2018 – What I’m Reading
This is a running list of books I’ve read in 2018 with most recent first. Would love any recommendations you might have. First, here’s a link to our firm’s book club list (goes back to 2011): St. Louis Trust Book Club List

76. Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts, by Annie Duke. The author is a former professional poker player turned corporate consultant, author and speaker. This book is about making better decisions and focuses on several biases and fallacies we all experience which impedes our decision-making ability. The book is well-written with a lot of stories and examples, many drawn from the world of poker. It contains a number of useful strategies for combating our biases and for making better informed decisions. A key one is to “think in bets” – meaning instead of just having an all-or-nothing opinion, stop and make a mental bet. How sure are you of your beliefs and why is that the case? Where did you get your information to arrive at your opinion?

75. Reset: A Thriller, by Brian Andrews. This was fun page-turner. A mysterious orb is found deep in a cave in Afghanistan by U.S. Army forces on patrol. The orb is brought back to the U.S. where it is found to control peoples’ minds and appears bent on “culling” humanity. The story focuses on the wife of one of the soldiers who finds the orb. Interesting read with some larger themes related to our species and the “sixth extinction.”

74. Stubborn Attachments: A Vision for a Society of Free, Prosperous, and Responsible Individuals, by Tyler Cowen. The author is an economist at George Mason University and also has a very interesting blog called Marginal Revolution. This book was very theoretical about the future of our species and civilization. He discussed a lot of hypotheticals in making his points. I lost track of the points he was trying to make time-to-time but at other times I found his thoughts to be truly mind-expanding. A main topic of the book is that we (all of us) are discounting the future improperly. We should be much more forward looking and making greater investments in the future. By future, he means not just the short or medium-term but the very long-term. How should we act to ensure our civilization and species survives and flourishes hundreds and thousands of years from now?

73. Red Rising, by Pierce Brown. After a slow start, I thought this book was really great. The book centers on Darrow, from the lowest caste of society in a distant future who slaves away in mines deep under the surface of Mars. Unbeknownst to him and the other “Reds”, Mars has already been Terra-formed. Darrow undergoes surgery to appear as a “Gold” – the highest caste – and enters “the Institute” to prove his abilities and gain power. I thought this book had a great plot and really is about leadership and strategy told as a sci-fi book. RECOMMENDED.

72. The Founder’s Mentality: How to Overcome the Predictable Crises of Growth, by Chris Zook and James Allen. The Founder’s Mentality deals with the “paradox of growth” which says “as organizations grow, they inevitably become more complex and less focused, and they stop growing.” The answer to overcoming the paradox of growth is for a company to have a “founder’s mentality.” There are three defining traits of the founder’s mentality: (1) an insurgent mission, (2) front-line obsession and (3) and owner’s mindset. This book was well-written and researched, with a lot of stories and examples. I think this is a must-read for all leaders or management in the corporate world. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

71. The Culture Code: The Secret of Highly Successful Groups, by Daniel Coyle. This book is based on four years of research by the author into what cultural secrets high functioning businesses and teams share in terms of culture. He examined the San Antonio Spurs, PIXAR, Danny Meyer’s restaurants and the Navy Seals, among others. His findings lead to three main skills: (1) build safety into culture, (2) share vulnerability and (3) establish purpose. I got a lot out of this book. RECOMMENDED.

70. Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life, by Helen Czerski. This was an interesting book that I’ve read bit by bit over the last nine months. As its title suggests, the book covers a wide range of physics of things we experience in daily life and has been a source of ideas for many of my Physics Friday IFODs. It is written in a fun and engaging manner and the author has a gift of simply explaining complex concepts.

69. Something in the Water: A Novel, by Catherine Steadman. This book is dynamite! Total page turner in the style of Gone Girl and A Woman in the Window. The book is told from the perspective of Erin, a 30 year-old British newly-wed. She and her husband, Mark, find something in the water on their honeymoon. The choices they make change the course of their lives. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

68. The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives, by Leonard Mlodinow. This is the second time I’ve read this excellent book – the first time shortly after it was published ten years ago. Dr. Mlodinow is an astrophysicist at CalTech and has authored a few books. This book is a tour of the great thinkers of chance and randomness. A key point is that randomness is all around us and that we don’t appreciate how much of life is random because we humans are pattern seeking machines. We also crave certainty and randomness is unsettling. The book interspersed with interesting stories and descriptions of research and studies. I learned a lot both times I read it. RECOMMENDED.

67. The Dark Forest, by Cixin Liu. This book is the second book in the The Three Body Problem Trilogy. The first book was dynamite and this second one was on par with The Three Body Problem. Cixin Liu is considered one of the greatest Chinese science fiction writers. In The Three Body Problem an alien race has to abandon their planet, Trisolaris, because of its chaotic orbit around three stars. In The Dark Forest the Trisolarians are on their way to Earth and humanity prepares to battle the approaching alien race. Fantastic book! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!

66. The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story, by Douglas Preston. This book is about the archeological expedition into the Honduran rain-forest that discovered an ancient city of ruins of an unidentified civilization. It also discussed the parasitic disease that most of the expedition members acquired and the dangers of paradox diseases in the 21st century in the third world, and increasingly in the first world   Interesting book.

65. All Systems Red, by Martha Wells. This book is written from the perspective of a cyborg security “murderbot.” This bot has hacked and overridden his “governor” and thus has full free will. The book is about a survey mission to an uninhabited planet where he is charged with protecting a group of human scientists. I enjoyed this book and may read the others in the series.

64. Transmission, by Morgan Rice. I thought this book was poorly written, and conceived and sophomoric. It is about a 13-year old boy who has been diagnosed with a fatal degenerative brain disease. An upside of this disease is that he can understand and translate messages from aliens. This book had a lot of great reviews and had popped up in Amazon’s algorithms as something I’d like. Oh well.

63. The Razor’s Edge, by W. Somerset Maugham. Written in 1944 this book centers on Larry Darrell, a young American after WW I. The book follows him from Chicago to Paris and India in search of meaning. His views of the world and search are contrasted with other characters with other life pursuits, such as money, artistic pursuits and social recognition. I’ve long enjoyed W. Somerset Maugham’s short stories but this is the first of his novels I have read. I really like this book a lot.  Some great quotes: “American women expect a perfection in their men that English women only expect to find in their butlers.” And, “We are all greater than we know and wisdom is the means to freedom.” HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

62. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: A Novel, by Mark Haddon. I LOVED THIS BOOK! It is written from the perspective of Christopher, a 15 year-old on the Autism spectrum. At the beginning of the book he finds that his neighbor’s dog has been killed. He sets out to solve the mystery of who killed the dog. Along the way he uncovers a number of family secrets. Extremely well written and a page-turner. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

61. Confessions of a Sociopath, by M.E. Thomas. Written by a diagnosed sociopath, this book is part memoir and part discussion of sociopathy and psychopathy. It was really interesting, and somewhat disturbing, to read a book written from the point of view of a sociopath. The author is also quite narcissistic. Interesting book overall. IFOD on Sociopaths and Psychopaths: Click Here.

60. Atomic Habits – Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results, by James Clear. This book is all about how to create good habits and how to stop bad habits by blogger extraordinaire James Clear. Atomic Habits is well written and very well organized. It has great advice on habits peppered with great stories. I found this book to be much more useful and practical than the Power of Habit. James’ advice and recommended processes are based on research and science. We’ll see how implementing his advice works for me over the next few months. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

59. Mastering the Market Cycle: Getting the Odds on Your Side, by Howard Marks. This book by the legendary investor and chairman of Oaktree Capital is about recognizing various market cycles. His main point is that the exact timing of market changes cannot be predicted but that the probability of success changes as various types of markets run through their cycles. This book is very wise and especially important right now given where we probably are in the cycle of various markets. RECOMMENDED.

58. Provenance, by Ann Leckie. This is the second book this year I’ve read by Ann Leckie. This book focuses on Ingray, the adopted child of a powerful legislator on a distant planet. Ingray finds herself in the middle of interstellar disputes and politics while trying to execute a plan to impress her mother and become her heir. I really enjoyed this book.

57. Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking. This book focused on ten big questions facing humanity, including: does God exist, is there intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, how did the universe and life begin, what is inside a black hole and is time travel possible, among others. Fascinating book. While it is written to be understood by a non-scientist I was baffled at some points, but I really enjoyed it  RECOMMENDED.

56. The Woman in the Window, by A.J. Finn. This is a super fun psychological thriller. The main character, Anna Fox, is a child psychologist who is suffering from a crippling case of agoraphobia; she can’t leave her house. She thinks she sees a neighbor get stabbed. Or did she? I really enjoyed this pager-turner. RECOMMENDED.

55. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, by John Carryrou. This was a book club selection at work and was dynamite. It is the story of Theranos, at one time a darling of Silicon Valley with a valuation of nearly $10 Billion. Theranos, led by founder Elizabeth Holmes, claimed to have developed a revolutionary technology that could run hundreds of blood tests simultaneously on a single drop of blood. Turns out that it was almost all lies. Wow. Bad Blood is the story of Theranos. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

54. Angelmaker, by Nick Harkaway. What to say about Angelmaker? It was a long, rambling, fun, exciting, sometimes confusing and fantastic ride. I enjoyed it, but am somewhat exhausted from it. Angelmaker focuses on Joe Spork, clock-maker, and son of a deceased infamous criminal. He gets drawn into crime, murder, espionage and intrigue due to secrets his grandparents had unknowingly entrusted to him. The book centers on the “Apprehension Engine” – a strange doomsday machine. I’ll definitely read another book by Nick Harkaway. RECOMMENDED.

53. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, by Greg McKeown. This is a very important book. The key distinction the author draws is between being an Essentialist vs. a Nonessentialist. An Essentialist has defined what is important and focuses on those few essential things and does not get distracted by the trivial many. An essentialist knows how to say “no” and does so often. So much great, actionable advice in this book. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

52. Lexicon, by Max Barry. This novel is based on the premise that certain words have power over people. If you can classify a person’s personality type you can use particular words to persuade them. A highly secretive group, each given a code name after a poet, is trained in using words to control people. This fast-paced thriller follows a powerful poet as she rebels against the organization. Fun read. RECOMMENDED.

51. Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice, by Bill Browder.  This book is a page turner. It is the true story of hedge fund manager Bill Browder and focuses on his time living and investing in Russia. He ends up getting cross-ways with powerful Russian Oligarchs and the Russian government and deported. Much of the second half of the book is about how his lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, was falsely arrested, tortured and killed in prison and Bill’s successful quest to pass the “Magnitsky Act.” Great book. RECOMMENDED.

50. The Power, by Naomi Alderman. This book was mind expanding to read. The premise is that all across the world girls simultaneously develop an immense power – the ability to shock and electrify with their hands. The world changes. Males become afraid of females. The balance of power shifts. Very interesting read. That being said, the story was hard to follow at times and the plot bogged down at some points. Overall, I’m glad I read it because of the mind expanding premise.

49. Less: A Novel, by Andrew Sean Greer. This book won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2018. It is about Arthur Less, a middling, gay writer who accepts a multitude of invitations around the world to escape having to attend the wedding of his lover. The book is pleasant and rather funny as it follows Arthur as he bumbles his way through his travels. It also concerns achievement, love and aging, as Arthur turns 50 on his travels. RECOMMENDED.

48. Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960 -2010by Charles Murray. This was a very interesting book that looked at the change in America in terms of socioeconomic factors rather than race. He outlined in many areas a divergence between the “elites” and everyone else in America. He looked at education, industriousness, marriage, religion, community and other areas. A main point of the book is the possible decline of the “American Experiment.” I learned a lot. RECOMMENDED.

47. Bear Town, by Fredrik Backman. I loved this book by the author of A Man Called Ove. Set in a small town in the outreaches of Sweden, Bear Town is about hockey. But its not really about hockey. It is about the choices we make in life that define who we are. What do we believe? What is important? The book is about friendship, loyalty, sports and community. So good. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

46. 14, by Peter ClinesThis work of fiction is told from the perspective of Nate Tucker, an underachieving guy in his early thirties who moves into a shockingly cheap studio apartment in a 130 year-old building in L.A. He soon realizes that the building is very odd. The light in his kitchen always produces black light, regardless of the bulb, a neighbors apartment is always at 69 degrees despite attempts to change the temperature, there are mutant cockroaches and most strangely, the door to apartment 14 is quadruple padlocked from the outside. As the book progress, things only get weirder. I liked this book, but it got pretty weird by the end (even by my standards).

45. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Dr. Carol S. Dweck. This book is about the two different mindsets we have in various aspects of our lives: (1) the fixed mindset and (2) the growth mindset. Dr. Dweck is the leading researcher on this topic and gives many examples on the benefits of developing a growth mindset in all aspects of our lives. This book has already had a positive impact on my thinking. RECOMMENDED.

44. Speed of Sound, by Eric Bernt. The main character of this book, Eddie, has an IQ of 194 and is on the autism spectrum. He lives at a government facility designed for those on the autism spectrum with great abilities. Eddie ends up inventing a world changing technology and he and his doctor get caught in the crossfire of different institutions fighting for control of the technology. Fun, fast paced book. Very enjoyable. RECOMMENDED.

43. Beneath a Scarlet Sky, by Mark Sullivan. This book is technically fiction, but is closely based on the true story of Pino Lella, a teenager in Italy during WWII. He works as a guide helping Jews escape out of Italy over the Alps into Switzerland. He then works as a spy for the allies while serving as the driver to a Nazi general. Really amazing story. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

42. The Price You Pay – A Novel, by Aiden Truhen, which is a psydonym for an “established author” whose identity is not known. I found that fact interesting enough to decide to read this fun, crazy, super-violent novel. This book was like reading a Quentin Tarantino movie. Super fast paced. Tons of over-the-top violence. Page turner. Very edgy writing style. Loved it. It was also funny. RECOMMENDED for people who like crazy violent plots.

41. The Coming Storm, by Michael Lewis. I am a fan of basically everything Michael Lewis does. This “book” so far is only offered as an audible book. It’s pretty short – only a few hours. It digs into the data behind predicting weather and storms and tells the story of the former astronaut who ran NOAA, the chief data scientist in the Obama administration and a behavioral focused meteorologist. It’s a fascinating read/listen. It really gets into the human elements of weather. Also takes a number of digs at the Trump administration on their anti-science views. RECOMMENDED.

40. We Are Legion (We Are Bob), by Dennis E. Taylor. The main character, Bob, just sold his software company for millions and then was killed crossing the street. He had signed up with a cryogenics company, so 117 years later he awakes as a computer program. The book follows him through his coming to grips and then training as a “replicant AI” and then as he becomes a space probe that searches the cosmos for new planets. Fun read.

39. Educated: A Memoir, by Tara Westover. The author grew up in a fundamentalist, survivalist Mormon family and did not attend school until college. She was not even home-schooled. She went on to get her PhD at Cambridge. This book is about her amazing journey and struggles. Really incredible story. This description doesn’t do justice to how much I loved this book. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

38. Market Mind Games: A Radical Psychology of Investing, Trading and Risk , by Denise Shull. This book mainly applies to securities traders and the psychology of profiting as an active trader. So, it’s not directly applicable to what we do at our firm. That being said, it did cover a lot of interesting studies and psychology and the markets. One of its main points is that we shouldn’t try to not have emotions, but rather emotion is important for decision-making. Thus, we should tap into our emotions to help understand the makers.

37. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles. This book was fantastic! The main character, Count Alexander Rostov, in 1922 is sentenced to live the remainder of his life in the Metropol Hotel in Moscow. The book follows him through the years as he establishes relationships and people come and go in his life.  I so enjoyed this thoroughly enjoyable book.  A treasure. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

36. Breakfast of Champions: A Novel, by Kurt Vonnegut. This is one of my favorite books of all-time and at least the third time I’ve read it. I love Vonnegut’s sardonic writing-style and wit. Breakfast of Champions is primarily about Kilgore Trout, a sci-fi writer traveling to Ohio to accept an award and Dwayne Hoover, the owner of a Ponitiac dealership who is going insane. One of Trout’s books pushes Hoover over the edge of insanity. Great read. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

35. The Last Namsara, by Kristen Ciccarelli. A fantasy book. The main character is the daughter of the king and also a dragon hunter. Over the course of the book she finds that everything she believes is true is a lie. Pretty good book.

34. Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, by David Grann. This was a book club selection at work. It is the true story of the spree of murders that occurred in the 1920s in Oklahoma on the Osage Indian Reservation. It also is about the birth of the FBI and the beginnings  of modern crime investigation. Interesting. RECOMMENDED.

33. Neverwhere: A Novel, by Neil Gaiman. This was a super fun read. A winding, spellbinding work of fantasy, I had long heard rave reviews this book, published in 1996, but just now got around to reading it. The main character, Richard Mayhew, is a young investment banker in London whose world goes awry when he helps an injured girl and is whisked away to “underground London” – a land of fantasy, magic and beasts. If you like fantasy, I’d recommend Neverwhere. RECOMMENDED.  

32The Short Drop, by Matthew FitzSimmons. This was a page-turner! The main character is a hacker who is employed by a secretive security firm to find the daughter of the vice-president who has been missing for ten years. Really fun read. RECOMMENDED.  

31. A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman. I thought this book was extraordinarily good. It concerns Ove, a 59 year-old man living in Sweden. He is gruff but also lovable. It is beautifully written book with fantastic character development.  This was a book club selection at work. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

30. A World Lit Only by Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance – Portrait of an Age , by William Manchester. This book focused on Europe in the 1400 and 1500s. It was an engaging read and covered a lot of ground: the power of the Catholic Church, the Reformation, the Renaissance as well as exploration outside of Europe. It was well written and I learned (and re-learned) a lot. RECOMMENDED.

29. The Outsider, by Stephen King. The Outsider is Stephen King at his best – a thrilling page-turner with great charter development and a touch of the supernatural. It focuses on a murder where there is incontrovertible eye-witness and physical evidence that the accused committed the murder as well as completely irrefutable evidence supporting a rock-solid alibi that the accused could not have committed the murder. How can a man be at two locations at once? RECOMMENDED.

28. Anthem, by Ayn Rand. Anthem was written in 1938 but was only published in the U.S. in 1946 after the success of The FountainheadAnthem is about an individual living in a collective society named “Equality 7-2521.” Over time, Equality 7-2521 comes to understand the problems with collectivism and learns the importance of the individual. There are many big themes in this short book including what is the value of a person (the originality of their mind and their works) as well as the importance of martyrdom in furtherance of an ideal.

27. The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, by Edward R. Tufte. This book is about how to effectively communicate data and statistics using charts and graphs. Sounds boring, but is actually fascinating. There are a lot of no-nos’s when it comes to how you should display data. Given that what I do for a living includes communicating data, I found this book to very relevant and helpful. I consider it a must-read for anyone whose job involves communicating data. RECOMMENDED.

26. Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, By Trevor Noah. I listened to the audiobook version of this book, which was so great. Trevor Noah read the book himself and hearing the African languages and his dialect was really entertaining. Whether you read or listen to this book I highly recommend it.This book was really funny and but also had some serious messages. It gave a first-hand view into what it was like to grow up living in poverty and also under the racism of apartheid. I was thoroughly entertained the whole way through. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

25. The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power from the Freemasons to Facebook, by Niall Ferguson. This was a long, but fascinating book by economic historian Niall Ferguson. The title of the book refers to government towers and town squares as representations of hierarchy and networks. The book examines centuries of hierarchies and networks. It provided a very interesting framework for viewing governments, corporations, and human relations. Interestingly, networks often trump hierarchies. RECOMMENDED.

24. Just Sit – A Meditation Guidebook, by Surey and Elizabeth Novogratz. This is a fun, quick read about meditation with a lot of great suggestions on building and maintaining an effective meditation practice. It also summarizes research about various proven benefits of meditation. I bought this book because I’ve not been consistent in my meditation practice and needed some motivation. This book did the trick.

23Ancillary Justice, by Ann Leckie. This book won both the Hugo and Nebula awards (among others) which are the two most prestigious awards for Sci-Fi books. I found Ancillary Justice incredibly creative and well written. It’s the first in a trilogy and I’ll definite read the next two. The main character is an AI seeking revenge for the death of a favorite person. Also of note is the book depicts a time when gender doesn’t matter anymore – I don’t know the genders of the characters -very interesting. RECOMMENDED.

22. The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism, by Timothy Keller. This was a very thought provoking book acknowledging many of the reasons that people don’t believe in God or Christianity and addressing those issues. Good book – didn’t make me a believer, however.

21. Awakening Your Inner Genius, by Sean Patrick. This was an interesting book that discussed some of the greatest figures in history: Leonardo da Vinci, Queen Elizabeth I, Alexander the Great, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla and others. It focuses on attributes of what made these historical figures genuises. I learned a lot about each of these historical figures and received good advice on improving my own performance. It was a fun read.

20. Social Creature: A Novel, by Tara Isabella Burton. Social Creature was a super fun page turner set in NYC and follows the friendship of two twenty something girls as they party and one of them dies (I’m not giving anything away, the author announces one of them will die early on). I was spellbound by this book – it reminded me of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn in terms of writing style, suspense and pace. I purchased the book after I read this tweet by the author: “so hey Twitter, since Social Creature comes out tomorrow, I’m going to tell you something I’ve never said publicly. Social Creature wasn’t my first novel, or my second. It was my ninth. And the fourth ever submitted to publishers.” HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

19. Chronic City, by Jonathan Lehtem. This is a long, brilliantly written book. It is mainly told from the perspective of a former child actor living in NYC as he hangs out with friends and smokes a ton of weed. Early on I didn’t “get” the book but as it progressed I really enjoyed it. I expect that this will be a book I remember five or ten years from now. It’s themes include the contrast of those with wealth and those without, how our facades that we erect to interact socially can end up making us fake people and it also explores whether we live in a simulation and the nature of reality (among others). I found Chronic City well worth the effort.  RECOMMENDED.

18. Top of Mind: Use Content to Unleash Your Influence and Engage Those Who Matter to You by John Hall, the CEO and co-founder of Influence & Company, a content marketing firm. The book discusses the importance of content marketing and various strategies for engaging in effective content marketing. I found it helpful and thought provoking.

17. Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman. This book seems to be all the rage among YPO members these days so I thought I’d read it. It focuses on what processes should be followed to run an effective company. It is directed at young companies run by entrepreneurs. I found a lot of it not relevant to our business given that we are a professional services firm, but some ideas may gain traction (pun intended) with us. I think I would find the book very helpful if I were an entrepreneur starting out.

16. Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World and Why Things Are Better Than You Think, by Hans Rosling. Dr. Rosling was a humanitarian doctor from Sweden who worked all over Asia and Africa in public health. This book was an eye-opening look at the world from a fact-based perspective. It is incredibly well written and I learned SO MUCH from this book. We all tend to view the world from our Western mindsets and live in bubbles with little understanding about how the rest of humanity lives. Dr. Rosling’s main point is that our views are distorted and there has been amazing progress in many important areas. I would be shocked if I don’t rank this my book of the year. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

15. Mini Habits for Weight Loss: Stop Dieting. Form New Habits. Change Your Lifestyle Without Suffering, by Stephen Guise. I heard an interview with this author on a podcast. His first book was broadly on “mini habits” and this book focuses on health mini habits. What are mini-habits? The idea that large changes are hard and often don’t become habits. Instead, what the author proposes is to add mini-habits to your day. Incredibly simple things that you know that you can do. For instance, he committed to one push-up a day. Silly. But he did it for a year with only missing two days. Most days he did many more push-ups than a single push-up and his one push-up habit flowered into a full fledged workout habit. This book is full of researched health facts and great tips. I’ve read a lot of books on health and wellness and this is one of the best I’ve read. What mini habits have I adopted? I drink a glass of water right when I get up and I drink a glass of water before each meal and each snack. We’ll see how this goes . . . . If you’re looking to lose weight and have been frustrated by whatever diet you’ve tried, I’d highly recommend this book. RECOMMENDED.

14. The (Honest)Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie To Everyone – Especially Ourselves, By Dan Ariely. This book contains many examples of research into how even those of us who consider ourselves honest will cheat and lie to ourselves while we do so. Everyone will fudge just a little bit when given the opportunity and then we justify it to ourselves so that often we don’t even realize we’ve cheated. Fascinating book  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

13. Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo. This is the first book in a trilogy and falls within the genre of fantasy. It’s a fun page-turner, with a compelling plot and great character development.  Really enjoyed it. RECOMMENDED.

12. Creativity, Inc. – Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, by Ed Catmull. This was a book club selection  at work. It was written by a co-founder of Pixar. It is a book on leadership and management. I found it to be a fascinating look inside of an incredible company.  The author provided a lot of great lessons on organization structure and culture so that talented employees can be creative and thrive. I really enjoyed this book. RECOMMENDED.

11. The Sky is Yours by Chandler Klang Smith. I loved this book. Every word of it. A few notable reasons I loved this book: (1) it is very funny. I laughed out out loud throughout it. (2) The character development is fantastic. Each main character is totally their own unique person with a well developed personality. Swanny, Duncan, Uncle Osmand, Pippi, Abby – all are amazing characters. I finished the book last night and I already miss them! (3) The book is very creative and the author does a very good job of drawing you into the world she has created. You get a feel for Empire Island and its state of decay. The technology of this city/world/time is advanced, yet the society is dying. Reminded me a little bit of the world from the Dark Tower series. (4) It is a pretty long book (about 450 pages) but a page-turner. I read it over the course of a few days. The plot keeps you drawn in without moving at too fast of a pace. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

10. Bigger Leaner Stronger – The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Male Body, by Michael Matthews. This is a book about weightlifting. It also tackles nutrition. It has a lot of references to scientific studies. The book also makes sense. It takes on a lot of misinformation about diet and exercise.  I learned a lot from this book and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in trimming down and/or gaining strength. RECOMMENDED.

9. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood. This was a book club selection for work. I had read it previously in the 1980s. Set in America in a future where males have seized power, the tale is told by a woman who is lives in the home of a powerful government official and used for breeding purposes. Great book.  RECOMMENDED.

8. The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry.  This novel was the British Books Award book of the year for 2017. I found this book very enjoyable as it had great character development. It is set in Victorian England and chiefly follows a young widow as she travels between London and Essex and back, searching for fossils and a possible mythical sea creature. She makes close acquaintance with a village parson, which throws a wrench into both of their lives. RECOMMENDED.

7. Adaptive Markets: Financial Evolution at the Speed of Thought by Andrew W. Lo. This book was FANTASTIC! It covered the history of economic thinking about the stock market including the Efficient Markets Hypothesis and the behavioral school of investing that recognizes that investors are not always rational actors. What Dr. Lo proposes is a new theory he calls the “Adaptive Markets Hypothesis” which draws heavily on biology and, specifically, evolution, to explain how markets develop, change and evolve over time. I consider it a must-read for any investment professional. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

6. The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters by Tom Nichols. An important book highlighting the real problem of laypeople being misinformed and not giving due credence to expert opinion. This book will have a positive effect on my thinking and analysis in a number of areas. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

5. The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon by Kevin Fedarko. This was a fantastic book about the Grand Canyon, the Colorado River, dams, and white-water rafting. Well told and interesting.  RECOMMENDED.

4. Odds On: The Making of an Evidence-Based Investor by Matt Hall. Matt is a friend and professional colleague. I really enjoyed this book. Very readable and engaging. It provides a great view into the underbelly of the wealth management industry coupled with a good education on how to invest successfully. RECOMMENDED.

3. No Hero: The Evolution of a Navy Seal by Mark Owen. Written by a long-term Seal Team Six member, this book tells of a number of lessons learned during SEAL training and missions. Good, interesting read. The most interesting takeaway for me was his story and lesson to stay in your “three foot world.”

2. Why Wall Street Matters by William D. Cohan. Written in 2017, this book contains a useful history of Wall Street and argues against painting all of Wall Street in a bad light. Rather, the author highlights current Wall Street compensation practices and taking risks with “other people’s money” as the main problem with our financial system.

1. The Little Book of Mindfulness: 10 Minutes a Day to Less Stress, More Peace by Dr. Patricia Collard. Useful book with teachings and practices for increasing mindfulness in daily life.

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