The following is a growing list of the books I have read and recommend to you. Books are organized into sections based on themes. This community is reader-supported. When you buy through links on this site, I may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.
📚 My Personal Favorites 📚
The following is a short list of books that dramatically impacted me, opened my eyes to new perspectives, and altered my worldview in one way or another.
- Four Hour Workweek↗ by Timothy Ferriss
- Anything You Want↗ by Derek Sivers
- Show Your Work↗ by Austin Kleon
- Atomic Habits↗ by James Clear
- Your Money or Your Life↗ by Vicki Robin
- The Almanack of Naval Ravikant↗ by Eric Jorgenson
In spite of the list above, I'm not a one-trick, self-help pony. Here are two fiction novels which have impacted me significantly and hold a special place in my heart.
- The Alchemist↗ by Paulo Coelho - a timeless reminder that life is about the journey, not the destination. A thoughtful, fun, and light-hearted odyssey.
- Shantaram↗ by Gregory David Roberts - an unbelievable depiction of self-discovery and the search for meaning by an escaped convict, turned slum doctor, turned mafia boss, turned freedom fighter all while chasing love.
📚 Books I Highly Recommend 📚
These books didn't make the cut for best of the best, but are all fantastic. This list is by no means exhaustive. I've only included the top 3-5 choices for each theme.
Like most people, I love learning new things - reading constantly, listening attentively, and questioning freely. We live in the golden age of information - anything and everything we could ever want to learn is readily available. Unfortunately, it's not realistic to assume we can learn everything.
But what if we could learn the same quantity of information, exert half the effort, and finish in half the time? That would be a pretty sweet deal, right? Well, that's where learning HOW TO LEARN comes in. Taking a step back to learn HOW TO LEARN can lead to massive improvements in both comprehension and retention.
Abraham Lincoln famously said: "if I only had an hour to chop down a tree, I would spend the first 45 minutes sharpening my axe." The books below are fantastic resources for sharpening your mental acuity and hopefully expand your learning capacity.
Fun, Fictional Self-Help
I'm a sucker for a good self-help book with some fictional mysticism sprinkled within. Generally, I gravitate toward this type of novel when I need a good jolt of inspiration. These are a few of my favorites.
If you move past the eye-rolling, "this is useless," "it's only for hippies" mentality; meditation may actually change your life. It's different, it can be weird, and it's surprisingly difficult - but it's all worth it. Start exploring with these three gems.
- 10% Happier↗ by Dan Harris - a self-proclaimed skeptic's journey from nervous breakdown on national television to a relaxed daily meditator.
- Waking Up↗ by Sam Harris - a non-religious take on spirituality through the practice of meditation with fascinating scientific support and research.
- Headspace Guide to Meditation↗ by Andy Puddicombe - once you understand the benefits (10% Happier) and science (Waking Up) supporting meditation, Andy's guide hand-holds you through the process to get started.
Wikipedia defines stoicism as teaching the development of self-control and fortitude as a means of overcoming destructive emotions; the philosophy holds that becoming a clear and unbiased thinker allows us to understand universal reason. My definition - Timeless teachings of intentional introspection.
- Meditations↗ by Marcus Aurelius - the personal diary of Marcus Aurelius, one of Rome's greatest Emperors during the peak of the empire. Despite all the change throughout time, Meditations shows one of the most powerful men in history struggled with many of the same trials and tribulations we face today. A timeless insight into humanity from a revered leader and thinker.
- The Daily Stoic↗ by Ryan Holiday - daily insights and snippets reiterating the central messages of stoicism. Useful reminders for everyday life.
- Lives of the Stoics↗ by Ryan Holiday - teaches how to apply stoicism in our lives by sharing stories of the various philosophers who shaped it.
Mindset, for the purposes of this guide, represents mental fortitude. I'll devote a separate section to "happiness." This is not that section. Instead, mindset encapsulates a gritty commitment to achieving what you want via resilience.
- Can't Hurt Me↗ by David Goggins - Goggins has a powerful story and proves anyone can overcome hardship and rebuild their lives to their liking. If you are looking for motivation to run through a brick wall - look no further.
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F#ck↗ by Mark Manson - instead of making lemonade out of lemons, Mark says we should learn to stomach lemons better. A unique take to help you discover what is worth giving a f#ck about.
Everyone in 2021 is interested in personal finance, which is amazing! However, there is a lot of bad advice floating around. We could have guessed something might be awry when certain influencers, who cannot legally attend R-rated movies without parental advisory, started dishing out stock tips.
I've consumed many additional books beyond this abbreviated list. Finance can be overwhelming for many, but it shouldn't be because it is incredibly simple in practice. Unfortunately, we tend to get lost in the details. This list is a great launching point if you want to effectively manage your finances, set yourself up for long-term success, and invest with intention - without sacrificing all your time.
- I Will Teach You To Be Rich↗ by Ramit Sethi - this should be required reading for students in high school. Ramit discusses income, expenses, banks, credit cards, bills, debt, investments, and much much more. This is a practical, easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide teaching all the basics. Start here.
- Rich Dad Poor Dad↗ by Robert Kiyosaki - very approachable perspective with timeless implications for establishing a winning mentality and strategy for life through a financial lens.
- Playing With FIRE↗ by Scott Rieckens - admittedly, I bought this book because the cover peaked my interest. The ultimate impact has been exponential. Playing With FIRE served as my formal introduction to the FIRE community and opened the floodgates to an ocean's-worth of financial insight.
- The Simple Path To Wealth↗ by J.L. Collins - one-stop-shop to learn about the simple, yet profound power of investing in low-cost index/mutual funds. Personally, I've diversified outside J.L.'s recommendations, but a significant portion of my portfolio follows his direction verbatim.
- Quit Like A Millionaire↗ by Bryce Leung & Kristy Shen - graduate degree in financial independence and thoughtful investment for capital preservation from a No BS author who started from the bottom.
Most of my financial reading beyond personal finance and work-related topics centers on storytelling. The ideal finance novel often will have a wild, often ridiculous, plotline depicting historical events. Most of the books below will do a better job entertaining you than teaching you.
- Liar's Poker↗ by Michael Lewis
- The Big Short↗ by Michael Lewis
- Red Notice↗ by Bill Browder
- Bad Blood↗ by John Carreyrou
- The King Of Capital↗ by David Carey & John Morris
I'm fascinated by the stories of entrepreneurs. Whether they were successful or failed dramatically is irrelevant. The qualities they posses, the tactics they employ and the strategies they refine are captivating. The shortlist below is a selection of favorites.
Unique scientifically-based insights into the human thought process - motivators, cues, actions, reactions, and much much more.
- The Undoing Project↗ by Michael Lewis
- The Attributes↗ by Rich Diviney
- Thinking, Fast & Slow↗ by Daniel Kahneman
Technical, information-dense reads backed by credible research from seasoned professionals in their respective fields. Best used as reference resources.
- Becoming A Supple Leopard↗ by Kelly Starrett & Glen Cordoza
- Power, Speed, Endurance↗ by Brian MacKenzie & Glen Cordoza
- The Triathlete's Training Bible↗ by Joe Friel
Fitness (Inspiration & Enjoyment)
We all love a good underdog story, a seemingly insurmountable achievement conquered against all odds. You will find those books here. Each has a feel-good element that will leave you energized and motivated!
- Born To Run↗ by Christopher McDougall
- Finding Ultra↗ by Rich Roll
- Finding My Voice↗ by Mike Reilly
- Operation IRONMAN↗ by George Mahood
Can't say there is a trend to the fiction theme. I generally go off recommendations so topics can be far-reaching and random.
All Around Great, True Stories
Similar to fiction, there isn't a notable trend shared by the stories highlighted below. The selections are each fantastic in their own regard.
- Greenlights↗ by Matthew McConaughey - do yourself a favor and buy the audiobook. Hilarious, gregarious, educational, and aspirational. Sit back and enjoy the smooth Texas drawl of a master storyteller sharing his best work.
- Caddyshack↗ by Chris Nashawaty - the chronicles a few friends from Harvard, to National Lampoon, to Saturday Night Live, to Animal House, to Caddyshack. How an unlikely, uncommon, and hysterical cast of characters came together to create some of the greatest comedy of a generation.