We’re now well into Q2 of 2018, and I’ve gotten a surprising amount of reading done by way of audiobooks from Scribd and Audible. I’m still dipping into the paperbacks and hardbacks, too, but the listening format is letting me keep up a good pace of learning even with rigorous work and commuting. Pro tip: get a Scribd.com account, and you can read or listen to these for just $8.99 per month.
Here are some of the reads I’ve been enjoying (check out my Q1 reading list):
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson – PARTIAL – I just started the Audible audiobook version of this famous biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Right now I’m just experiencing the early days of Apple Computer, helmed by nerdy Woz and hippie Steve.
Dune by Frank Herbert – PARTIAL – I long assumed this was just another off-the-shelf sci-fi novel. I was wrong. This is space fantasy on a level with Star Wars, with excellent world-building, complex mythology, and gripping storytelling.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman – FINISHED – Neil Gaiman tells the story of Bod, a living boy growing up in a cemetery and raised by the graveyard’s long-deceased denizens. Bod meets all forms of good and bad ghoulishness as he grows into a young man, and (if you get the audiobook) Gaiman tells all the delightful stories in a range of great accents. Read my review.
12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson – FINISHED – My favorite non-fiction read of 2018 so far. In it, psychologist and comparative mythologist (on a level with Joseph Campbell) Jordan Peterson meditates on how myth, psychology, and evolutionary biology can teach us the proper orientation toward life, relationships, and work.
The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker – FINISHED – This book written in the 1960s by world-famous management writer Peter Drucker gives a clear, relevant case and guidelines for effective knowledge work. I took away some important validation and ideas from this book which will be useful for me in my work.
Beyond Band of Brothers by Dick Winters – FINISHED – Major Dick Winters of EZ Company, Second Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (AKA the “Band of Brothers” of Stephen Ambrose’s work) has a unique perspective on World War II in this autobiography. Winters shares his experiences from growing up in rural Pennsylvania to jumping into Normandy on D-Day and beyond. This book captures much of what made Winters a successful leader and has some great applications and perspective for modern readers.
Crushing It! by Gary Vaynerchuk – FINISHED – In this followup to his first book Crush It, social media expert and entrepreneurial thought leader Gary Vaynerchuk brings together updated advice for “crushing it” on the modern social web with the stories of average people who used Crush It principles to start their own successful business ventures.
Own the Day, Own Your Life by Aubrey Marcus – FINISHED – Marcus takes a one-day-at-a-time approach to personal development in this book, taking readers through the multiple stages of an ideal day. Marcus starts with hydration and movement at the start of day and continues on sharing meal tips, commute tips, sleep tips (take a nap!), and more that will help to create someone’s perfect day – usually grounded in some research.
Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins – FINISHED – This was my first time going through a Tony Robbins book. At this point, I’m well past a disdain of self-help books, and I enjoyed it. The future visualization exercises Tony talks about do help to drive positive behavior.
Extreme Ownership: How US Navy Seals Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif – FINISHED – I’ve become a fan of Jocko Willink’s work since listening to his Psychological Warfare and Extreme Ownership Field Manual on Spotify (both are great tools for getting your ass in gear for a new routine). He has a great podcast, too. This book was the genesis of much of what he has been up to since he broke out on the personal development scene. Written for business leaders (and suitable for anyone who has to lead in *any* level of authority), Extreme Ownership shares “laws of combat” and lessons from the Iraqi battlefield applicable in all leadership scenarios.
The Way of the Warrior Kid by Jocko Willink – FINISHED – Jocko Willink’s fun book for kids takes many of the lessons of his popular podcast and brings them down to a level anyone can understand. Protagonist Marc is out of shape, behind on his lessons, and isn’t trained to swim. That all changes when his Navy SEAL uncle comes into town for the summer. As you can imagine, hard-core discipline ensues.
Marc’s Mission: Way of the Warrior Kid Book 2 by Jocko Willink – FINISHED – What can I say? Jocko knows how to write good kid’s books. This one covers Marc’s continued transformation into a warrior kid and leader, as he confronts financial responsibility, attitude, and psychological bullying.
The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino – PARTIAL – I first heard about this one from a friend in sales. Through a (somewhat) cheesy frame story of a wildly successful merchant in the Near East of the Roman empire, Mandino delivers a series of lessons on sales that are each meant to be read daily for 30 days as affirmations. I am not complying, but maybe I’ll come back to it.
Don’t Make Me Think (Second Edition) by Steve Krug – PARTIAL – A front-end developer at work lent me this one. It’s a classic overview of intuitive design for the web, and it points out a lot of the subtle psychological elements that can make or break a website.
The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking – FINISHED – Happiness research Wiking shares a theory to explain (partly) why the Danish are consistently rated as some of the happiest people in the world. He believes their emphasis on “hygge” lifestyles and designs help to create a sense of security and contentedness which the rest of the world could learn from. I can confirm that a little “hygge” goes a long way. See my tips for making an apartment more “hygge.”
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kwondo – PARTIAL – Japanese tidying expert Kwondo shares her story in finding both meaning and balance through helping others find the proper place for the things that bring joy – and get rid of the things that don’t. She shares tips for people preparing to do the big job of tidying up, and (while I’m not there yet) the book is building up to a recommended program for any reader to bring the life-changing magic of tidying into their lives.
Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker, PhD – PARTIAL – Walker shares findings from years of research on the nature of sleep, what screws it up, and why we need it. I’m just beginning, but I’m starting to be convinced (again) of the importance of those 8 hours of sleep everyone tells you you need.
The Tao of Seneca by Seneca – PARTIAL – I’m diving back (after a long hiatus) into these letters from Roman Stoic Seneca, compiled into an audiobook at the initiation of big Stoicism fan Tim Ferriss. In these letters, Seneca shares wisdom gained from Stoic living – from the importance of modesty to the danger of crowds – with his young protege.
How To Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie – PARTIAL – Started this book by How To Win Friends and Influence People author Carnegie after hearing Tim Ferriss reference it. Carnegie (so far) makes the case that worry can be banished simply enough – just apply the wisdom we’ve already gained over thousands of years. This book is his way of driving that wisdom home, starting with a call to live each day as an “airtight compartment.”