The call for intelligence is a call for open mindeness, sound judgement, and love for the truth. It is a call for men to rise above the stagnation of closed mindedness and the paralysis of gullibility. — Martin Luther King
For the past two years, I’ve had a personal goal of reading more books, and I got started with a goal of reading 20 pages a day. Two years later and I’ve not stuck to the habit of 20 pages a day, but I have designated time almost every day to read.
Another change I made is to start logging the ones I read on Goodreads, so I have a log of everything that I’ve read, and so I can see their year in reviews. This year I read 14,277 pages across 38 books, and I’m pretty confident this is the most I’ve read in a single year.
Although Goodreads is great for storing the dates and times, I read a book I want to start keeping my log here on the site. Below is what I read this year and I can honestly recommend all of them. Life is too short to complete a bad book and if I start one I don’t enjoy I put it down and move on. These are the ones that I finished, and I’ve put them into a few different categories:
Business / Work
These are books designed to either share business wisdom or work-life balance, and it’s one of my favorite categories of books. Out of all the books below my absolute favorite is The Millionaire Next Door which was written 20 years ago but still just as relevant. If you are interested in personal finance, I highly recommend it.
For the rest of the books, I’ve ordered them based on how much I liked each based on the knowledge gained. Of course, your mileage may vary so check out the Amazon reviews.
- The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy by Thomas J. Stanley & William D. Danko
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
- Deep Work by Cal Newport
- Rework by Jason Fried & DHH
- Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur by Derek Silvers
- Accounting Made Simple: Accounting Explained in 100 Pages or Less by Mike Piper
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
- Training Camp: What the Best Do Better Than Everyone Else by Jon Gordon
- A Beautiful Constraint: How To Transform Your Limitations Into Advantages, and Why It’s Everyone’s Business by Adam Morgan & Mark Barden
- Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine by Mike Michalowicz
- Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble by Dan Lyons.
- The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz
- The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive) by Brandon Sanderson This is book one in a three-part series and is the longest book I read at 1001 pages.
- Reckoners Series by Brandon Sanderson that includes Steelheart, Firefight, and Calamity.
- Harry Potter Half-Blood Prince (Book 6) and Deathly Hallows (Book 7) by J. K. Rowling. 18 years since the first Harry Potter came out and I finally finished the series. I’m honestly surprised it wasn’t spoiled for me.
- Age of Myth: Book One of The Legends of the First Empire by Michael J. Sullivan
- 11/22/63 by Stephen King
- Dune by Frank Herbert
- Artemis by Andy Weir
- Half a King by Joe Abercrombie. This book is part 1 of 3 in the Shattered Sea series.
- Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. I’ve been trying to get into the classics, and this was surprisingly fun.
This category is new to me. I feel like a lot of people in the world are only comfortable reading and associating with their existing beliefs and what confirms their biases. I was active in this category and this year I made it a point to not only read books on social issues but to read them from the point of view of the author while doing my best to remove all my biases and try and understand. It was an eye-opening experience and something I highly recommend you try.
The two books that took me down this path is Radical by David Platt and Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel by Russell Moore. As a Christian what I saw in my part of the world was not the same Gospel I read in the Bible, and these two books opened my eyes even more. Then they led me into Strength to Love by MLK and more of his work that outlined his fight both against racism and for justice. Which continued to open up even more authors including all the ones I finished below which touch on social issues, politics, and religion:
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
- Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. Vance
- Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
- The Fractured Republic: Renewing Americas Social Contract in the Age of Individualism by Yuval Levin
- The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt
Even after reading all these I still struggle to make sense of the world, I think we as a country need a stronger middle away from the crazy fringes of both left and right. One thing I have learned though is people do not want to challenge their own beliefs. Keep your head down, parrot the talking heads from your side and don’t think for yourself, otherwise, keep it to yourself or expect ridicule.
Biographies / History
I’ve always enjoyed reading and learning about history but this year I slacked off in this category and only read the following three:
- Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
- John Adams by David McCullough
- George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution by Brian Kilmeade & Don Yaeger
Out of these, I think I enjoyed Hamilton most just because I got to see the musical which was based on the book. I’ve yet to watch the John Adams mini-series but I’m assuming it’s really good as well.
Next year I hope to continue this trend and explore more classics that I should have read years ago but haven’t.