For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a book worm and an egg head. I keep track of all the books I have read since 2011. When I read a book, I underline the important part or part that makes me think. I then read the underlined sessions a second time and copy the most thought provoking parts to my notebook.
This first half of the year, I read quite a bit because I spent a lot of time on BART. I didn’t read as much in the second half of the year because I didn’t ride BART as often. I guess that’s one good thing about a long commute. Anyway, here is a look of all the books I read this year and I’ll list my favorites in the end.
- A Briet History of Time – From the Big Bang to Black Holes – Stephen Hawking
- My Personal Best – All Life Lessons from an All-American Journey – John Wooden
- Losing My Virginity – How I survived, had fun and made a fortune doing Business My Way – Richard Branson
- Whatever Happened to Interracial Love – Kathleen Collins
- Superheros- How exceptional leaders master the flow of talent – Sydney Finkelstein
- Originals – How nonconformists move the World – Adam Grant
- Give & Take – Adam Grant
- Living Nonviolent Communication – Practical tools to connect and communicate skillfully in every situation – Marshall Rosenberg
- The War of Art – Break Through the blocks and win your inner creative battles – Steven Pressfield
- The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand
- Grit – The power of passion and perseverance – Angela Duckworth
- Of Mice and Man – John Steinbeck
- The Industries of the Future – Alec Ross
- The Four Agreements – A practical guide to personal freedom – Peter Coyote
- Erewhon – Samuel Butler
- The Compound Effect – Jumpstart your income, your life, your success – Darren Hardy
- Snow Falling on Cedars – David Guterson
- The Alchemist – Paolo Bacigalupi
- Thrive – Arianna Huffington
- How to Weep in Public – Jacquelire Novak
- Toxic Work – Barbara Reinhold
- All That Man is – David Szalay
- The Alchemist – Paulo Coello
- The other 8 Hours – Robert Pagliarini
- Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the creator of Nike – Phil Knight
- The Girl with the lower back tattoo – Amy Schumer
- The Marketing Playbook
- The Zahir – Paulo Coelho
- Future Sex – Emily Witt
- The Pilgrimage – Paulo Coelho
- Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand
- The $100 Startup – Reinvent the way you make a living, do what you love and create a new future – Chris Guillebeau
- High Hanging Fruit – Build something great by going where no one else will –Mark Rampolla
- A Game of Thrones (Song of Ice and Fire) –George R. Martin
- Getting Things Done – The art of stress-free Productivity – David Allen (Currently reading)
- Mao: The Real Story – Alexander Pantsov and Steven Levine (Currently reading)
Ok. Are you ready for my favorite this year or perhaps my all time favorite?
#1. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the creator of Nike – Phil Knight
I have read many entrepreneurs’ biography over the years. This one is simply the best. Phil Knight wrote his journey all the way from the idea of selling Japanese shoes to creating his own brand NIKE. It gave you an inside view of how this business was created from scratch. It’s an amazing and extremely inspirational to know that he and his team built this brand from the 1960s, which is not that long ago. Today Nike is one of the best-known brands out there like Apple.
His advice to young people is this, “I’d tell men and women in their twenties not to settle for a job or a profession or even a career. Seek a calling. Even if you don’t know what that means, seek it. If you’re following your calling, the fatigue will be easier to bear, the disappointments will be fuel, the highs will be like nothing else you’ve ever felt.”
#2 The Alchemist – Paulo Coello
This is hands-down one of the best and most inspirational books written of all time. This book is wildly popular to Americans, but I just found it this year. The Alchemist told a simple yet profound story of one shepherd setting out in a journey to find his treasures.
At one point the shepherd worked at a crystal shop, the shop owner wanted to go to Mecca, but never did. The shop owner told the shepherd, “It’s the thought of Mecca that keeps me living…I’m afraid that if my dream is realized, I will have no reason to go on living. In a separate conversation, he said, “You dream about your sheep and the Pyramids, but you’re different from me, because you want to realize your dreams. I just want to dream about Mecca.”
I think there are two kinds of people, the people who dream about going to Mecca and the people who actually go to Mecca. This is my opinion, not from the book.
Here are some other cool snippets of the book.
“A person’s personal legend is what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their personal legend is.”
“If a person is living out his personal legend, he knows everything he needs to know. There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”
“Don’t give in to fears. If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.”
#3 The Four Agreements – Don Miguel Ruiz
I feel like this is a tie between The Compound Effect and The Four Agreements. If I have to pick one, I would go with The Four Agreements. The four agreements are four pieces of wisdom that most people can benefit from.
- Be Impeccable with Your Word
- Don’t Take Anything Personally
- Don’t Make Assumptions
- Always Do Your Best
I know they sound very simple and straight forward, but they are not. People would not be nearly as angry if they read this book. Actually I think I would be down to read this book again, since I only listened to the audio book once. It definitely has left a great impression on me.
Other than the top three, I enjoyed reading Atlas Shrugged and Game of Thrones tremendously. A book that really lifted me up when I mostly needed is How to Weep in Public, which is a very interesting read on depression. Oh, I almost forgot, The War of Art! You got to read this book if you are doing any type of creative work! What separates an armature from a professional? Read this book to find out. Whatever Happened to Interracial Love is a quirky book I got in the mail from a book exchange thing I did with friends on Facebook. The interesting thing is the author didn’t publish her writing in her lifetime. Her daughter collected her notes after she passed away and published them.
Those are some recommendations for you. A great piece of literature can have profound effects on us. I’m truly grateful to all these authors who have poured their hearts and soul to these books. I hope that one day I can contribute to this list and write something worth reading.
Photographer: Hannah Anisa