Reading is not something I have always loved. I recall a few occasions as a child where I really got into a book, but I can count them on one hand… and half of them were Harry Potter books.
I made the decision to force myself to become a reader as part of my journey of self improvement and trying to be the best version of myself. Many people I look up to and respect would always stress the importance of reading. Warren Buffet, Jim Rohn and Naval Ravikant are the ones that most stuck with me. I could hardly read an article about them, or read something they had written without them talking about reading.
So in 2020 I set a goal for myself to read 52 books. I started every morning by reading for 30-60 minutes. At first it was not fun, but quickly it became the highlight of my day. By about day 5 reading was what I wanted to do with my free time. The challenge became very easy and I ended up reading 60 books and developing a solid reading habit.
This post is for those of you in a similar situation. You want to read more, you know it’s good for you, but you struggle to make it a habit. Here are some of my book recomendations to get you goin.
Must Read Books – All Genres
These are the handful of books that supersede genre, and are essential reading in my opinion. I think about these books often and they have greatly impacted my life.
My favorite book of all time. I read it when I was in middle school, and have reread it 3 times since. Each time it means something different. You reflect on how you have grown and changed since the last time you read the book. It’s an absolute masterpiece and one of the easiest books to read. This is great for beginning readers.
This is one of the most impactful books ever written. It puts your life and struggles into perspective and tries to answer some of life’s big questions in a practical way. It’s written by a neurologist, psychiatrist and holocaust survivor.
It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from usViktor E. Frankl
A dystopian novel that paints a picture much different from the more popular 1984 by George Orwell. I found this book to really touch on a lot of the pros and cons of the progress we are making as a society and where it all may lead.
An incredible biography on the most interesting and possible greatest man of all time. His rise to prominence, proficiency on the battlefield as well as in the senate is pretty incredible. In an era when everyone was trying to go down in history, he is the man who succeeded.
In the end it is impossible not to become what others believe you are.Julius Caesar
There are 2 popular books with this title, the one I recommend is by George Leonard. It’s tough with self help books because different things resonate with different people. This book emphasizes getting pleasure out of the day to day tasks, rather than the goal at the end of the road. It helped me to stop jumping from project to project and work towards true mastery in a given field.
Best Self Help / Business
I’ve read more books in this category than any other. I’ve found that there are a handful of universal truths and they are just repackaged in different ways. It’s mostly about finding an author that resonates with you.
Rich Dad Poor Dad – Teaches you how to think if you want to be rich. (It’s ok to want to be rich) Don’t let the cover turn you off, this is a must read!
Black Swan – All Nassim Nicholas Taleb books are worth reading. He is really one of the great thinkers of our time and is one of the few people introducing new concepts to the world.
Think and Grow Rich – Introduction to “the law of attraction” which people like to hate on, but I think is quite a powerful concept.
I’ve found “the classics” to generally be really good. Contemporary fiction is more hit or miss for me.
Slaughterhouse Five – The first book I’ve ever read where the skill lever of the author was so obviously high.
1984 – A must read for the times we live in today. I’d say it’s a little overrated and lacks subtlety, but is still an easy and enjoyable read.
The Name of the Wind – A beautifully written fantasy book that is the first of a trilogy. Sort of like Lord of the Rings meets Harry Potter.
History books are my favorite genre, but they take a bit more effort to digest. I’ve enjoyed learning about Roman history, WW2 and the American Revolution. I’m still exploring other areas like the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution and the American Civil War.
In the Garden of Beasts – Not sure if you’ll like history books? This is a good place to start. It’s about Germany pre-WW2 and from the perspective of the US ambassador to Germany. The book is very personal, boots on the ground. It really takes you there.
1776 – This book gave me a ton of perspective on what it was like during the American Revolution. Everyone chipping in, doing what they could to fight for a cause they believed in. Mostly covers things from George Washington’s perspective.
Augustus: The Life of Rome’s First Emperor – The man who came after Julius Caesar and developed Rome into the world power it would become. He was more of a statesman than he was a field commander, so not quite as exciting as Julius Caesar. I find this period of history incredibly interesting.
Nutrition and Physical Degeneration – The only essential nutrition book there is. This is the foundational book for the ancestral eating movement.
Primal Body Primal Mind – Lots of the same info from the above book but easier to read and written in a more modern tone.
Wired to Eat – Robb Wolf is one of the best modern authors on nutrition. This is my personal favorite book of his as it covers nutrition in a modern context.