Category Archives: Accelerated Learning

Top Books of 2021

They said 2021 was going to be different than 2020… Alas, we still found ourselves in periods of lockdown, covid anxiety, and pandemic pandemonium. A disaster for ones’ social life, but quite conducive to dedicated reading time.

With everything happening in the world this past year, I found myself peculiarly drawn to books on investing and finance. Three of them made the top 5 and I highly recommend them, regardless of your past investing knowledge.

Here are my top 5 books of 2021:

5. Breath by James Nestor

Breath is everything. Breathe through your nose.
I love the style of James Nestor’s books; he’s a great writer who delves into topics with humility and self-experimentation.  In this case, the world of breathing (aka everything), made interesting through his own medically guided experiment with breath work.

4. Richer, Wiser, Happier by William Green

The first investing book to appear on the list, I loved it because the writer is a journalist (not an investor), but is fascinated with marquee investors. This book is his interviews with some of the world’s top investors, having them explain their strategies to a complete novice.

3. Crossroads by Kaleb Dahlgren

It’s not my top 5 list without a sports book, this one hits home and hits hard. Written by a survivor of the tragic Humboldt Broncos crash in 2018, it’s one of the more powerful memoirs I’ve ever read. Huge respect for Kaleb and just so sad to read the tragedy from the ground level. This book made it’s way through most of my family this year as a must-read.

2. The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel

Perhaps the most pragmatic investing book I have ever read. Housel hammers home how everything financially related in your life, comes down to your relationship with money. Except he puts it in much better terms than I just tried to there.

1. The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness by Eric Jorgenson

Loved this book and was my most gifted book of 2021. Naval Ravikant is one of the best thinkers in our time; Jorgenson compiles and organizes an entire book made up of Ravikant’s tweets, interviews, etc. Hard to put down, will be re-reading this month.



Top Books of 2020

2020, what a year! If you didn’t read some good books this year, then it may time to give it up…just kidding.

It was actually a bit tricky at time, when libraries closed during the lockdown and I had to actually buy books! Luckily it also made me go through some of my library that I hadn’t read (or decided to re-read).  Getting pets – especially dogs – can provide a caring companion that loves your child unconditionally and support them in their daily activities. Any pet can be an adventure – but dogs have proven to be especially effective because of their protective and friendly “pack” dynamic, you can get more info here.

Alas, out of the 26 books I read in 2020 (humble brag) here are my top 6:

6. Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot by Bill O’Reilly

Killing Kennedy by Bill O'Reilly

I’ve been trying to find a good book about JFK for a couple of years now, it feels like every one is 1000+ pages. I stumbled upon this one in the library and grabbed it due to its brevity. I simply could not put it down, finishing it in one quarantine weekend. As a millennial, I missed the Kennedy era, which was a fascinating time in World History (yes World, not just American). This book is an excellent introduction to Kennedy’s presidency and assassination. It’s brief, stays out of the weeds, but it’s a well-written, gripping read.

5. From the Ashes by Jesse Thistle

From the Ashes by Jesse Thistle

If you live in Vancouver, this book hits home, in an unsuspecting way. A true (and rare) story of a homeless man who made it out alive. A raw and often gruesome depiction of one man’s life through foster homes, addiction, and living on the street. Also hard to put down.

4. Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey

Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey

Note: highly, highly recommend listening to this on audiobook, as McConaughey narrates it himself.
Second note: McConaughey has incredible life philosophy, is far more intelligent than his Rom-com image portrays, and is a hilariously good story-teller.
Third note: Alright, alright, alright!

3. Shoot for the Moon by James Donovan

Shoot for the Moon by James Donovan

Similar to the Kennedy interest (in fact the two go hand in hand–many historians believe that America doesn’t make it into space without Kennedy’s vehement endorsement), I’d been looking for a good moon landing book for a few years. I stumbled upon this in the library and it was also an absolute page turner. The space race was nothing short of spectacular–imagine a war that instead of battles the two opponents are literally racing to get to the moon first. What was accomplished in this race truly vaulted technology (and humanity) by decades.

2. The Splendid & The Vile by Erik Larson

The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson

A phenomenal historical non-fiction piece like only Erik Larson can do. Reads like fiction and covers the period of time where Winston Churchill came into power as Prime Minister, while Britain prepared to enter (and eventually did enter) WW2. This book was enhanced by true depictions of Britain’s lockdown during the relentless German night raids–making Covid lockdown seem much more palatable.

1. The Future is Faster Than You Think by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler

The Future Is Faster Than You Think by Peter H. Diamandis

Although this book isn’t the gripping read that the previous 5 on this list are (so it certainly isn’t for everyone), I rank it as #1 for a few reasons. Firstly, I love the positive spin it takes on the future of humanity. Secondly, it’s well researched but still written in relatively digestible terms and lengthy. Lastly, a good book: you can’t put down. A great book: changes the way you think about things. This one does the latter–and during these times, what’s more important than the future?


Honourable mentions:

  • American Kingpin by Nick Bilton
  • Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss
  • Forged in Crisis by Nancy Koen
  • Forever Terry by Darrell Fox (letters written to Terry Fox, no dry eyes)
  • Range by David Epstein
  • Upheaval by Jared Diamond

My Top 10 Books of the Decade

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


Top Books of 2019 (so far) & How to Read More

This year I set out with the goal of reading 30 books. It seemed like a reasonable number, seeing how I managed 32 last year. Somehow, I got on a roll and eclipsed the 30 mark yesterday, exactly halfway through the year. The coveted 52 books in 52 weeks is within reach! But first, here are my top from the first half of 2019:

5. Essentialism by Greg McKeown

This book is exactly what the subtitle says “The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.” A book on minimalism, it stays true to its theme and provides excellent advice in a succinct manner.

4. What Doesn’t Kill Us by Scott Carney

If you’ve heard of Wim Hof, you’ll love this book. If you haven’t, you absolutely must read it. A writer’s  quest to dispel the “Iceman” ends with an attempt to climb Kilimanjaro with him… I won’t spoil the rest.

3. Beartown by Fredrik Backman

I don’t read a ton of fiction, but this one was recommended by several people and did not disappoint. Backman’s writing style is incredibly captivating; as he tells a story of a hockey town in Sweden.

2. Educated by Tara Westover

This book has received a lot of critical acclaim and rightfully so. It’s non-fiction, but certainly doesn’t feel like a true story. Tara Westover’s own memoir of being raised as a fundamentalist Mormon survivalist (it’s a real thing) and defying all odds to succeed beyond measure.

1. Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese

This historical fiction novel is disturbing, but powerful. Set in 1950s Ontario it’s a dark reveal of Canada’s past and the awful residential schools. The young protagonist finds hope and salvation in the sport of hockey, but ultimately cannot escape his past.

Honourable Mentions

Atomic Habits by James Clear
Love & Courage by Jagmeet Singh
Conspiracy by Ryan Holiday
The Art of Stillness by Pico Iyer
Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins – must be audiobook!

Screen Shot 2019-07-02 at 4.02.11 PM

Screen Shot 2019-07-02 at 4.02.32 PM

THREE Tips for Reading More
1. Schedule It In

If you don’t schedule it in, other activities will push it aside. I aim for 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes before bed. Obviously I don’t hit those every day, but I’m more likely to if it’s in my calendar. Another tip I learned and practice is to bring a book everywhere. It sounds odd, but you’d be amazed at how much dead time there is throughout the day when you’re waiting aimlessly for a meeting or an appointment. Instead of clicking away on the phone, why not crush a chapter of a good book?

2. No TV Shows

This one is always met with opposition, but nowadays everything is fighting for your attention. TV shows are designed to grab you and keep you hooked. It’s difficult to fit both in your leisure time, forcing you to ask yourself: which one do I get more out of? Nothing wrong with the odd TV season binge here and there–I’m personally guilty of crushing Season 8 of Thrones in one glorious weekend–but if you want reading to be your ritual then I recommend axing the TV shows.

3. Get a Library Card

A library card allows you to get unlimited books. Why is this important? A book should completely grab you, if it doesn’t then it’s not the right time to read it. I have 4 library cards for different regions and 5-10 books at my disposal at all times. I try to not read more than 2 books at once, but this allows me to always have several different books at the ready; because you never know what you’ll be feeling when it’s time to grab the next read!

My Top Books of 2018

I feel humbled that people actually read this annual post, even more so that they occasionally trust my advice and find great enjoyment out of the books I endorse.

Without further ado, here are the top books I read in 2018:

7. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

I usually try and distill it down to a top 5, but this year I just couldn’t. A lot of good books and this one was actually a fluke. I had finished my book on a weekend trip and picked this up at the airport in Edmonton. There was a lot of hype around it last year, but for some reason the title always threw me off. Don’t let it.

6. Bruce Lee by Matthew Polly

I’m a sucker for a good biography and this one is sensational. Whether you know a lot about Bruce Lee or not, it’s irrelevant, he’s such a polarizing figure and Polly brings him to life. It’s not a short read, but I’d be surprised if you didn’t fly through this one.

5. Tiger Woods by Jeff Benedict

It was hard to choose between this one and the Bruce Lee one, but given its relevance I gave the Tiger Woods biography the edge. This book took years to make and is the first time that an authoritative biography has been done about the enigmatic icon that is Tiger Woods.  Sports fan or not, it’s gripping.

4. The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony

This book was part of a book club that I started with a few friends; presenting new reads that I would have never found on my own. This book is a collection of stories about a man in Africa who starts a wildlife range and good (or bad) fortune presents him with elephants. A refreshingly different book with deep insights into the animal psyche.

3. Play On: The New Science of Elite Performance at Any Age by Jeff Bercovici

Again, this one falls into personal preference, a fascinating dive into aging athletes and methods they use to prolong their careers. It’s broken down to appeal to elite athlete and weekend warrior alike, as Bercovici interviews the trainers of Federer, Lebron, Serena, and Jagr; to name a few.

2. Grit by Angela Duckworth

Another recommendation from aforementioned book club; I was fortunate to read this early in the year and benefitted from its mantra of grit: passion and perseverance for long-term goals. In the endless realm of self-help books, I still coin this one a must-read. Duckworth’s ability to articulate her ideas on page are uncanny and remember: enthusiasm is common, endurance is rare.

1. Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

This was one of the first books that I read in 2018 and endured the test of time to remain my favourite one. There’s not much more to say about Being Mortal then the fact that you will never look at life the same (in a good way). Over the years I’ve come to realize that a good book will grab your attention and entertain you. A great book will change your perspective on things. This is a great book.


Honourable Mentions

  • Bad Blood by John Carreyrou – The wild story behind Theranos labs
  • Endure by Alex Hutchinson – Explores the human endurance limit, focusing on the 2 hour marathon
  • Thrive by Dan Buettner – The happiest places on Earth and why 
  • Own the Day by Aubrey Marcus – Great book on living better in general


Top Books of 2017 & Goals for 2018

It’s become a ritual now, I like to start off every year by reviewing the past one (2017) and then setting intentions for the upcoming one (2018).

2017 was a good year, especially so for reading. I’ve very rarely regretted the purchase of a book; a $20 investment for hours of enjoyment and the potential for life-altering wisdom is a definite “sans-brainer.” I set out a goal of reading 15 books and by year-end, nearly doubled it with 28. This was thanks to my library card, which completely freed up with financial burden of reading; combined with ample recommendations from friends. I highly recommend the former and hopefully this list helps you with the latter!

Top Books of 2017

5. Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

Ryan Holiday is a modern day proponent of stoicism: “…happiness and judgment should be based on behaviour, rather than words. That we don’t control and cannot rely on external events, only ourselves and our responses.” This book is powerful, concise, and incredibly practical. Once you read it, you will become aware of just how often your ego rears its ugly head.

4. Peak by Anders Ericsson

I love these type of books, it’s probably the driest out of the top 5, but if you love performance psychology, this one is a must. Anders Ericsson who was the scientist who gathered the 10,000 hour data, that Gladwell made famous in Outliers. This is the REAL truth behind 10,000 hours and what it takes be at the peak of anything.

3. The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

One of the better sports epics out there, hard to not be captivated when you combine Olympic sports and WW2. This true story depicts the US rowing team in Hitler’s infamous 1936 Berlin Olympics.

2. Red Notice by Bill Browder

This book is gripping, disturbing and incredibly relevant (and of course, all true). Bill Browder had his life threatened in the writing of this book, but had to get his story out. An American who starts an investment fund in Russia and ends up going toe-to-toe with Putin. Whether you’re into politics or not, it’s a story that needs to be read.

1. Game Change by Ken Dryden

Admittedly a tad biased, as I love hockey more than life itself and this is quite simply one of the best hockey books ever written. It is a landmark in sports books addressing the future of Canada’s game with the growing concussion epidemic. It is marvellously narrated through the life & death of former NHL player Steve Montador, providing an uncanny glimpse into the highs and lows of professional hockey. I literally could not put this book down.

Honourable Mentions
  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
  • Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (must do audiobook)
  • Sleep by Nick Littlehales
  • The Hidden Life of Trees by David Wohlleben
  • The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande


Top Moments of 2017

2017 was a monumental year in Canada, representing our 150th birthday (est. 1867). As a result, I wanted to spend any travel time I had within our vast and beautiful country.  I made visits to the following:

British Columbia

1. Victoria (home)
2. Vancouver
3. Whistler
4. Prince George


5. Calgary
6. Canmore 


  Winnipeg: #CoolerThanYouThink #ywg #thepeg #manitoba #canada   A post shared by Bear Johal (@bearjohal) on

7. Winnipeg
8. Gimli


9. Toronto


Game at the Bell Centre: ✅ #HabsvsBlues #GreatCanadianBoysTrip

A post shared by Bear Johal (@bearjohal) on

10. Montreal
11. Quebec City

New Brunswick

Plaster Rock


Review of 2017 Goals

1. 365 Meditation Sessions
☒ Just off, did 284

2. 350 Sweat Sessions
☒ Just off, did 312

3. Deadlift 400lbs
☒ Just shy, did 350lbs

4. Visit ONE New Canadian Town/City
☑ Did THREE: Gimli, Plaster Rock, and Prince George

5. Visit FIVE new Gulf Islands
☒ Did TWO: Thetis Island and Gabriola Island

6. Read 15 Books
☑ Did 28!

7. Coach Minor Hockey
☑ Yes, currently coaching Midget

8. Something New Every Month
☒ 8/12 months: Acro Yoga, Ballroom Dancing, MEC Trail Run, Hula Dancing, Car Camping, Sculling, Pottery, and Curling

9. Year of Sobriety
☑ A lifestyle change (with the exception of best friend’s stag)


2018 Goals

Healthy (Habits)

1. 365 Meditations (Daily)
2.  52 Yoga Sessions (Weekly)
3. 208 Serious Gym Sessions (4 x Week)
4. Meatless Monday (Weekly)
5. 27 Fasting Days (Bi-Weekly)

Wealthy (Saving & Spending)

1. $10,000 in TFSA
2. Pay off Car Loan
3. Trip to somewhere new with Carly
4. NY trip to visit Cam
5. Dallas trip to visit Magoo

Wise (Self Improvement)

1. Read 25 Books
2. Do a Spiritual Retreat
3. Take a Course (any course)
4. Write a Quarterly Blog Post (starting with this one!)
5. Partake in TWO new sports tournaments

2016 Review & Top Books

2016, what a year! As per usual, even-numbered years always have the advantage on the sports landscape, this year was no different. The Rio Games were the first time in 2 decades where Canada truly impressed on the Summer Olympic stage and who can forget Usain Bolt’s historic and unprecedented Triple Triple? Penguins won the Stanley Cup, Broncos won the SuperBowl, Chicago Cubs (yes, Cub–and yes I just referenced baseball) won the World Series and Canada breezed it’s way through the newly revived World Cup of Hockey.

On a personal note, 2016 was particularly memorable for me as I put real life on hold and backpacked through Asia for 2 months right in the middle year. 6 countries in 7 weeks, it was an eye-opener with a few good times along the way. I told a few friends I would share my TOP reads of the year, so here they are:

Favourite Books:


  1. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Quite possibly the most unbelievable true story I have ever read. An Olympic distance runner finds himself on the front lines of WWII, stranded at sea for a record length only to be washed up to a Japanese POW camp.

  1. The Road to Character by David Brooks

An eloquently written book that changes the way you think; are you more interested in what achievements you can put on your resume, or how others will remember you on your eulogy?

  1. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

I’m a little biased here, because this book hits on both sports and business; two of my favourite subjects. That being said, this story is remarkable and I simply could not put this book down. The story of Nike is a roller coaster ride that anybody and everybody can learn from.



Honourable Mentions:

The New Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins

King of the World by David Remnick

Yerba Mate – The Wonder Drink?

The resurgence of tea in North America has been trending since the early 2000s. The health benefits of all its shades (green, white, black) are irrefutable and its subtle caffeine is adopted by many as a welcome substitute to the afternoon coffee. However, when it comes to mornings, few are willing to part with the full caffeine punch that coffee provides, despite the imminent crash to follow a few hours later.

Enter: Yerba Mate

Hailed as the answer to all your morning tribulations: caffeine levels closer to coffee, but without the acidity; whilst also boasting the feel-good antioxidants and vitamins & minerals of tea.

A quick rundown of caffeine levels in your morning beverages (per 250mL)*:
  1. Brewed Coffee = 163mg
  2. Bulletproof Coffee = 145mg
  3. Yerba Mate = 85mg
  4. Matcha Tea = 70mg
  5. Black Tea = 42mg
  6. Oolong Tea = 37mg
  7. White Tea = 28mg
  8. Green Tea = 25mg

*according to

Health Canada suggests a maximum of 400mg of caffeine per day, equivalent to 3 cups (250mL) of brewed coffee (or only one 5-hour energy shot).

Back to Yerba Mate, here is it’s overview as per WebMd:

Mate is used as a stimulant to relieve mental and physical tiredness (fatigue), as well as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). It is also used for heart-related complaints including heart failure, irregular heartbeat, and low blood pressure.

Some people use mate to improve mood and depression; to relieve headache and joint pains; to treat urinary tract infections (UTIs), and bladder and kidney stones; for weight loss; and as a laxative.

Yerba Mate may seem new to North Americans, but folks in South America (namely Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina) have been drinking it for generations. I first heard of the beverage a couple years ago,  but just this month it’s been mentioned on both the Jay & Dan Podcast and Tim Ferriss’ Reddit AMA.

For myself, I’ve been a religious green tea-drinker since undergrad. The working life, however, presented new challenges of longer hours, monotonous work, and the dreaded “structured” work-week. I dabbled in coffee (still enjoy it once or twice a week), but the crash, sweats, and acidity deter it from a daily ritual. This week, I’ve decided to give Yerba Mate a try; as per Tim Ferriss’ recommended method:

  • 1 cup of brewed Yerba Mate (start with 5 mins, work up to a max 10mins steep time)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil (similar to the “Bulletproof” concept & much cleaner than creme & sugar)

I picked up a pack of Guayaki, but if you’re feeling really fancy, I’ve heard good things about Cruz de Malta, both available on Amazon.

So far, it’s been quite pleasant. A much needed kick in the morning that other teas can’t quite provide; but no jitters or emphatic crash. I usually round it off with a mellow cup of green after lunch and stay true to my 2pm caffeine curfew to ensure a quality night’s rest.

What’s you take on morning beverages? Would love to hear your recipes and rituals, send me a Tweet @BearJohal!


The Books of 2014

First and foremost, a massive thank-you goes out to all the friends who continually provide recommendations of books to read; this past year’s reading list in entirely composed of either your suggestions, or recommendations from other bloggers. The main reason for this post is to pass these books on, there’s not a single one I do not endorse as a fantastic read.

For the year of 2014 I set the goal of reading 25 books (5 more than 2013’s 20) and, thanks to a 6 hour binge on the 31st of December, was able to polish off number 25. Here is the complete list, in chronological order, with the top FIVE life-changing reads highlighted at the end.

  1. Andre Agassi – Open
  2. Jordan Belfort – The Wolf of Wall Street
  3. Christopher MacDougall – Born to Run
  4. David Shenk – The Genius in All of Us
  5. Piers Paul Read – Alive
  6. Joe Simpson – Touching the Void
  7. Josh Waitzken – The Art of Learning
  8. Richard Bach – Illusions
  9. Gregory David Roberts – Shantaram
  10. Josh Kaufman – The Personal MBA
  11. Jeremy Roenick – J.R.
  12. Tom Wrath – Strengths Finder 2.0
  13. Gary Vaynerchuk – Crush It!
  14. Jon Krakauer – Into the Wild
  15. Dale Carnegie – How to Win Friends and Influence People
  16. Jordin Tootoo – All The Way
  17. George Samuel Clason – The Richest Man in Babylon
  18. Cal Newport – So Good They Can’t Ignore You
  19. Chris Hadfield – An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth
  20. David Epstein – The Sports Gene
  21. Charles Duhigg – The Power of Habit
  22. Malcolm Gladwell – David and Goliath
  23. Malcolm Gladwell – Tipping Point
  24. Viktor E. Frankl – Man’s Search for Meaning
  25. James Allen – As a Man Thinketh

The Top FIVE:

5. David Epstein – The Sports Gene


A must read for not only sports fans, but anyone with a curious mind. I know many people enjoyed Born to Run, this book is similar, but with a much stronger scientific base, as well as touches on several aspects of extraordinary athletic performance, not just running. Simply could not put it down, some jaw dropping facts and explanations, organized into neat story-based chapters.


4.  Jordin Tootoo – All The Way


Admittedly, this one’s a little biased, I’m a sucker for both hockey books and, more so,  a thrilling biography. If you’re the same way, you’ll love this book. Tootoo’s story, as the first Inuk-born player (from Rankin Inlet, Nunavat, no less!), is truly one that defies the odds. It’s concise and features commentaries from famed sportswriter Stephen Brunt.


3. Cal Newport – So Good They Can’t Ignore You


I’ve been vehemently recommending this book to all my friends, especially those caught in the mid/late twenties rut. This book is the only one on the list I would deem as ground-breaking, it shatters all the previous conceptions of what a career should be by dispelling the passion principle and instead introducing the craftsman principle. Want to love what you do? Don’t chase your “passion”, instead become VERY good at something through consistent, dedicated practice.

2. Viktor E. Frankl- Man’s Search for Meaning


Ok, I lied, if you want to talk ground-breaking, this book is it. Rightfully in the list of the “Ten Most Influential Books in America,” it was written by Jewish neurologist and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl during his imprisonment at the Auschwitz concentration camp and published in 1946. The first half is a staggering first-hand account of life in the concentration camp, while the second gives way to “logotherapy,” the type of psychology coined by Frankl, in which he delves into identifying a purpose in life to feel positive about. The odds of an inmate surviving Auschwitz were 1 in 26; those who couldn’t find purpose in their suffering, simply could not summon the strength to survive. The book is concise, but incredible powerful. An absolute must read.

1. Gregory David Roberts – Shantaram


Action, drama, suffering, romance, despair, triumph–pretty much everything you could want out of a book, all loosely based on true events. This book is often hyped, but never underwhelming, although it did take me a few years to get through, as it’s a little slow at the beginning. Once you’re into it, be warned, you’re entranced. Roberts’ writing style really tugs at your heart strings and imagination, taking you on a truly wild ride.

3 Books for Enhanced Learning

Reading is one of my favourite past times, I spend a good portion of each day engaging in literature, predominantly of the non-fiction variety. Books that promote higher learning (I hate when people call them self-help) are some of my favourite. Here are THREE, which inspired this blog itself and notably improved the way I consumed information:

1. Flow by  Mihály Csíkszentmihályi

This is less of a book, but rather an entire new way of thinking. Summarized as: “the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity,” flow has become the accepted term to describe complete absorption in what one does. Learning is a dominant theme, but flow applies the experience as a whole. You’d be hard pressed to find a self-help book that doesn’t reference Csíkszentmihályi and his psychological break through.

2. The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin

The name undoubtedly speaks for itself, written by chess prodigy Josh Waitzkin, the star of the book and film “Searching for Bobby Fisher.” Although arguably less enigmatic than that of Bobby Fisher, Waitzkin also lived a life as a young chess prodigy, constant being paralleled to his older American counterpart (as is the context of the “Searching for Bobby Fisher,” written by Waitzkin’s father). The Art of Learning finally gives Josh the canvass, who provides some remarkable learning tools gathered in his chess journey, of which were successfully transferred to other facets of life, including a Thai Chai championship in minimal time. The techniques shared are unprecedented and Josh continues to push the frontier of learning in all of his life endeavours.

3. The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman

It took me a few years to get through this one, be warned, it can feel like a straight-up business textbook. However, as Josh states in the preface, skip around to the things that interest you. This book has an insatiable amount of knowledge packed into it, but it’s all incredibly condensed and concise. Kaufman doesn’t waste a word, something which isn’t an option when trying to condense the meat of an MBA degree into one book. By far my favourite part of the book was the section on productivity and ways to increase efficiency in both learning and getting things done. That being said, I’ve riddled this book with sticky notes and check back on it at least once a week.