Between podcast guests and personal interest, I read 100’s of books every year. I think that books make fantastic gifts and stocking stuffers. You give someone a possession and an experience.
And you never have to set foot in a mall, drive around looking for parking, and brave the chaos of children who want to see Santa or the woman who will punch you in the face at Walmart for a DVD player.
Stay home, spike your eggnog with a bit vodka, eat fruitcake or let your seventh-grader who is exploring his arson phase throw it in a fireplace (a childhood hobby of mine) and give the gift of reading. While all of these books weren’t published in 2019, they are my personal favorites.
After talking reading this book and talking to Ryder Caroll, The Bullet Journal became my default way of planning my days. He says “Sitting down with your notebook grants you that precious luxury. It provides a personal space, free from distraction, where you can get to know yourself better.”
My favorite takeaway: Ryder poses a three questions we should ask ourselves before we put something on our to-do list.
- Is it vital?
- Is it necessary?
- What would happen if I didn’t do this?
Not only is the book useful, it’s beautifully written.
We live in a noisy world where we’re drowning in a sea of emails, text messages, and notifications. If you or someone you know is feeling overwhelmed, this is the book them. Stillness is the key to a better life, a calm mind, and less anxiety. This is Ryan Holiday’s 8th book and it didn’t just hit the New York Times Best-seller List. It was number one in its category. And as always, he knocked it out of the park.
My Favorite Takeaway:You will never feel okay by way of external accomplishments. Enough comes from inside. It comes from stepping off the train. From seeing what you already have, what you’ve always had.
If you’re working on any sort of creative project or entrepreneurial endeavor, read this book. Scott’s first book was called a swiss army knife for ideas. This book is like a swiss army knife for operations. It’s one of those books you’ll return to over and over.
My Favorite Takeaway: You can always get more resources, but resourcefulness is a competitive advantage. Resources become depleted. Resourcefulness does not.
I stumbled on Heather Havrilesky’s latest collection of essays in a Minneapolis bookstore. This might be my favorite book on this list. It’s raw, truthful and paints an honest picture of the modern digital world.
My favorite Takeaway: There is no better version of you waiting in the future. The best version of you is who you are right here, right now in this fucked up, impatient, imperfect sublime moment. Shut out the noise and enjoy exactly who you are and what you have, right here right now.
Of all the books I’ve read, this is the one I’ve recommended and gifted the most. This isn’t one of those self-help books that fill your head with false hopes and nonsense. It’s about how to live an amazing and happy life regardless of your current circumstances
My Favorite Takeaway: The only thing that stands between you and your well being is a simple fact: you have allowed your thoughts and emotions to take instruction from the outside rather than the inside.
You might remember the New York Times Article with 36 Questions to To Make Anyone Fall in Love with you. This book is the memoir that resulted from that article. I recently convinced a girl I met on a dating app that we should go to 3 bars and ask each other 12 questions at each one. I’ll report back. But in the meantime pick up this book.
My Favorite Takeaway: I haven’t compiled my book notes yet on this. But, at its core, it’s about not having expectations.
If you feel like throwing in the towel on a creative dream, this is the book for you. It’s one of those books you can pick up anytime, read a passage, and get your creative mojo back.
My Favorite Takeaway: You can’t wait around for someone to call you an artist before you make art. You’ll never make it.”
This is hands down my favorite book on writing. It’s one I frequently reach for when I’m stuck or unmotivated. And my copy has more passages underlined than any of my other books.
My Favorite Takeaway: The writer’s life requires courage, patience, empathy, openness. It requires the ability to be alone with oneself. Gentle with oneself. To be disciplined, and at the same time, take risks.
I’ve built my platform almost entirely by promoting the work of other people. So I always feel weird when I promote my own. It’s been almost a year since An Audience of One came out. While it hasn’t sold millions of copies, it has sold thousands. The thing I’m most proud of is that it’s resonated with people who are not entrepreneurs or professional artists. In a lot of ways, the lesson of this book for me has been that we teach what we need to learn.
I hope you enjoy these books as much as I have. And even if you don’t, I hope it prevents you from punching an old lady at Walmart in the face (not that any of you would do such things).