Books Read – 2017

Photo of James at table with books from 2017

This year I decided it was time to be more consistent with my reading. In years past I would get on reading kicks and finish 2-3 books a week for a month or two, this wouldn’t last long though and I would end up not reading again for months. A couple things I decided to do differently are to stop reading a book if it doesn’t interest me, read the inner flaps, reviews, table of contents, skim through the major sections, and read a few pages of a book before I bring it home, and always have a new book to begin as soon as I finish one. I also thought writing brief summaries of each book would be interesting to look back on in later years. Maybe someday I will also share with you the other techniques I have adopted to read faster, retain more information, and be able to recall and access that information quickly. Okay, onto the books I’ve read so far this year:

Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson

Fit for Life, by Harvey Diamond

True Green at Work: 100 Ways You Can Make the Environment Your Business, by Kim Mckay and Jenny Bonnin. I found this quick read informative, stimulating, and straightforward. Mckay and Bonnin made suggestions that I was able to adopt immediately, practices that will have drastic impact. Also, I found most of the suggestions were additionaly applicable at home. I think this book should be read by managers and employees at all levels, this would be outstanding for our environment and have lasting consequences.

The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can: Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer, by Gretchen Reynolds

The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman, by Timothy Ferriss

My Father, My President: A Personal Account of the Life of George H. W. Bush, by Doro Bush Koch

Looking For Rachel Wallace, by Robert B. Parker

Early Autumn, by Robert B. Parker

A Savage Place, by Robert B. Parker

Ceremony, by Robert B. Parker

A Widening Gyre, by Robert B. Parker

Valediction, by Robert B. Parker. As you can see I am on a bit of Parker kick. I was first introduced to this series after sharing my appreciation for the Alex Cross series, by a woman named Allison on vacation in Florida and they have not disappointed. I love the way these books are written and they are each an effortless one night read. The Spenser novels, written by Parker, began in 1973 and were written continually into the 21st century. I love the subtle changes in language, dialogue, scenery, and even what Spenser cooks as Parker and his character, Spenser, mature side by side… Only 30 books to go in the series.

Cross Justice, by James Patterson

Classic Sourdoughs, Revised: A Home Baker’s Handbook, by Ed Wood and Jean Wood. After finishing this book I was introduced to a whole new world of baking. I have since tried my hand at baking loafs of basic sourdough and it is a more difficult task than I anticipated. I’m fascinated by the knowledge that sourdough has been made for thousands of years and that even with all of our advancements in technology, there is still quite the learning curve! I don’t plan on buying a loaf of bread again because making loafs at home is much better for my health and has an incredibly therapeutic effect.

Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces that Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave, by Adam Alter

Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time, by Keith Ferrazzi. The same day I began this book, I went out and immediately was presented with an opportunity to benefit from some of the relationship building techniques Ferrazzi shares. I met a family that said they would love to relocate to my town, and after getting to know them I offered to introduce them to some potential employers I am connected to in the area. It felt great to be able to offer help to a charming family and it also reminded me of the friends who did the same for me when I was interested to town.

Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers, by Timothy Ferriss. Tim Ferriss analyzed his interviews with many of Earth’s most influential people and filled the pages of his book with the best of their routines, stories, and advice. When I went through the book I couldn’t put it down, the material was just too alluring, I did my best to absorb as much of the abundant wisdom as possible. I think you will find many nuggets of intelligence to take away within the pages of Ferriss’ book.

Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever, by Clinton Ober, Stephen Sinatra, and Martin Zucker. After reading this book I realized how little time I spend in direct connection with Earth’s surface. Ober, Sinatra, and Zucker make connections to diseases that may be partially caused by our modern, disconnected, way of living. My morning routine this week included spending time barefoot in the wet grass and I noticed feeling calmer, more alert, and awake afterwards. Although there isn’t yet a lot of science to back the claims of this book, is there really any harm in kicking your shoes off and spending some time one on one with Mother Nature?

The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses, by Eric Ries

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win, by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. I found the lessons taught in this book applicable to both my professional and personal life. Taking “they” out of your vocabulary, becoming more clear and specific on your plan and communication, taking responsibility for yourself and others around you, including your boss, is what Willink and Babin taught was the most effective way to operate. The strategies that were shared amongst the thrilling war storyline made the lessons stick and I will be purchasing this book for co-workers in the future.

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, by Atul Gawande. I thought the concept of Gawande’s book was simple and easy to understand and I liked the journey he brought me on to get his point across. The detailed stories about the impact of lists in construction, investment, and aerospace intrigued me the most. I think Making a list of easy-to-miss things can benefit anyone at home or in any profession and that it is something that will aid me in not missing small details.

Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big, by Bo Burlingham. I hadn’t heard of the companies in this book except one, Clif Bar, but their stories and the impacts they made on their communities, employees and customers are far greater than most of the companies I have heard of! I have walked into a business before and felt that “it factor”, or mojo as Burlingham calls it in the book, and I can’t help but want to stay there longer. I loved the specific examples the book gave for each of these “Small Giants” and how they fostered and maintained their mojo. I hope that more companies adopt the practices of these small giants and make a difference in the lives of their communities, employees, and customers.

Stay Interesting: I Don’t Always Tell Stories About My Life, but When I Do They’re True and Amazing, by Jonathan Goldsmith. I couldn’t put this book down, it was such a page turner. Goldsmith, a little too proud of his prowess as a “fisherman”, had me laughing throughout the entire book. I especially liked his detailed depiction of voyages on the high sea, it solidified my eagerness to someday have a sea adventure of my own, even though in his he could have easily died. I would love to see this book turned into a TV series or movie, I think it would do well!

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk, by Al Ries. I suggest anyone that works in marketing, sales, or management to read this book, keep it by your desk, and refer to it often enough not to make the same mistakes as many of the companies in the book did. I found the book to lay out a simple blueprint to follow while launching a new product or marketing campaign. I was able to understand the concepts quickly and I thought of ways to implement them while reading. It was also fun to see the author lead me throughout the book asking a question and already knowing the answer I was going to give. I knew the first person to fly across the Atlantic and apparently the third and I think you do too!

Words That Work: It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear, by Frank Luntz

Stumbling on Happines, by Daniel Gilbert

Procrastinate on Purpose: 5 Permissions to Multiply Your Time, by Rory Vaden. Two of the questions asked in this book that I realized I struggle with the most are, “Is this task something I can live without?” and “Can this task be performed by someone else?”. I realized that sometimes I say yes to something I am not going to learn anything from, I don’t really feel like doing, and that I don’t want to give up time on other things for, just because I don’t want to say no to someone. Halfway through the book I said no to a new project with a small explanation of why to a friend and as difficult as that was for me to do, it was a huge relief and the right decision.

The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down: Guidance on the Path to Mindfulness from a Spiritual Leader, by Haemin Sunim

The Richest Man in Babylon, by George S. Clason.

Take the Stairs: 7 Steps to Achieving True Success, by Rory Vaden

The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness, by Dave Ramsey

Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World, by William H. McRaven

The Green Book: The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time, by Elizabeth Rogers, Thomas M. Kostigen

The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future, by Chris Guillebeau

The Big Change: America Transforms Itself 1900-1950, by Frederick Lewis Allen

Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics, by Barton Swaim.

Global Citizens: How our vision of the world is outdated, and what we can do about it, by Mark Gerzon

Wait, What?: And Life’s Other Essential Questions, by James E. Ryan

The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs: Respecting and Caring for All God’s Creation, by Joel Salatin

Shaken: Discovering Your True Identity in the Midst of Life’s Storms, by Tim Tebow

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, by Cal Newport

Outliers: The Story of Success, by Malcolm Gladwell

Judas Goat, by Robert B. Parker

The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well, by Meik Wiking

Hustle: The Power to Charge Your Life with Money, Meaning, and Momentum, by Neil Patel, Patrick Vlaskovitz, and Jonas Koffler

Sleepless Nights and Kisses for Breakfast: Reflections on Fatherhood, by Matteo Bussola

You Can Farm: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Start & Succeed in a Farming Enterprise, by Joel Salatin

Adventures in Edible Plant Foraging: Finding, Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Native and Invasive Wild Plants, by Karen Monger

Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?: And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House, by Alyssa Mastromonaco, Lauren Oyler

Dear World: A Syrian Girl’s Story of War and Plea for Peace, by
by Bana Alabed

Politicking: How to Get Elected, Take Action, and Make an Impact in Your Community, by Bill Rauch

Hidden Christmas: The Surprising Truth Behind the Birth of Christ, by Timothy J. Keller

What to Say When You Talk to Yourself, by Shad Helmstetter

The Hole in Our Gospel: What Does God Expect of Us? the Answer That Changed My Life and Might Just Change the World, by Richard Stearns

Looking to find the books I’ve read in 2018?