Well, everyone’s doing it, so I thought I’d hop on the train and reflect on this past decade, from a reading perspective. Below are my top 10 reads from the last 10 years (2010 – 2019). It was a monumental decade of reading for me; having completed my undergrad in 2011, the years ensuing were the first of my entire life that entailed total freedom in my reading choices. These books influenced me the most in this past decade, so much so that this year (2020) I will be re-reading every single one of them.
10. Grit by Angela Duckworth
I found this book to really hit home, based on it’s concise writing style and consistent mantra: passion and perseverance for long term goals.
9. So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport
I remember reading this book, being blown away and immediately re-reading it, taking notes the entire team. Cal Newport completely turned my millennial world upside-down with his dichotomy of the craftsmen mindset “focuses on what you can offer the world” over the passion mindset “focuses on what the world can offer you.”
8. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
A gripping read that I couldn’t put down. Excellent character development and vivid portrayal of the tumultuous life in Bombay, India. It’s the only fiction book that cracked the list for me (although it’s supposed to be influenced by true events, I’ll let you read it and be the judge).
7. Principles by Ray Dalio
This book is like the management bible, I read it when it first came out (2017) and tried to absorb everything (my copy is littered with notes and post-its). It’s not a short read, basically three books in one, but full of excellent insights. This one I’m very much looking to re-reading, now that it’s a little more relevant in my career.
6. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Another gripping read, an incredible true story about an Olympian turned soldier who survives at sea and then ends up in a Japanese POW camp. I’ve gifted this book a few times as it has something for everyone.
5. Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
I’ve ordered this list in the impact that these books had on my life. Gawande’s incredible book changed the way I will forever look at life, death, and aging.
The TOP 4
4. Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
This book was a massive influence in one of my biggest life and career choices to date. It made me slow things down and realize that my ego was clouding my vision, pulling me away from my true self. Highly recommend for all and a short read, too.
3. Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer
Probably my first life-altering read after undergrad, I credit this book with jumpstarting my head-first journey down the path of self development books. Pat Tillman (who the book is about) lived an incredible life and Jon Krakauer does a marvellous job of telling it.
2. Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
I challenge you to read a self-development book that doesn’t mention the concept of flow. Csikszentmihalyi literally invented the term the captivates the very movement and it’s called flow. I consider this to be a must-read for all. I read it once in 2012 and it was a little over my head. I read it again in 2016 and picked up a lot of new things. I’m excited to read it a third a time this year.
1. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
My number one book and easily my most gifted book. It’s written by a holocaust survivor, while he’s in a concentration camp. It is a timeless & powerful testament to the human spirit.
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
-Viktor E. Frankl
Bonus! Three more recommendations from my 2019 readings:
1) The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
2) Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday
3) In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park