This is a compilation of books that I’ve read, those that I am currently reading, and those that I plan to read. I’ve included a short review of books I’ve completed (and if it seems like they’re all rated consistently high, please note that I read Kindle samples of books (available through the Kindle app or on a Kindle) before committing to reading the full text, and therefore my scrutiny process lays a more likely foundation for books I’ve read to meet my high expectations).
The World is Blue by Sylvia Earle
The Personal MBA (10th Anniversary Edition) by Josh Kaufman
Hacking, the Art of Exploitation by Jon Erickson
Hands on Hacking by Matthew Hickey and Jennifer Arcuri
Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein
The Places that Scare You by Pema Chodron
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
7.5/10. A good read that I’d recommend checking if you’re interested in correlating aspects of success to chance. There’s a lot to unpack here, and the author isn’t claiming that success always requires luck. However, the are patterns of circumstances that can often lead to certain outcomes more often than we realize.
Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty
10/10. A great book that I will be rereading. No matter how much or how little I read at a time, I always left off with something to ponder about how I was being intentional and grateful in my life. Highly recommend if you’re looking for a peaceful, thought-provoking addition to your day.
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
7/10. This is the third book I’ve read by Brene. This one focuses on letting go of self-deprecating and fear-based beliefs that are holding us back, and replacing them with grace and compassion for ourselves. If you tend to be a bit too self-critical of yourself, this may be an inspiring read for you.
The Home Edit Life by Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin
5/10. I didn’t get this book because I thought it would have life-changing advice, I bought it to be a pretty coffee table book. I did read it through and enjoyed the pictures, and got a few basic organization tips I hadn’t thought of before. If you like organzing (I do) and enjoy having nice-looking books around, this may be for you. Or, if you have absolutely no idea how to start organizing anything, this may be a good starter (if you have Netflix, you already have access to The Home Edit series and could try watching that before putting money towards the book). If you don’t fall into either of those categories, it’s probably a pass.
Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
8/10. Freakonomics is a unique read in that there isn’t exactly a common theme among the parts of the book. Beyond the idea of questioning things and not believing everything you hear, it’s a collection of deep dives into things often considered to be correlated, or not considered to be correlated, when really there is more to be learned. The reason I’m giving an 8 here is because I think it’s critical for people to learn to have a healthy amount of skepticism as well as to want to understand why things happen, beyond simply listening to the first source willing to attempt an explanation. This is definitely a unique read.
Deep Work by Cal Newport
10/10. Once again, Cal has written an outstanding book. After this read, I can now say he is one of my favorite authors. Deep Work covers not just the idea of deep work and giving difficult tasks the time and effort they require, but also the science and reasoning behind why deep work has been proven to produce results. When I first heard about Deep Work, I wasn’t convinced that it would be much new information. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Cal provides a thorough and expansive collection of research regarding and purpose for deep work, a concept and method that would benefit everyone, from students to full-time employees, to understand.
LINUX by Daniel Jones
I’m not giving this book a rating because I think it’s useful in very specific circumstances. It covers some basics and background of both Linux and Python that would be useful to someone getting into tech (e.g. a student starting in computer science). Because it reads casually, almost like a conversation, the flow of information is easy to follow. I would recommend it to anyone interested in learning about computing fundamentals.
The Legend Series by Marie Lu
(Legend, Prodigy, Champion, Rebel)
8/10. As a fan of dystopian novels, I enjoyed this series’ exploration into the 2050s, where the world has seen a group of land masses end up underwater, Antarctica and Africa are world leaders, and the U.S. has been split into the Republic and the Colonies. Plagues make their way through both the Republic and the Colonies, and life isn’t easy for those not living in the richer sectors and working for the Republic. With the unrest growing by those barely able to get by, a war seems inevitable. And having money doesn’t seem to help from having to watch your loved ones get killed. How do you know what to stand for, and how do you fix a splintered nation?
The Next Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley and Sarah Stanley Fallow
7/10. I read The Millionaire Next Door, the original book of this series and published in 1996, about two years ago. It was a fantastic read for insight into statistics, which Thomas and his daughter Sarah have devoted much of their lives to researching and accumulating, around millionaires and their habits. I read The Next Millionaire Next Door in hopes of an updated (published in 2018) perspective on the topic of millionaires. While the book itself is a great read and shares comprehensive information from across the other books in the series, along with comparable updated statistics and facts, it did not necessarily bring to light a brand new collection of knowledge, like that which I felt The Millionaire Next Door did when I first read it. That being said, I would recommend any of the books in this series as 10/10 to anyone who has not yet read any of them. If you have read at least one, I would say that it can be worthwhile to read others as well, but there will be some amount of shared content across them.
Becoming by Michelle Obama
9/10. Becoming embarks the reader on both a relatable adventure through life as well as shares the intricacies of life as a Black woman. Michelle shares her experiences in an ever-changing Chicago environment through grade school, onto her successes at prestigious universities, into her relationship and eventual marriage, and finally through a family life immersed in a political scene. Not one much for politics herself, Michelle shines her light into the responsibilities she took on through her pre-First Lady, when she expanded her career beyond that of being a lawyer and into one of helping people in a multitude ways. After becominging First Lady of the United States, she takes up passions in even newer ways to make a difference in the world.
Dare to Lead by Brene Brown
7/10. While I really loved Daring Greatly, I found Dare to Lead often very similar, alluding to the same points and stories. Come the latter ~third of the book, I did feel like it took off in its own direction that had me more engaged than I had been in earlier parts. For someone looking for how to deal with human emotions in the workplace, I would recommend this book. While this is especially important for leaders, I believe the information in this book is applicable to anyone wanting to improve how they interact with not only others but also with themself.
Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely
8/10. Predictably Irrational follows a series of studies performed in order to learn how humans make decisions. It shares a range of findings, such as how people react to free things, as well as why market norms and social norms should not and cannot co-exist in a relationship. This is a great read for anyone interested in better understanding how and why we make decisions like we do, and you’ll find that there exists more bias around our decisions than we realize.
Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer
8/10. Moonwalking with Einstein takes you on a journey through methods of what are called memory athletes starting from the time Josh (the author) first learns about mental athletes and their memory skills. After learning that anyone could learn the required skills for such memory capacity, he takes on the challenge to compete in the U.S. national memory competetion. It captures the idea that today’s culture has been evolved to a point where memory no longer serves us in the same way it used to, due to how information is constantly available to us. Learn what it means to be a mnemonist and use memory castles, taking the time to recall facts we often forget all too quickly. This book is a great read for anyone looking to broaden their understanding of how our memories can serve us.
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
10/10. Daring Greatly opens up about emotions and experiences that we as humans all face. It discusses shame and vulnerability in ways that I believe we’ve all wanted to hear from someone, but likely haven’t due to the very reason this book was written; almost no one likes talking about shame and vulnerability. Brene is an outstanding researcher and author who meets her readers in a place we can all connect with and learn from.
Educated by Tara Westover
8/10. Educated is one of the most unique books I’ve read. A memoir of a woman who grew up in rural Idaho, it follows the life of Tara (the author) as she grows up in a home where she wants to respect and retain the respect of her family. This becomes difficult as she looks for and eventually invites opportunities for greater education into her life despite it contradicting her family’s ideals. While uncomfortable at times, Educated shares the experience and view of education in a way far more appreciated than it may normally tend to be.
The Ride of a Lifetime by Bob Iger
10/10. I couldn’t read this book quickly enough. Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney, shares his journey from the bottom of the entertainment industry food chain, through promotions and company acquistions, to his role at the top of one of the most well-known and valued companies in the world. While we as the public have seen the media’s portrayal of events that occurred over Bob’s time as CEO, Bob shares his sides of the story, including those of working with previous CEOs of companies that would eventually become a part of Disney. Most of all, The Ride of a Lifetime captures invaluable lessons about professional relationships and leadership values that we can all apply to our own lives.
Atomic Habits by James Clear
8/10. I would recommend to anyone and everyone to read Atomic Habits. I docked just a few points for the reason of considering the major points of the book to be what I would consider already somewhat intuitive; however that doesn’t take away from the benefit of recognizing and understanding what we may have subconciously realized in a way more likely to become consious understanding. We are constantly forming habits whether or not we recognize it. I would especially recommend the book to anyone who has had trouble forming habits in the past; this book will make them more accessible.
Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport
10/10. Probably my favorite book on this list, Digital Minimalism is a phenominal accumulation of knowledge and understanding around our interactions with technology. It discusses ways in which we can evaluate our relationships with technology and distance ourselves from those that don’t serve us well. I especially enjoyed learning about how a constant stream of input interrupts our need for solitude and time to think without distractions constantly flooding our minds. This book delivers an incredible amount of content and provides a plethora of worthwhile discussion topics. As someone who has slowly decreased social media use over time, I found the book able to provide insightful considerations for my continued decrease of such platforms.
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki
5/10. As someone greatly interested in personal finance and investing, this book had come up many, many times as a fundamental read in the world of investing. While I find the book written in an intriguing manner (for the most part), content begins to repeat further into the book. There isn’t much discussion about hard actions to take, as it serves more of a storytelling purpose to get across the importance of financial literacy. The main takeaway from the book is to act now when it comes to investing; if you wait, you’ll never take action. If you’re looking for what I would consider to be a better alternative, I would strongly recommend The Millionaire Next Door.