Books I read in 2016

I’ve been meaning to write this post since the beginning of the year. My laziness to write this sucks. So as I run on this bike, I started this post. There’s no need to wait anymore.  I need to write more.

I’ve grown accustomed to reading books on a treadmill on my Kindle. With some music, a 6.0mph pace, I consume greatness.  Nearly every book I read is non-fiction. I’ve tried a few fiction but can never get through them.

Here’s look back at the books I read.  There is so much I’ve learned.  Alas, I wanted to share the books I read in 2016 with short take-a-ways.

Here’s my 2016 reading list:

The Art of Explanation – Being able to communicate your ideas is so important.  The biggest takeaway from this book is understanding how to break your ideas down and “connect the dots” for your audience.   I read this book because Lee is one of the creators of those awesome Common Craft video explainers.  His ability to break down some complex stuff for a wide audience is a real skill.  I enjoyed learning about his processes.

Will It Fly – First, Pat Flynn is awesome. I’ve been a long time listener of his podcast, The Smart Passive Income, and I thought I’d check this book out.  I’m glad I did.  There are so many actionable nuggets in this book.  It really does a great job walking you through how to research your idea and put yourself in a great position to make it happen. The insights of recording your “Google” research in a spreadsheet is an amazing way to organize your research and thoughts. Highly recommended.

Ask – Ryan walks through the Ask Method.  I found this book really empowering.  The idea of just asking direct questions to your audience is such a necessity.  You should really ask so much more.  He walks through setting up marketing funnels, intro surveys, follow up surveys, and targeted email autoresponders.  I love the directness of this book.  I have a feeling I’ll be referencing back to this book in the future.

Ego Is The Enemy – Learning to reflect on oneself can be a difficult thing to do.  I loved this book because it really helps you think about humility and how to make better decisions on your actions.  Sometimes just taking a deep breath before acting can help change how you react.  When you learn to put your ego aside, I think we can all accomplish more.

 

Sapiens – This book was beautifully written.  This is one of those rare books that really can create a paradigm shift in your head.  It makes you approach or think about who we are as a species on this planet.  The understanding of domestication and how wheat domesticated us was a soft positive nod as you’re reading it.  This book really challenged me to think about my own premonitions.  As he progresses from the far past, the present and a forward prediction of the end of our species, it’s fascinating and somewhat disheartening; understanding who we are.  You need to read this book a little bit slower than your normal reading pace.  There’s just so much to take in.

Endzone – I’ve been a Michigan football fan as early as I can remember and reading this book just made me an even bigger fan.  I truly enjoyed learning about the early athletics at UofM and the contributions to modern football (such as different players for offense and defense).  This book taught me so much of the origins of the program, the traditions and the culture.  The last decade of Michigan football was, albeit, different.  Reading this book made me feel like I had a first row look into so much that happened, leading up to the the hiring of Coach Harbaugh.  If you love Michigan football, read this. Go Blue.

 

Hooked – Nir’s understanding on how to create habit forming products is beautiful.  It just felt so clear and very implementable.  In short, there’s four stages to the hook model, trigger, action, variable reward, and investment.  Using these stages and implementing them in your product development is a actionable take away on thinking about the psychology of habit forming products.

101 Crucial Lessons They Don’t Teach You in Business School – Here’s a book that you can read in one sitting.  I loved the short, simple lessons in this book.  Many I’ve seen before (helping strengthen the ideas) and just as many that really made me think twice about how I could make changes in how I run a business.  At the very least, keep this book nearby, flip to a random lesson and enjoy digestible insights on becoming a better business leader.

Lying – Sam Harris lays it all out.  Things you’ll read may make you upset or feel guilty.  That’s ok.  Lying is one of those things you don’t realize how often you may be doing it.  Little lies, like saying you’re 20 minutes away, when you know you’re 30.  While it may not seem like a big deal, these little white lies are bad habits that too many of us have.  I’m as guilty as any of us,  Since reading this book it’s subconsciously stuck with me.  I’ve become more self-aware on my stupid little white lies and I’m trying to be not just more honest with others, but with myself.

Bossypants – I didn’t technically “read” this book.  This was the first book I consumed in audio format.  Given that it was read by Tina Fey herself, it was a very enjoy book to listen too.  There’s a lot of stories, some felt to drag on, but her insights on her career (professional and personally) really gave me some new perspectives of the differences women faces vs men in a business world. I really appreciate the new perspectives and thinking about things I normally don’t think about or maybe take for granted. Thank you Tina. I think there’s some really great advices in this book, along side hilarious, sometimes quirky stories.

Tools of the Titans – I’ve been a huge fan of Tim Ferriss for years.  I’ve read all of his books, listened to many of his podcasts and watch videos on Youtube.  He’s been a huge influence on me and making positive changes in my life.  This book is a culmination of over 200 interviews by some of the worlds’ leading achievers.  I started reading this book at the end of 2016, but carried over into early 2017.  Don’t expect to take every story and piece of advice from the people showcased in this book, but I guarantee you’ll find a dozen or more things that will truly help you.  At the very least, learning what new questions to ask yourself and your peers is super valuable. This is his best book to date, hands down.

 

So there you have it.  This is the first time I’ve written reviews for books I’ve read.  I read books every year and starting this year, I wanted to reflect back on the year of reading.  I hope to continue to write mini-reviews each year on the books I’ve read.  I have a great bunch of books lined up for 2017!

Have you read any of the books above? Love them? Hate them? Got any book recommendations for me?



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