If you’re here looking at my list of favorite books, I already like you. I have a few points to make, but let’s keep this quick and painless:
- This list is incomplete because I’ll read until the day I go blind or the day I die, whichever comes first. If you’d like to know when I add new books to this list, you can subscribe to this blog by entering your email address in the form on the right where it says “ALLOW ME TO RANDOMLY ANNOY YOU”. I solemnly swear to randomly annoy you with updates on this blog, including any book additions to this list.
- This is a list of the books I’ve read that I highly recommend. I’ve read a number of books that I don’t like or just couldn’t get through. I will not deliberately punish your brain by suggesting a boring book.
- When I gift books to friends, I have one rule: I never follow-up and ask their opinion on the book. That’s the point of a gift – to give without asking for anything in return, not even feedback or validation. I gift books selectively, and so far, I have received positive feedback for the books I do gift (if you’re interested in fail-proof books you too can gift, the first two books on my list are the ones I have gifted with success). So, read what piques your interest, and if you want to share your thoughts, do it with grace. In fact, do that all the time, in all parts of your life, in every interaction.
Here’s my list. Everything is linked to make life even easier. Hope you enjoy.
As a surprise, my little brother sneakily gifted me a Kindle Paperwhite in the Summer of 2015. He thought it was time I embrace technology. I resisted, telling him I like the way books smell and the way they feel in my hands. Little brothers don’t listen, so he sent me the Kindle as a birthday gift. Upon thanking him, he wrote: “I realized how inconvenient books were during my move. I was also going to try finding and sending you an air freshener that smelled like new books but they don’t make that. Happy early birthday and enjoy!”
It’s one of the BEST gifts I’ve ever received because now I’m reading more than ever, constantly digesting information that improves my life every single day. I take my Kindle with me everywhere and read anytime I have a free moment. Grab a cover for it and take it everywhere with you too. Here’s the cover I have – it’ll magically turn the Kindle on/off as you open/close it. Sometimes I whisper “Lumos” as I open the cover because why not. (I’m easily amused, ok?) Kindle Smart Case Cover
This is one of those books that I wish was mandatory reading for everyone. What you think you know about happiness will be challenged by what you read in this book. If you believe marrying the right person, making a crap ton of money or driving your dream car will make you happy, you’re wrong. But being happy first can actually bring you closer to those things. There’s so much in this book, I could never do it justice in a few sentences. Read it, then read it again, then share it with someone you care about. It’s become one of my favorite books to gift. It’s life-changing.
I love Robert Greene. The next three book recommendations are his books, so yeah, I love Robert Greene. He’s one of my all-time favorite authors because of how he communicates his ideas, weaving together history and psychology, two of my very favorite topics. Of his books, The 50th Law is my favorite. Why? Because it’s about fear. Don’t be thrown off by the fact that 50 Cent co-authored it. Greene shadows 50 Cent to watch fearlessness in action. This is the other book I’ve gifted to plenty of people and, so far, everyone loves it.
This was the book that started the Robert Greene fascination for me. Anytime someone asks me for help with workplace issues, this is the book I suggest. There’s a lot of ego in the workplace. And unfortunately, you have to play to those egos rather than against them. I used to work in corporate America and this book was critical to my success.
Robert Greene, yet again. This is the one I recommend when people tell me they have no idea what to do with their life. It’s not a book your guidance counselor would suggest, but there’s something raw and direct about it. That’s what Greene does – he leaves out the bullshit and the fluff.
If you want to change something, you need to understand it first. Habits can lead to your success or to your demise. Understanding how they work and why they work the way they do, will help you replace bad habits with good ones, or form new, healthy ones. Read this book to learn how to re-train your brain.
“Why?” and “How?” are my favorite questions. I ask these questions about everything. If you want to fully, and I mean FULLY, understand something, you ask why and how until you can’t ask why and how anymore. This book is about “why” in business. Many companies and ideas come and go, but the truly sustainable ones successfully answer the “Why?” question. Read this, it’s brilliant.
This is the introvert’s Bible. If you’re an introvert or have a hunch that you’re an introvert, you need to read this. And if you’re an extrovert, you need to read this. Basically, everyone needs to read this. For introverts, this will give you peace to know that the world we live in caters to extroverts and that’s why you’ve always felt somewhat out of place. For extroverts, it’ll help you have compassion for the friend/employee/significant other that enjoys their alone time, hates small talk or cringes at the thought of teamwork. They’re not weird, they just recharge/think/work differently.
The summary says it all – learn how to think like a genius. I read this book at the age of 19 or 20 and I’ve come back to it many times. It’s fun, interesting and challenging. Part of my inadvertent evaluation of people in life is paying attention to how they think. It goes back to the why/how approach I’ve mentioned a hundred times in posts and in my videos. It’s great to have an opinion or an idea, but the thought process will reveal more about a person than their conclusion.
I like this book for the same reasons I like Thinkertoys – it’s about thinking. I also have a fascination with Leonardo da Vinci. He was great at many things that were seemingly unrelated, but he captured the essence of being human. I often hear people say “I don’t know what to with my life, I like so many different things,” as if they’re apologizing for their varied interests. The idea of doing one thing in life, for the rest of your life is quickly dying because it’s boring. Don’t apologize for being a curious and interesting human being. Pursue many things, connect ideas across many fields and do like Leonardo did – a little bit of everything.
There’s this strange bifurcated view on motivation. One camp of people claim they are 110% motivated every day, they talk about it all the time and they shame the rest of us into thinking we’re lesser beings because we don’t Rocky Balboa the shit out of every damn day. Then there’s the camp of people who are always tired, always indifferent, always disenchanted, but they trudge on only because they have to and they subject everyone around them to their whining. I’m somewhere in between and I definitely have days where I wake up and think “F*ck this noise. Can someone please cryogenically preserve me so I can sleep for ten years.” On those days, I reach for this book. It’s not only about motivation – it’s also about gratitude, joy, love, purpose, greatness and facing your fears. No matter what, I don’t make myself feel bad for being unmotivated, but I almost always try to do something about it besides complaining – this book helps. You don’t have to CRUSH IT every day. Sometimes a bitch slap will do. And then you try again tomorrow.