Part of my motivation for becoming an entrepreneur is that I wanted to free up some time to do the things I like to do– and there’s few things I like to do more than reading (and increasingly, listening to) books.
Since TMBA readers have proven to be book lovers as well, I figured a reading list would make for a good 2013 round-up post.
To create this list I pulled my Amazon and Audible records (very convenient!). Because of this, I did not list books that: were paper, were pirated, were eBooks outside of the Amazon platform, or were given to me. Hopefully my favorite authors from that batch will find their way to the 2014 list.
I also omitted titles that I did not like, or were way off “TMBA” topics.
If you have a book suggestion for me, I’ve love if you’d share the title in the comments (in particular if it’s on Audible as I have a few open credits and will be doing a lot of travel this month!).
Top 10 (in no particular order):
- Antifragile : Things That Gain From Disorder – Easily one of the best books of the year from one of my favorite authors. Taleb asks the question– how can we build systems and businesses that benefit from uncertainty?
- The Gervais Principle : The Complete Series With a Bonus Essay – An hugely entertaining series of essays, along with a new bonus essay, from one of my favorite bloggers. A must read!
- Hatching Twitter : A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal – From failing start-up to one of the world’s most powerful companies, this is a great entrepreneurial story, it’s filled with so many highs and lows it reads like a fictional feature film.
- The Big Short : Inside the Doomsday Machine – This year I discovered Michael Lewis and went back to read many of his books. I love the way he dissects the financial collapse of 2008– primarily by following the brave few who saw it coming. It’s extraordinarily compelling, and during the process he reveals a lot about the way good people make bad decisions.
- In the Plex : How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives – I adored this book and was sorry when it was over. An in-depth look at one of the most important companies of our generation.
- A Short History of Nearly Everything – A history of scientific knowledge, Bryson excels at distilling complex topics and giving us a fresh perspective on our universe.
- The Writing Life – Poetic and beautiful, a wonderful look at the creative process.
- Vietnam : A History – The definitive English language history of Vietnam, a classic and engaging book by a bright mind with unprecedented access.
- The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich – It’s like rolling every WWII movie you’ve seen into one epic book.
- Masters of Doom : How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture – An epic story of youth, creativity, and computer gaming riches.
40 Honorable mentions (I enjoyed all these books, they are listed in no particular order):
- The 80/20 Manager : The Secret to Working Less and Achieving More – Richard’s famous book The 80/20 Principle, published in 1999, is a sort of primordial Four Hour Work Week. You can listen to a great interview with the author here.
- Daily Rituals : How Artists Work – A fascinating look at the dirty work of getting art done.
- Without Their Permission : How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed – In 2013 I became a full on Redditor, and it was great to hear the story from the idealistic and visionary founder.
- Escape From Camp 14 : One Man’s Remarkable Oddessey From North Korea to Freedom in the West – A look inside North Korea’s brutal regime.
- Life Itself : A Memior – I always loved Roger Ebert’s work and his memoir serves as a touching goodbye.
- Thomas Jefferson – I’m a much bigger fan of Christopher Hitchens’ Youtube videos than his books, but I thought this one was a great read.
- The Gate – A stunning book about a foreigner trapped inside of Pol Pot’s death regime.
- The Master Switch : The Rise and Fall of Information Empires – Do we really think we are living in unprecedented times?
- The Checklist Manifesto : How to Get Things Done Right – A simple and illuminating book, could managing complex processes from surgery to flying jumbo jets really just be a matter of having the right lists?
- Finding Ultra : Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Finding Myself – I love stories of mid-life personal transformation (there still might be hope for me!), and this one is a great one.
- Potatoes Not Prozac : A Natural 7 Step Program to Control Your Craving – I love books that give perspective into how what we eat might effect how we think.
- The Lover – The novel that inspired the classic South East Asia romance story with the same name.
- The One Thing – A simple and inspiring business book about the importance of focus.
- Paris in the 50’s – Karnow (author of Vietnam: A History) gives us a window into mid century Paris and the european countryside. I wish Stanley would have written more books, I read his entire catalog this year.
- In Our Image : America’s Empire in the Philippines – by Stanley Karnow. Many Americans are not aware that we controlled the Philippine islands for the first half of the 20th century, upon traveling there you can still see the impact of our relationship everywhere.
- 2K to 10K : Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love – If you write anything, it’s a must read.
- Nothings Changed but My Change – A casual and fun look at one man’s journey from rags to internet riches.
- Mortality – The book the Hitch wrote on his death bed.
- The Willpower Instinct : How Self Control Works and How You Can Get More of It – Well it didn’t make me more disciplined, but it sure as hell was interesting!
- Mastering the Rockefeller Habits – If you have over 3 staff, I’d recommend reading this book. I got a lot out of it.
- Work the System : The Simple Mechanics of Working Less and Getting More – Again a must read if you run a business, implementing the ideas in this book was one of the most important things we did in 2013.
- The Power of Habit : Why We Do What We Do in Life and in Business – Boring title, thrilling book.
- Unlabel : Selling You Without Selling Out – The story of Mark Echo written in a casual and fun style.
- The Complete Turtle Trader – The story of how people with little experience learned how to earn millions on Wall Street.
- Why Orwell Matters – George Orwell and the Hitch together.
- Rich Dad Poor Dad – I reread this book and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it the second time around, it’s a great book to recommend to people who aren’t sure about the benefits of entrepreneurship.
- Be Slightly Evil – A great collection of essays from one of my favorite blogs, RibbonFarm.com.
- Down and Out in Paris and London – I had the great pleasure of reading Orwell’s short book while hanging out in Paris. Wonderful stuff.
- Foundation : Redefine Your Core, Conquere Back Pain, and Move With Confidence – We sit all day long, this book outlines simple exercises to improve your posture and to relieve back pain.
- The Primal Blueprint : Reprogram Your Genes For Effortless Weightloss, Vibrant Health and Boundless Energy – Along with his wonderful blog, Mark’s casual and researched style is super easy to understand and to implement.
- Manhunt : The 10 Year Search for Bin Laden From 9/11 to Abbottabad – Reads like a feature film, you’ll stay up all night trying to finish it.
- I’m Feeling Lucky : The Confessions of Google Employee #59 – A funny look at life inside the Googleplex.
- David and Goliath : Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants – A lot of people say Gladwell is just intellectual candy, as if that were a bad thing! His newest book is entertaining and has provoked a lot of thoughts in me.
- Zealot : The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazerath – A look at Jesus from a historical perspective, even though I’ve spent a lot of time over the years reading about Christianity, I learned a lot and was entertained by this book.
- Linchpin : Are You Indispensable? – Another re-read, this is a great book for those interested in the history of work, the transition from information from imagination work, and how to be a better team member.
- Stalingrad : The Fateful Siege 1942-1943 – Haunting.
- Boomerang : Travels in the New 3rd World – Michael Lewis (I read many of his books this year, I love his style) goes back to some of the money managers who predicted the 2008 financial collapse, and asked them “what’s next?” Their response: “countries.” Everything this guy writes is interesting.
- Liar’s Poker – Another Michael Lewis classic. As said by his former boss (who appears in the book), “your book ruined my career, and made yours.”
- Start With the Why – Despite a classic “businesses” title, this book is incredibly engaging and has changed the way we talk about our business.
- War – Wow. The book that accompanies the award winning movie. Follow a war journalist embedded for 5 months with an American platoon in the deadliest valley in Afghanistan.
Hope you find something in there you love! Your suggestions are encouraged!
Cheers and happy 2014,