I read quite a bit this year. Here are the books I found most useful and/or interesting:
Random and Interesting
- The War of Art by Steven Pressfield – This should be read by anyone wanting to be in the slightest bit creative.
- The Big Short by Michael Lewis – The film is very good but the book is better. I love Michael Lewis’ writing.
- Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo – I read this book while travelling around India and was particularly affected by it. It’s pretty full on. I thought that it was a fiction book until the end. I was pretty shocked to realise that it wasn’t. Definitely worth reading, especially if you’re going to India. I enjoyed this book far more than other books I read while in India. I found The White Tiger, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia and The God of Small Things all beautifully written but a bit depressing.
- The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday – I’m a big fan of Ryan Holiday, Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations and Seneca’s letters so it was no surprise that I loved this book. I’ve returned to it a few times already when things have got difficult and have found it useful.
- Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation by Norman E. Rosenthal – I read this as I was interested in learning about TM and had started meditating daily which has pretty much changed my life. The research recorded in this book is interesting.
- The Monk and the Riddle: The Art of Creating a Life While Making a Living by Randy Komisar – I really enjoyed this book and was particularly affected by it for some reason.
- Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl – This is one of the most important books that anyone can read. I’d put off reading it for ages as I thought that it would be depressing. It is hard going in places obviously because of the subject matter, but ultimately it’s a story of hope.
- Ancient Wisdom, Modern World: Ethics for a New Millennium by the Dalai Lama – I read this after we had visited Tibet. It’s one of the most interesting places I’ve visited. This book is mostly an account of the Dalai Lama’s life which I found fascinating. It’s worth reading if you’re at all interested in the man or are visiting Tibet.
- The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin – This is one of my favourite books. I love the way Josh Waitzkin thinks and approaches things.
- Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer – I thought this book was excellent. It’s an important story.
- The Motorcycle Diaries by Che Guevara – I read this while we were travelling around south America. It’s worth reading.
- Mud, Sweat and Tears by Bear Grylls – I didn’t really know who Bear was and have no idea how I ended up buying this book. Even now, I don’t think I’ve watched any of his TV shows. I’m glad I picked it up though. He has lots of interesting stories and I learnt a lot from reading it.
- Little Princes by Conor Brennan – This is a pretty amazing story. I read it while we were in Nepal. It’s worth reading if you’re going there.
- Life by Keith Richards – I really like the Rolling Stones. I got to see them live in Hyde Park – they were awesome! I didn’t know much about Keith though. It’s an entertaining read.
- Under a Mackerel Sky by Rick Stein – I’m a big fan of Rick’s cookery shows and books. I didn’t know much about him so enjoyed reading it. I did get the sense that some difficult topics, (such as the break up with his first wife) had been left out though.
- Marching Powder: A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine and South America’s Strongest Jail by Rusty Young and Thomas McFadden – I read this while we were travelling through Bolivia. It’s definitely worth reading.
- Things a Little Bird Told Me by Biz Stone – This is the story of Twitter and its founder. I enjoyed reading it.
- The Icarus Deception and The Purple Cow by Seth Godin – I’m a big fan of Seth’s writings and really enjoyed these.
- The Road Less Travelled by M. Scott Peck – I don’t know how I ended up buying this book but I’m glad that I did. It’s about confronting and solving personal problems. It was insightful.
- The Power of a Positive No by William Ury – I’ve always struggled with saying no to things. This book helped me correct that.
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey – This is a classic for good reason. The principles are simple and important. It’s worth reading.
- The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do and How to Change by Charles Duhigg – Anyone who wants to work on better habits will find this book useful.
- You Only Better by Nicholas Bates – I attended one of Nick’s talks while working at BBC Worldwide. He’s a good speaker.
- I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi – Ignoring the cheesy title, I really enjoyed this book. It’s pretty basic but I did find it useful. and learnt a lot about
- Start With Why by Simon Sinek – I love the concept of this book.
- The Millionaire Fastlane by M. J. De Marco – I hate the cheesy title of this book but the content is very good.
- Instant MBA: Think, Perform and Learn Like a Top Business Graduate by Nicholas Bate – This books covers a variety of business topics in a simple and approachable way. I enjoyed reading it.
- Good to Great by Jim Collins – There’s a reason that this book’s a classic. I particularly agree about “getting the right people on the bus”.
- Jab Jab Jab Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuck – this is a great book about customer engagement. Anyone who works in marketing for a B2C company should read it.
- The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman – I really enjoyed this book. The audio version is supposed to be awesome.
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – This was recommended by a friend I met walking the Inca Trail. It’s a great book albeit poignant.
- One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – I enjoyed both of these. They are beautifully written. I had tried reading One Hundred Years of Solitude years ago when a friend recommended it but couldn’t get into it. I loved it this time round.