At the start of 2016 I set out a goal to read/listen to 20 books over the course of the year. I completed this goal. 

I've been continuing the trend ever since. 

I'll update this page with books worth reading. For those interested in what I'm reading now, I use a Trello Board as my library. 

Books are posted in order of completion. 

Extensive notes for selected books are available here

 


Deep Work by Cal Newport

Rating: 10/10

Completed: 27/01/2017

Key Takeaway(s):

Long periods of undistracted work are becoming increasingly rare. 

Since reading this, I have started to treat my undistracted time as sacred. 

Newport opened my eyes to the concept of Deep Work (long periods of uninterrupted concentration). Now this is the only method I use to get my most important works done. 

 

Free Will by Sam Harris

Rating: 8/10

Completed: 21/01/2017

The only reason this didn't get a higher rating is because of the complexity of the topics it talks about. I found it hard to understand some of the concepts. I'll have to listen to/read it again to gather a further understanding. 

Key Takeaway(s): 

- The decisions you make may not entirely be your own, no matter how much you believe they are.

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

Rating: 7/10

Completed: 21/1/2017

To me, this book could be summarised with one chapter. The message is great but there was a lot of noise surrounding the key messages. 

Key Takeaway(s): 

- The Law of Attraction, if you can see it in your mind, you can hold it in your hand. 

- Your thoughts become things. 

Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Kamal Ravikant

Rating: 10/10

Completed: 8/1/2017

This book came at a great time for me. I was still in a bad way after breaking up with my girlfriend, a few months earlier. Reading this taught me one of the most valuable lessons of my life. 

Key Takeaway(s): 

- Love yourself first. Whatever you do in life, you've got to love yourself. Once you fully and totally love yourself, it will be like a superpower. 

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

Rating: 9/10

Completed: 8/1/2017

This is a must read for anyone thinking of starting a company or anyone currently working in any field related to customer service. 

Key Takeaway(s): 

- Culture beats strategy every time. Zappos would pay toxic people to leave their company to protect the culture. 

- Waiting around at a company for millions of dollars in a payout deal isn't gaurunteed to bring you happiness you have a burning passion to be an entrepreneur. This is exactly what Tony Hsieh did when starting Zappos. 

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Rating: 10/10

Completed: 24/12/2016

I believe that this book should be required reading for everyone. The lessons and insights gained from this beautiful written tome will stay with me for life. 

Key Takeaway(s): 

- Treat everyone like it's their birthday. 

- Be quick to flatter someone but slow to criticise them. 

This is definitely a book I will revisit in the future. 

Zero to One by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters

 

Rating: 10/10

Completed: 29/11/2016

Key Takeaway(s): If you can create a monopoly with your new product, you're going to succeed. 

Founding teams are fundamentally important when starting a startup, perhaps the most important factor. 

Going for moon shots is easier than going for smaller goals.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Rating: 10/10

Completed: 29/11/2016

Key Takeaway(s): This is a phenomenal short story filled with incredible life lessons.

The gold you're often searching for is within. The best journeys result in an inward destination.  If you can imagine it, you can create it. 

 

The Power of Vulnerability by Brené Brown

Rating: 8/10

Completed: 26/11/2016

Key Takeaway(s): Being vulnerable is being powerful.

 "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." -  Theodore Roosevelt

The Richest man in Babylon

Rating: 9/10

Completed: 17/10/2016

Key Takeaway(s): Make your money work for you. Save 10% of your wealth for yourself and spend the rest, eventually you will be wealthy. 

05/10/2016 [AudioBook] Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin 10/10

Key takeaway(s):

1. You are completely responsible for all of your actions in life. No one else. Take extreme ownership of them. 

2. Discipline equals freedom. Having discipline in one area of your life gives you freedom in other areas of your life. 

23/09/2016 [PaperBack] Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges 10/10

Key takeaway(s):

1. You can do anything you set your mind to and focus completely on. Alan changed the world. He created what is effectively computer science today. Without his work, I may not be typing the words on this page.

2. Relationships with others are the most valuable thing in life. This was inspired by Alan's great love for those around him. 

3. The answer is always to create something great. Even when the odds were completely against Alan Turing (growing up homosexual during a period of war), he still was able to find joy by creating something great. 

This book inspired me to study computer science. I was already interested in it before the book but reading the book is nothing short of inspiring. 

18/09/2016 [AudioBook] Joy on Demand: The Art of Discovering the Happiness Within by Chade-Meng Tan 9/10

Key takeaway:

You create joy with the power of one breath. Just be present for one breath and focus on the now. Everything is perfect within the now. 

07/09/2016 [AudioBook] Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance 11/10

Key takeaway(s):

1. You can do anything you want. Truly. 

2. Surround yourself with the smartest people in the room and ask lots of questions. You can learn what they know. 

3. Always back yourself. Choose yourself first. Don't listen to anyone else before you listen to yourself. 

This book ultimately resulted in me leaving my job at Apple to pursue building my own businesses. 

15/08/2016 [AudioBook] Vagabonding by Rolf Potts

Key takeaway:

You can travel with less than what you think. This book ultimately inspired me to travel to Japan with only a backpack.

14/08/2016 [AudioBook] Mindset by Carol Dweck

Key takeaway:

1. Use the word 'yet' at the end of any sentence with the word 'can't' in it. E.g. "I can't bench press 100kg, yet." 

09/08/2016 [AudioBook] Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs - By Dr Lisa Randall 8/10

This one took me a long time to get through. Don't take that as being a bad thing though. It is so packed with some incredible information about the universe that I had to take breaks between listening just to let my brain recover. Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs discusses how an unknown material known only as dark matter has influence over everything in the known universe. This book goes into depth about how fascinating dark matter is but yet at the same time how little we know about it. If you're into science, space, dinosaurs, physics or just want to be wowed, read this book.  

30/07/2016 [AudioBook] Lying - By Sam Harris 10/10

This book has changed my life. I listened to it twice over a period of two days. Harris explores the psychological and ethical burdens that you put yourself through when you lie are far worse than the benefits of always telling the truth. This is true even for white lies. This book will challenge your views on honesty, no matter what they may be. 

29/07/2016 [AudioBook] The Code of the Extraordinary Mind - By Vishen Lakhiani 10/10

Vishen offers great insights into what creates an extraordinary mind. Since reading this I have implemented the word 'brules' into my vocabulary. Lakhiani defines brules as "bullshit rules - the rules which all of us are subject to as soon as we are born with no choice of our own". This book has also caused me to more deeply think about how the world operates relative to me. It's caused me to ask myself questions such as, "Do I need to be doing this?", "Who am I pleasing by doing this?", "How can I please myself?". This book challenges unconventional laws and provides a different perspective as to how to become the most extraordinary version of yourself. 

10/07/2016 [AudioBook] Ego Is the Enemy - By Ryan Holiday 10/10

This book has actively changed my life in more aspects than one. It demonstrates how the ego manifests itself into our every day lives, altering how we think and changing how we react to certain situations, most often in a negative way. Learning this I have been able to recognise where my ego is at play and the steps I can take to prevent this.  I will be reading/listening to this again in the near future. 

The Book of Five Rings - By Miyamoto Musashi

The Book of Five Rings - By Miyamoto Musashi

23/06/2016 The Book of Five Rings - By Miyamoto Musashi & translated by Thomas Cleary 9/10

At the start of this year I began learning two Eastern Asian languages (Mandarin and Japanese). Since then I've been looking deeper into Eastern Asian culture. I chose to read this book because I felt that anything that had stood the test of time deserves reading. The Book of Five Rings was composed in 1643 as a way for Miyamoto Musashi, a legendary swordsman, to record his learnings and teachings of martial arts. It contains principles that are very much still relevant to today's world. It's an insight into how much focus and time was devoted to mastering their craft. 

Full book notes are available here.

17/06/2016 Anything You Want - By Derek Sivers 10/10

Over the past year or so, Derek Sivers has been a very influential person in my life. Ever since listening to him speak on the Tim Ferriss podcast I’ve ingested many of his works. This book being the most recent. It ties in beautifully with Derek’s essentialism way of life. Concentrating on what makes him most happy first. He has summed up over 10 years of business experience into an hours read. He has done just as he states on page 46, “Carefully eliminate everything unnecessary.” I had this book sitting on my shelf for two weeks before I started to read it. I offered it to my friend to read it whilst I finished another book. He read it that day and urged me to read it immediately so we could talk about it. I’m glad I did. I will take the lessons I’ve learnt from this and apply them to my everyday life. Especially the “Hell yeah!” or “no.” principle on page 13. 

Full book notes are available here.

  

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us - By Seth Godin

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us - By Seth Godin

16/06/2016 [AudioBook] Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us - By Seth Godin 9/10

I Will Teach You To Be Rich - By Ramit Sethi

I Will Teach You To Be Rich - By Ramit Sethi

06/06/2016 [AudioBook] I Will Teach You To Be Rich - By Ramit Sethi 10/10

Listening to this book took my personal finance knowledge from level 1 to level 10. It has clear and researched next steps to start putting into action. There's no "try this and it may work". Since reading, I've managed to organise and automate my personal finances so that I no longer have to worry about, how much I'm spending versus how much I'm saving, it all works on it's own. Ramit focuses on the big wins rather than saving pennies on small decisions. Sethi believes that being rich is not just about having a large amount of money, he incorporates other important areas of life into the definition of rich. 

How to make $10,000 while learning to code - By Rob Percival

How to make $10,000 while learning to code - By Rob Percival

03/06/2016 [eBook] How to make $10,000 while learning to code - By Rob Percival 10/10

At the time of posting this I'm currently in the process of completing Rob's Complete Web Development Course and his Complete iOS development course. This book will do exactly as the title says if you follow the step by step guide laid out beautifully by the author. The book comes free with the purchase of the Complete Web Development Course (non-affiliate link). If you're looking to learn to code and potentially earn some money whilst doing it, I'd follow the steps in this book. It pairs greatly with Rob's courses, but can also work as a great standalone resource. 

All of Rob's Courses are available here (non-affiliate).

The Tao of Seneca - Volume 2  

The Tao of Seneca - Volume 2

 

28/5/2016 [AudioBook] The Tao of Seneca, Practical Letters from a Stoic Master (Volume 2) - By Seneca the Younger  10/10

Essentialism - By Greg McKeown

Essentialism - By Greg McKeown

15/5/2016 [AudioBook] Essentialism - The Disciplined Pursuit of Less - By Greg McKeown 10/10

The first book I've listened to and immediately wanted to listen to again. 

Start With Why - By Simon Sinek

Start With Why - By Simon Sinek

6/4/2016 [AudioBook] Start With Why - By Simon Sinek 10/10

  Thinking, Fast and Slow - By Daniel Kahneman

 

Thinking, Fast and Slow - By Daniel Kahneman

1/4/2016 Thinking, Fast and Slow - By Daniel Kahneman 10/10

The 48 Laws of Power - By Robert Greene

The 48 Laws of Power - By Robert Greene

22/3/2016 [AudioBook] The 48 Laws of Power - By Robert Greene 7/10

The Tao of Seneca - Volume 1  

The Tao of Seneca - Volume 1

 

3/3/2016 [AudioBook] The Tao of Seneca, Practical Letters from a Stoic Master (Volume 1) - By Seneca the Younger 10/10

 

29/2/2016 It's Not How Good You Are It's How Good You Want To Be - By Paul Arden 8/10

 

28/2/2016 Gut - By Giulia Enders 9/10

As someone who has an academic degree in nutrition I felt I had an obligation to read this book. Giulia Enders is an M.D. turned author and she has done an incredible job. From theories about the gut being the bodies second brain to how stomach cancer may be caused this book goes right through the gastrointestinal tract. Giulia does a great job of explaining what many people, even most doctors don't completely understand.