I’m by no means a voracious reader, but I do try to read at least 100 pages every week. This equals roughly a book per month, a rate of reading I’m trying to double in 2016.
Goals aside, there were 7 books in particular last year that I thoroughly enjoyed. I had a hard time putting each of these books down – reading a couple of them in one sitting.
1. Hatching Twitter – Nick Bilton
I read this book in one day – it begs to be finished. Hatching Twitter is based on the true story of how the social network came to be. Not only is it super fast paced and based a a true story, it reads like a drama-filled fiction. At several points in the book, I was sure that the twists and turns were too good to be true – but after researching the events, Bilton’s account proves to be highly accurate. You can’t make this stuff up.
2. The Martian – Andy Weir
The Martian was fantastic, and as good as the movie was I can say confidently that the book is better. It’s the story of Mark Watney, an astronaut stranded on Mars with nothing but some minimal rations and an ingenuitive mind. One thing you may not have heard about the book: it’s damn funny.
3. Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story – Arnold Schwarzenegger
And odd one, yes. This book is the only one on this list that actually has below a 4-star rating on my favorite website, Goodreads. I’ll be honest – I have no idea what sparked those bad reviews.
This book, for me, was fascinating. Arnold has conquered virtually every goal he’s set for himself in life – first becoming Mr. Olympia, then the top paid action star in Hollywood, followed by becoming Governor of California.
What I love and admire about Arnold is his sense of grandeur when it comes to setting goals. As a young bodybuilder, he set a goal to place in the top 10 at a large competition, and ended up taking second place. From that point on he realized that marginal goals are worthless – if he would have set his sights on winning the competition instead of merely placing in the top 10, that may have given him the motivation to take the top spot. From this point on in his life he set high goals – and together with an extreme work ethic, he managed to achieve them all. Grab this book if you need a little motivation.
4. Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
If you grew up in the 80s or 90s and have an affection for pop culture, you’re sure to get a kick out of RPO. It’s set in the future, where humans prefer to live in virtual reality as opposed to real life. The main character sets out on a quest to win the large will of a futuristic Larry Page type character, and encounters twists and turns along the way. Video game lovers, rejoice: you’ve found your book.
5. Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life – Steve Martin
Recommended to me in a Reddit thread as the best personal memoir of a standup comic, Steve Martin’s autobiography did not disappoint. The book focuses on his standup career, the ups, the downs, and the strategies he used to hold an audience’s attention. It’s an easy read, and if you’re looking for a good audiobook I would definitely recommend this one – it’s read by Martin himself and really adds to the tone.
6. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future – Peter Thiel with Blake Masters
This book was chalk full of insight; if you’re thinking of starting a business it’s a must read. Thiel believes that if you’re adding on to someone else’s idea in business, you’re going from 1 to n. But if you’re creating something entirely new, you’re going from 0 to 1. This should be strived for in all industries, not just tech.
7. Michael Jordan: The Life – Roland Lazenby
One of the most iconic people in the world, Michael Jordan has become a living legend. His story is one of highs and lows, from the tragic death of his father and his gambling struggles to his NBA titles, NCAA Championships and shoe endorsement deals. I flew through this in depth biography. Lazenby pulls from hundreds of sources that really add to the authenticity. The sections on Nike were especially intriguing to me.
2015 was a good year for books. This year my goal is to read 20 books, here’s a look at what’s on my nightstand: