Reading list

To get updates on what I’m reading, follow my reviews on Goodreads.


Pillar

Philosophy

  • Principles by Ray Dalio (book, review)
  • The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss – I’m almost embarrassed to put it here but it brought home the lessons of (1) not overestimating others and underestimating yourself, (2) thinking big, thinking different, (3) dreamlining, which is the only goal-setting framework I’ve ever used consistently.
  • The 80/20 Manager by Richard Koch
  • Never Let Go by Dan John – Philosophy as told through stories and lifting protocols. He just makes so much sense. Simultaneously makes you want to take your training seriously while adopting “reasonableness as a standard.” The storytelling is stellar.

Career

Stuff I didn’t know I didn’t know

  • Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi — The best book networking, what, why, and how. You are the average of the five people closest to you. Learn this before you read about sales and marketing, health and fitness, and productivity. It’s a multiplier.
  • Getting Things Done by David Allen — The Productivity Bible. I didn’t understand why most conversations and ideas don’t turn into projects. The answer is “next action thinking.” Read this book for the philosophy. Then the tactics, maybe.)
  • I need a book on negotiation here, but there are so many and I haven’t tested enough ideas to know which ones actually work

2017

I am participating in Book Riot’s 2017 Read Harder Challenge (Here’s my reading list and why)

March 2016

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport (8/10)

November 2015

Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson by Mitch Albom (8/10) (notes and review)

Finding Startup Jobs: A step by step guide for getting a startup job you’ll love by John Gannon (8/10)

Who’s Got Your Back: The Breakthrough Program to Build Deep, Trusting Relationships That Create Success–and Won’t Let You Fail by Keith Ferrazzi (4/10) (notes and review)

The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking by Edward Burger and Michael Starbird (10/10) (notes and review)

Tame Your ADHD Brain: 50 Tools and Tricks for Inspiring Motivation, Achieving Maximum Productivity, and Upgrading Your Brain (Awesome ADHD Books Book 1) by Grant Weherley (7/10)

October 2015

The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem: The Definitive Work on Self-Esteem by the Leading Pioneer in the Field by Nathaniel Branden (8/10) (notes and review)

No B.S. Trust Based Marketing: The Ultimate Guide to Creating Trust in an Understandibly Un-trusting World by Dan Kennedy (10/10) (notes and review)

Go To Market Strategy by Lawrence Friedman (10/10) (review)

The End of Jobs: Money, Meaning and Freedom Without the 9-to-5 by Taylor Pearson (7/10)

September 2015

The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less (8/10)

The Star Principle: How It Can Make You Rich (8/10)

Ender’s Game (The Ender Quintet) by Orson Scott Card (9/10) (notes and review)

The 80/20 Manager: The Secret to Working Less and Achieving More by Richard Koch (10/10)

The Art of Racing in the Rain: A Novel by Garth Stein (9/10) (review)

Write It Down, Make It Happen: Knowing What You Want And Getting It by Henriette Anne Klauser (4/10) (review)

August 2015

Intervention: Course Corrections for the Athlete and Trainer by Dan John (8/10)

Easy Strength: How to Get a Lot Stronger Than Your Competition-And Dominate in Your Sport by Pavel Tsatsouline and Dan John (9/10)

David Sedaris Live at Carnegie Hall (8/10) (audio)

Good for producing those happy hormones on your way to work. Inspiring how he turns everything in his life — especially the mundane like how his sister narrates her life during movies — into stories and books. Didn’t like his voice at first, but it grew on me.

The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) by Hal Elrod (9/10)

Best if you’ve read most personal development books and want it packaged in a clear and simple way, so you’ll actually implement the advice.

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

Unremarkable. 1 star, because at least it is short.

First book on poker I’ve read. For a game that I assumed was too complicated, it was good at getting me going within an hour. Read the intro, the chapter on Texas Hold’Em, and proceeded to play my first few games online. Some confusing parts, but overall useful.

It was so fun to read about Socrates and life in 400 BC. I learned that before him, philosophy focused on the external — where we come from, where the earth is, etc. He focused on us, what we think, and why we do what we do. That’s why he’s important.

Also, what a great man! He was the right mix of virtuous, funny, and wise.

April 2015

March 2015

The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom (6/10)

Gives a satisfying answer of what your life is for… But not as impactful as it should be. Maybe the writing does not justify the content? This is a book to be studied, not digested through osmosis, if there is such a thing.

February 2015

January 2015

Free Will

Succinct argument against the idea that we have “free will.” If anything, you will feel more compassion towards people (yourself included) who seem to act against their and others’ own good. Also helped me understand his thoughts against the “self” in his other book, Waking Up.

Inspired: How To Create Products Customers Love

My introduction to product management, so I can’t compare with other books. I do feel like I got a comprehensive overview of what it means to define and create great products, and what the role of “product manager” entails.

Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion

Definitely accomplished his goal to “start the conversation.” Very logical and rational arguments. The arguments in each chapter flowed, but from one chapter to the next, not so much. I feel like I only really comprehended 30% of it… But definitely made me want to look more into the topic.

The Alchemist

Read it when I was a teenager. Read it again now, to see if it makes a larger impact. Not really. It did reinforce a reemerging belief to follow my heart, no matter how logical and systematic I want things to be. Contains great quotes to remember.

December 2014

The Fire Starter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide to Creating Success on Your Own Terms

More philosophical than practical. Yeah, it was a “guide to creating success on your own terms.” But it wasn’t really practical. Read if you need a spark in your fire.

Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success

Fun read, nice to know for general career strategies. Not actionable, but good to keep in mind. I especially liked the part about “platforms,” especially in a world where we glorify “paying your dues.” No need to rebuild the wheel.

November 2014

The Art of Power by Thich Nhat Hanh

One of James Altucher’s favorite self-help books. This book is to power as Choose Yourself! is to success. Power is useless if it causes suffering and doesn’t bring you happiness. Just reading the book made me pause a lot, breathe, and be mindful. Beautiful writing.

I touch the ground as if I am kissing the earth with my feet, with a lot of love.

Musashi: An Epic Novel of the Samurai Era

Recommended by Sebastian Marshall. I read it to “learn how to channel raw potential and focus.” It’s not supposed to be a quick fix like a self-help book, but a perspective-changer. So looking out for effects on mindset and behavior. Good overview of Japanese history. Finally got me interested in reading history (and learning what’s possible)

Gateless by Sebastian Marshall and Kai Zau (9/10)

Written by Kai Zau and my hero and mentor, Sebastian Marshall. Provided a useful framework of “Four Currencies” you need to manage to create your own path in this new world – Capacity, Network, Signal, Assets. If you’re a person who’s always had “a lot of potential” but don’t know what you’re doing with your life, and let it self-sabotage you… This book will be overwhelmingly useful to you. “Resource Mode” is exactly what I needed.

Like Ikigai, has a lot of “you don’t know you don’t know” concepts such as thresholds regarding introductions, not self-destructing on 98% complete, consolidating wins, etc.

A strange sight to see is when someone who is young and confused about their path is accomplishing a lot of things, but feeling generally miserable because they “don’t know what they’re doing” – and we live in a world where the question of “What are you doing with your life?” is given such undue force and weight. Parents, relatives, acquaintances – heck, people you just met at a party – they get concerned or sympathetic if you don’t have a good answer to the question.

The Motivation Hacker by Nick Winter (7/10)

Quoted a lot in Gateless. He seemed to have turned the book “The Procrastination Equation” into a memoir and action plan. Haven’t read The Procrastination Equation so the most useful lesson for me in is the framework of being able to “hack motivation” by either increasing Expectancy or Value, or decreasing Impulsiveness or Delay. Expanded my thinking on what’s possible. Signed up for Beeminder because of this.

Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives

Being a true warrior goes beyond physical capacity. The journey of a gymnastics champion to learn meditation, staying in the present, self-awareness, and life beyond the first layer of things. Enjoyed reading it, but not much impact.

Pushing the Limits! Total Body Strength with No EquipmentRaising the Bar, and Stretching Your Boundaries: Flexibility Training for Extreme Calisthenic Strength

I’ve been powerlifting since I started training in 2012. Wanted to get into bodyweight/gymnastics mode and used these three books to design my workouts. Useful for progressions to the one-arm push up, one-arm pull ups, pistol squats, handstand push ups, gymnastics holds, etc. I enjoyed his laidback and smiling voice.

Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace)

First book I’ve read on meditation and emotional intelligence. I loved the author’s voice — light-hearted, witty, and funny. I’ve tried making meditating a habit lots of time before… Always failed. This book helped me build up from a 2-minute practice into 7 minutes. 4 weeks and still going strong. Will reread as my meditation practice gets stronger. Highly-recommended. It’s full of fun and wisdom like this:

Become aware of your attitude toward yourself. See how you treat yourself and how often you engage in nasty gossip about yourself.

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose

Permanently affected how I view customer service for the better. Treat your customers as humans and make them happy. They’ll reward you for it.

Should you read a certain book? What are you currently reading? Have a book you want to recommend? Leave a comment :)

  • I enjoyed your break-down of Scott Adam’s ‘How to fail at almost everything and still win big.’ You put a lot of energy into digesting it for yourself and then presenting it. Thanks!

    • you’re welcome! it influenced a huge part of my worldview for sure. i no longer believe in ‘systems, not goals’ anymore though.