Books I Read In 2014
Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders - Written by: L. David Marquet - This book is the story of a US Navy officer who was trained to command a nuclear submarine. After giving an impossible order he was surprised that his crew still tried to follow it. When asked why they didn't challenge his order they responded "because you told me to." It was at this point he started his idea of bottom up leadership. L. David Marquet is a solid story teller. I enjoyed the classic set up story, build characters, establish conflict, come to resolution. I find this classic story arc very beneficial in a book that has a pretty heavy self improvement theme. The tempo and character development encouraged me to imagine life from each characters point of view, and then looked for parallels in each characters to myself and people I worked with and for.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business - Written by: Charles Duhigg - If you were ever curious about why you automatically reach for the mouth wash after brushing your teeth, or why you can't pick up a more health exercise routine, this book will walk you you thought why that is. Spurred by the idea that "goals" are over rated, and habits accomplish more then a goal ever would I picked up this book. This book creates a good mental foundation on why habits are important, and the basics of a good feedback loop in habit formation.
Design Is a Job - Written by: Mike Monteiro - I first heard Mike Monteiro's creative mornings talk "f*ck you pay me" and thought it was awesome, but in true Mine Monteiro fashion was a bit brash. I was worried that this book would be a cross between his twitter feed and that talk. This book really addressed a lot of weaknesses I see in the design world. The whole book can be summarized with the idea that designers aren't artists, we are employees. As much as developers need to read Clean Coder, designers need to read "Design IS a job." He brakes down several errors that most designers make, and I admit I was guilty of several of them.
The Clean Coder: A Code of Conduct for Professional Programmers - Written by: Robert C. Martin - I have been recommended this book for quite some time, and after reading it I can understand why. Uncle Bob breaks down the job of programming and addresses most of the common personal issues that he sees with developers. Taking yourself professionally is so important to both your quality of work, and your perceived quality of work.
I Will Teach You to Be Rich - Written by: Ramit Sethi - In this book Remit walks you through his program that will enable you to crawl out of debt and into a life with more financial freedom. I found this book pretty awesome, When every I find myself recommending this book to other people the first hurdle I have to over come is the name. This book, and Ramit's style as a whole to finance isn't "cut the lattes" its very much an attitude of put your big rocks in first. He using Pareto principle he encourages readers to figure out what you want, and what is costing you money, then rationalize those things. If you want to eat out with your friends all the time, but are spending all your money on a car/house, your doing it wrong. My one worry with this book is one of the things Remit himself loves about it, he doesn't encourage users to adjust spending to reach their financial goals, he instead encourages them to make more money. Which is fine, but its important to understand that by increasing your income you are just running faster on your personal hedonic treadmill,
Storm Front: The Dresden Files, Book 1 - Written by: Jim Butcher - (fiction) Harry Dresen is A professional wizard based out of Chicago. And sadly for him, his business is floundering. The first book in this series fined harry put up against a dark wizard - I am not much of a mystery or fiction reader, but with this book I found myself sneaking away to follow the story even farther. I look forward to reading forward in the series, luckily Butcher has given me plenty of runway to catch up on!
Ready, Fire, Aim: Zero to $100 Million in No Time Flat- Written by: Michael Masterson - If you are looking for an agile product book Ready, Fire, Aim is just that. It encourages readers to sell above all else. As something I struggle with on my personal projects this is the stern kick in the pants many designers, devs, and product people who fancy themselves entrepreneurs need to read. I did find the book a bit repetitive though. It can all be summed up with "sell your product way way way before its done".
Thinking, Fast and Slow - Written by: Daniel Kahneman - This books seemed to be a good intro to psychology and how it relates economics. It goes into a lot of basics on how your mind processes things and with a little bit of creative mind hacking you can adapt your life to be a good bit more productive, with out additional effort. Some people absolutely love this book, but sadly I didn't get on the hype train. I liked it, thought it was good, but stacked up against all of the great literature in history, I wouldn't re-read this one.
The Millionaire Real Estate Investor - Written by: Gary Keller, Dave Jenks, Jay Papasan - Great intro on Real Estate investing. The book dives into several different options and possibilities so you can chose which ones fit your needs
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - Written by: Robert M. Pirsig - Ramblings of the guy who feels America is past its prime who believes cars are never as good as they were in 1960. I was so excited to read the book, but sadly it didn't live up to the hype others gave it.
The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph - Written by: Ryan Holiday - 2014, the year the word "stoicism" entered my vernacular. I hope the resurgence of stoicism finds its way to the main stream. This book is a great intro to some basic concepts of making the best of your situation and keeping a more positive attitude.
Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products - Written by: Nir Eyal - Solid primer on how habits a formed, and solid learning experience on why I subconsciously do certain things.
A Clash of Kings: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1 - Written by: George R. R. Martin
Investing in Real Estate, 6th Edition - Written by: Gary W. Eldred - As a newly minted "adult" I feel responsible (and interested) in what exactly is going on with owning property. Although this tome isn't a weekend read it didn't drag on as bad as I was expecting. It had a little depth in a large spread of areas, so it doesn't get boring. I felt that different areas were more beneficial at my point in life.
The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup - Artists Written by: Neil Strauss - fun, funny read. I don't know how much of it was is true, but it was entertaining. The general premise is that its the story of a guy who didn't feel comfortable talking to women, and by the end he was a bonafide "pick up artist."
The Number: A Completely Different Way to Think About the Rest of Your Life - Written by: Lee Eisenberg - As someone who is constantly pushing myself to stock more money aside for the future I was looking forward to a book that claims to be a new way to look at retirement and what it takes to get there. Sadly I was I bit turned off by the state retirement options for my generation. Previous generations have pushed us into a bit of a corner, sadly we won't have entitled since for retirement that our predecessors did. But I hear that every generation feels that way about those that came before them, so I guess its nothing new.
The Richest Man in Babylon - Written by: George S. Clason - The Richest Man in Babylon is a repetitive story of saving more then you make. I was recommended this book by several people, and I can see why. I find myself preaching the idea of saving a little bit starting as soon as you can. I think its a great start, but if you are more mustachian and you can do better then the 10% they recommend!
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, and It's All Small Stuff - Written by: Richard Carlson - In a world of constant stress and worry this book was a solid decompression. I can't say I have carried much of it with me since reading the book, but was filled with lots of small tips and tricks that helped me out a bunch while reading it, and shortly afterwards.
The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir - Written by: Dee Williams - I went (and am currently in) a bit of a lets explore tiny house living kick. It was cool to hear someone else's point of view on it, but like everyone on the tiny house hype train, its mostly positive information, I think it will be something that I will just have to try.
10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found a Self-Help That Actually Works - Written by: Dan Harris - I really enjoyed Dan Harris' mental journey to find happiness is his life. This book is unlike other self improvement books in that its not about learning to be passive and okay with like, its about being content, yet ambitious.
The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right - Written by: Atul Gawande - Great examples of the benefits of checklists, I ended up adapting it into a kanban board style of organization.
The Art of War [Blackstone Version] - Written by: Sun-Tzu, translation by John Minford - I have always wanted to read this book, finally jumped into it this year. I find myself remembering the lessons at weirdly applicable times, but unable to recall them on command.
The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves - Written by: Matt Ridley - The Rational Optimist is an eye opening book about how things are going to be okay, even if I worry that everything around me is going to fall apart, and I should buy rice in bulk.
The Little Book That Still Beats the Market - Written by: Joel Greenblatt - This book teaches the basics of value investing, and with its companion website it can be used as a starting regiment for single stock investing. I am using this in conjunction with Robin Hood to try my hand at it. I will let you know in 10 years how it does, so far its way under-performing index funds, but only time will tell.
Essential Manners for Men - Written by Peter Post: Peter Post is a descendant from the late great Emily Post, Queen of Etiquette. I really enjoyed reading the book and learning what I should be doing, but I quickly learned that I don't spend/have the money needed to have proper manners. Peter Post describes a potluck he hosts where he is cooking lobster and shrimp over warmed cannon balls at Martha's vineyard... it really makes me feel out of touch as I am trying to figure out if its rude to ask someone to bring wine to a couples dinner (turns out it is).
Power of Less - Written by Leo Babauto - I have been a long fan of Leo Babauto, so it made me feel awesome to buy and read his book. Its simple, yet powerful book. Since reading his advise about how to reduce your life I have been able to accomplish a lot more in my day to day life.
7 habits of highly successful people Written by Steven R. Covey - I try and reread this book every year or every other year. If you haven't read this classic I recommend picking up the cliff notes version.
How to Win Friends & Influence People - Written by Dale Carnegie - I try and reread this book every year or every other year. If you haven't read this classic I recommend picking up the cliff notes version.
The Hobbit - Written by J.R.R. Tolkien My mom read me this book when I was 6 or 7, and although I remember some of it, I really wanted to jump back reread the tale of the rare adventurous hobbit and his dwarf friends. Putting this on the list outs me as not being as big into fantasy novels as others think I am, but... It was a great book. A much quicker read then the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers - Written by Ben Horowitz - Recommended to me by the CEO of my old company, I found "The Hard Thing About Hard Things" to be a really entertaining tale of Ben Horowitz and his journey with Loudcloud and Opsware. The part that was especially pertinent to me was that even if you do everything right, the results you were hoping for may be slower then you were thinking.