Of the books that I have read this year, here are my top 5 recommendations…(and then a list of some of the others in case you are curious.)
Personality Isn’t Permanent – Dr. Benjamin Hardy
I feel like I finally have an answer as to why I hate personality profiles based on a questionnaire. Besides the fact that all the information used for the profile is subjective (and provided by me about me – a topic that I really don’t fully understand) and the questions are way too simplistic, this book unpacks, from a psychological perspective, why personality types can be really harmful.
Your personality isn’t fixed. You are a number of different people throughout your life, unless you choose not to grow and allow yourself to be boxed in by your type/number/animal/acronym.
Read this book.
7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R Covey
Okay, I get it. I’m 30 years late on this one. I thought it was going to be a positive thinking book about getting up early and winning the day – like I need to hear more of that, so I have avoided it. I was so wrong. A few pages in I discovered that Stephen Covey was decades ahead of his time as he warned against the dangers of attempting to positive think your way into success and how manipulating those around you to do what you want with special techniques is not effective nor success. Many of the things that I have learned over the last 5 years that have been life changing can be found in the pages of this book. Most authors that I have credited with genius ideas have Stephen Covey to thank for giving them the inspiration to write them.
I had heard some of the habits mentioned before and on face value, again incorrectly, thought they were pointless. Instead, they hold a real depth and he takes you through the process of discovering what your values truly are, living them out through an empowered thought life creating an intentional future and building others up around you. If you have never read this book, read it…now.
Humankind – A Hopeful History – Rutger Bregman
Surely Rutger is one of the most hopeful people on the planet. His perspective and real understanding of some of the historical events reshapes the way that I see people – we are more often than not, generous, supportive and caring for others. Kids on an island is a fiction and also not true. The real story didn’t catch people’s attention because people treating others nicely rarely does.
Tribe of Mentors – Tim Ferris
Tim emails famous people that are pretty amazing in their field of expertise, a list of questions or which they can choose to answer a few or all if they wish. This book is the accumulation of their answers. Wisdom from actors, sports stars, tech billionaires, artists, authors and a whole lot more. Some of them weren’t for me but there was plenty of other brilliance.
Fiction of the year
A Gentleman in Moscow – Amor Towles
A beautifully written story about an aristocrat in Russia through parts of the 20th century, being held under house/hotel arrest for being an aristocrat. Some would say it explores the themes of the inevitability of change and government and power. I say it is a touching story, with the tiniest hint of The Count of Monte Cristo.
Michael Connelly – Bosch Series (Because I have read all the Jack Reacher books)
- Black Echo
- The Black Ice
- Concrete Blonde
- The Last Coyote
- Trunk Music
The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid – C.K. Prahalad
The Obstacle is the Way – Ryan Holiday (for the third time)
Deep Work – Cal Newport (for the second time)
Achievement Addiction – Justine Toh
The War of Art – Steven Pressfield
Phosphoresence – Julia Baird