At the beginning of the year, I set a goal to read one book a month in an effort to break free from my routine of reading only tech and startup blogs. My wife, Eliza, had also been trying to get me to read more fiction in the seven years we’ve been together. This seemed like a goal worth pursing and easy to accomplish with very little effort.
To help me achieve this goal, I decided to buy a Kindle Paperwhite for a variety reasons. First, I hated reading on my iPhone and iPad because the notifications were a distraction and the glare on the screen always bothered by eyes. Additionally, some of the books on my reading list were hard to find in local bookshops and I didn’t want to wait to have them shipped. Finally, I prefer to travel around the city with a light load and enjoy reading on the subway so didn’t want schlep books with me.
Building a reading list was an essential part of my journey. Once I purchased the Kindle, I decided to keep a reading list in Evernote so when I finished a book I’d have plenty of options to choose from depending on my mood. The process for creating the list was pretty easy. About once a month, I’d ask friends and colleagues for suggestions. Additionally, I would find inspiration in local bookstores if I had some time to kill. Finally, social networks are great place to find book recommendations from people I respect.
Many people have asked me over the last few months, “How you do find the time to read?” Well it’s actually pretty easy but I do have an advantage. Since I live in Brooklyn, I spend more than an hour each day waiting for and riding the subway. Every time I step into the subway, I’m reading. Additionally, my wife and I outlawed iPhones in our bedroom but allow Kindles. I usually work late into the evening but I try to read for twenty to thirty minutes each night before I go to bed so my brain can unwind. Lastly, I try to read for thirty to sixty minutes each weekend. All of that time quickly adds up so I can enjoy many books throughout the year.
Without further ado, below is my 2014 reading list in the order that I read each book. As you’ll see, there is a good mix of fiction and non-fiction and the topics range from physics to philosophy to sustainability. I hope this inspires you to read one of the books and / or even set a similar goal for yourself in 2015. I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed this journey and I’m excited discover many great books over the next year. I’m always looking for book recommendation so I’d love any suggestions you’d like to share. Happy reading!
- Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, Jon Meacham (link)
- Status Anxiety, Alain de Botton (link)
- Startup Boards, Brad Feld and Mahendra Ramsinghani (link)
- Hatching Twitter, Nick Bilton (link)
- Made in the USA: The Rise and Retreat In American Manufacturing, Vaclav Smil (link)
- Hooked: How to Build Habit Forming Products, Nir Eyal and Ryan Hoover (link)
- The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, Brad Stone (link)
- The Circle, Dave Eggers (link)
- The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership, Bill Walsh (link)
- Bitcoin Decoded, Brett Combs (link)
- The Hard Things About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers, Ben Horowitz (link)
- Resource Revolution: How to Capture the Biggest Business Opportunities in a Century, Stefan Heck and Matt Rogers (link)
- Creativity Inc.: Overcoming the Unforeseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, Ed Catmull (link)
- The Stand, Stephen King (link)
- The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt (link)
- Four Seasons: The Story of a Business Philosophy, Isadore Sharp (link)
- The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, Eckart Tolle (link)
- How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie (link)
- Science of Being and Art of Living: Transcendental Meditation by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (link)
- The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew, Alan Lightman (link)
- The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins (link)
- Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy, William Janeway (link)
- Super Intelligence: Paths, Daners, Strategies, Nick Bostrom (link)
- Zero to One: Notes on Startups or How to Build The Future, Peter Thiel and Blake Masters (link)
- Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, Cheryl Strayed (link)
- A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking (link)