As 2018 is now in full flow I thought it was about time that I filled my bookshelf at least with an initial set of books to read in the year ahead. As Naseem Taleb discusses in his book, The Black Swan, the intelligence of a person is not indicated by the books they have read in their library but by the books they are yet to read. He suggests the books yet to be read are an acceptance of what we are yet to learn as well as an intention to continue learning through reading. In this vain I aim to keep my bookshelf filled with the books I am yet to read.
So to my book list for 2018; the initial books are:
- The Upside to Irrationality by Dan Ariely
- Open by David Price
- The Marshmallow Test by Walter Mischel
- Shut Up, Move On by Paul McGee
- Make it Stick by Peter Brown
- The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
- Twitter Power 3.0 by Jim Taylor and Joel Comm
- Daily Rituals by Mason Currey
- Change by Richard Gerver
- The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey
In addition to the above books I have also picked a couple focused on data science for the year ahead. The reason for this is an interest in how schools might make better use of data which fits with my current experimentation with Microsoft PowerBI. The books in relation to data science are:
- Data Science from Scratch by Joel Grus
- Storytelling with Data by Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic
The above twelve books represent my initial book list for 2018. Twelve books to match my plan to read at least one book per month however I have every intention to add to this list as the year goes on or as my focus or interest areas change. I have already had a list of books suggested to me by Matthew Larson (@mlarson_nj) of which I suspect a number will be added to my reading go list.
Let my 2018 reading begin…..
During 2017 I set myself the target of reading a minimum of a book per month. In the end I achieved this despite also studying for my CISSP exam which I then sat in December 2017. I note that my reading rate was pretty high during the start of 2017 however dropped to almost nothing in the last month or two of the year as I focused more on studying for the CISSP exam.
Given below are the books which I read in 2017:
- Essentialism by Greg McKeown
- Herd by Mark Earls
- Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely
- The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
- Grit by Angela Duckworth
- Focus by Daniel Goleman
- The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker
- Being Brilliant by Andrew Cope
- Learning with e’s by Steve Wheeler
- Culture Map by Erin Meyer
- The subtle art of not giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
- Bounce by Matthew Syed
- Moving Toward Global Compassion by Dr. Paul Ekman
- Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
- The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday
- Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
From the above I think the Culture Map was one of my favourites due to having worked in the UAE and therefore having to experience the differences in relation to working practices across cultures first hand. I just wish I had read the book ahead of going out to the UAE as it would most likely have allowed me to avoid some initial issues I experienced. The Power of Habit and Predictably Irrational are two other favourites from my 2017 reading as they both focus on how we humans believe we are rational and considering of our decisions however in reality our decision making and actions are often the result of habit or the instincts of the human anaimal.
I have already started to put together a basic reading list for 2018 which includes:
- SUMO (Shut Up, Move on) by Paul McGee
- The Upside of Irrationality by Dan Ariely
- The Marshmallow Test by Walter Mischel
I am also considering adding a couple of leadership related books along with some books on data science, which is something which currently interests me.
Reading continues to be something I believe to be an important part of life, in its ability to allow us to explore new viewpoints, thoughts and ideas. I look forward to another year of reading.
During 2016 I had set myself a target of reading 1 book per month. Despite a number of other pressures and priorities I managed to meet this target with the below photo being of my bookshelf and some of the books I have read during 2016.
As the new year approaches my thoughts move to equipping my bookshelf with books for reading during 2017. At the moment the first few books have been purchased and added and are as below:
- Essentialism, Greg McKeown (2014)
- The power of habit, Charles Duhigg (2012)
- Predictably irrational, Dan Ariely (2008)
- Herd, Mark Earls (2007)
The first set of books very much focus on behaviourism and on human habit which is a particular area of interest for me at the moment.
In addition I am also considering:
- Bounce, Matthew Syed
- Chaos Monkeys, Antonio Garcia Martinez
- Pebbles of Perception, Laurence Endersen
- Meditations, Marcus Aurelius
- Mindfulness, Gill Hansen
- The Chimp Paradox, Prof. Steve Peters
- Being Brilliant, Andrew Cope
- The Obstacle is the way, Ryan Holiday
From the above all are new to me except for The Obstacle is the way which I listened to as an audio book during 2015. These books cover perception which is another area of interest for me, plus introduce mindfulness which I find to be an interesting area and also creativity.
Should I go with all of the above this would form my initial 12 books for the year however I suspect that as I read through them additional books might be added.
I would welcome any suggestions or recommendations plus any reviews or comments on the above books.
All the way back in December 2015, and at this point it seems both a long time ago and only yesterday, I set myself a target of reading a book per month. The reason for the target was the feeling that I just wasn’t reading enough. Prior to this the most reading I had done had been during the period studying for my Masters degree, subsequent to which my reading all but stopped. Generally I think I have progressed quite well in working towards this target, and I have certainly made progress on my reading habits prior to 2016.
So far this year my reading has included:
- Black Box Thinking, Matthew Syed, 2015
- The Dark Net, Jamie Bartlett, 2014
- The Glass Cage, Nichola Carr, 2015
- Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, 2011
- The Black Swan, Nassim Taleb, 2007
- Drive, Daniel Pink, 2009
- The Invisible Gorilla, 2010
- Multipliers, Liz Wiseman, 2010
- How We Learn, Benedict Carey, 2014
- Resilience, Andrew Zolli & Ann Marie Healy, 2012
- The Element, Ken Robinson, 2009
- Adapt, Tim Harford, 2011
And my current book Incognito by David Eagleman (2011)
At this point, in the middle of November I have achieved the target I set myself however the crucial factor is not in meeting the target but in improving from where I was just over a year ago and also in learning from the books I have read.
I found the majority of the books read to be interesting to various degrees and have often started a new book based on its mention within a book I have read. I feel I have a broader set of ideas and understanding than I may have prior to setting and embarking on this particular new years resolution.
At this point it may seem that this piece is very much about me congratulating myself for the progress made and the books read however this is far from the case. In reading I have realised how much more there is to know, how many more perspectives there are to every situation, event or concept, how much more I have to read. Reading has been enjoyable and but also enriching.
Using the idea of Umberto Eco’s Anti-library as mentioned by Nassim Taleb in the Black Swan, I have realised that my bookshelf with its books complete with post-it note annotations is not important. What matters is the understanding that there is so much more to read; the list of the books I am yet to read. With every new book I read the list of books yet to read does not decrease, but increases as I add new books to it based on my current reading. I open up new avenues to explore with each book read.
And with that I will go back to reading Incognito. I have already added Herd by Mark Earls, Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely and Nudge by Cass Sunstein to the not yet book list. Feel free to share your recommendations.