I just finished organizing my book wish list. It’s grown to nearly 180 books. if you look at my reading pace, around 25 books a year over the last three years, I have seven years worth of books in my queue. Given the pace at which I add books to my list, there are books I will never get to. Therefore, I have to have a system for creating and prioritizing my annual reading list.
Here are the criteria I use for my list
- I put a lot of weight on books that come from trusted sources. These can be friends, family, and people I know. It can be blogs and websites that I follow where I have gotten good suggestions in the past. I’ll also put a little extra weight on books recommended by authors whom I’ve read and like.
- There are authors that I like, a lot. I do my best to try and include at least one book of theirs on my reading list each year.
- Purchased books that have been aging on my Kindle get preference points.
- I like exploring new authors and try to fit a couple of those in each year, if there’s room.
- For fictional works, I stick primarily to the sci-fi genre, but not exclusively. I especially like those books that are geared more towards near-term, hard science fiction topics and/or artificial intelligence. I like how these books expand your imagination and help you to envision what’s possible. These books also foreshadow a lot of what could and will happen in technology over the next 15-20 years.
- Given my interest in sci-fi, I like including “classic” sci-fi works on my list. It’s fun reading books written 50 years ago and realizing that they are more relevant today than when they were written.
- My non-fiction reads center around four categories. The first is self-learning. These are books that help me manage my personal development. The second is business learning. These are books about sales, marketing, software development, leadership and management that cover topics applicable to my professional development. The third is founder and company stories, especially those told my third parties. I’m not a big fan of autobiographical accounts. The fourth category is around health and nutrition. I’ve found it important to read a couple of books from this genre every year. It reinforces good habits, helps me to pick up new ones, and keeps me current on the latest findings.
- I do my best to stay away from trilogies and book series. I like sampling different authors and stories. I don’t want one author to monopolize my reading time over the course of the year. However, I never say never. If a trilogy or book series is good, I’ll stick with it.
After applying that criteria to my overwhelmingly large list, I had a very hard time reducing it to my intended list of 25 for the year. Therefore, I’m going to do something a little different this time around. Below are the first 50 books on my list. I’m not going to get through all of them. I expect that I’ll probably get through around 20 or so, as I’m sure there will be a few books that come up during the year that will cut the line.
The reason I’m going to list out 50 is to get input and crowd-source my list. In other words, if you see a book on my list that you think I should prioritize up or down for any reason, leave your input in the comments.
I have to say that I’m really happy with the list of books I have for next year. I’m looking forward to digging in and just hope that I can get through a few more than I have in previous years. Reading over 30 books for the year is my stretch goal and would be awesome.
Without further adieu, here’s the 2017 list of books:
- Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want from Your Business – Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters (completed – review posted)
- The Belial Stone – R.D. Brady (completed – review posted)
- Startup Growth Engines: Case Studies of How Today’s Most Successful Startups Unlock Extraordinary Growth – Sean Ellis, Morgan Brown (completed – review posted)
- The Three-Body Problem – Liu Cixin (completed – review posted)
- Elon Musk – Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future – Ashlee Vance
- 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey (completed – review posted)
- The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
- Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill
- Born to Run – Christopher McDougall
- One Year After – William Forstchen
- Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business – Danny Meyer
- The Hurricane – Hugh Howey
- It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways – Dallas & Melissa Hartwig
- Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time – Jeff and JJ Sutherland
- Cumulus – Eliot Peper
- The Power of Positive Thinking: 10 Traits for Maximum Results – Dr. Norman Vincent Peale
- The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics – Daniel James Brown
- Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep – Philip K. Dick
- The Endurance Handbook: How to Achieve Athletic Potential, Stay Healthy, and Get the Most Out of Your Body – Philip Maffetone
- Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies – Nick Bostrom
- The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet – Becky Chambers
- The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work – Shawn Achor
- The Everything Box: A Novel (Another Coop Heist) – Richard Kadrey
- Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike – Phil Knight
- Dark Matter – Blake Crouch
- As a Man Thinketh – James Allen
- Stories of Your Life and Others – Ted Chiang
- The Glass Cage: Automation and Us – Nicholas Carr
- Armada – Ernest Cline
- Intel Trinity,The: How Robert Noyce, Gordon Moore, and Andy Grove Built the World’s Most Important Company – Michael S. Malone
- Company (Vintage Contemporaries) – Max Barry
- Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain – David Eagleman
- Get A Grip: An Entrepreneurial Fable . . . Your Journey to Get Real, Get Simple, and Get Results – Gino Wickman, Mike Paton
- The Stone Man – Luke Smitherd
- Orphan Train – Christina Baker Kline
- Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action – Simon Sinek
- Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt – Michael Lewis
- Zero Hour – A Short Story – Eamon Ambrose
- Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days – Jake Knapp
- The Subprimes – Karl Taro Greenfield
- Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley – Antonio Garcia Martinez
- A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles – Marianne Williamson
- Post-Human Omnibus Edition – David Simpson
- Natural Born Heroes – Christopher McDougall
- Pandora’s Star – Peter Hamilton
- On Basilisk Station – David Weber
- The Term Sheet – Lucas Carlson
- Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson
- Hot Seat: The Startup CEO Guidebook – Dan Shapiro
- The God’s Eye View – Barry Eisler
Once again, given what you see above, let me know if there are any books you would suggest I add to the list. I’m also open to any books that should be moved up (or down) the list. Thanks!
If you’re curious here are my reading lists for the past three years: