29 Books in 2019

As a follow-on to my lists in 2017 and 2018, here are the books I completed this year. I’ve linked all to the Kindle edition except the Great Mental Models, which is so gorgeous in hardcover you should get that one, and the The World is Sound isn’t available as an ebook. Bold are ones I particularly enjoyed or found myself discussing with others a lot.

  1. The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coehlo
  2. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari
  3. No Longer at Ease by Chinua Achebe
  4. Imagine it Forward by Beth Comstock
  5. The Great Mental Models Vol. 1 by Shane Parrish
  6. Why Buddhism is True by Robert Wright
  7. There Will Be No Miracles Here by Casey Gerald
  8. Less by Andrew Sean Greer
  9. Bad Blood by John Carreyrou
  10. nejma by Nayyirah Waheed
  11. Trust Exercise by Susan Choi (also on Obama’s book list, and based on the high school I went to, HSPVA)
  12. Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford
  13. The Way to Love by Anthony de Mello
  14. The Fifth Agreement by Don Miguel Ruiz, Don Jose Ruiz, and Janet Mills
  15. Empty Planet by Darrell Bricker
  16. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  17. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elian Mazlish
  18. Make it Scream, Make it Burn by Leslie Jamison
  19. A Short History of Progress by Ronald Wright
  20. Conscious: A Brief Guide to the Fundamental Mystery of the Mind by Annaka Harris
  21. The World Is Sound: Nada Brahma: Music and the Landscape of Consciousness by Joachim-Ernst Berendt
  22. The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership by Jim Dethmer and Diana Chapman
  23. Finite and Infinite Games by James P. Carse
  24. Four Soldiers by Hubert Mingarelli
  25. Working by Robert Caro
  26. Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller
  27. Skin in the Game by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  28. The Devil’s Financial Dictionary by Jason Zweig
  29. How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell (also on Obama’s book list)

What’s interesting is that if you were to purchase every single one of those books, it would be about $349. You could get them all for nothing from your local library, even on a Kindle. The money I spend on books is by far and away the best investment I make every year — books expand my mind and enrich my life in a way that nothing else does.

20 thoughts on “29 Books in 2019

  1. Nice list, Matt. Interesting to see Huxley there. Which of these books was much better than you expected? And which of them underdelivered?

    And which if any have persisted in your mind since the read?

    1. I usually go into books just on recommendations and try not to read anything about them beforehand, even the summary, so I don’t have any expectations. I find myself returning a lot in my mind to 19 through 21: Short History of Progress, Conscious, and The World is Sound. The first two are fairly short, as well.

  2. Happy New Year Matt and thanks for sharing your list it’s quite interesting!

    Since you have many responsibilities and manage to read a lot, would you be open to share your method for reading?
    When we go from one book to the next, we may forget a big part of what we just read, defeating the purpose of reading. Do you focus on remembering? Taking notes? Re-reading the book various times?

    And do you look in books answers to current problems you encounter, or end up reading based on recommendations at the time?

    Have a beautiful day,

    Many thanks in advance 🙂


    1. I really like Kindle’s highlight feature. When I am forced to read a physical book I try to have a pen and I mark pages with interesting points, and then write the page number and a few words about what I highlighted on the cover page of the book. I find reading gives me a lot of ideas so with some books I find myself going online to capture ideas or message people.

  3. Hi Matt,
    First, I wish you a very healthy, loving and happy new year!

    Wow! What a lot books you read in one year! How do you do that? Do you have a routine or something?

    Are those books also in other languages, in Dutch as example?

    Good idea to hire them in the library, I would like but books but after reading they are standing on the bookshelves for years….

    Thanks for sharing and maybe we see each other again at WCEU in Porto this year.

    Best wishes,
    Wendy from the Netherlands

    1. I only really speak English, so some of these books were originally in other languages but I’m reading the Engish translation. My best trick for reading is just to do it first thing in the morning, and I find that puts my mind in a good place for the day.

  4. 21 Lessons is a real eye opener – indeed you can talk for hours about the concepts in this book

    If you enjoyed the book about Buddhism, have a look at The Art of Living by William Hart. I find it very practical.

    Last but not least, Happy New Year! I wish you to be healthy, be happy and prosperous this year.

  5. From one Matt to another: that is a fine list indeed, sir. How do you find the time with a job and a family, kids? That’s a massive list for “spare time” reads.

    1. The key for me is reading first thing in the morning. I also use the Kindle app on my phone and try to launch it instead of social media when I’m waiting in line, or killing time in an Uber.

  6. What does your reading routine look like? I tend to be a “strike when the iron is hot” kind of reader—meaning it takes me about 50 pages to get into a book, and once I’m “in,” I can finish the whole book in a relatively short amount of time. But getting through that first 50 pages is *super* challenging for me and it ultimately is not very conducive to reading a lot of books.

    1. I try to read first thing in the morning, before I even look at my phone. I’m not good at quitting books so that’s why I only try to start good ones that are recommended by friends or people I respect.

  7. Really nice list Matt, thanks for sharing. Just finished the #29 How to DO Nothing. I enjoyed the thoughts from the author, the argument about valuing things that aren’t valued in money or measured in the economy.

  8. Happy New Year Matt! What a smart idea to curate a list of books read each year and share them with readers. I see some of my favorites here … I’m particularly delighted that you have an Achebe book on your list, he is one of my all time favorite writers. 🙂

  9. Interested to see your choice of “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk” by Faber and Mazlish.

    May I ask you what led you to this one, and your motivation for reading?

  10. I really enjoy reading Nada Brahma and wonder how (good?) the english translation is.
    You got me going to the local library for the book even though I have the audio book CD’s in my shelf but never listened to them but will do soon probably.
    As I was in a flow of synchronicities the days before I opened the book, the stuff/pages I was drawn to were quite revealing…
    Really grateful now.

    Thanks for sharing Matt &
    Happy Birthday to you!
    (like the grandmother of twitter 🙂

  11. Happy Birthday Matt!

    Coincidently ( or not ) I chose 1-11-13 as my first post on my WP blog. A while later I found out that it is also your birthday. Tres cool!

    peace, litebeing