Books

I like to read books. A lot. Over the years, it’s become a consistent talking point. So instead of asking “Read anything good lately?” you can reference this page.

Below are all the books I’ve read since my “52 in 52” goal in 2015. Books are ordered alphabetically by star rating.

5-star novels are those I think everyone should read. 5 stars for non-fiction means I think everyone with an interest in this topic should read it. 1 star means you should avoid it like roadkill. Most fall somewhere in between.

5 Stars

And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie

And Then There Were None Agatha Christie

Gripping. I couldn’t sleep, but I couldn’t put it down.

Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life – Henry Cloud, John Townsend

Boundaries Henry Cloud John Townsend

Necessary steps to lead a stress free and fulfilling life.

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking – Malcolm Gladwell

Blink Malcolm Gladwell

Sometimes first impressions are better than thorough study. Why? Gladwell explains in this captivating read.

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness – Susannah Cahalan

Brain on Fire Susannah Cahalan

Wonderful writing on a unique (and terrible) experience.

Cold Hard Truth on Men, Women and Money – Kevin O’Leary

Cold Hard Truth on Men, Women and Money

The best primer on personal finance I’ve read. Applicable tips for all life stages.

Contagious: Why Things Catch On – Jonah Berger

Contagious Jonah Berger

Enthralling. Inspiring for marketers. The practical companion to Gladwell’s The Tipping Point.

Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God – Franchis Chan, Danae Yankoski

41as33yyw3l-_sx332_bo1204203200_

Drinking in America: Our Secret History – Susan Cheever

Drinking in America Susan Cheever

Totally fascinating. True stories of U.S. history you won’t find in textbooks.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t – Jim Collins

Good to Great Jim Collins

Thorough and enlightening. A great reference for all business leaders.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two – John Tiffany & Jack Thorne, J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child J.K. Rowling John Tiffany Jack Thorne

Fast-paced and unexpected – in the best way.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows J. K. Rowling

A mind-blowing conclusion to a spellbinding series.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince – J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince J. K. Rowling

Perhaps Rowling’s best storytelling.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban J. K. Rowling

A fun read with captivating dialogue.

In the Name of Gucci: A Memoir – Patricia Gucci

In the Name of Gucci Patricia Gucci

A nearly unbelievable true story that could only be told by the one person who wrote it.

Liar’s Poker – Michael Lewis

Liar's Poker Michael Lewis

Excellent storytelling on life inside Wall Street during the late ’80s. Shocking.

Mere Christianity – C. S. Lewis

Mere Christianity C. S. Lewis

Required reading for all interested in the Christian faith.

Modern Romance – Aziz Ansari

Modern Romance Aziz Ansari

A surprisingly well done sociological read on today’s relationship dynamics and how they compare to past generations.

Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie

Murder on the Orient Express Agatha Christie

The ultimate who-done-it.

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography – Neil Patrick Harris

Choose Your Own Autobiography Neil Patrick Harris

Artfully creative. Fast and funny. A journey of a read.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft – Stephen King

On Writing Stephen King

A backstage pass to one of the all-time great authors life and tips for success.

Outliers: The Story of Success – Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers Malcolm Gladwell

The (in)famous book that popularized the concept of “10,000 hours.” Gladwell creates a fascinating narrative on how the world’s best succeed.

Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise – K. Anders Ericsson

Peak by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool

Takes world-leading research to turn the standard “expert” narrative on its head. Great read for all those wanting to get better (at anything).

Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less – Alex Soojung Kim Pang

Rest by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

Imperative to 21st century America. How to use “active rest” to live your best.

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative – Austin Kleon

Steal Like an Artist Austin Kleon

Insights necessary to any successful and creative career.

The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters: Insider’s Secrets from Hollywood’s Top Writers – Karl Iglesias

The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters by Karl Iglesias

Screenwriting’s best tips, straight from the horse’s mouth. Applies to more than just screenwriting.

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine – Michael Lewis

The Big Short Michael Lewis

Should be required reading. Perhaps the only full account of how and why the housing and stock market crashes of ’08-’09 occurred.

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto – Mitch Albom

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto Mitch Albom

I couldn’t put it down. You will feel every emotion – genuinely – and be disappointed there aren’t more stories like this published.

The Magnolia Story – Chip and Joanna Gaines with Mark Dagostino

The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines with mark Dagostino

A wonderful little book, The Magnolia Story is a mini memoir of Chip and Joanna meeting, falling in love, starting businesses, and eventually turning shiplap into a commonly used word. It reads the same way the couple interacts with each other on Fixer Upper – complete with them finishing each other’s sentences from time to time. I read the book in one Saturday, and I don’t know if they meant for this to happen, but I felt both inspired and joyous for having read it. Highly recommend.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd – Agatha Christie

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

The Queen of Mystery does it again. I was spellbound and could not put it down until the last page was read.

The Quantum Spy – David Ignatius

The Quantum Spy David Ignatius

Terrifyingly well-told story of espionage, quantum computing, and international intelligence.

The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life – Armand M. Nicholi Jr.

The Question of God Armand M Nicholi Jr

I’m consistently enraged by how much influence Freud has had on modern thought. His psychology has been thoroughly debunked, and his philosophy has too many holes and inconsistencies to be taken seriously. That said, Nicholi does a wonderful job of portraying both Freud and Lewis in their most neutral light so readers can make up their own minds on each point.

The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism – Timothy Keller

The Reason for God Timothy Keller

Level-headed, well-reasoned objections to “God doesn’t exist.” Imperative to anyone searching for answers on the topic.

The Screwtape Letters – C. S. Lewis

The Screwtape Letters C. S. Lewis

Insightful. Convicting. A breathtaking and creative read.

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference – Malcolm Gladwell

The Tipping Point Malcolm Gladwell

Phenomenal storytelling on the shaping of popular ideas. There’s a reason Gladwell’s published four #1 national best-sellers and been a staff writer for The New Yorker for over 20 years.

The Wizard of Lies – Diana B. Henriques

The Wizard of Lies by Diana B Henriques

Enthralling and in-depth. The most complete account of how Bernie Madoff built and destroyed his financial empire – and ruined countless people’s lives in the process.

Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth – Gabriel Weinberg, Just Mares

Traction by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares

A step-by-step, channel-by-channel guide to growing your new business from zero to one to 100.

4 Stars

A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World – Paul Miller

A Praying Life Paul Miller

Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street – Sheelah Kolhatkar

Black Edge Sheelah Kolhatkar

Bossypants – Tina Fey

Bossypants Tina Fey

Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Truman Capote

Breakfast at Tiffany's Truman Capote

Broken Eyes, Unbroken Spirit – David Meador

Broken Eyes Unbroken Spirit David Meador

Cold Sassy Tree – Olive Ann Burns

Cold Sassy Tree Olive Ann Burns

Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling Hi-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers – Geoffery A. Moore

Crossing the Chasm Geoffrey A Moore

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

David and Goliath Malcolm Gladwell

Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Startup Bubble – Dan Lyons

Disrupted Dan Lyons

Lyons makes himself seem like a pompous jerk, but it’s wonderful and entertaining storytelling.

Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery – Henry Marsh

Do No Harm Henry Marsh

Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content – Ann Handley

Everybody Writes Ann Handley

Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising – Ryan Holiday

Growth Hacker Marketing Ryan Holiday

Gunn’s Golden Rules: Life’s Little Lessons for Making It Work – Tim Gunn, Ada Calhoun

Gunn's Golden Rules Tim Gunn

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone J. K. Rowling

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis – J. D. Vance

Hillbilly Elegy J. D. Vance

How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends and Influence People Dale Carnegie

In Cold Blood – Truman Capote

In Cold Blood Truman Capote

Captivating. Creative. A little dense.

In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership – Henri J. M. Nouwen

In the Name of Jesus Henri J. M. Nouwen

On Bowie – Rob Sheffield

Orange is the New Black – Piper Kerman

Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare

Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen

Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy – Judd Apatow

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich – Timothy Ferris

Changed my life. The writing is par at best, but the advice – and the idea of thinking in skills to learn instead of jobs to get – are solid for anyone considering entrepreneurship.

The Coffeehouse Investor: How to Build Wealth, Ignore Wall Street, and Get on With Your Life – Bill Schultheis

The Director – David Ignatius

Enjoyable novel on CIA leaks, cyber security, and sabotage.

The Giggler Treatment – Roddy Doyle

Hilarious. The perfect children’s book.

The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkein

The Fellowship of the Ring – J. R. R. Tolkien

The Great Gatsby – F. Scott. Fitzgerald

The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses – Eric Ries

The Little Red Book of Wisdom – Mark DeMoss

The Miserable Mill – Lemony Snicket

The Paris Wife – Paula McLain

The Return of the King – J. R. R. Tolkien

The Time Keeper – Mitch Albom

The Two-Second Advantage: How We Succeed by Anticipating the Future – Just Enough – Vivek Ranadive, Kevin Maney

The Two Towers – J. R. R. Tolkien

The Virgin Way: If It’s Not Fun, It’s Not Worth Doing – Richard Branson

The World According to Karl – Sandrine Gulbenkian, Jean-Christophe Napias, Patrick Mauries

Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible: The Fascinating History of Everything in Your Closet – Tim Gunn, Ada Calhoun

Turn Around Bright Eyes – Rob Sheffield

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption – Laura Hillenbrand

Watership Down – Richard Adams

What the Dog Saw and Other AdventuresWhat the Dog Saw and Other Adventures – Malcolm Gladwell

Yes, My Accent is Real: and Some Other Things I Haven’t Told You – Kunal Nayyar

3 Stars

7 Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness – Eric Metaxas

Adulting: How to Become a Grown-Up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps – Kelly Williams Brown

Blind Spot: Why We Fail to See the Solution Right in Front of Us – Gordon Rugg, Joseph D’Agnese

Creating Unforgettable Characters – Linda Seger

Death on the Nile – Agatha Christie

Empathy: Why It Matters, and How to Get It – Roman Krznaric

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – J. K. Rowling

Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit – Francis Chan

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J. K. Rowling

I Am America (And So Can You) – Stephen Colbert

Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples – Francis Chan

Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World – Michael Horton

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

Pygmalion – George Bernard Shaw

Quidditch Through the Ages – J. K. Rowling

Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices & Priorities of a Winning Life – Tony Dungy

Spark: Igniting a Culture of Multiplication – Todd Wilson

The Bad Beginning – Lemony Snicket

The Go-Getter – Peter B. Kyne

The Innovation Blind Spot: Why We Back the Wrong Ideas and What to Do About It – Ross Baird

The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory – John Seabrook

The Tales of Beedle the Bard – J. K. Rowling

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles – Steven Pressfield

The Wide Window – Lemony Snicket

Why Does God Allow War? – Martin Lloyd-Jones

Wise Words and Quotes – Vern McLellan

2 Stars

How to Be Rich: It’s Not What You Have. It’s What You Do With What You Have – Andy Stanley

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk – Al Ries, Jack Trout

The House of the Seven Gables – Nathaniel Hawthorne

 1 Star

Real Artists Have Day Jobs – Sara Benincasa