Here it is, my yearly update on what I read over the last 12-months. Overall, I far exceeded my 2016 and 2017 lists in terms of the number of books (42 in 2016, 44 in 2017, and now 57 in 2018) and even the number of pages (4,600 pages more over 2017’s total).
|1||Saga, Volume One||Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples||12-Feb||160|
|2||Witches Abroad||Terry Pratchett||23-Feb||288|
|3||12 Rules for Life||Jordan Peterson||5-Mar||448|
|4||Skin in the Game||Nassim Nicholas Taleb||10-Mar||304|
|5||Proust and the Squid||Maryanne Wolf||11-Mar||336|
|6||Small Gods||Terry Pratchett||16-Mar||384|
|8||Lords and Ladies||Terry Pratchett||7-Apr||384|
|9||Thinking in Bets||Annie Duke||7-Apr||288|
|10||Sapiens||Yuval Noah Harari||13-May||464|
|11||Career Manifesto||Mike Steib||4-Jun||288|
|12||This Is The Year I Put My Financial Life in Order||John Schwartz||5-Jun||320|
|13||Men at Arms||Terry Pratchett||12-Jun||384|
|14||Soul Music||Terry Pratchett||24-Jun||384|
|15||Interesting Times||Terry Pratchett||8-Jul||352|
|16||The Achievement Habit||Bernard Roth||21-Jul||288|
|17||Discover Your Inner Economist||Tyler Cowen||26-Jul||256|
|19||The Five Love Languages: Men’s Edition||Gary Chapman||31-Jul||208|
|20||David and Goliath||Malcolm Gladwell||3-Aug||320|
|21||Feet of Clay||Terry Pratchett||10-Aug||416|
|23||Own the Day, Own your Life||Aubrey Marcus||17-Aug||448|
|25||Tribe of Mentors||Timothy Ferriss||20-Aug||624|
|26||Better than Before||Gretchen Rubin||21-Aug||320|
|28||Books for Living||Will Schwalbe||27-Aug||288|
|29||The Last Continent||Terry Pratchett||6-Sep||416|
|31||Shoe Dog||Phil Knight||17-Sep||400|
|32||What Happened||Hillary Rodham Clinton||26-Sep||512|
|33||When||Daniel H. Pink||28-Sep||272|
|34||A Higher Loyalty||James Comey||30-Sep||312|
|35||Creativity, Inc.||Ed Catmull||2-Oct||368|
|36||Why Buddhism is True||Robert Wright||15-Oct||336|
|37||The Element||Ken Robinson||19-Oct||320|
|38||Elon Musk (Biography)||Ashlee Vance||24-Oct||400|
|39||Reinventing You||Dorie Clark||26-Oct||240|
|40||What the Dog Saw||Malcolm Gladwell||4-Nov||448|
|41||The Daily Show: An Oral History||Chris Smith||12-Nov||480|
|42||Waking Up||Sam Harris||15-Nov||256|
|43||If You’re In My Office, It’s Already Too Late||James J. Sexton||24-Nov||288|
|44||A Life in Parts||Bryan Cranston||24-Nov||288|
|45||5 Love Languages||Gary Chapman||27-Nov||208|
|46||The Perfectionists||Simon Winchester||1-Dec||416|
|47||Entrepreneurial You||Dorie Clark||3-Dec||272|
|48||The Dip||Seth Godin||3-Dec||96|
|49||The Last Man Who Knew Everything||David N. Schwartz||7-Dec||480|
|50||Ikigai||Hector Garcia and Francesc Mirales||20-Dec||208|
|51||The One Thing||Gary Keller and Jay Papasan||20-Dec||240|
|52||This Is Marketing||Seth Godin||21-Dec||288|
|53||The Souls of Black Folk||W.E.B. Du Bois||23-Dec||272|
|54||The Artist’s Journey||Steven Pressfield||27-Dec||192|
|55||Running Down a Dream||Tim Grahl||28-Dec||198|
|56||Zen to Done||Leo Babauta||28-Dec||114|
|57||What I Talk About When I Talk About Running||Haruki Murakami||31-Dec/1-Jan||192|
As I mentioned last week, I have some thoughts and reflections while reviewing the list. First, when I was selecting my best 5 for the year, I noticed that the books in the latter part of the year were ones I felt resonate with me the most. I think this is for two, related reasons. First, this was a huge year for my wife and I. We renovated our old house, sold it, bought a new house, renovated the new one, moved cities, got married, and got me a new car. We had so much packed into one year on top of work and family, that the year seemed to have flown by without me realizing it. Someone pointed out to me that there was a Winter Olympics at the start of last year – I couldn’t believe it and had forgotten all about it.
The second, somewhat related reason is because of the sheer volume of books finished, I don’t think I gave the material time to properly settle in my mind. Fifty-seven books is a huge amount, and I think that by the end of the year, I couldn’t really remember what I had read during the first half of the year. Instead, most of the impact was felt in the readings from the latter half of the year. That’s not to say that the books from the start of the year are forgotten, because I feel that lessons taken from Skin in the Game and from Sapeins, for example, are prominent in my mind. It’s just that they didn’t really stick out in my mind at the end of the year when I was picking my top reads of the year.
Another reason why I think I have a hard time remembering what I read from the start of the year is because the vast majority of the books finished this year were audiobooks. Thanks to Audible and the Libby app, I was flushed with books to go through. And because I listen to books at a minimum of 1.5x speed, I can get through the books at a far faster rate than if I were carving out time to read physical books. This has its advantages, such as being exposed more rapidly to new ideas. However, this advantage comes at the cost of little overall integration of the information and general lowered retention of information over time. The speed at which I’m listening to books is more like skimming than true reading.
Nevertheless, I’m very satisfied with my accomplishment for the year. I’m not really interested in trying to top this list intentionally next year. I will keep reading/listening/consuming books at whatever rate I happen to finish them, but I will go with whatever pace I happen to settle in, rather than trying to hit weekly or monthly targets.
For the upcoming year, I’d like to try and move away from the self-help, business, and animated bibliography genres of books, and instead tackle more books on history, biographies, and fiction that’s not just Terry Pratchett (though I will still keep ploughing through the Discworld series – that’s not changing any time soon). If you have any book recommendations, feel free to let me know! I’ve already got “Educated” by Tara Westover and “When They Call You A Terrorist” by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele on my bookshelf as recommended by friends. I’m always on the lookout for the next book to read.
Have a great new year and happy reading!