New year, new books!
I know that during last year, there might be a lot of good books you have already read. Now, it’s time to refresh with some new masterpieces that are worth considering.
If you already read many of my favorite-book collections, chances are that you get my taste – say no to comic or things like that. I usually focus more on those books that help us self-improve or extending our knowledge in a new array, like cooking.
So, are you ready?
1. The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography
Now, this is the book that teaches you all about the history and the ins and outs of cryptography, the science of encoding and decoding messages. The book basically gives you a comprehensive overview of this topic and it starts all the way back in Roman times and goes over Caesar ciphers and monoalphabetic substitution ciphers moves onto polyalphabetic substitution ciphers and then goes into the modern days and covers things like Diffie-Hellman key exchange and public private key cryptography.
Truth to say, the book is lacking a little bit in practical details about how to secure your online life though I already have a specific article all about that. But all-in-all, it is absolutely fascinating read and I could not put it down once I started reading it.
2. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
This is a book from Greg McKeown and to be honest, I did have to look up how to pronounce that right after seeing the name printed on its hardcover.
By the way, for those who are wondering about this version, I am 100 percent satisfied with the quality. Nice texture paper, big-enough font and well-made outer shell. If you are a genuine bookworm, I really recommend you to try the hardcover to add-in your own library.
Besides, there are three selections for you when it comes to choosing the hardcover: the used, the new and the collectible. So, I believe that they will fit your budget no matter what.
Back to the content of this book, it talks all about how to prioritize the most important things that you are doing in your life and focus on those things – how to work without distraction.
This book was really important for me because as a creative person, I get a ton of ideas and if I don’t keep my mind restrained a little bit, I’m easily able to just go off and get distracted on a new idea before finishing something that I’m already working on.
So, reading this book is really shifted my mindset and made me take single-minded focus on an important task a lot more seriously than I had in the past.
3. Debt – Updated and Expanded: The First 5,000 Years
The Debt by David Graeber was a fascinating read.
And admittedly, I’m actually not done with this book yet but just about halfway through and it’s really interesting if you have any sort of inclination towards reading about economics.
To be honest, I heard about this book back when I watched the money episode of the Crash Course World History Series with John Green. The idea that it explores is really fascinating!
Basically, in classical economics, they teach this idea that before money, there was barter.
In other words, before you had coins to trade with, you took your cow to the market, lopped off part of its leg, traded that for some rice.
But the thing is while this theory is taught in most intro to economics textbooks, anthropologists have found almost no record of any society that ever-used pure barter before the development of money.
Instead, they used informal debt bonds, which eventually became formalized by the development of money and IOUs and banking and so forth.
Anyway, again, this is not the kind of book that’s going to help you balance your own checkbook or save more money efficiently. BUT, this is a fascinating introduction into how economics really works.
4. How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking
Now, the fourth book is How Not to Be Wrong by Jordan Ellenberg.
Like the title implies, this is a book about math, but before you quit reading this article if you don’t like math, it’s not a math book at all.
No, I’m not playing a trick on you! You are not going to work on problems.
In fact, it is a simple introduction to certain math concepts. Truth to say, he has one page that teaches you calculus in one page, at least the fundamental concepts of it.
Moreover, this book spends a lot of time talking about statistic and how statistics are misinterpreted or misused by the media or by people who have an agenda to further.
Thus, by reading this book, even if you don’t go pick up a math minor in university or study the concepts further, it’s going to give you a more intuitive understanding of statistics and you’re going to be able to more accurately interpret the ones you see in your everyday life.
5. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
Next up on my list is the Elon Musk biography by Ashlee Vance.
I’m getting more and more into reading biographies. In the past couple of years, I’ve read biographies on Jeff Bezos, on Steve Jobs, and on Elon Musk, I have to say the one on Elon Musk inspired me the most.
I came away with more respect for him than I did for the other two.
Obviously, all of these three men are or were wildly successful and they all definitely had glaring flaws. I don’t want to emulate, but out of the three, I came away with the feeling that Elon Musk has this driving motivation to improve humanity as a whole.
If you aren’t so busy, take time to listen to his biography because this is one that I did listen to as an audiobook, was really motivating for me.
It made me want to put more effort into my own work.
6. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t
Now, it’s Good to Great by Jim Collins.
This book was really useful for me as an entrepreneur because it’s all about how companies go from good or mediocre to great.
The entire is based on a five-year-long study that looked at data from hundreds of different companies and identified the ones that spent a really long time in the mediocre zone and then, finally had a transition point to greatness that was sustained.
I myself took a lot of lessons away from this book and also tried to apply to my work, but one of the most important was the concept of Level 5 Leadership.
The book explains that a Level 5 Leadership is somebody who embodies two incredibly important characteristics.
First, they have an indomitable will and work ethic. They are willing to put in whatever it takes to further the goals of the company. But at exact same time, they are humble.
They live by that excellent quote from Harry Truman:
“It’s amazing when you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit”
And, after I read that, I took that to heart. I realized that I run a business where my face is basically on everything. But there are a lot of elements that I have been able to let go that have actually improved because I’ve done that.
7. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
This is a book by Steven Pressfield and it’s probably the best book I have ever read for when you are struggling with procrastination.
This book is basically a medication on the work of an art, the daily consistent work put in over years and years. It deals a lot with the concept of resistance and how to defeat it.
Truth to say, if you have a lot of trouble putting inconsistent daily work into things that you’ve striving to do, this is really a good read.
8. Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
Number 8 in my list is Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain.
I picked this book up because as I’ve been into cooking recently. Now, this book, while wildly entertaining is not a how-to on the science of cooking. There’s actually a book called “The Science of Cooking” by Dr. Stuart Farrimond. But this book is more of an expose on the life of a professional cook.
If you’ve ever watched any of Anthony Bourdain’s TV shows before, you will know that he is an incredibly entertaining guy and the definitely transfers over to his writing.
Now, I will say this book did teach me a couple of things, which is why it’s on this list. (Obviously, if it’s just for entertaining, I probably wouldn’t have put it here.)
It actually has a chapter that talks about why restaurant food tastes different than the food you make at home. Also, he talks a little bit about some of the basic tools that you can add to your kitchen to be a better cook yourself.
But for the most part, the book is mainly full of stories of Bourdain’s time as a cook and eventually a chef. And, because it’s Anthony Bourdain and because he does narrate the audiobook, I highly recommend listening to it rather than reading it.
9. The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine (movie tie-in) (Movie Tie-in Editions)
Next up is The Big Short by Michael Lewis.
Now, to be honest, The Big Short is one of my favorite movies of all time. Earlier this year, after watching the movie for probably the third time, I decided it was high time that I actually read the book that it was based on.
And, this book is an excellent overview of exactly why the financial crisis of 2008 happened.
Thus, if you have any interest in recent history and economics as well as why the markets all crashed the way they did, how corrupt the system really was, this book is a perfect choice.
And, it’s honestly a lot of fun to read as well, though it will probably also make you mad.
Within an article, I understand that it’s impossible to add-in all highly-recommended books, especially in various fields. In fact, this is a brief talking about what are the best of the best books to read this year in each field in our life.
In case you want to learn more or find some other good books in one of those provided fields, kindly have a look at other of my collections. There’re a lot specialized in each particular field.