My 2018 reading list

2018 saw me once again complete my target of reading one book per month, a total of twelve books during the course of the year.


My books this year were:

  • The fourth education revolution, Anthony Seldon
  • Make it stick, Peter C Brown, Henry L Roediger and Mark A McDaniel
  • SUMO (Shut up and move on), Paul McGee
  • The upside of rationality, Dan Ariely
  • Open, David Price
  • The gift of failure, Jessica Lahey
  • Change, Richard Gerver
  • The Cyber Effect, Mary Aiken
  • The $100 Startup, Chris Guillebeau
  • The marshmallow effect, Walker Mischel
  • Mindfulness, Gill Hasson
  • The Art of balance, David J Bookbinder
  • Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error, Kathryn Schulz
  • It’s complicated, Danah Boyd

I am also currently part way through Behave: The biology of humans at our best and worst by Robert Sapolsky.   Am hoping to have it finished before the year is out but acknowledge that is quite a heavy text which thus far has included plenty of technical discussion of neurobiology.   As such I am not sure if I will manage to complete it this year.

Looking back the book list is a bit of a mix covering various topics including neuroscience, educational technology, the impact of social media and the internet, and mindfulness.

On reflection I think my favourite books from this years reading have to be Make It Stick, Being Wrong and the Cyber Effect.   Make It Stick covers so much about how learning takes place and how a lot of what goes on in the traditional classroom doesn’t align with what research tells us about how we learn.   There are lots of suggestions as to how we might redesign learning or at least experiment in classrooms with different approaches more in line with research findings as to successful learning.   The Cyber Effect presents an interesting exploration of cyberpsychology, exploring how our behaviours online and offline differ.    From the point of view of an educator this has interesting implications for the students within our schools where they are spending more and more time online however personally I believe it has even wider implications for society at large given changing normative behaviour.  And finally, Being Wrong was a book I found very interesting in its coverage of the difficult topic of “being wrong”.    That we as human beings can progress through life in such assuredness as to our correctness, when we are so often wrong, through differing perspective, through inaccurate recollection or memory and through a variety of other errors.  That we can, upon realising our error, change our stance and in the future forget that any such change in position ever occurred.   We are almost hardwired for ease over accuracy.

I am already in the process of building my initial booklist for 2019 with nine books on the list, albeit one of the books is something I have read before.

  • Hamlets Blackberry, William Power
  • Declutter your life, Gill Hasson
  • Twitter Power 2.0, Joel Comm and Anthony Robbins
  • Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman
  • Dare to Lead, Brené Brown
  • The power of meaning, Emily Esfahani Smith
  • The chimp paradox, Steve Peters
  • Mistakes were made (but not by me), Carol Tavris
  • 10 mindframes for visible learning, John Hattie and Klaus Zierer

Here’s to 2019 being another successful and enjoyable year of reading.   As always I am open to suggestions and recommendations so please feel free to share.

My initial 2018 reading list

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…..


My books from 2017

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.

Books for 2017

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.


Books, books and more books

booksAll 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.