Each quarter I reflect on the past three months, set goals for the upcoming three months, and ultimately create a reading list to be a part of these goals. The reading list is my preferred way to treat my education like the job that it is, and deliberately expose myself to new ideas to refine and sharpen my thinking. Below is a list of books I went through in Q4 2020; if one or more of these books catches your eye I hope you will consider picking one up.
Note: The links to books below are all Amazon Affiliate links, making a portion of any sale going to the support of this site.
- The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, by John M Barry, was a recommendation I got from Ryan Holiday’s reading list. As Ryan says, “There is something surreal about reading a book published 15 years ago about an event 100 years ago that just happens to nail exactly what’s happening in this moment.” I became much more informed of the nuance involved in our current events by reading historical narrative. John Barry closes the book with: “For if there is a single dominant lesson from 1918, it is that governments need to tell the truth in a crisis. Risk communication implies managing the truth. You don’t manage the truth. You tell the truth….A leader must make whatever horror exists concrete. Only then will the people be able to break it apart.”
- Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt, by David McCullough, was an honest depiction of the early life of one of our most celebrated presidents. This book will take you through his parent’s early adulthood up through Teddy’s late 20’s. A very readable biography that left me inspired to do more.
- Principles: Life and Work, by Ray Dalio, is a 552 page tome written by Ray himself broken into three parts: autobiography, life principles, and work principles. I wrote about three big takeaways from the book here. If I were to go back I would read the autobiography and then skip to the work principles that I thought would be most applicable to my own situation instead of reading through every one.
- So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love, by Cal Newport, is a book I decided to revisit for the first time since 2015. The past two years I have really gotten into Cal’s work through Deep Work, Digital Minimalism, and his podcast. This book did not disappoint me the second time around, in fact, it gave me more clarity and helped to fine tune my approach to my own career development.
- How To Win Friends and Influence Others, by Dale Carnegie – a mentor of mine mentioned off hand, years ago, that he rereads this book every year. Being impressed with the man he had become, I decided to do the same. Most years, as I did this year, I add it into my audio-book rotation, no matter how you approach it – if you read this book you will be a little bit sharper when it comes to human relations.
- U.S. Constitution, bill of rights, amendments, and declaration of independence. As readers of this blog know, I have a different approach to staying informed. In anticipation of the 2020 election, I wanted to familiarize myself with the documents before casting any vote.