At the beginning of the year I set a personal goal to read as many books as possible before the end of the year. This was quite an ambitious endeavor as my night and weekend shifts have grown considerably leaving less and less reading hours. Luckily, I’ve managed to finish a selection of 35 captivating reads.
As we are nearing the end of 2017 I look back at a journey of learning, stretching the mental nodes and broadening my views on a wide array of topics. I’ve received words of wisdom and mentorship from world leaders, the greatest inventors of our time and legends from the past, all because I read those 35 amazing books.
I’ve put together a list of my top 9 list favorite and most memorable reads.
9. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE
by Phil Knight
If you believe your entrepreneurial struggles are real, take consolation in the fact that the world’s most popular shoe brand struggled on the brink of bankruptcy for 20 years before growing immune to today’s struggles in the apparel industry.
Shoe dog is a compelling yet humble narrative of a group of sports enthusiasts who gave it their all to create one of the most influential lifestyle brands of the 21st century.
In this captivating memoir, the media-shy founder of Nike reflects back on his family, childhood and other forces that shaped him and which made him the founding father of “Just do it!”
8. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
by Ashlee Vance
Harnessing the electrifying power of a heart-felt vision and a shared belief in the urgency to save mankind, Musk created a brand (and a culture) that is changing the world.
This book chronicles how the mastermind behind three companies of the future went through dramatic events in life, the struggles and the successes, to become one of the world’s most lauded business magnates.
From his early days in Pretoria, South Africa to simultaneously co-founding Tesla, SpaceX and Solar City, the fascinating story of Musk is a testament to the correlation between ingenuity and freedom.
7. Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!: The Story of Pop Music from Bill Haley to Beyoncé
by Bob Stanley
Pop music: we all know what it is, we all know what we like and don’t like, and we all have an opinion on it. But we don’t really know much about it. Pop enthusiasts will lap this read up but there is something here for even the most casual music fan.
Brace yourself for an addictive musical journey of 40 years of popular music history, placing a strong emphasis on the social and historical context behind records you’d long forgotten about and suddenly desperately need to hear again.
The mere achievement of packing such an enormous amount of material into one edition makes this book monumental and I’ve created a Spotify playlist based on this book, which is aptly titled “Songs that changed the industry“.
6. Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money
by Nathaniel Popper
The leading cryptographic phenomenon “Bitcoin” is creating the most groundbreaking revolution the finance industry has seen in the last hundreds years and its potential for innovation is undeniable.
If you only have time to read one book about Bitcoin, this should be it. This fascinating narrative gets to the very core of the story of a group of misfits who jointly worked on the audacious goal to change the global monetary landscape.
This is a must read for everybody, whether you’re already an enthusiast or a lay audience, as the narrative takes you step-by-step through the process and makes you truly understand the philosophy, economic rationale and self-verifying logic which underlies digital money.
5. How Music Got Free: The End of an Industry, the Turn of the Century, and the Patient Zero of Piracy
by Stephen Richard Witt
Witt presents an amazingly well-researched & well-told account of the rise of digital media & the decline of the record industry, telling the story from four equally interesting accounts. Namely; How companies and music magnates like Doug Mourris and Universal Records reshaped the modern music industry, the story behind some extremely popular and profitable acts such as Dr. Dre, Juvenile, Lil’Wayne and Eminem and the feud between 50 Cent and Kanye West as they battled for supremacy in hip-hop record sales, how German technologists at Fraunhofer perfected a psychoacoustic music compression format named Mp3 and the influence of Napster, Limewire and other pirate platforms, which set the impetus for today’s digital revolution in music distribution.
If you’ve ever downloaded a pirated song from the internet in your life, this is a must read.
4. Losing My Virginity: How I’ve Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way
by Richard Branson
A truly remarkable story about a group of young studs who dismissed conventional wisdom when it comes to having a career and wrecked havoc on the music and aviation industry.
Branson takes you along the adventurous entrepreneurial frontiers, spanning four decades and not shying away from sharing some very personal details.
This first-person narrative will leave you in constant awe, making you hold your breath during the near death experiences and cheer along in his celebratory moments. Many of his adventures are playful, impulsive and stupid, but his choice for fun over practicality made things magically work out and resulted in the Virgin Empire.
3. How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease
by Michael Greger
If animal cruelty does not convince you to embrace a wholefood plant-based diet, the introductory chapter of this book will.
This masterpiece is the result of decades of longitudinal and peer-reviewed studies linking our consumption of meat, poultry and processed foods to the rampant increase of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Gregor, an internationally renowned speaker on nutrition and public health issues, will make you see how nutritional interventions can oftentimes “trump prescription pills and other pharmaceutical and surgical approaches, freeing us to live healthier lives”. And yes, I stopped eating meat after reading this book.
2. Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success
by Angela Duckworth
Have you ever wondered why some people seem to get extremely successful, while others are destined for a life of boring mediocracy?
In this pioneering masterpiece, psychologist Angela Duckworth eloquently shows parents, educators, students, and business people, both seasoned and new, that the blueprint for outstanding achievement is not talent but a focused persistence called “grit”.
No time to read? You can watch Angela’s Duckworth’s Ted talk here.
1. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
by Mark Manson
It’s time to question the smile more, think positive, chasing one high after another doctrine. This hilarious book takes you on a thought roller coaster, confronting us with the notion that our disturbing obsession with success and happiness might in fact be a negative experience in and of itself.
This deeply penetrating book encourages you to embrace conflict, be comfortable with feeling uncomfortable, and to be confident in finding out what you truly believe in, then standing up for it. Said differently; “we only have so much time on Earth and so many f*cks to give and we have to choose who and what we spend those f*cks on.”
I rarely read a book that makes me want to thank the author, but — Thanks Mark; the world needed a book like this.
A few other mentionable reads are; Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits; Passion and Purpose by Tony Hsieh; Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal