So this year I had a plan, like way too many of us, to read more. Call it a new year’s resolution if you’d like (I hate the term, and I started just beforehand). I want to read more. So, as we’re approaching the end of the year, how am I getting on?
27 books in 2020
That’s right, I’m happy to say that I’ve now read 27 books so far in 2020. I’d say that’s a win for reading more, compared to probably having only completed about 6 books in 2019.
What were the books?
22 Immutable Laws of Marketing – by Al Ries and Jack Trout
This book is a little older than you’d probably want it to be, with examples showcasing people like Kodak and Amstrad etc, but the general principles and concepts, as you’d imagine from the title, are pretty immutable, so it’s still a great read. It’s a short book, but something worth consuming just to get some ideas and food for thought.
Fuck It – Be At Peace With Life Just As It Is – by John Parkin
I’ve been looking for books to help me with my general headspace, for both personal and work reasons. I don’t often get on well with books that are too “airy-fairy” or too high on the “hippy scale” for my liking, but this was good. It’s short, to the point, concisely written and helped me to evaluate some of the not-important stuff I’d been too focused on.
A Slip Of The Keyboard – by Terry Pratchett
I’ve been a Terry Pratchett fan for as long as I can remember getting into books. The first one I ever read was Pyramids, part of the Discworld collection, and from then onwards, I made it a duty to read them all. Now I’ve read them all, and over the past 2 years, I’ve amassed them all on Audible too. A Slip Of The Keyboard is different though. It’s a selection of articles written by Terry throughout his life. There’s some great observation, humour, and reflection towards the end of his life. I enjoyed this as it was a great collection of smaller articles and enjoyable to read.
Happiness by Design – Paul Dolan
I came across this book by accident in Waterstones. Again, looking for things to help me focus on what’s important. I’m a big fan of data, so finding someone writing about psychology from an economists point of view was awesome. It’s a great read and helped me to formulate some great notes on habits that I should be changing.
Lost At Sea – Jon Ronson
If you’ve never read anything by Jon Ronson, I strongly recommend you start now. This is one of the most interesting people I’ve ever heard of. The things he’s reported on, the places he’s been and the people he’s met along the way are eye-opening and sometimes completely crazy. Highly recommend reading this book, and also The Psychopath Test too.
The Evolution Man – Roy Lewis
Terry Pratchett talked about this book a lot. It was something he read, and that stuck with him when he was younger. It’s an incredible fantasy story about cavemen progressing through the various stages of development. Of course with an awareness of what they are discovering come some brilliant antics and comical moments. I found a copy on Oxfam’s website, but I believe you can now get it on Amazon too. If it was good enough for Terry, it’s good enough for me.
Letters From A Stoic – Seneca
I first starting hearing about the Letters From a Stoic thanks to Tim Ferriss, and the concepts always sat with me. I started doing some simple reading and researching online, and then I decided to dive right in and read the letters for myself. Personally I loved them. There is so much to learn from them, but most importantly, especially during lockdowns etc, it put so much into perspective and had me questioning my own values.
The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
I bought this book probably a decade ago. And ever since then, it’s graced my bookshelf and not done anything else. I was having a bit of a rough ride in February this year, and once evening I went to bed early, took The Alchemist with me, and started to read it. It was the exact book I needed to read, at the exact time I needed to read it. I finished it that night, before falling asleep and having probably one of the best night’s sleep I’ve ever had. Now I keep noticing butterflies!
Johnny And The Bomb – Terry Pratchett
Yes I’m a fan of Terry Pratchett. I’ve read all the Discworld novels and the long earth series and slowly been making my way through Terry’s favourite books too. The man was a legend and when it came to creating fantasty worlds to immerse yourself in, I’ve always enjoyed reading his work. Johnny and The Bomb was on the bookshelf at my Dad’s house, I think my sister put it there many years ago. I hadn’t read it, but decided to get into it. Took me a couple of days, cover to cover, and I really enjoyed it. A time-traveling series of unfortunate events and a great read.
The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey
I was first introduced to the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People back in 2013. Since then I’ve revisited it a couple of times in my life. Earlier this year was no different. I took my time reading it and really broke down the messaging and ideas that are in the book. Including writing a personal mission statement back in January and I’m happy to say, I’ve been living to that statement. If you’re looking for a good self-help read to help you achieve more, I recommend grabbing this book.
Blue Ocean Strategy – W. Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne
A lot of people reference the Blue Ocean Strategy, as something that should always be looked for. It’s not always easy to implement things that we’ve read about, but the examples and ideas you’ll get when reading this will most definitely help you see your business in a new light. Whether you’re looking to start a new business, or if you’ve been running yours for years, this is a must read to get you thinking about how you do it differently.
Why We Sleep – Matthew Walker
I would say this book has had the biggest single impact on my life. I’ve struggled with sleep on and off for years. Although it’s not written as a how-to sleep better guide, it transformed how I slept, and more importantly how I regard sleep as very important in my life. Since reading the book, I’ve now had on average 7.5 hours sleep every night, and wake up without an alarm clock every day. It’s uncanny the changes that this book brought about in my life.
Miracle Morning – Hal Elrod
I talk about the Miracle Morning in my vlog about my morning routine. Even though my morning routine isn’t exactly the same as Hal’s, it has become a cornerstone in my day to day. Every morning I find the time to go for a walk/run, read a chapter of my book, meditate with Calm and journal. It’s taken me years to have a good morning routine, but now that I have it, I won’t lie, I don’t want to lose it ever. It’s now been nearly 3 months where I do some version of my morning routine every day.
Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill
This book has had a huge impact on my life. You see, in reality for me it wasn’t about getting rich, it’s about so much more than that. It’s about finding your focus, putting yourself in the right position to achieve your goals, no matter what they are. I’ve tried to read this book twice in the past and bother times haven’t made it past the half way point. This time there was no putting it down. I finished it in about 12 days. Can’t recommend this enough.
Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman
Let me preface this book by saying, it’s NOT an easy read. Or at least, I didn’t find it an easy read. I loved the content. The system 1 and system 2 thought processes that happen in our minds is a fascinating subject to me. As a marketer, I think it’s hugely powerful to understand. But that said, I found this book took absolutely ALL of my concentration and focus to be able to enjoy.
The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferris (re-read)
If you’ve never heard me talk about Tim Ferris, or read something about him in one of my blogs, you’ve been lucky. I first discovered this book back in 2015 when a friend recommended it to me. That’s what started me on my Body Experiment 5 years ago. The book helped me to drop some 18kg back then. This year, it’s worked its magic again, and I’m down 20 kg. If you’re looking to get healthy, I can’t recommend it enough.
Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder
This book was recommended to me, in passing, and I thought I’d give it a go. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t recommend it any further. It’s out of date, but still has some basic principles. It’s a business book, but it feels like it was rushed together at the time, and hasn’t aged well.
Joyful Wisdom by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
I read this book for the first time in 2012, whilst in Thailand of all places. It’s a great book to read, and goes along nicely with anyone who is trying to get their head around mediating using Calm or another similar app.
The Choose Yourself Guide to Wealth by James Altucher
I’ve always loved James Altucher. Yes, even though he looks like a crazy scientist. His ideas on training your creativity muscle have influenced the way I try to think and work. You don’t have to like everything he puts out there, but I do like the fact that he firmly places your choices in your hands.
Foundation/Foundation and Empire/Second Foundation by Isaac Asimov
I had never read anything by Asimov, and I’m sad that I hadn’t discovered his writing till now, when I was 36. The Foundation series is epic and the book caught my attention and captivated me immediately. It’s a great story about empires rising and falling. Ultimately, there are probably some lessons for us to learn in there somewhere.
The Gathering Storm by Winston Churchill
The Second World War was a monumental and horrific moment in human history. But I can’t say that I really knew much about it. In his own words, Churchill talks about the build-up to the fiercest and most divisive human conflict in centuries. The socio-political situation that developed and lead to the events of 1939 is astonishing to read about. I highly recommend this, especially if you’re not a history buff (like me).
Prelude to Foundation by Isaac Asimov
Asmiov is back, and I have a funny feeling there will be more of his Foundation series to be added to this list. (I’m reading another as I update this post). We’re now going back to the very beginning, how the Foundation started, and the book caught my attention straight away. A great series, even for those that aren’t big fans of sci-fi normally.
Forward the Foundation by Isaac Asimov
Yes, I’ve gone all in on this Foundation series by Isaac Asimov, and I can honestly say it’s the first time in a long time that a series of books has captured my attention this much. And I’ve loved it. The Foundation series is all about the fall of the galactic empire, and more importantly the Foundation built to create a second, better, empire in the future.
1984 by George Orwell
It’s a classic, but I’m afraid to say that up until this year, I had never actually read it. It never came up whilst I was in school, and even though I (like most people) had the culture references to be able to say “Big Brother is watching you“, I didn’t know the full story so to speak! Good book, I enjoyed it and happy to tick a cult must read off my list.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck by Mark Ronson
I’m always cautious about anything with a Fuck in the title. It seems like it’s too easy to grab people’s attention with a catchy (albeit sweary) title and then have little substance. Mark Ronson did a great job though. Taking core self-help values and “laws” (for lack of a better word) and translating them in to the here and now. Easy and quick read, but powerful reinforcement of the core messages of all self-help. With an added bonus of the word Fuck along the way for good measure.
Foundations Egde by Isaac Asimov
Yes, another Isaac Asimov book, but I promise we’re getting to the end of this series. Not the “this” as there’s another series (The Robot series) for next year. These books can all be read individually, or together as part of the whole series. But each of them is great at capturing the reader and immersing them in a world, far far in the future.
Foundation and Earth by Isaac Asimov
The final book in the Foundation series, which I’ve just discovered, is now being made into a TV series by Apple TV – you can watch the clip here. I’ve loved these books, and I’m so glad I finally discovered Isaac Asimov’s writing. It’s been captivating to get into this series. Highly recommend if you’re into science fiction!
27 Books in 2020
26/12/2020: Now bearing in mind at the beginning of the year, I simply set out to try to “read more”, I’m pretty impressed with how far that simply thought went. Reading just over a book every 2 weeks has been awesome!
It’s strange, but it rekindled a love of reading, that perhaps I haven’t felt since I first got into reading Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series (another series that captivate me and took me from one novel to the next, as soon as they were released).
I’m really proud of myself, (even if I do say so myself). It’s a monumental shift this year in terms of reading, and it’s also been in my health (physical and mental) as well as my business and there’s still so much more I want to achieve.
All I can say is this! Don’t think about it too much, and just set yourself the goal of reading more in 2021. Start with just 10 minutes each day, progress to maybe a chapter each (that’s what I’ve done for most of the year) and suddenly, you’ll be breezing through content and loving it along the way (fingers crossed).
If you’re wondering what comes next on my reading list, well it’s Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harris. I’ve heard great things about this book and I’ll be jumping right in. Albeit, I won’t finish it till next year I imagine.
Merry Christmas and wishing you all a happy new year.
22 Books in just over 10 months
16/11/2020: Considering I probably read 3-4 books throughout 2020, I’m thrilled to have kept this habit going. I make time everyday to read, and often have 2 books on the go at the same time. One non-fiction to read as part of my morning routine, and a fiction book to help get me ready to sleep.
I’m so happy to have discover Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series. It’s a serious find in my book and it’s something that really lightens my mood after a long day in front of a laptop .
I want to see where this new reading habit takes me, and will be doing everything in my power to continue doing so for the rest of the year, and more importantly into 2021. I have an ever growing list of books on my To Read list, all of which I’m looking forward to getting stuck into.
If you like the sound of any of these books, feel free to check out the links, they’re affiliates, so you pay the same price, and I get a little something from Amazon to say thanks for sharing them with you. Remember, read more! It’s amazing what impact it can have.
16 books in 7 months and I still want to read more!
06/08/2020: In the past 7 weeks I’ve only actually read two new books and re-read a classic (to me anyway). Think and Grow Rich was fantastic and I breezed through it. The second one has been more challenging. As a result, it’s taken me more than a month to read it. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman is a tough read, but it’s so interesting.
I love data. Everyone who knows me, even a little, knows about that. But the way Daniel breaks down the thought processes of the human mind is incredibly powerful. It’s not an easy read, and it’s definitely not for the faint-hearted, but I highly recommend it.
Re-reading the 4 Hour Body by Tim Ferriss was more about my current exercise needs and plans. I’m really liking the concept of MED – Minimum Effective Dose and so I jumped back in. Still a great book, and one of my top recommendations to anyone looking to get a little healthier.
Next up, I’m going old school. I’ll be reading Sir Winston Churchill’s The Gathering Storm. Looking forward to this.
13 books in 5 months, read more!
09/06/2020: I figured I’d keep updating this list, and my thoughts on the books. More than anything, I want a record for myself, and fingers crossed this might inspire you to pick up a particular book. All of this started at the beginning of the year, by just reading 10-15 minutes everyday. Suddenly, books were finished, and I was on to the next one.
Some books take me longer than others, especially business books or self-help style books. I ended up making notes, adding tags, copying out quotes and whole paragraphs in particular. I find this helps me digest the information better, but most importantly, to help me implement what I’m learning.
When it comes to fiction books though, I read them just for fun. Especially in the evenings, or when getting in to bed. I can’t read business books or self-help books last thing at night. It makes me brain go into overdrive, and ends up with me not able to sleep.
I hope this helps to inspire others to find 15-20 minutes every day to start reading more. That’s all I wanted at the beginning, and I’m realising I’m consuming more and I want to read more than ever before. Enjoy the list and keep an eye out for updates as and when I finish more books.
4 Books in 20 days, read more!
20/01/2020: That’s it so far, those are the 4 books, but I’m now more than halfway through Lost At Sea by Jon Ronson and I’m re-reading and making notes around The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey too.
I’d say my experiment so far this year is working well, and I’m already finding myself drawn to add to the reading list on a near-daily basis. In fact, so far, my to-read pile is getting a little ridiculous (maybe I have a problem) and my To Read list on Amazon has another dozen books or so.
It’s all good though. It’s what I wanted for this year, to Always Be Learning and toe Read More. I’m not just finding time to read, I’m making time to read as I realise how much it helps me with my day to day life and with work.
All links to books are Amazon Affiliate links, help support my website efforts, if you feel inclined to do so.
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