My 2019 reading list

As I do each year, I finished organizing my reading list for 2019 this past week. While my list is still ridiculously long at over 200 books, I did a better job of managing it during the past year. I read 27 books and only added 36 the list. Given I read 25-30 books per year, I’m still sitting around 8 years of backlog.

I’m at peace with the fact that the list is long. I’d rather have more on the list than less. The only challenge it creates is prioritizing what I want to read. I’ve developed a system to help me through the process. Here it is from last year’s post, with a couple of minor modifications:

  • 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 found 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 of their books 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 add a couple to the list 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 the imagination and help 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, or sooner.
  • 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 avoid trilogies and book series. I like sampling different authors and stories. I don’t want one author to dominate my reading throughout the year. However, I never say never. If a trilogy or book series is good, I’ll stick with it.

While I expect to get through 25-30 books again this year, I’ve split my list in two. The first list is my morning reads. These are the books that I read in the morning before starting work that help me focus my mindset and personal development. I read ~10-15 pages per day, which means I finish about one of my morning reads each month. The second list is my evening reads. These are my fun reads which are a mix of fiction and non-fiction topics that I find interesting. I’ll start with that list first, and then cover the morning reads.

The Fun List

  1. The Business Blockchain: Promise, Practice, and Application of the Next Internet Technology – William Mougayar
  2. The Subprimes – Karl Taro Greenfield
  3. Sourdough – Robin Sloan
  4. The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate Day, and Extended Fasting – Jason Fung
  5. Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue – Hugh Howey
  6. The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself – Sean Carroll
  7. On Basilik Station – David Weber
  8. Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think – Hans Rosling
  9. Silicon Man – William Massa
  10. Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain – David Eagleman
  11. Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable, and What We Can Do About It – Marc Goodman
  12. Get A Grip: An Entrepreneurial Fable…Your Journey to Get Real, Get Simple, and Get Results – Gino Wickman
  13. Company Town – Madeline Ashby
  14. Bandwidth – Eliot Peper
  15. Flash Boys – Michael Lewis
  16. Abandon – Blake Crouch
  17. The Jennifer Project – Larry Enright
  18. Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams – Tom DeMarco
  19. Everything We Keep – Kerry Lonsdale
  20. Aurora – Kim Stanley Robinson
  21. Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers – Gabriel Weinberg
  22. Post-Human – David Simpson
  23. The Term Sheet – Lucas Carlson
  24. Pandora’s Star – Peter F. Hamilton
  25. Origin – Dan Brown
  26. Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley – Antonio Garcia Martinez
  27. Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson
  28. Altered Carbon – Richard K. Morgan
  29. Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson
  30. Fat Chance – Nick Spalding
  31. The God’s Eye View – Barry Eisler
  32. The Final Day – William R. Forstchen
  33. How We’ll Live on Mars – Stephen L. Pertranek
  34. vN – Madeline Ashby
  35. (R)evolution – P.J. Manney
  36. Afterparty – Daryl Gregory
  37. New Moon – Ian McDonald
  38. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August – Claire North
  39. A Logic Named Joe – Murray Leinster
  40. Home – Matt Dunn

The Morning Reads

  1. Get It Done: The 21-Day Mind Hack System to Double Your Productivity and Finish What You Start – Michael Mackintosh
  2. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stree-Free Productivity – David Allen
  3. The Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs: Elevate Your SELF to Elevate Your Business – Hal Elrod
  4. Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time – Brian Tracy
  5. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success – Carol S. Dweck
  6. The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy – Jon Gordon
  7. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less – Greg McKeown
  8. The Go-Giver Leader: A Little Story About What Matters Most in Business – Bob Burg
  9. Ego Is the Enemy – Ryan Holiday
  10. Giving It All Away…and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously – David Green
  11. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable – Patrick Lencioni
  12. Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfilment – George Leonard
  13. Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor E. Frankl
  14. The Manual: A Philosopher’s Guide to Life – Epictetus
  15. 10-Minute Mindfulness: 71 Habits for Living in the Present Moment
  16. Principles – Ray Dalio
  17. On the Shortness of Life – Seneca
  18. Your Greatest Power – J. Martin Kohe

So, this year’s list has 58 books on it. I’ll be very happy if I can get through half of these. Either way, if there are any books that you feel I should add based on my criteria, feel free to add them in the comments. I’m looking forward to another productive year of reading.

By the way, if you’re curious about my past reading lists, here they are: