My Reading List

Author’s Note: This post was last updated April 9, 2019

I’m sitting here on a lounge chair looking out over a beautiful lake in the middle of Upstate New York. I love vacations like this – a few adventures on a boat with an equal balance (if not more) of relaxation. Much of my relaxation time is spent reading, a leisure activity I wish I had more time for.

Braving the Wilderness “Braving the Wilderness” by Brene Brown was one of my 2018 vacation reads.

I used to read a ton of books each year, but that was a product of using public transportation to get to work. While I’m happy that’s not the case anymore, my reading is usually limited to a few pages in bed before my eyes start to shut.

Over the last two years, I’ve read or re-read 50 different books — all physical hard copies, not digital versions. Many of these books — 22 to be exact — now make an appearance on my NYU graduate class’ syllabus as recommended reading. Outside of class, I’m also often asked for reading recommendations, which leads me to this post.

To put these three dozen books in ranked order would be extremely difficult. That’s why I’m simply listing them in the order of which they were read, and then marking those that I would recommend and those that have a place on my syllabus.

I’d also like for you to contribute. In the comments below, let me know, if you (hypothetically) taught a graduate-level class, what are the books that you would have on your syllabus?

Note: I’ve included Amazon affiliate links to all the books within this post.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – Mark Manson
Recommend

Choose Yourself – James Altucher

Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built – Duncan Clark
Recommend + Syllabus

An American Original: Walt Disney – Bob Thomas
Recommend

When to Rob a Bank – Stephen Dubnar & Steven Levitt

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking – Malcolm Gladwell

Growth Hacker Marketing – Ryan Holiday

The Conversion Code – Chris Smith
Recommend + Syllabus

The Cheat Code – Brian Wong

Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul – Howard Schultz
Recommend

The Secret – Rhonda Byrne

Together is Better: A Little Book of Inspiration – Simon Sinek

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less – Greg McKeown
Recommend

The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
Recommend + Syllabus

The Four Agreements – Don Miguel Ruiz
Recommend

Spaceman – Mike Massimino
Recommend

Delivering Happiness – Tony Hsieh
Recommend + Syllabus

My Side of the Mountain – Jean Craighead George

The Upstarts – Brad Stone
Recommend

The First 90 Days – Michael D. Watkins
Recommend + Syllabus

Radical Candor – Kim Scott

The Wright Brothers – David McCullough
Recommend

The Anger Trap – Les Carter

Sam Walton: Made in America – Sam Walton
Recommend + Syllabus

The Last Good Heist – Tim White, Wayne Worcester & Randall Richard


Hillbilly Elegy – J.D. Vance
Recommend

Manuscript Found in Accra – Paulo Coelho

The 4-Hour Body – Tim Ferris

Tools of Titans – Tim Ferris

Crushing It! – Gary Vaynerchuck

The Creative Curve – Allan Gannett
Recommend

The Obstacle is the Way – Ryan Holiday
Recommend + Syllabus

Tuesdays with Morrie – Mitch Albom
Recommend

Your Money or Your Life – Vicki Robin

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry – Neil deGrasse Tyson

Braving the Wilderness – Brene Brown
Recommend

Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence – Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans, Avi Goldfarb
Recommend

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – Robert Cialdini
Recommend + Syllabus

The Options Playbook – Brian Overby

Lincoln in the Bardo – George Saunders

Me Talk Pretty One Day – David Sedaris

The Year Without Pants – Scott Berkun

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind – Yuval Noah Harari
Recommend

Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt – Michael Lewis

Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens
Recommend

The Woman in the Window – A.J. Finn

Sharp Objects – Gillian Flynn

Educated: A Memoir – Tara Westover

Dark Places – Gillian Flynn
Recommend

Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man’s First Journey to the Moon – Robert Kursen
Recommend

The Underground Railroad – Colson Whitehead

Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike – Phil Knight
Recommend + Syllabus

Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
Recommend


The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever – Michael Bungay Stanier
Recommend

Something in the Water – Catherine Steadman
Recommend

Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice & Fire – George R.R. Martin

All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr


In Progress:
Business Model Generation – Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur
Recommend + Syllabus

Ego is the Enemy – Ryan Holiday
Recommend

Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style – Benjamin Dreyer

Principles: Life and Work – Ray Dalio

The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You Hardcover – Julie Zhuo

Other Recommended Books Listed on My NYU Syllabus: These are books I read more than two years ago but highly recommend

Art of War – Sun Tzu

Freakanomics – Stephen Dubner & Steven Levitt

Hooked – Nir Eyal

How to Win Friends & Influence People – Dale Carnegie

Leaders Eat Last – Simon Sinek

Start with Why – Simon Sinek

Man Searching for Meaning – Viktor Frankl

The 10x Rule – Grant Cardone

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon – Brad Stone

The Lean Startup – Eric Ries

The One Thing – Gary Keller

The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg

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