The Best Books I Read in 2015

I read a load of interesting books in 2015. Here are some of my favourites:

Mindfulness

Self Improvement

  • Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom and Wonder by Arianna Huffington – there’s a lot of common sense in this book. Too many people I know run themselves ragged in pursuit of career success. I’ve been guilty of this myself and have seen many colleagues fall into the same trap. I think the part on sleep was particularly important.
  • The Gifts of Imperfection; Daring Greatly; and  Rising Strong by Brene Brown – These don’t have to be read in any particular order but I’m glad I read them in the order that they were written. They are essentially about embracing vulnerability and the damaging effects of shame. There’s a bit of repetition across all three books but each is worth reading.
  • Money by Tony Robbins – This stuff should be taught at school. I struggled with massive debt from my university days until my early thirties. It’s embarrassing to say, but Andrew and I have always been pretty clueless in relation to money. Neither of us have healthy financial role models and have had little guidance when it comes to finances. I was pretty clueless about investing until I read this book. It is mainly focused on the US, but the principles are the same. I found the various diversification strategies useful.
  • Self Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson – I’ve always been a fan of Emerson’s writing. This is probably my favourite essay.
  • The Success Principles by Jack Canfield – Most of this book is common sense but I got a lot of value out of it. (Don’t sign up to Jack’s mailing list unless you want to be harassed about the courses though…).

Business

  • Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi – This is one of the best books I’ve read about “networking” and building relationships. The author is full on about it and does come across as a bit too obsessed about it. It’s worth reading his follow up Who’s Got Your Back to see the downside of having a million connections that have no real depth.
  • The pmarca Blog Archives by Marc Andreessen – I have a huge amount of respect for Andreessen and what he’s achieved. This book contains a lot of wisdom and I learnt a lot from it. I particularly liked the post on giving career advice – so true!
  • Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg – Every woman should read this book, as well as every man. I found it useful, although to be honest, a bit depressing, (e.g. the part about unequal pay and the difficulties women face when negotiating compared to men).
  • What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School by Mark H McCormack – This is one of the best books on business I’ve read.
  • The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz – I really enjoyed this book which also serves as a Horowitz’ autobiography. I’d recommend it to anyone wanting to build a business.

Random and Interesting

Fiction

Auto/Biographies

  • Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer – I’m a big Krakauer fan. This is a thoughtful account of a tragic story. I liked the way Krakauer explores the various theories behind what happened and how he offers his own opinion based on his own experiences.
  • Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed – Many people had recommended this book to me. It’s entertaining and I read it while we were walking parts of the trail. I don’t think I could hack doing all of it!
  • Alligator Blood by James Leighton – I have ties to Australia and was about to visit Vegas so I really enjoyed this book. It reads like a screenplay and reminded me a little of the Australian Underbelly series.
  • Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway – I’m a big Hemingway fan and really enjoyed the stories in this book.
  • Anything You Want by Derek Sivers – This is the story of CD Baby and how Derek built it before eventually selling it. It’s partly a business book from which I learnt a lot.

Behavioural Psychology

  • Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialidini – This is one of the best books on persuasion that anyone can read.
  • Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman – I’m fascinated by how the mind works and really enjoyed this book. There’s a reason that it has a great reputation. I particularly liked the parts on framing risks, cognitive biases, and the difference between real life experience and our memory of the same events.

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