I thought that you might enjoy hearing about all the books I read this year. So I’m going to share them with you on this page.
Books will be sorted by topic, so you can quickly hop down to the kind of book you are interested in. And I’ll add a quick blurb with my takeaways.
NOTE: All the links below are my Amazon affiliate links.
I’m using Amazon links because it’s a simple way to cover my own book-buying habit. However, I’m a strong supporter of the library and local bookstores, so please get them your favorite way! 📚
On the nightstand
- The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu and Douglas Abrams
- The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative by Florence Williams
- History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund
- Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
- The Locals by Jonathan Dee
Profit First by Mike Michalowicz | I re-read this book every few months because I pick up something new every time. Since I started using the Profit First system in 2014, I’ve paid myself a living wage, kept overhead low, gotten a “tax refund” each year, and paid down my law school debt. It really has been a game changer for my business and my finances.
Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang | My focus for 2018 is ease. And this book gave me LOTS of scientific evidence to support many of the things I’m experimenting with this year: walks, time in nature, deep work, naps, playing the piano, and knitting.
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek | Right about the time I created the artist’s J.D., I first read this book. At that time, I thought I had nailed down my WHY and was using it as part of my brand messaging. But re-reading it over the holidays, I realized that while I knew my WHY, I wasn’t sharing it explicitly. And that it wasn’t guiding my decisions as well as it could be. To help out, I’ve got an entire page at the front of in my 2018 bullet journal outlining my WHY; how I share my WHY; and what products, services, tools, and tactics support my WHY (AKA The Golden Circle). And I’m excited to see if a daily reminder of this, helps me tell this story a little more explicitly.
Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant | I LOVED this book! First off, because it gives me even more data to justify my walk as the “good” kind of procrastination (and that procrastinating, in general, can be good). Second, because it gave me so many practical tools on how to spot my best ideas, and then develop and share them. Before I even finished it, I recommended it several times and it’s going on my list of top books that every creative business owner should read.
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman | I tend to think I’m a pretty logical person. Which is why I found this book arguing that ALL humans are illogical, following predictable patterns so fascinating. I took the time to read each of his examples and think them through, before reading the data he collected in his studies. And more often than I would like to admit, I feel into the illogical camp! While it’s not a quick read, it’s incredibly thought-provoking and sparked several debates at our kitchen table.
The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict | I’m a huge fan of historical fiction. But I feel like unless you are going to create an alternate reality (e.g. Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America or Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle) you need to follow the major facts of the historical characters in your novel. This novel didn’t, by having Einstein’s wife, invent the theory of relativity. And because of that, I couldn’t finish this one.
Fates and Furies: by Lauren Groff | I have mixed feelings about this novel. On one hand, the writing was strikingly beautiful, it was everyday poetry. On the other hand, the plot was downright boring and the characters were dreadfully unlikeable. And while there’s an interesting feminist use of Greek mythology, overall it felt a little heavy-handed and pretentious.
Today Will Be Different Paperback by Maria Semple | A fun and quirky quick read. The main character is a kind of a trainwreck. Unlike the crazy voice in our heads, you know the one, that voice that knows, just knows, that our lives are so much more disorganized and insane than everyone we follow Facebook or Instagram. The main character’s life really is disorganized and insane. Ultimately, reading it felt like a guilty pleasure where you walk away feeling a little better about yourself, like watching an episode of Hoarders.
The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck | A fascinating examination of the everyday choices that German citizens had to make, during the rise of Hitler. And makes you ponder how right and wrong shift when mixed with survival, love, and new beginnings.
The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall | This novel examines what it’s like to confront the idea that your husband/father might not be the person you thought he was. It’s a timely, thought-provoking novel about rape culture, abusers, and the ripple effects that abuse creates. And how the ties that bind families and communities are often complicated, messy, and not what they seem.
Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson | Like Fates and Furies, the language in this novel is poetic. It’s an examination of lost youth and the friendships that were the center of that youthful world. It’s looking back at those times with regret, longing, and anger. It’s examining the desire and costs of fitting in and being a community. All on the backdrop of the shifting demographics, problems, and issues of 1970s Brooklyn.