In 2014, I read 27 books. I realize that some people may read that many over a month or two, but it was a lot by my standards. I had a goal to get through a list of 20. and I managed to finish 19 of them. Only 8 jumped the queue during the year.
Based on the books I read, here are my recommendation to seed your reading list for 2015. There’s a mix of fiction, non-fiction and business books on the list. The fiction books are going to tend toward the science fiction genre, and the non-fiction/business books will lean towards technology readings. Even if you’re not into science fiction, I’d still suggest picking up a couple of the books on this list. They’re just that good.
I’ve also segmented this year’s list into general recommendations, specific business book recommendations, books I found interesting that aren’t in my Must Reads category, and a couple of recommendation reminders from last year, just in case you didn’t read them yet.
With that out of the way, here’s my recommended reading list for 2015.
Recommended Reading List for 2015
- The Martian by Andy Weir
It’s 30+ years in the future. NASA is sending manned missions to Mars. An astronaut is accidentally left behind. You’ll have to read the rest. The book has everything – drama, action, adventure, political theater, excellent writing, humor, and a lot of hard science fiction. You’ll wonder why we haven’t already sent a man to Mars.
- The Circle by Dave Eggers
What do you get when you combine Google, Facebook, Apple, Twitter, and countless other Silicon Valley companies and stereotypes? You get The Circle. Given where technology is heading, this book will freak you out and may make you want to start living off the grid. It’s a modern day interpretation of Huxley’s Brave New World, and elements of The Circle are starting to become a bit too real for my liking.
- Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
The antidote to The Circle. Based on the title, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it’s a fun, whimsical adventure that will restore your faith in humanity after reading Eggers work.
- Hatching Twitter by Nick Bolton
If you subscribe to the theory that truth is stranger than fiction, then you’ll love this tale about the origins of Twitter. The subtitle of the book, “A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal”, says it all. You’ll read this story and realize that Twitter somehow survived in spite of itself.
- Trust Me I’m Lying by Ryan Holiday
This book is a non-fiction work of how the author manipulated online media outlets to create viral stories that in some cases where picked up by major networks such as CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC. If this book doesn’t change the way you read and watch the news both online and offline, then nothing will. It may even teach you a few tricks about how to create your very own online marketing machine.
- The Atlantis World by A.G. Riddle
This is the third and final installment of The Origin Mystery Trilogy. To do this book justice, you need to read The Atlantis Gene and The Atlantis Plague first. I’m not one for trilogies or book series, but this one is worth it.
- One Second After by William R. Forstchen
Terrorists strike the United States with an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) weapon. It’s a fictional, but realistic look at what could happen if all the electronics we depend on every day were suddenly incapacitated. Once you get over realizing how fragile we’ve become due to our reliance on technology, you may decide becoming a “prepper” isn’t such a bad idea after all.
- Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson
In a future version of society filled with all sorts of artificial intelligence (AI) beings, things spiral out of control when the AI becomes smarter than the humans. It’s worth a read to understand why AI safeguards are a topic that needs discussed before, not after, the unthinkable happens.
- Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
The 80’s pop culture references littered throughout this story should be enough for anyone who lived during that time to put this one on their reading list. Turns out the story surrounding those references is pretty good, too. It’s the classic struggle of good vs evil.
If you’re looking for a couple of good business books to read, I’d strongly recommend the following. Even though they are geared more toward the technology start-up, there are lessons any company can take away as it applies to online marketing. I strongly recommend reading them in the order presented below.
- Running Lean – Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works by Ash Maurya
There’s a ton of simple lessons you can take from this book – too many to list here.
- Lean Analytics – Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster by Allistair Croll and Ben Yoskovitz
Unfortunately, I read these two books in the wrong order. There’s a lot you can take from Lean Analytics, especially if you read Running Lean first.
There were a few books that I read last year that didn’t make my Must Reads category. They were good, and well written, but they were geared more toward general entertainment. In other words (with the exception of The Case of the Wilted Broccoli), these are great vacation, plane or long weekend reads.
- The Case of the Wilted Broccoli by Will Hertling
What do you do when you’re favorite author writes a children’s book? You read it, of course. If you have school age children get a copy for both of you to read. It’s a fun book that both you and your children can enjoy together and talk about.
- Brilliance by Marcus Sakey
Action-packed thriller that will keep you entertained cover-to-cover.
- Wired by Douglas E. Richards
The numerous plot twists in this thrill-based novel will keep you guessing until the end.
- The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
An interesting take on a classic theme – an alien invasion.
In case you missed it
If you missed my recommended reading list for 2014, I still suggest reading any or all of the books from that list. If you don’t have time to read them all, I would strongly recommend William Hertling’s Singularity Series, Daemon and Freedom by Daniel Suarez, and the Silo Series by Hugh Howey.
Finally, remember that you can see my latest recommended reads at any time in my Must Read category available here or in the Category sidebar. You can also see a review of all the books I’ve read here or by clicking on the Book Reviews category in the sidebar.
By the way, if there are any books you would recommend for 2015, feel free to leave them in the comments!