Each year around this time, I dust off my master reading list, review, organize, and prioritize it for the coming year. There are currently 230 books on my master list, so it took a little effort this year to rearrange it into the subset of books you’ll find here.
I usually read around 25-30 books a year. According to GoodReads, which I use to manage my reading lists, I read 32 books in 2019. However, to be fair, 4 of these were short stories, and 1 was my daily devotional. Still yet, 27 books read is a good year for me.
I added 34 books books to my master reading list in 2019, which is an improvement since I usually add a lot more. I tried to be more disciplined about adding books than in the past. There have been years where I’ve added over 50 books. So the master list only grew by a couple this year, rather than the usual 15-20.
For the coming year, I used the same process as I have in years past to prioritize my annual list and narrow it down to the 50 or so candidates you see below, with one slight adjustment. I know this is far more than the 25-30 books I typically read in a year, but I like to have a buffer just in case my reading pace is faster than usual.
Let’s start with the selection parameters for the list.
The List Criteria
- As with past years, I put the most weight on recommendations from trusted sources.
- I make sure to include books from authors I like. Some of my current favorites are Blake Crouch, A.G. Riddle, William Gibson, Cal Newport, and Ryan Holiday.
- Books that I’ve already purchased get preferential treatment. I’ve worked that list down quite a bit over the last two years, but there is still more to go.
- I make sure my list has new, up-and-coming authors. I never know when I might discover a new favorite to add to my list.
- My fictional preference is primarily science fiction, but I will venture outside of this genre if provided with a good recommendation. My science fiction books tend more towards books that explore hard science fiction or plausible ideas such as artificial intelligence, human augmentation, or robotics. I’m not one for space operas, although I will dabble here and there if the first book in a series looks interesting.
- I always save room on my list for “classic” science fictions. It fascinates me how some authors have foreshadowed or predicted the future in their books, some which were written well over 50 years ago.
- My non-fiction reads center around self-learning, business learning, founder/company stories, and health and nutrition. I do my best to include books from each of these categories every year to stay current on the latest findings.
- As I did last year, the list is split into two parts. The first is my fun, primarily fictional reads, that I entertain myself with in the evening. The second is my morning reading list, which is focused primarily on the non-fiction topics.
- A subtle, but important change this year was moving as much non-fiction as possible from my fun list to my morning reading list. This past year, there were a couple of non-fiction titles that ended up being deep, heavy reads. They bogged down my evening reads, which are meant to be fun.
The fun list
- Flash Boys – Michael Lewis
- Abandon – Blake Crouch
- The Jennifer Project – Larry Enright
- Everything We Keep – Kerry Lonsdale
- Count Zero – William Gibson
- Aurora – Kim Stanley Robinson
- Post-Human – David Simpson
- Winter World (The Long Winter) – A.G. Riddle
- Selected Stories of Philip K. Dick
- Pandora’s Star – Peter F. Hamilton
- The Term Sheet – Lucas Carlson
- Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley – Antonio Garcia Martinez
- Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson
- Altered Carbon – Richard K. Morgan
- Change Agent – Daniel Suarez
- Fat Chance – Nick Spalding
- Recursion – Blake Crouch
- Selected Stories – Theodore Sturgeon
- The God’s Eye View – Barry Eisler
- Permutation City – Greg Egan
- Luna: New Moon – Ian McDonald
- How We’ll Live on Mars – Stephen L. Pertranek
- (R)evolution – P.J. Manney
- Afterparty – Daryl Gregory
- Pennsylvania – Michael Bunker
- The Fold – Peter Clines
- All Our Wrong Todays – Elan Mastai
- After On: A Novel of Silicon Valley – Rob Reid
- Extracted – RR Haywood
- The Naturalist – Andrew Mayne
- Way Station – Clifford Simak
- Code Breakers – Colin Barnes
The Morning Reads
- Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor E. Frankl
- The Manual: A Philosopher’s Guide to Life – Epictetus / Sam Torode
- 10-Minute Mindfulness: 71 Habits for Living in the Present Moment – S.J. Scott, Barrie Davenport
- Enlightenment Now – Stephen A. Pinker
- Principles – Ray Dalio
- On the Shortness of Life – Seneca
- Your Greatest Power – J. Martin Kohe
- Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World – Cal Newport
- How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius – Donald Robertson
- Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Growth – Deepak Chopra
- The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg
- Stillness Is the Key – Ryan Holiday
- Hardwiring Happiness – Rick Hanson
- Mindfulness – Dr. Danny Penman
- The Magic of Reality – Richard Dawkins
- The Biology of Belief – Bruce Lipton
- The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods – Antonin Sertillanges
- Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams – Matthew Walker
- Give and Take: Why Helping Other Drives Our Success – Adam Grant
- The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem – Nathaniel Branden
In addition to the above, I will also be reading In Moments Like These by Dr. David Jeremiah as my morning devotional, and I will be using The Mindfulness Journal by S.J. Scott and Barrie Davenport to guide my daily journaling.
While the combined total of books for 2020 is 52, I’ll be happy if I manage to get through 25-30 of these. Regardless, if there are any books that you think would be a good fit, let me know in the comments. Somehow, every year, there are a few books that manage to jump the queue and sneak into the list of books I read for the year.
This is the 7th year I’ve done an official reading list. Links to the prior 6 are below: