My Reading List

Author’s Note: This post was last updated June 20, 2023

I’m sitting here on a lounge chair looking out over beautiful Great Sacandaga Lake in 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

Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

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

Something in the Water – Catherine Steadman

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

All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr

The Silent Patient – Alex Michaelides

Nine Perfect Strangers – Liane Moriarty

Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell – Eric Schmidt
Recommend + Syllabus

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

For the Good of the Game – Bud Selig

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America – Erik Larson

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers – Ben Horowitz

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

Lying Next to Me – Gregg Olsen

The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company – Bob Iger
Recommend + Syllabus

The Chemist – Stephanie Meyer

The Infinite Game – Simon Sinek

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

Master Your Next Move – Michael Watkins

The Victory Machine: The Making and Unmaking of the Warriors Dynasty – Ethan Sherwood Strauss

The Life and Afterlife of Harry Houdini – Joe Posnanski

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

That Will Never Work: The Birth of Netflix and the Amazing Life of an Idea – Marc Randolph
Recommend + Syllabus

The Giver – Lois Lowry

The Psychology of Money – Morgan Housel

Mint Condition: How Baseball Cards Became an American Obsession – Dave Jamieson

The Body: A Guide for Occupants – Bill Bryson

The Product Book: How to Become a Great Product Manager – Product School

The Cap: How Larry Fleisher and David Stern Built the Modern NBA – Joshua Mendelsohn

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

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

Turtles All the Way Down – John Green

Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire – Brad Stone

Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World – Tom Wright & Bradley Hope

Three-Ring Circus: Kobe, Shaq, Phil, and the Crazy Years of the Lakers Dynasty – Jeff Pearlman

My Life in Advertising and Scientific Advertising – Claude Hopkins

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

You Gotta Have Balls – Brandon Steiner

Tanking to the Top: The Philadelphia 76ers and the Most Audacious Process in the History of Professional Sports – Yaron Weitzman

The Millionaire Next Door – Thomas Stanley

The Thursday Murder Club – Richard Osman

Confidence Man – Maggie Haberman

The Thursday Murder Club: The Man Who Died Twice – Richard Osman

The Midnight Library: A Novel – Matt Haig

In Progress:

A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson

Demon Copperhead: A Novel – Barbara Kingsolver

The Psychology of Selling & Advertising – Edward K. Strong
Recommend + Syllabus

Other Recommended Books Listed on My NYU Syllabus: These are books I read prior to starting this list but highly recommend

Art of War – Sun Tzu

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

Freakanomics – Stephen Dubner & Steven Levitt

Hatching Twitter – Nick Bilton

Hooked – Nir Eyal

How to Win Friends & Influence People – Dale Carnegie

Leaders Eat Last – Simon Sinek

Man Searching for Meaning – Viktor Frankl

Start with Why – Simon Sinek

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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