2018 Reading List.

I made myself a goal of reading at least 100 books this year. Right up front, I’m going to admit I totally ripped this idea off Jon Acuff. You should go read his stuff. Seems like a good guy.  I’m pretty sure I read around this many books last year, I just didn’t make a point to write it down.

In order to count it towards my goal, here are my rules:

  • I have to experience the book in its entirely. Why do I say “experience” instead of “read?” Because I think listening to audiobooks should count too. On top of that, if I somehow manage to make my way through a book in braille and comprehend it, I’m counting it. It’s not likely to happen in 2018, but I’m taking the credit.
  • I get to decide what counts. eBooks? Of course! Kids books? Why not? (Because I say so). Audiobooks? Yep! (Refer to the previous rule). Comic books? …no, unless it’s a complete volume. Pamphlets? Maybe… how revolutionary are they? It’s really a judgment thing.

Back when I started this blog the intention was to read business books and figure out why the concepts worked or didn’t work. I would read the books, think about it, and then do an in-depth review. It was great idea that I think people would really love. I read a TON of books in order to get ready to write. The only problem is that I really didn’t feel like writing. Lots of reading. Lots of thinking.  Not much writing.

Anyhow, check out the list below and feel free to hit me up with your thoughts. I did my best to link the version that I actually read.

  1. Runny Babbit Returns: Another Billy Sook by Shel Silverstein. Shel Silverstein incorporates spoonerisms into whimsical poems about animals and hilarity ensues again.
  2. Side Hustle by Chris Guillebeau. Step-by-step instructions for turning that side business you’ve talked about forever into a reality (or letting it die and moving on to the next one). Great advice and an easy read.
  3. Dragons Love Tacos 2: The Sequel by Adam Rubin and Dan Salmieri. A boy, a dog, and some dragons react to the fallout of Dragons Love Tacos. Only read this book if you’re interested in the taco-based ramifications of meddling with the space-time continuum.
  4. Primal Branding: Create Zealots for Your Brand, Your Company, Your Future by Patrick Hanlon. This book is the sink-or-swim secret behind having a presence online. If you’re a YouTuber, Blogger, or Instagrammer, you have to read this book.
  5. Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job & Your Dream Job by Jon Acuff. I hate/love this one. 1st hand exp. from a man who’s already done what I hope to do in a few years: quit my day job and create full-time. This book is somehow both sobering AND humorous at the same time. Good read.
  6. The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley. One of the most recognized UK authors of the last century documents the experience of taking 0.4 grams of peyote. Hallucinations and all. Interesting read. Gonna be a firm “nah” for me on the peyote.
  7. Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss. The definitive story of how the food giants use corporate lobbying, biochemistry, brain hacking, and nutritional acrobatics to hook you into eating processed foods. Eye opening.
  8. Do The Work by Steven Pressfield. Pressfield is my favorite writer on the habits of writing. This one is a quick and dirty rundown of creative motivation. If you get the audiobook it’s read by the man itself. Sooooo good.
  9. Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life by Spencer Johnson. A “classic” business fable about your source of money. Some characters are mice and some are mouse-sized people. I prefer Gary Vaynerchuk’s frequent statement: “don’t get romantic about how you do business.”
  10. The Art of War by Sun Tzu. This book is a favorite of mine on dealing with conflict. Great stuff. That said, the audiobook is 2 hours long and 45 minutes of that is just some Asian sounding music tacked on to the end. SERIOUSLY?
  11. Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne. One last time before I watch either of the two different Christopher Robin biopics this year, I read through the original. I dare you not to get the Sherman Bros theme song stuck in your head.
  12. How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It by Mark Cuban. This guy! This book is a collection of blog posts in book form. If he comes back around and does a legit book, I’m buying that too. Very interesting and slightly autobiographical.
  13. The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. A story about a fat bear with a one-track mind gets overlaid with the philosophy of Taoism and it BLOWS YOUR MIND. I want to be the uncarved block of Pooh.
  14. Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk. This guy breaths social media and business. Russia traded him to the US for wheat and his no excuses approach gets me pumped every time. I’m reading all his stuff again before Crushing It comes out on Audible.
  15. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen Covey. This book changed my life the first time I read it and officially got me addicted to self-improvement. I dare you to find a successful person that doesn’t endorse this book.
  16. The Art of Drew Struzan by Drew Struzan and David J. Schow. You know his work. This book includes comps (unreleased concepts) & war stories. The best? A 100% finished Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets poster that Warner Bros passed on. They must have gone blind cause it’s great.
  17. Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, and Do Work That Matters by Jon Acuff. The man I ripped this 100 books in 1 year idea from. This book is a great examination of the philosophies and weird tendencies behind dreamers that keep them from starting. Good book for motivation too.
  18. The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk. This is a great intro to the importance of social media and word of mouth for the uninitiated. I listened to this one on Audible while I’m waiting thru the Crushing It audiobook delay.
  19. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss. Why settle for work-life balance? Don’t read this book if you’re utterly content where you are. Otherwise, this book is full of practical concepts for reducing work hours or just increasing productivity.
  20. Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World by Admiral William H. McRaven. I picked this up on Audible Daily Deal. McRaven is a retired Navy SEAL who knows a thing or two about motivation. Pro-tip: if he asks you if you want a sugar cookie, just say no.
  21. The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage by Daymond John. Part motivation, part practical wisdom on bootstrapping your business. Learn how Fubu went from a dude slinging shirts from a used passenger van to a global brand.

  22. Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin and Dan Salmieri. I read this book to the boys while practicing my New Zealand accent. Clissic.
  23. Grandma Was Right After All! by John Rosemond. There are a few good ideas in this parenting book focused on the older style, but the author gets stuck on the idea that being frustrating is the same as being firm. Pass. (Note, I’m not recommending this book. I would instead recommend Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend).
  24. #AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness by Gary Vaynerchuk. If you’re trying to do anything on social media and you don’t listen to this guy, Why?

  25. Boundaries Updated and Expanded Edition: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. Just get this one. It’s great. Everybody should read it. I take it back. Only read this book if you ever plan on having relationships with people. This book is officially in my Top 5 of books on human communication. I’m recommending it to everybody.

  26. Big Bad Bubble by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri. In a land where donuts grow on trees and rent is cheap, life is good, except that bubbles appear out of nowhere, threatening existence as we know it. (For best results, read with kiwi accent)
  27. Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to A Long and Happy Life by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles. This one’s about the habits of populations with a high concentration of people over the age of 100 (or 110!). No clue how overnight Scrubs rerun binges didn’t make the cut…
  28. Rise and Grind: Out-Perform, Out-Work, and Out-Hustle Your Way to a More Successful and Rewarding Life by Daymond John and Daniel Paisner. This one’s all about the productivity habits of early risers. Is it just me, or does Daymond look like a genie on the cover?
  29. Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us by Seth Godin. Good thoughts on work culture, both positive and negative. If you don’t have a tribe, you’re just a bunch of people who get paid from the same account.
  30. Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money – That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert Kiyosaki. Probably impossible at this point, but I’d love to hear a conversation between Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad (business mentor) and Poor Dad (father with a government job).
  31. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. The story of a chubby, hairy, homebody that’s mastered the art of relaxing gets pushed out his front door and goes on an life-changing adventure. Pretty much my favorite #book for obvious reasons.
  32. Walt Disney: Triumph of the American Imagination by Neal Gabler. Some guy from Missouri draws pictures real good starts flipping them around so they look like they’re moving.
  33. You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity by Francis Chan & Lisa Chan. This one’s all about serving your spouse and your family by putting God first. It’s stealthily a relationship-with-God book disguised as a relationship book.
  34. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Pop Culture Reference: The Novel! I didn’t really enjoy it that much the second time around.
  35. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan Peterson. Might be the best book I’ve read in 2018. Peterson uses decades of exp. in cultural analysis and clinical psych and boils it down to 12 basic rules for being a contributing member of society.
  36. Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence-and How You Can, Too by Gary Vaynerchuk. Nobody knows social media or hustle like Gary Vaynerchuk. He needs a bleep button sometimes, but nobody’s better.
  37. Building a Story Brand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller. Miller breaks down the method that every business needs to follow to become the indispensable Yoda to the their clients. (In this analogy, Luke Skywalker pays Yoda). Great book.
  38. The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure by Grant Cardone. More of a pep talk than a practical guide. Sales woes? Work 10X harder! Losing customers? Be 10X better at customer service! Catering a lunch? Buy 10X the falafel! Picking an insurance provider? 10X it!
  39. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight. The shockingly well-written memoir of Phil Knight, founder of Nike. I don’t care a thing about sports or running and I absolutely recommend this book. If I ever write a memoir, I want this guy to write it.
  40. Artemis by Andy Weir. Artemis tells the story of a moon-smuggler who does one big moon-mission for a moon-mobster and ends up in too deep with the moon-mining-syndicate and the only way to get out is a moon-heist on the moon.
  41. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. An 11-year-old orphan finds out he’s the most important wizard who ever lived and a no-nose dark wizard would like a word.
  42. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter 2: Back to Wizard School. Harry’s back and this time he’s getting real tired of these magic-fanged snakes in this magic-filled school.
  43. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling. There’s a murderer on the loose and Harry’s got Sirius problems. Someone’s been ratting people out and it all comes to a head when Harry’s new teacher gets mooned.
  44. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling. Harry gets entered into a deadly wizard’s contest, Hermione struggles with unwanted Krums and Pettigrew gives Voldemort a hand coming back from the dead.
  45. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling. A non-fiction book about the inevitable consequences of Common Core.
  46. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling. Draco’s mom asks Snape to help Draco with his homework.
  47. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling. Harry drops out of school to go camping while sponging off his best friend’s girlfriend before deciding to rob a bank.
  48. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. I feel like the information in this book could be used to brainwash yourself into being the best person ever.
  49. Tao Te Ching by Laozi, Translated by Sam Torode. This book is Laozi. Taoism is Laozi, I’m Laozi, you’re Laozi. This whole courtroom is Laozi. Interesting read. Didn’t take much time and it’s full of philosophical questions.
  50. Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy. Every day, start with your hardest, ugliest task. That’s your frog. EAT. THAT. FROG. The rest of the book is productivity techniques for getting it done. Good stuff.
  51. The Pumpkin Plan by Mike Michalowicz. This guy’s got an unusual sense of humor, but his business advice is sound. If you’re offended by frequent references to male anatomy, this book is not for you.
  52. It Starts With Food by Dallas Hartwig and Melissa Hartwig. I’ve never felt so good as when I was doing Whole30. Time to start again! Goodbye, sweetened coffee.
  53. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. I read this one as part of a project I’ll talk about later. I never realized that there is actually quite a bit of emotional subtext woven into the story. Classic.
  54. The Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens. What is it with old stories and crickets? It’s like a cliff’s notes A Christmas Carol without all the ghosts and with more crickets.
  55. The Dip by Seth Godin. Seth Godin talks about the inevitable point at which a project must be abandoned or pushed through. A rare motivational book that acknowledges the need to move on at times. Just a marketing tip, maybe Seth could include a can of french onion dip labelled “the dip” as a promotional item to drive up sales. You’re welcome, Seth.
  56. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. This lady has more thoughts in one day on where to put things than I will have in my entire life.
  57. As a Man Thinketh by James Allen. Your thoughts become your actions. The more you knooooooooooooow.
  58. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. In the series that inspired R. Kelly’s Trapped In the Closet, four British children get in deep with the White Witch over some Turkish Delight, but Santa Claus and Aslan have other ideas.
  59. Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis. The Pevensies come back to Narnia and the Latin Kings have moved in on their territory.
  60. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis. Eustace Scrubb has trouble dragon himself out of bed in the morning until Aslan provides a made-from-scratch remedy.
  61. The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis. The man in chair is unaware that he doesn’t transform on the norm.
  62. The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis. The most popular book in the prolific Talking Horse / Case-of-Mistaken-Identity mashup genre.
  63. The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis. The Magician tries to recruit his nephew to be his wingman and things go wrong in the worst possible way.
  64. The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis. A monkey and a donkey take a prank way too far.
  65. Teaching From Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie. If you’re going to homeschool multiple children (or are married to someone who is), you should check this one out.
  66. The Bible (New International Version). Read by Max McLean. Yep. The whole thing. It’s pretty easy when you incorporate it into your morning routine and listen to it on audio.
  67. Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk by Danielle Krysa. Okay, so first off, your Inner Critic didn’t have a lot to eat this morning and stayed up waaaaay too late last night and you started talking about your new project before he had coffee.
  68. Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote. Not half bad for a book that contains no bacon and eggs.
  69. Declutter Your Mind by S.J. Scott and Barrie Davenport. A surprisingly cluttered book about decluttering your mind.
  70. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Believe the hype. Ebenezer Scrooge is the product of his good intentions worn down over time, but just like you and me, he can change when confronted with what he’s become.
  71. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson. A run-through of more astrophysics than you need on a daily basis from the most personable astrophysicist available.
  72. Silver Screen Fiend by Patton Oswalt. Patton Oswalt talks about media consumption as a coping mechanism for self-control and the self-congratulatory cycle of alternative comedy… but he says it real funny and stuff.
  73. The Death of the Banker by Ron Chernow. Imagine a game of Monopoly where there’s some guy chuckling every time you pay the bank and you pretty much get the idea.
  74. Do Over by Jon Acuff. Excellent book on fixing a career rut. Do you dream of moving on from your job? Maybe there’s some things you can do about that before you set a torch to your primary source of income.
  75. Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield. If you do any creative work of any kind on a regular basis, read Pressfield. The audiobooks can be purchased for less than the price of a good meal and might be better for you in the long run.
  76. The Artist’s Journey by Stephen Pressfield. Nobody articulates the struggle of being creative on a regular basis like Steven Pressfield.
  77. The More of Less by Joshua Becker. One of the better books on minimalism out there. None of the ant-capitalist mumbo jumbo, just down-to-earth thoughts on how a big pile of stuff doesn’t make you happy.
  78. The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape. Scott Pape is like an Australian Dave Ramsey. His methods are a little more fun, a little more casual, and a lot more… Australian. I’d recommend checking out both and you’re double covered.
  79. The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley and William Danko. Guess what? Millionaires don’t spend money like they’ve got something to prove. Who knew?
  80. The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. If you get up earlier you will get more done in the morning. There. I just saved you the time it takes to read this book.
  81. How to Talk To Anyone by Leil Lowndes. No, seriously. If you need an ice-breaker, it’s in there. Warning: does not work on my dog.
  82. Platform by Michael Hyatt. It’s an older book, but it checks out. It’s a good read for anybody looking to have an online presence, but you can probably skip the step-by-step instructions for setting up a Twitter account.
  83. 1984 by George Orwell. This one’s a little too close to home for the current political climate in the US. Best to move on before The Party shouts “thought crime.” The Party’s low on ice so I’m going to step out for a bit brb kthx bye.
  84. The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers by Amy Hollingsworth. A biographer writes a book on Fred Rogers. Spoiler alert: everything you’ve heard is true. A great read.
  85. The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon. Skip this one.
  86. Rising Strong as a Spiritual Practice by Brene Brown. I can tell I’m not quite the target demographic for Brene Brown’s books, but she does a really good job analyzing the mindset of the chronically diligent.
  87. Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman. I want Neil Gaiman to do this for all the mythologies and all modern movies.
  88. Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. The second best book on money, with the first being Complete Guide to Money from Financial Peace University. For me, Total Money Makeover and Complete Guide to Money were a keystone habit-building Trojan horses that started the dominoes to a better life. Really good.
  89. The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile. I had never heard the enneagram before this book. It’s a solid, but still debatable personality-type concept. I think I’m a 9, but I can be such a Monica sometimes.
  90. You Need A Budget by Jesse Mecham. If you’re one of those people who need basic financial guidance but are too proud to admit to yourself that Dave Ramsey is right, then this might be the book for you. However, if you’re looking for alternatives to Dave Ramsey, I would recommend Scott Pape’s The Barefoot Investor first.
  91. 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by Amy Morin. I originally dismissed this book due to the title being too reminiscent of a bad online article, but that was a mistake. Amy Morin comes from a place of both experience and expertise in dealing with repetitive and profound grief.
  92. The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown. This one is a lecture disguised as an audiobook, so it’s a little sneaky… but it’s still a good talk.
  93. Are You Scared, Darth Vader? by Adam Rex. I love this book. A great children’s book in the tradition of The Monster at the End of This Book, but starring Darth Vader instead of Grover.
  94. 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. If Machiavelli’s The Prince had a baby with Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars, then they would teach a class in which this was the textbook.
  95. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. I originally started listing out all the industries that Steve Jobs disrupted or created, but then I got tired. I guess I’ll just go play on my smartphone that he designed while I listen to music that I bought through his online music store with headphones from his retail store.
  96. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham. I started reading this to get a counter-point to Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton and Washington biographies. If there’s a white-washed version of Jefferson’s story that makes him look infallible, this is not it.
  97. Atomic Habits by James Clear. If Power of Habit is the concept, this book is the application. Read this one before you make your New Year’s resolutions.
  98. Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio. The eccentric and remarkable CEO of Bridgewater writes down his formula for success. No really. It’s an actual formula.
  99. Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull. While Steve Jobs and John Lasseter get all the credit for turning Disney around, Ed Catmull is the man who gave Disney it’s second renaissance. I love this book.
  100. Finish by Jon Acuff. The author that motivated me to read 100 books in 2018 seems a fitting way to complete the list. Also, if you’re a chronic resolution-failer, definitely check this one out.