Looking to fill-in the gaps in your reading list for 2024? Out of the 35-plus books I read in the past year, these are the books that I enjoyed the most.
I’ve broken the recommendations into 3 categories – general recommendations (fiction, mostly from the sci-fi genre), personal development, and business. I’ve also included a list of “bonus reads” at the end. These are the books that I enjoyed a lot but wouldn’t say that you have to add to your 2024 list. These are entertaining reads that you can use to fill in any holes in your list.
- Infinite by Brian Freeman
Infinite is a techno-thriller built around the many worlds, many minds quantum physics concept. Dylan Moran’s world is turned upside down when his car plunges into a raging river and he is unable to save his wife. He starts questioning his perception of reality when a look-alike trailing him around town turns out to be another version of himself from a different space and time. Infinite is very well done and may even cause you to question your own perception of what’s real.
- The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab
A young girl who lives in rural France during the late 1600’s escapes an arranged marriage by making a deal with a dark spirit, presumably the devil. What are the terms of the deal? She is granted immortality and does not age, but no one remembers her after she leaves their presence, including her family. She eventually runs into someone who remembers her, which forces her to decide if she wants to continue living a life in which she effectively does not exist.
- Lost in Time by A.G. Riddle
By one of my favorite authors, Lost in Time tells the story of a man who confesses to his wife’s murder to save his daughter and is blackmailed into accepting a punishment that send him back in time over 200 million years. Another take on the quantum physics concept of many worlds, Lost in Time is a typically fast-paced Riddle novel that is hard to put down and will keep you engaged with a number of unexpected, well placed plot twists.
- Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman
Most books around time management give you methods and tools to get more things done in the same amount of, albeit limited, time we have available to us. Burkeman’s book on time management does not. He flips the concept of time management upside down by treating time not as something we have or own, but as something that is, kind of like the air we breathe. Four Thousand Weeks is more philosophical than action-oriented, but therein lies its power. It will change the way you think about time making you more productive. It does so not by showing you how to do more in the limited time we have, but by doing less. I found it so impactful that I decided to re-read it at the end of 2023 as a means to reset my mindset heading into 2024.
- Atomic Habits by James Clear
One of the books on my 2023 books to read list included Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg. If you read Tiny Habits, Atomic Habits isn’t going to cover a lot of new ground, but it will reinforce the same principles and give you another set of tools that will help you implement new, desirable habits into your routine. It also provides good advice on how to change existing routines and overcome bad habits. I consider Atomic Habits a foundational book along with others such as The Power of Habit, The Slight Edge, 7 Habits, and others.
- Go-Giver Influencer by Bob Burg and David Mann
Ever since reading the first Go-Giver book, I’ve been a fan of Burg and Mann’s work. The Go-Giver Influencer is another solid installment in this series that ranks right up there with the original. The story is short, to the point, and offers 5 solid takeaways that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine.
Business and Technology
- Privacy is Power by Carissa Veliz
The most important thing Privacy is Power will do is increase your awareness of why privacy on the internet matters. Veliz shows why we, collectively as users, need to ditch the attitude of “they [the big tech companies] already know everything so who cares”, or “I have nothing to hide so it doesn’t matter if my data is private.” There are so many things that could matter if our data were to fall into the wrong hands that our privacy absolutely does matter. And it’s this privacy that is the backbone of a working democracy. In other words, without privacy on the internet, the core tenets of democracy, such as freedom of speech, are at risk. While you might not learn anything new about how the big tech companies (mis)use our data or how to protect yourself online, it will help you understand why our privacy on the internet absolutely matters.
- The Wizard and the Prophet by Charles C. Mann
In simplistic terms, the fate of the human race can be broken down into two opposing camps. There are those who feel that technology can be used to solve all of humanity’s pressing problems like feeding the world, climate change, poverty, and more. On the other side are those who feel that we need to be better stewards of our planet’s limited resources, which includes limits on the number of people on the planet. Mann looks at the origins of both arguments, why the two factions are so opposed to one another, and why neither one is fundamentally wrong. What I took away from Mann’s book is that the two sides need to do a better job of working together rather than opposing one another if we want to conserve our planet’s limited resources while at the same time using technology in a way that benefits everyone who lives on this third rock from the sun.
- Infinite Powers by Stephen Strogatz
This is the book I wish I would have read before taking any advanced mathematics courses in high school or college. Whether you liked your advanced math classes, hated them, or avoided taking them, Infinite Powers is a fascinating read. Strogatz reveals the importance of advanced mathematics in unlocking the secrets of nature and the universe. He chronicles how mathematicians and scientists from the ancient Greeks through modern times used their imaginations, developed the concepts, and built on one another’s work to invent the advanced mathematical concepts that have been used to realize our modern day inventions. It was a tough read, as one would expect a book about math to be, but so worth the effort.
I’m not going to provide any details for the “bonus reads” but will link to the reviews on my site as they become available.