't it?)
A Year of Books
Here is the past year's reading list, a total of 34 books, from least to most recently read. The book covers I chose to display represent my favourite picks.
April 2017 to March 2018
- Unshakeable by Tony Robbins
- Hustle Away Debt by David Carlson
- Barking Up The Wrong Tree by Eric Barker
- The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty by Dan Ariely
- Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight
- The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes
- Advice for My Younger Self by Michael Leonard
- Wedding Toasts I'll Never Give by Ada Calhoun
- The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight
- Why I Am Not A Feminist by Jesse Crispin
- Mind Over Money by Claudia Hammond
- Brotopia by Emily Chang
- The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander
- The Naked Ape by Desmond Morris
- Shopaholic Ties the Knot by Sophie Kinsella
- The Culture of Narcissism by Christopher Lasch
Looking forward, the 2018-2019 year of reading looks promising. My focus, at least at the beginning, will be to read books that I already own so that I can release them into the wild and have others enjoy them as opposed to letting them collect (further) dust on my bookshelves. Who knows, I may pass them on at my favourite yearly conference, which I featured in this article.
I won't miss them. The books I can readily get from the library will most certainly fill the void, as they have trustily done for years now.
What are your reading plans for this year? I'd love to hear your favourites.
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