My Reading List

Author’s Note: This post was last updated December 4, 2018

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

Choose Yourself – James Altucher

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

An American Original: Walt Disney – Bob Thomas

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

The Secret – Rhonda Byrne

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

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less – Greg McKeown

The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
Recommend + Syllabus

The Four Agreements – Don Miguel Ruiz

Spaceman – Mike Massimino

Delivering Happiness – Tony Hsieh
Recommend + Syllabus

My Side of the Mountain – Jean Craighead George

The Upstarts – Brad Stone

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

Radical Candor – Kim Scott

The Wright Brothers – David McCullough

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

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

The Obstacle is the Way – Ryan Holiday
Recommend + Syllabus

Tuesdays with Morrie – Mitch Albom

Your Money or Your Life – Vicki Robin

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry – Neil deGrasse Tyson

Braving the Wilderness – Brene Brown

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

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

Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt – Michael Lewis

Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens

The Woman in the Window – A.J. Finn

Sharp Objects – Gillian Flynn

Educated: A Memoir – Tara Westover

Dark Places – Gillian Flynn

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

The Underground Railroad – Colson Whitehead

Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng

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

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

Ego is the Enemy – Ryan Holiday

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

Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

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

Owned Books in Queue to Read: I’m always open to suggestions which one to read next

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos – Jordan Peterson

21 Lessons for the 21st Century – Yuval Noah Harari

All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr

Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones – James Clear

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup – John Carreyrou

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear – Elizabeth Gilbert

Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies – Reid Hoffman & Chris Yeh

Built to Last – Jim Collins

Contagious: Why Things Catch On – Jonah Berger

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts – Brene Brown

David & Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants – Malcolm Gladwell

Drive – Daniel Pink

Einstein – Walter Isaacson

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future – Ashlee Vance

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win – Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success – Adam Grant

Good to Great – Jim Collins

Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft’s Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone – Satya Nadella

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow – Yuval Noah Harari

It – Stephen King

Measure What Matters: John Doerr

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything – Joshua Foer

Negotiating with Giants – Peter Johnson

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It – Chris Voss

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World – Adam Grant

Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade – Robert Cialdini

Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility – Patty McCord

Principles: Life and Work – Ray Dalio

Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson

Something in the Water – Catherine Steadman

Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln – Doris Kearns Goodwin

The Big Picture: The Fight for the Future of Movies – Ben Fritz

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right – Atul Gawande

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

The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups – Daniel Coyle

The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency – Chris Whipple

The Giver: Lois Lowry

The Infinite Game – Simon Sinek

The Prophet – Kahlil Gibran

The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. – Daniel Coyle

Thinking Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman

True North – Bill George

Turtles All the Way Down – John Green

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing – Daniel Pink

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