It’s been a good year for reading. I managed to find a few books that were truly life-changing and I found one that’s a new favorite work of fiction. All links are affiliate links but most of the books I read I get from the library. Seriously, if you take nothing else away from this post, at least go out and get yourself a library card.
Dark Horse – Todd Rose, Ogi Ogas
This book clued me into the micro-motivations that drive me as an individual and it helped me realize the secret ingredient to the things I’ve stuck with and excelled at in life. If you’re feeling like a failure, this book is imperative. I consider it one of the top 3 most important books I’ve read in my life.
Getting Things Done – Gary Allen
The subheading of this book is the “The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” and it’s not lying. Most productivity methods take more effort than they’re worth. David Allen’s method of creating an “external mind” has freed up my brain in a way that’s hard to describe. Only time will tell, but I believe I’ll stick with this method of organization for the foreseeable future.
This book has motivated me and almost every man I hang out with. If you find yourself lacking motivation or discipline, this book will mainline it to your system.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaimen
This is my favorite work of fiction in a long time and it’s a fairly short read. It’s a dark, modern fairy tale, and it’s just wonderful.
Thank You for My Service – Mat Best
Mat Best is pretty much the perfect man. Good looking, former special forces, former CIA contractor, freak athlete, funny, smart, successful, and he can even play the guitar. This book is a riot, but it’s not for the faint of heart. You’ll know within the first three pages if you can stomach it. If you can, hold on for the ride.
100 Deadly Skills – Clint Emerson
This book is kinda like a Boy Scout Handbook for wannabe assassins. Learning how to dispose of bodies properly, how to make a taser out of a camera, and how to hide things up your butt are but a few of the skills you’ll learn in this book.
Jack Reacher – Bad Luck and Trouble – Lee Child
Jack Reacher is my spirit animal. I’m thankful there’s like 100 more of these books because it’ll be a sad day when I read the last one.
Jack Reacher – Nothing to Lose – Lee Child
Did I mention Malcolm Gladwell is a huge Jack Reacher fan? The publisher actually sends him the books before anyone else gets them.
Perennial Seller – Ryan Holiday
I celebrate anything Ryan Holiday writes. This book is one I plan to re-read in 2020 as I’m finishing up the first of several major writing projects I’ve been working on.
As a writer, I found this book invaluable. It’s targeted more for the speaking form of story telling, but the lessons apply to writing as well. If you want some inspiration to read this book, check out Matthew Dicks’ excellent interview on “The Art of Manliness” Podcast. I’ve listened to it 3 times. Also, check out some of his Award Winning Live story telling videos.
We Learn Nothing – Tim Kreider
This book is a collection of random essays on life. It’s beautifully written and extremely honest. I hope I can write as well as Tim Kreider some day.
The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaimen
I listened to the audio version of this book and I suggest you do the same. Neil Gaimen himself narrates and he has a voice like English butter. The story itself is just weird and wonderful.
I read this one on a whim after Ryan Holiday suggested it in “Perennial Seller.” It dissects how Lady Gaga has grown from obscurity to super-star and how you can apply her principles to your own business. Even if you don’t like Gaga, this book is worth the read. It’s very very insightful.
You’re Worth it – Kyle Carpenter
If a Medal of Honer recipient writes a book, I want to read it. I can’t imagine going through what Kyle’s gone through and to maintain his level of positivity is impressive. If you’re feeling “woe is me” this book will help put things in perspective.
I’ve been familiar with Jon Acuff for a while but this is the first of his books I’ve read. It reads half like a stand-up comedy routine and half like a motivational coach helping to push you over the hump and finish that project you’ve been putting off.
Choose Yourself – James Altucher
I’ve had this on my shelf for several years and finally decided to read it. It’s a good book if you’re needing the motivation to strike out on your own.
Trust Me I’m Lying – Ryan Holiday
Another useful book by Ryan Holiday. The only reason it didn’t make my “great” list is because it’s a little dated. That’s my fault, not his. I should have read it years ago. Nonetheless, there are some major insights into media in this book. It’s difficult to watch or read the news now after this book showed me just how ridiculous it all is.
I love books by veterans, especially books by Navy SEALs. This one is worth the read. Jason Redman is brutally honest about how his failings almost got him kicked out of the SEALs. His road to redemption, subsequent life threatening combat injuries and recovery demonstrate how a person can make a complete 180 in their life.
The Richest Man in Babylon – George S Clason
This is an old timey book of financial wisdom. I debated putting it in the “great” category, but I’m not gonna lie, the King James writing style makes it difficult to read. If you can muscle your way through it, you’ll be blessed with some great personal-finance gems.
I Never Met a Story I didn’t Like – Todd Snyder
I really enjoyed this book, but it was also infuriating. I’ve struggled more than half my life for one shot at “making it” in the music industry. Todd Snyder was handed opportunity after opportunity and pissed them all away, yet he still “made it.” I guess it goes to show, some talent is just too good to keep down.
Good Omens – Neil Gaimen, Terry Pratchett
This book has been on my shelf for more than ten years, but after listening to Neil’s podcast with Tim Ferriss, and in anticipation of the Amazon Prime TV series based on the book, I decided to finally read it. I may have built this one up in my head too much. It was good, but not quite what I expected. My fault, not Neil or Terry’s.
This is Marketing – Seth Godin
I’m a huge Seth Godin fan so I was excited to read this book. For me, the only reason it didn’t fall into the “great” category is I’d already gleaned most of its content from Seth’s awesome podcast “Akimbo.” That said, I did take pages of notes. Really good information, but a lot of it was review for me.
Gridiron Genius – Michael Lombardi
I picked up this book after hearing the author speak on “The Art of Manliness” Podcast (my number one current resource for finding books to read). I honestly don’t care all that much about football, but I am a strategy nut, and football has it in spades. I will warn you, you may actually respect the New England Patriots after reading this book.
I may have heard about this book through “Perennial Seller” as well, but I can’t remember for sure. If you create content, it’s an important read.
Own the Day, Own Your Life – Aubrey Marcus
This book could be useful for someone who doesn’t know anything about fitness and nutrition, and I did try a few of his ideas, but overall I didn’t get much out of it.
I know this book has helped some people, but I didn’t really take anything useful away from it.