I read a load of interesting books in 2015. Here are some of my favourites:
- Search Inside Yourself by Chang-Meng Tan – this is one of the most practical books about mindfulness and emotional intelligence I’ve read.
- 10% Happier: How I tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help that Actually Works by Dan Harris – I found this book entertaining and useful, especially given the author’s own struggles with mindfulness. I especially liked the part about losing your edge, as I sometimes struggle with that and can be a bit too laid back at times.
- Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach – Several friends had recommended this book to me. It’s a decent introduction to Buddhist values and how they can be applied in Western society.
- Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh – I particularly like Thich Nhat Hanh’s writing, it is beautiful. I found peace just reading it.
- Wherever You Go There You Are by Jon Katab-Zinn – A simple book about mindfulness and how it can be applied. It’s also nicely written.
- 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…).
- 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
- Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert – I’m a big fan of Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talks. Anyone who is interested in creativity should read this.
- An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield – I didn’t think I’d enjoy this book but I loved it! I found it fascinating especially the parts about living in space. I was also inspired by Chris Hadfield’s approach to training and selection.
- Surely You Are Joking by Richard Feynman – What an awesome character. The book includes all sorts of tales including the creation of the atomic bomb. The stories are all interesting and entertaining.
- The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr – Everyone should read this book. The internet is changing the way humans operate and communicate. It all has an effect on our cognitive functions which most people aren’t aware of.
- Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’e Lived the Longest by Dan Buettner – This book traces the lifestyle of the world’s longest living communities which I found interesting.
- The Martian by Andy Weir – The film is good but the book is better.
- The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson – This is a short and entertaining read. It reminded me of my grandfather.
- 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.
- 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.