My Reading in 2016 (and five recommendations)

My Reading in 2016 (and five recommendations)

I’ve read some great books this year – 33 in total.

The full list is below, but here are my top five (in no particular order):

Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi

Andre’s story is fascinating. His determination to be a winner at all costs is impressive. Even though he hated tennis and faced many setbacks, he had the most remarkable career. It was also interesting to hear about his personal struggles in the background. We assume champions have their shit together, but Andre was a mess behind the scenes.


The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick M. Lencioni

People kept recommending this book to me, but for some reason it took me awhile to get round to reading it. I’m glad I did, because it’s awesome. Easy to read and packed with gems. If you run a management team, or are part of one, it’s a must read. It’ll change how you think about teams.


Deep Work by Cal Newport

This was so good, I called it early as my favourite book of the year. When is the last time you worked on something without distraction, and got lost in it for at least an hour? I suspect, it’s hard to remember. This book reminds us what it takes to be focused and productive. Also check out Nate Green’s How to write a million words – on a slacker’s schedule to see deep work in action – it’s brilliant.


On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser

This quote from the book sums it up for me – ‘A clear sentence is no accident. Very few sentences come out right the first time, or even the third time. Remember this in moments of despair. If you find that writing is hard, it’s because it is hard’.

This book changed how I think about writing, and I hope made me a better writer. I summed up my learnings here – 8 Things I Learned From a Writing Legend.


When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

This book was so good, I read it in a day. Be warned, it’s a gut wrenching story. A delve into mortality and what it means to live a good life. I wrote a review here.


I hope 2017 is just as good as 2016 for reading. I already have a bunch of great ones lined up!

Here is my full list for 2016:

Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Tim Ferriss

How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton Christensen

A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine

How to Get Filthy Rich In Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid

Do Fly: Find your way. Make a living. Be your best self by Gavin Strange

Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss.

Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi

Extreme Prey by John Sandford

Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams by Tom DeMarco (got about 50% of the way through. Great ideas, but too repetitive. Could easily have been a blog post)

Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday (got about 20% of the way through – too waffley)

Gathering Prey by John Sandford

Field of Prey by John Sandford

Silken Prey by John Sandford

Stolen Prey by John Sandford

The Simple Path to Wealth by J L Collins

Winning by Jack Welch (re-read)

Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business by Matt Blumberg

Around the World in Fifteen Friends by Tynan

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Enhanced Edition: A Leadership Fable by Patrick M. Lencioni

Buried Prey by John Sandford

Storm Prey by John Sandford

Deep Work by Cal Newport

Wicked Prey by John Sandford

On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser

Born For This: How to Find the Work You Were Meant to Do by Chris Guillebeau

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love by Cal Newport

Win YOUR Day by Jonathon Knepper & Rochelle Hudson

The War or Art by Steven Pressfield

Phantom Prey by John Sandford

Invisible Prey by John Sandford

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson

Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives by Wayne Muller

Level Up Your Life by Steve Kamb

Letters of Notes by Shaun Usher

Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert (got about 50% through —found it long-winded and hard to read).


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