When I was young I was a voracious reader, but my love for reading faded as I got older. Partly because of teachers forcing me to read countless stale text books that sucked my will to read books for leisure. Also, I discovered in college that I had developed an astigmatism that caused me to get tired or develop headaches while reading.
Getting glasses in college gave me back the physical ability to read without struggling. Meanwhile, trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life after college revitalized my hunger for learning and desire to read more. Discovering audio books also made a big impact on my ability and yearning to read.
However, it wasn't until a few years ago that I made books a daily part of my life. Positive habits have enabled me to read (and listen to) more books in a year than I thought I possibly could, and that number grows each year. I hope this doesn’t come across as too self-congratulatory, but I finished 41 books in 2017 - my highest number yet. In 2016 I finished 40 and in 2015, the first year I started aggressively reading and tracking, I finished 35. Of course, in 2018 I plan to read even more still.
Many of my friends and colleagues find it hard to believe that I have the time (let alone the will) to read dozens of books in a year. Recently, more have been seeking book recommendations, asking for my general favorites or even in specific genres. Therefore, the above is meant to inspire those who believe they don't have enough time to read while the below is meant to give suggestions I stand behind.
The book I got the most value out of in 2017, and is therefore my favorite book of the year, is Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow. It’s difficult to label this with one genre as it has elements of psychology, economics, sociology, and business all overlapping, which is perhaps a big reason why it’s my favorite.
In a nutshell, the book is all about the biases of our intuition. Each chapter on its own contains a valuable lesson that would be worth the price of the whole book itself. These lessons could apply to everything from building your business and marketing, to relationships and personal development. I had so many light bulb moments while reading this book that I’m happy to experience a handful of times in another great book, and maybe once in a decent book.
Kahneman’s writing style is also enjoyable and he turns topics that may seem dry at first glance into anything but that. By the way, he’s also a Nobel prize winner and the book has been touted by the likes of Bill Gates and others, if you need any other reasons to check it out.
My second favorite book I read in 2017 is Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss. I am a big fan of Tim’s. I have read all of his books, listened to every episode of his podcast, watched his short-lived tv show, and even seen him speak both times he came to LA. Tim is a master at taking other people’s wisdom and experience and distilling it to actionable information.
Tools of Titans is a massive book, but the chapters are short and easy to digest. Each highlights guests from his podcast over the years and extracts the most valuable nuggets of wisdom from the interviews. This includes the ultra-successful in the worlds of finance, health, business/productivity, creativity, etc. The book is a gold mine of information.
I’m currently reading his newest book, Tribe of Mentors, which is similar except that it’s with the world’s best who have yet to be on his podcast. I strongly recommend both if you’re interested in taking countless pieces of valuable information and advice from the world’s best.
Here are some honorable mentions from different genres of books I read in 2017:
Business / Entrepreneurship / Marketing / Economics / Data
- Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
- Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
- Everybody Lies by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
Personal Development / Positive Psychology
- The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor
- Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi
- The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra
- The Motivation Manifesto by Brendan Burchard
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
- The One Thing by Gary Keller, Jay Papasan
Relationships / Sex
- The Game by Neil Strauss
- The Way of the Superior Man by David Deida
- Deep Work by Cal Newport
Science / Health
- A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
- The Rational Optimist by Matt Ripley
- 4 Hour Body by Tim Ferriss
- Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari
I felt that providing a synopsis on each book wouldn’t be productive as there are plenty of good summaries and reviews elsewhere online. However, I’m happy to elaborate on any of my picks or give more if you’re interested. Let me know if you’re going to check out any of the above (and which ones) and tell me what your favorite books of 2017 were. Cheers!