Books in 2017

Here’s what I ended up reading this year, in roughly chronological finishing order. (I usually have 3-4 books going on at once.)

  1. Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss.
  2. The Art of Stillness by Pico Ayer.
  3. Out of Your Mind by Alan Watts (audiobook, really a series of lectures).
  4. Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Mushashi (audiobook).
  5. Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien.
  6. The Best American Short Stories 2016 edited by Junot Diaz.
  7. Feynman by Jim Ottaviani.
  8. My Gita by Devdutt Pattanaik.
  9. From Plato to Post-modernism: Understanding the Essence of Literature and the Role of the Author by Louis Markos (another lecture series).
  10. The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy.
  11. The Story of a Brief Marriage by Anuk Arudpragasam.
  12. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.
  13. Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Héctor García and Francesc Miralles.
  14. When Hitler Took Cocaine and Lenin Lost His Brain: History’s Unknown Chapters by Giles Milton.
  15. Widow Basquiat: A Love Story by Jennifer Clement.
  16. 32 Yolks: From My Mother’s Table to Working the Line by Eric Ripert.
  17. Identify: Basic Principles of Identity Design in the Iconic Trademarks by Chermayeff & Geismar.
  18. Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity by David Lynch (audiobook).
  19. The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World by Brad Stone.
  20. The Leavers by Lisa Ko.
  21. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. (Update: On Obama’s 2019 book list.)
  22. Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman.
  23. The Executive’s Compass by James O’Toole.
  24. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom.
  25. Dance of the Possible by Scott Berkun.
  26. The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang (short story).
  27. Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss.
  28. After On: A Novel of Silicon Valley by Rob Reid.
  29. Principles by Ray Dalio.
  30. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (audiobook).
  31. The Undiscovered Self: With Symbols and the Interpretation of Dreams by C.G. Jung.

A fairly random selection, and hopefully I can get a few more in next year.

All book years: 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020–2023.

19 thoughts on “Books in 2017

  1. You’re managing many ventures and serving enterprises Business with awesome strategies. I am sure , you need to do so many things in a single day.

    I am also working with WordPress agency serving enterprises and I can find only 1-2 hours a Day for reading book.

    Do you recommend hard copy reading or audible?

    I’m just wondering that how much time you’re spending in the book reading! There’re around 32 books in a year and it’s amazing thanks for sharing the list! Which is the best 3 books among this which you recommend most?

    1. Thank you for the question. If you are able to find an hour or two a day I’d say you’re on the right track. I tend to read in spurts when I travel, or on vacation, where I’ll often finish a few books, and then might go a week or two without getting to read too much. I’m trying to be more consistent.

      These are a few of the habits I used this year to read more:

      1. I moved social media and such off the home screen of my phone, and put the Kindle app there, often where I used to have say Twitter.
      2. My favorite way to read is the latest Kindle, second favorite is on phone, third favorite is a paper book. Books mainly frustrate me because of their portability, especially since I’m usually reading a few things at a time, and that the notes I may take aren’t synced anywhere.
      3. I started listening to audiobooks for the first time, and have enjoyed them especially when I’m in Houston because I end up spending a lot more time in the car.
      4. I also started listening to audiobooks sometimes when I run or exercise. Music is better for a motivational boost, but I don’t need it every time anymore.
      5. Having a reading buddy or group can be very motivating, especially if you set a date to discuss the book.
      6. I’ve found first thing in the morning is one of the best times for me to read, especially if I put the phone out of reach and the Kindle within reach.

      As for three recommendations, I’d say:

      Fiction / memoir: All the Light We Cannot See, The Rules Do Not Apply, and the short story collection.
      Non-fiction / business: Principles, Dance of the Possible, and My Gita.

      1. What is the minimum amount of time that you will allow yourself to read a book? If medium has an effect on this amount, please discuss reasons why.

        I covered a lot of ground on my iPhone 7+ this year on the kindle app during a long bus ride (and often extended due to its occasional 45min wait if missed). Even more reading on the audible app during bikeable months.

        When I lived in Houston i would get 5 hours of listening time commuting, at a minimum, in audible books and podcasts. Books vs podcast is a tough choice during this time for me, too.

        My biggest struggle with the health of my mind today has something to do with the query loop involving Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and email. Churn loop burnout is a bug somewhere in my mind where there is an overlap or pattern of attention dedication, reward center, social mind, and future focus distraction. Almost no possibility of a flow state anywhere in the circuit.

        Churnout is getting in the way of my iPhone reading. Books are too heavy to carry a few of.

        I think I’m going to get a milestone or similar carry along book to fill sequentially with notes from whatever I’m reading (as mentioned in a Ryan Holiday blog post). RH also mentioned a notecard method and regular filing system for eventually synthesis that could fit into my life and also could bring a nice TX Art Supply trip envelope into my backpack.

        I’m writing this publicly for no good reason. Sorry for the long post on your blog. But as a fellow Houstonian, I felt like airing my spurred thoughts might be interesting to the person who ignited the chain reaction in my mind.

      2. Thank you very much for spending your valuable time to review my comment and get back to me with the insightful thoughts!

        I am certainly going to follow the tips and trying achieve the goal for 2018 ( “Reading books”) and write the review for the books. I’m habituate with paper book or epub version of book but now i am moving to Audible with my first book of this year “Born to Run.” I’ll like that much as I can listen the book while traveling, driving vehicles, and utilizing unproductive our effectively with book reading.

        Yes, we are having a group where we can discuss about book. It’s always nice to share the different perspective of the message conveyed through book.

        Thanks again and happy new year to you!

      3. The only other ‘tactic’ I would add to amplify Matt’s point about “moved social media and such off the home screen” is to claw back independence by consciously managing the notifications functionality of your phone. Found success (an ‘antidote’ if you will) by gating this feature and dopamine hit – currently I only have two that push me a visual notification when phone is unlocked (Slack and Snapchat).

        Just some thoughts, take them or leave them!

  2. Great list, thank you! I’ve added a few of these to my Audible wishlist. I too have been enjoying audiobooks, especially while driving and jogging. If you haven’t already read it, I recommend John Hodgman’s “Vacationland.” Happy New Year!

  3. I’m impressed that you get to read that much. I would think e-mail, Slack and P2-forums would suck up most of your time.

    I don’t communte (fortunately), but it ususally there get most reading done.

    I think my new year resolution in regards to reading will be to pick up a book instead of my phone when I have the chance.

  4. Wow, what a list, I think I’ve managed to read (or at least listen via Audible) to only about 4 or 5 books this year. I’m trying to focus more on non fiction, having spent most of my youth reading fiction. I’m curious as to what your criteria are for choosing a new book to read. Is it mostly by word of mouth or do you have certain authors you always choose from?