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
- The Business Blockchain: Promise, Practice, and Application of the Next Internet Technology – William Mougayar (completed – review posted)
- The Subprimes – Karl Taro Greenfield (completed – review posted)
- Sourdough – Robin Sloan (completed – review posted)
- The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate Day, and Extended Fasting – Jason Fung (completed – review posted)
- Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue – Hugh Howey (completed – review posted)
- The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself – Sean Carroll (completed – review posted)
- On Basilik Station – David Weber (completed)
- Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think – Hans Rosling (completed)
Silicon Man – William Massa (removed – book unavailable)
- Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain – David Eagleman (completed)
- Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable, and What We Can Do About It – Marc Goodman (completed)
- Get A Grip: An Entrepreneurial Fable…Your Journey to Get Real, Get Simple, and Get Results – Gino Wickman (completed)
- Company Town – Madeline Ashby
- Bandwidth – Eliot Peper
- Flash Boys – Michael Lewis
- Abandon – Blake Crouch
- The Jennifer Project – Larry Enright
- Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams – Tom DeMarco
- Everything We Keep – Kerry Lonsdale
- Aurora – Kim Stanley Robinson
- Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers – Gabriel Weinberg
- Post-Human – David Simpson
- The Term Sheet – Lucas Carlson
- Pandora’s Star – Peter F. Hamilton
- Origin – Dan Brown
- Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley – Antonio Garcia Martinez
- Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson
- Altered Carbon – Richard K. Morgan
- Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson
- Fat Chance – Nick Spalding
- The God’s Eye View – Barry Eisler
- The Final Day – William R. Forstchen
- How We’ll Live on Mars – Stephen L. Pertranek
- vN – Madeline Ashby
- (R)evolution – P.J. Manney
- Afterparty – Daryl Gregory
- New Moon – Ian McDonald
- The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August – Claire North
- A Logic Named Joe – Murray Leinster
- Home – Matt Dunn
The Morning Reads
- Get It Done: The 21-Day Mind Hack System to Double Your Productivity and Finish What You Start – Michael Mackintosh (completed – review posted)
- Getting Things Done: The Art of Stree-Free Productivity – David Allen (completed – review posted)
- The Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs: Elevate Your SELF to Elevate Your Business – Hal Elrod (completed – review posted)
- Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time – Brian Tracy (completed – review posted)
- Mindset: The New Psychology of Success – Carol S. Dweck (completed)
- The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy – Jon Gordon (completed)
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less – Greg McKeown (completed)
- The Go-Giver Leader: A Little Story About What Matters Most in Business – Bob Burg (completed)
- Ego Is the Enemy – Ryan Holiday (completed)
- Giving It All Away…and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously – David Green (completed)
- The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable – Patrick Lencioni (completed)
- Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfilment – George Leonard
- Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor E. Frankl
- The Manual: A Philosopher’s Guide to Life – Epictetus
- 10-Minute Mindfulness: 71 Habits for Living in the Present Moment
- Principles – Ray Dalio
- On the Shortness of Life – Seneca
- 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: