2019: A Year of Books

This year I have consumed more books than ever before. While the topics have varied one thing is for sure – I like self-help books. 

While I don’t necessarily agree with everything presented in all of the books I share, I have enjoyed trying to understand differing points of view and approaches to solving problems. I guess we can gain perspective if we “walk” or in this case “read a mile in someone else’s shoes”

Here’s my top list of books (with reviews) that I read or listened to in 2019, in no particular order:

This list isn’t sponsored and the views expressed here are my own.

In Search of Truth by Dr. Jacob Kashiwagi

Of all the books I read in 2019, this book was by far the easiest read. Dr Kashiwagi shares his life experiences and valuable life lessons as he presents his “Five Stress-Free Steps to Discover Who You Are, Where You’re Going, and How to Get There” I have shared this book with many other business people and close friends. Its a book I think every high school-er would benefit from reading. We live in a fast-paced, competitive world and Kashwigai reminds us of some simple truths that can help us to stay grounded, have a purpose, accept our own and others limitations and to put our best foot forward towards happiness and fulfillment.

The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll

I really enjoy this book, it’s concept and strategy. I was introduced to the bullet journal method while traveling on a business trip. After that trip I purchased the book and audiobook and have read/listened to it numerous times and I practice the “Bullet Journal Method”. If you’re looking for a simple way to write things down and get them done check this one out.

The Healthy Programmer by Joe Kutner

This past spring I wanted to become more healthy. I have always tried to take my health (in most cases diet) and make it a priority but my fitness was always lacking. Being a person that is a programmer but in a broader perspective a desk worker I knew it wasn’t great for my health. In this book Joe describes habits and techniques he uses to both stay productive and do micro fitness while working and beyond. Some of it’s content is a bit dated but its a great read.

The 3-Day Effect by Florence Williams

I found this book one morning before going to the gym. What drew me to it was the concept that if we’re needing a break from the mundane we really need to escape for 3 days. At the time my wife and i were planning a trip for our family and i was contemplating the length of that trip and if I was going to bring my laptop. suffice it to say the laptop stayed at home. My phone was mostly on Do Not Disturb and my watch was used only for time telling and activity tracking. I would recommenced this if you want to know more about how unplugging and taking a retreat for only 3 days can have a dramatic effect on our productivity and mental health.

12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson

Where do I start? Jordan Peterson is blunt, objective, and a challenger. In this book he brings you on a journey into the logic and framework he has built at his core that “rule” his life. He makes no excuses for himself and in different ways tells readers it’s hard, you will make mistakes but the general rule and sense is that if we’re allowing these principle to rule our lives we will have more productivity, peace, and direction so that we can be stable, functioning members of society. Definitely give this one a read!

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

EXTREME… Yeah it’s in the title. Jocko and Leif explain their experience in the US Navy Seals making mistakes and making things right. The perspective I appreciated from this book was the idea that if something goes wrong and I could have corrected it then I’m responsible for it. It’s a real contrast to many of the current societal norms of being a victim or playing the blame game. It helped me to see that accountability leads to reduced stress and more success. If you are a leader or want to step up your leadership game pick this one up.

The Anatomy of Peace by The Arbinger Institute

PEACE. What is it? How do we get it? How do we create it? These were three of my questions that I approached this book with. After many hours I found answers to all of them. My big take away is this: Peace is not something that happens to us. It’s not something we are born with. It is not something that only happens when situations go our way. Peace is a choice. Peace is unconditional. Peace is love. Peace is personal. Peace is more for the individual that seeks it and those around that person are receiving collateral blessings because of their peace.

Algorithms to Live By by Brian Christian

The main way I can describe this book is satisfyingly humorous. This book was exactly what I expected a semi-technical and objective view at solving human problems. I loved much of the calculated examples of ways we “could” solve many of our problems. The reason I say “could” is because for most people using the approaches to a T would seem pretty rash and would make for some pretty good comedy skits. If you’re interested in some computer science ways to solve human problems check this one out.

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Atoms are generally the smallest unit something can be measured in. In Atomic Habits, James Clear describes that if we want to make a habit we need to figureout what the atomic or smallest version of that habit is and do it consistently. Backed by studies the book declares that it’s consistency not length of time that determines a habit or not. My big take away is this if I want to do something i need to do it consistently and and James puts it “never miss twice” meaning if I my habit to to go to the gym I never miss two days in a row. If you’re habit is reading a book then focus on the smallest unit you can do and hold yourself accountable to (maybe 30 seconds a day?) and don’t read anymore than that until you’ve been consistent. I’ve loved this concept because I am the type that sometimes sets lofty goals and in the short run fails at them. But I know I can do X for 2 mins a day so why not? If you have something you want to do or want to stop doing give Atomic Habits a try.

The Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung

This is one of my favorite food science books of all time. Dr Fung is science and fact based in his presentation of what our bodies need, how food works, and the side effects of two hormones: insulin and cortisol. While he is very clear that these hormones are not bad because they do serve an important function, these hormones cause weight gain, type-2 diabetes (aka insulin resistance), and other health problems. I have been a fan of a low-carb, keto diet for a few years, what Dr. Fung brings to the table is a perspective that while low-carb works there are other practices such as intermittent fasting that can aide our bodies and can help to reverse issues caused by past poor diet. A must read/listen in my opinion.


In closing, so long 2019! You’ve been an insightful year. I look forward to seeing what 2020 and beyond brings.

Until next time, see ya!

Disclaimer: some of the links in this post are Amazon affiliate links.

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