At the beginning of 2017, I challenged myself to read 52 books. Happily, I succeeded in my quest–I’ve read 79. Although over half of the books fall into the business or technology categories in at least some way, I still managed to enjoy a cornucopia of subjects. I also consumed some very unpopular books, which were usually against my ideologies. I think it’s important to try to see things from a different perspective. I list these at the end. Any book listed here is not an endorsement of its ideologies.
Here are my favorite books I’ve read this year in no particular order.
- When Wikileaks Met Google by Assange (5/5) – Amazing insight about technology, the future, and politics.
- Principles: Life and Work (5/5) – A business and self-improvement book in one. Dalio is a Genius. Period.
- Ghost in the Wires (5/5) – Mitnick tells his incredible story. Fun read.
- The Snowball (5/5) – Buffet’s life story of patience & compounding growth (beyond just capital).
- Play Bigger (5/5) – Great business book.
- When Breath Becomes Air (5/5) – A heart-wrenching true story about his own life: a surgeon who ultimately succumbs to lung cancer.
- Shoe Dog (5/5) – Biography of Nike’s founder. Well written. Insightful.
- Work Rules! (5/5) – A considerable part of what makes Google a great company. Written by the head of “HR” at Google at the time.
- In the Plex (5/5) – More insights into Google. Better balance than “Work Rules!” Fascinating.
- Only the Paranoid Survive (5/5) – Finding a way to adapt your business to survive tremendous change.
- The Phoenix Project (4.5/5)
- Attention Merchants (4/5)
- Black Ops Advertising (4/5)
- The Content Trap (4/5)
- Leadership and Self Deception (4/5)
- Traction (4/5)
- The Startup J Curve (4/5)
- Hacking Growth (4/5)
- The Startup Way (4/5)
- Delivering Happiness (4/5)
- Good to Great (5/5)
- Future Crimes (4/5)
- Marissa Mayer and the Fight.. (4/5)
- Rise of the Machines (4/5)
- iWoz (4.5/5)
- The Fourth Transformation (4/5)
- Data-ism (4/5)
- The Soul of a New Machine (3.5/5)
- Scale: The Universal Laws… (4.5/5)
- Whiplash (4.5/5)
- Vaporized (4.5/5)
- The Upstarts (4/5)
- Disrupted (4/5)
- Machine, Platform, Crowd (4/5)
- The One Device (4/5)
- Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive (4/5)
- Life 3.0: Being Human… (4.5/5)
- Hit Refresh (4/5)
- The Art of Invisibility (4/5)
- WTF?: What’s the Future (4/5)
- Kingpin (4/5)
- The Power of Moments (4.5/5)
- Behave: The Biology of Humans (4/5)
- Finding Ultra (4/5)
- Narconomics (4/5)
- Science in the Should (4.5/5)
- How Emotions are Made (4/5)
- Lying (4.5/5)
- Misbehaving (4/5)
- The ONE Thing (4/5)
- Roat to Character (3/5)
- Blank Slate (4/5)
- Obesity Code (4/5)
- Thank You for Being Late (4/5)
- A Universe from Nothing (3/5)
- High-Performance Habits (3/5)
- Do Over (3/5)
- Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming (4/5)
- Rejection Proof (3.5/5)
- Productivity Project (4/5)
- Brain over Binge (4.5/5)
- Art of Learning (4/5)
- The 5 Second Rule (3/5)
- Extreme Ownership (3.5/5)
- Stealing Fire (3.5/5)
- Daily Stoich (4/5)
- Inner Game of Tennis (4/5)
- Home Front: Life in America…(4/5)
- The Lessons of History (4/5)
- Turning Points in American History (4/5)
- Leonardo da Vinci (4/5)
- Masters of Doom (4/5)
- Natural Born Heroes (4.5/5)
- A Mind at Play (4/5)
- Ponzi Supernova (4/5)
- Option B (3/5)
No rating because these are just for fun.
After On, For we are Many
Books against my ideologies & biases
It’s important to read things with which you disagree. For one, perhaps we wouldn’t be so divided in our ideologies if we saw the world from an opposite perspective. Second, an opposing view will either open your eyes up to new ideas or will help make your arguments stronger. Finally, to drive change, you need to rebel (at least intellectually) against accepted norms, and against your ideological attachments.
I am proud to have read the first book on this list written by Milo Yiannopoulos. For one, his publisher pulled its deal after feeling the pressure from media (Chicago Review of Books threatened Simon & Schuster in saying that they wouldn’t review any of their publishings). The rebel in all of us should want to read any book held back or censored. To my surprise, CRB’s (and the media’s) over-reaction exaggerated the dangers of Dangerous. Milo is less alt-right than Santorum. Milo is not a racist. He has libertarian, right-leaning views, which he spews in the most contentious, antagonistic manner. Why? Because he’s a troll, who plays and preys on our fragile sentimentalities. Oh, he’s also damn funny.
- Dangerous – Troll—purposefully derisive. Funny. The libertarian right’s “Hitchens.”
- The Rational Male – Anti-feminist, pro male/masculinity. Interesting, but wrong.
- Evolve your Brain – Pseudoscience. 80% BS, 20% interesting.
- Fountain Head – Rand right libertarian fiction similar to Atlas Shrugged. Enjoyable.
- Return of the Primitive – Essays by Rand. Right-libertarian views. Different perspective and well argued.