I’m a voracious reader. I’ve never taken the time to count how many books I read on average but I’d say I finish one about every two weeks. I sometimes like to read two or three at the same time and go between fiction, non-fiction, and maybe something on a subject I know nothing about like astronomy or architecture. I don’t have a specific genre that I tend to read, but I’ve accumulated a pretty large and diverse collection of books over the years. I’m kind of a book nerd and love to talk to other people about their favorite books – I’m always asking for recommendations. Whenever someone asks me for books that I recommend, depending on the person, I will give them at least one of my favorites below. These are in no specific order. But these are the books that I thing anyone of any age or reading level should read.
Easily the best autobiography I’ve ever read. Even if you’re not a tennis fan, or even if you have no idea who Andre Aggassi is, his story is remarkable. He grew up with a demanding father who forced him to play tennis all day every day, which made Andre hate tennis. He was as successful as he was almost out of spite. Writen with the help of a ghost writer, the stories take you right in to the action in his unbelieavable public life. He talks about beating tennis legends when he was only 10 years, why he wore a wig, and his battle with drugs.
Freakanomics – Steven D. Levitt & Stephen Dubner
This is a book for anybody. It comes off as a bit nerdy since it is written by two economists but some of the insights they have are amazing. They study the outcomes of things based off statistics, charts, and year over year change – things such as the impact of legalized abortion on crime, the neglible effects of good parenting on education, and the socioeconomic patterns of naming children. They also have a podcast of the same name if you’re more into audio listening.
The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell
Most people have heard Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, the book famous for crediting the “10,000 hour rule”. But personally, I think The Tipping Point is his best book, especially because it is his debut as an author. Here he highlights stories associated with the “80/20 Principle” – how 80% of the work is done by 20% of the employees, and how the world is made up of Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen.
Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl
This book tells the remarkable story of Viktor Frankl, a man who was captured and enslaved in the Auschwitz concentration camp for 6 years and lived to tell the story. His anecdotes and wisdom on the power of your attitude are life lessons that can be applied anywhere and everywhere. I read this back in high school because it is required reading, but I have since read it three or four more times because it is that good.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.”
Lone Survivor – Marcus Luttrell
I’m a big fan of anything on the military, particularly the Navy SEALs. You’re probably familiar with the movie adaption of Marcus Luttrell’s Lone Survivor starring Mark Wahlberg, but this is most certainly a case where the book is WAY better than the movie. The unfortunate part of the movie is that it doesn’t get to tell you, in detail, the way the military works and how difficult it is to engage in war with people who have no rules. Luttrell not only tells his incredible story of battle and survival, he also takes you through the psyche of a soldier – how he feels about the Freedom Act, and the Rules of Engagement, etc.
The Power of Your Subconscious Mind – Joseph Murphy
This should be required reading for every human being. Whenever you’re feeling confused or stuck in life, just flip through this book. It has so many powerful insights that will help you unlock your thoughts, desires and dreams. Without all the hippie fluff of some modern books, Murphy simply lays out how our subconscious mind has the answers to all of our problems.
The Evolution of Everything – Matt Ridley
I’m also a big fan of anything pertaining to evolution. When I first heard about it in elementary school – Catholic school ironically enough, I was fascinated by it. I thought it made so much sense and just wanted to learn everything about how humans came to be, and what our predecessors looked like. Evolution of Everything not only explains Darwin evolution, but Ridley breaks down the evolution of everything in life – chapters on the Evolution of Cultures, Evolution of Money, Evolution of Politics, Evolution of Religiong, and Evolution of Agriculture.
Money: Master the Game – Tony Robbins
This book is a BEAST. It’s about 750 pages long but it literally it has everything you will ever need to know about money. Tony Robbins, who most people know for being the motivational speaker who will kick your ass in to becoming a better you, steps outside of his motivational business, and takes the time to interview the top financial advisors in the world to write their take on money, investing, and budgeting. The depth of information in this book is immense – I have stickie notes, highlighter marks, and notes along the margins on just about every page. Highly recommend to anyone who is lost navigating their finances.
Influence has some crazy stuff in it. If you’re in Sales or deal with people in Sales, this book will take you under the hood of all the shady stuff salespeople do everyday to try and trick you. Why companies offer you free samples, why you can’t say no to that discounted offer, or why you feel obligated to return a favor someone gives you.
The Abs Diet – David Zinczenko
Written by the former Editor-in-Chief of Men’s Health, The Abs Diet has everything you’ll ever need to know about health, diet, and fitness. I read this after senior year of football in high school and it helped me to lose 30 lbs. The book explains the key principles of nutrition in a really easy, digestible format. You don’t have to “diet” to lost weight. You just need to know how to choose your food more wisely. Zinczenko lays out the 12 Power Foods that your diet should consist of:
- Almonds & other nuts
- Beans & other legumes
- Spinach and other leafy greens
- Instant Oatmeal
- Turkey and other lean meat
- Peanut butter
- Olive Oil
- Whole Wheat
- Whey Protein Powder
He even includes great workouts, meal plans, and simple recipes. Anyone struggling with weight or nutrition should 100% read this book.
Everyone knows Dan Brown’s more famous books The DaVinci Code and Angels & Demons but I actually think Inferno is the coolest story of them all. Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) is an awesome character, and I think everyone should read all three of these books. This is just my personal favorite since it has to do with population control and a plague, which I find really interesting for some reason…
If you like Jason Bourne or Liam Neeson, you will absolutely love the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child. I’m kind of annoyed the way Hollywood has portrayed these novels because in the books Jack Reacher is 6’5, 250 and a total badass. Although Tom Cruise is a great actor, I don’t think he was the right pick for Jack Reacher. There are somewhere around 20 of these books and I’ve read 16 of them so far. They are so entertaining and hard to put down. The great part about them is that Reacher is such a badass, that nothing bad ever actually happens to him – he just kicks ass and gets what he wants.
How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
This book will inevitably show up on every list of Recommened books you ever see and for good reason. Dale Carnegie lays out the tenets of dealing with people, which is single most important skill in business. It can get a little weird sometimes where it almost seems like he is telling you to act nice rather than actually be nice, but regardless the principles are there. This has everything you need to know about dealing with fellow human beings and how to be successful in business and life.
- Blink – Malcom Gladwell [Amazon]
- Tools of Titans – Tim Ferriss [Amazon]
- Running Blind – Lee Child [Amazon]
- Angels & Demons – Dan Brown [Amazon]
- The Greatest Game Every Played – Mark Frost [Amazon]