I have a weird relationship with books. Some years, I can easily read a book a week (especially when I get obsessed with one topic) and other years, I will be lucky if I read at least five books.
I think I love books because of the distilled knowledge and wisdom that are locked inside of them. I only read non-fiction books although that I might change that this year. Maybe next year since the theme for 2020 is biographies / autobiographies…
Here is a running list of the books that I read in 2020:
12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Petersen
It took me a while to get through this book. I actually read very slowly and books like this that are filled with so much wisdom take me a while to digest. What can I say about this book that has not already been said? I highly recommend reading it if you like his online lectures.
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone
I decided to read more biographies after finishing Walter Isaacson’s book on Steve Jobs. In this book on Jeff Bezos, Brad Stone does a good job of describing the Founder of Amazon as human, after all. We often idolize tech CEOs like Steve Jobs, Larry Page, or Elon Musk, but the author gives us some much-needed context. You can love or hate him, but it is undeniable that Jeff Bezos has revolutionized the e-commerce landscape forever.
Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
Jocko Willink spent 20 years in the US Navy Seals and was deployed to Ramadi during the Operation Freedom Iraq. After retiring from the military, he set up Echelon Front, a leadership consulting firm, with co-author Leif Babin. Each chapter has a story from their time in service and then discusses a leadership principle. The book is worth reading if you are interested in learning more about leadership from well-seasoned veterans.
Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek
The author of Start With Why followed up on his bestseller with this book on leadership. Simon Sinek explores the difference between being having authority (because of your role) and being a true leader.
Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
It seems like everyone is talking about Big Data and its potential to revolutionize the way that we do business. I randomly stumbled upon this book from Seth Stephens-Davidowitz that takes a interesting spin on what our data, from Google searches amongst other searches, says about who we are and how we behave.
Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know by Malcolm Gladwell
Malcom Gladwell is definitely one of my favorite authors. I discovered his works when one of my good friends suggested that I read Outliers. It was required reading before her freshman at Stanford.
In his latest book, Gladwell effectively argues that we do not know how to interact with people that are not like us. The tools that we usually are ineffective when we talk to strangers and not adapting leads to misunderstanding and conflict.
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
Trevor Noah’s story is incredible! From being literally born a crime as a mixed kid in Apartheid to being the host of the Daily Show on Comedy Central, his path is nothing short of amazing. I listened to this in audiobook format which made the experience even better since he reads the story himself with his usual mastery of accents. It is worth reading until the end as the last chapter of the story focuses on his mom’s life and is really powerful!
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
This book, originally published in 1946, is the recollection of the author’s experiences as a prisoner in the Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War. That might sound depressing, but I assure you that the book is nothing but. It is uplifting and contains nuggets of timeless wisdom that are the basis for logotherapy.
Ikigai: The Japanese Secret To A Long And Happy Life by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles
I stumbled upon this book randomly, but it was a nice read after my last book. It touches on the secrets of a long life and how that’s linked to finding one’s purpose in life. For those interested, I have a written an article that discusses the 10 rules that summarize the book.
Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins
Joe Rogan mentioned this book in his podcast but it was only after Tucker Max mentioned it in his webinar on how to write a book that I figured that I might as well give it a try. The book did not disappoint! David Goggins takes his through his life from growing up with an abusive father to becoming an ultra-endurance athlete, motivational speaker and overall inspiring guy!
Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue by Ryan Holiday
Along with Adam Grant and Zack O’Malley Greenburg, Ryan Holiday is one of my favorite authors. He tweeted about this book and as the groupie that I am, I bought it right away for my Kindle. Funnily enough I had not heard about the Gawker story, but this book was fascinating especially when you think of all the research that Ryan had to do to write something that is very different than his other books.
Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man by Mary L. Trump
Even after finishing this book, I still don’t know what to think about it. The book made the headlines when it was released, so I will let you make up your own mind about it.
The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber
This is one of those books that’s been on my Amazon list for years and I finally came around to reading it this year. So far, it has been the most instructive business book that I have read so far this year. It made me think of why some businesses work and others fail and gave me a framework for my next ventures. If you have not read it yet, you should go yourself a copy today!
Aesop and the CEO: Powerful Business Insights from Aesop’s Ancient Fables by David Noonan
In this book, the author shares powerful business insights through the morals present in Aesop’s fables. It’s a light instructive book and the short stories make it easy to read.