My Book List

This should be fun…

I’ll start with a disclaimer. If I ever say I “read” a book, chances are I probably “listened” to it. Nothing against sitting down with a good book, but I spend enough time commuting and travelling that it just makes more sense to get an audiobook and pass the time.

However, I still have a weird obsession with physical books. Whenever I complete an audiobook and find that it was a particularly good piece, I usually purchase a physical copy as well. This might be a little excessive, but it feels nice to have a tangible reminder in my house.

Despite the fact that I listen to books (sometimes more than once) and buy a hardcover, I’m terrible at remembering details. Hopefully this list will help keep things in order!

Yeah, I know this doesn’t scale well on mobile. It’s a pretty wide table. What can I do?

The table is sortable, but defaults to the most recent books. I’d suggest sorting by rating as well if you want to know which books I really enjoyed.

Title First Name Last Name Rating Date My Thoughts
Currently reading…
Around the World in 50 Years: My Adventure to Every Country on Earth
Albert Podell 06/2016
Currently reading…
The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
Ben Horowitz 06/2016
Currently reading…
Born To Run – A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
Christopher McDougall 06/2016
Jupiter’s Travels Ted Simon 10/10 05/2016 I’d been meaning to take on this book for along time, but no audiobook was available. Easy to say it was worth the wait. Only problem is that I now need to save up enough money to get a motorcycle before traveling the world! Pretty much a “must read” for anyone with an adventurous spirit. Be sure to grab Jupiter’s Travels in Camera as well to see all of the phtographs from Ted’s journey.
Read My Blog PostAmazon Link
The Art of Learning Josh Waitzkin 07/10 05/2016 This books wasn’t what I had expected, but it is a pretty enjoyable read. Just keep in mind that you’re going to spend a lot of time learning about Josh’s chess career as a child and martial arts experience as an adult. There are tips on learning, but it basically boils down to, “analize, be creative, and kick ass”.
Amazon Link
The Alchemist Paulo Coelho 10/10 04/2016 This books gets a 10/10 because I genuinely believe that everyone should read it at some time. There is just the right mix of adventure and philosophy to be appealing without feeling preachy. It’s also pretty short and easy to read. I think the audiobook took me less than a week.
Read My Blog PostAmazon Link
Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates Tom Robbins 10/10 04/2016 This book caught me entirely by surprise. Probably the most entertaining work of fiction I’ve ever read. It also serves as an inspiring account of travel and adventure across the globe. If Roald Dahl, Hunter S. Thompson and Ian Flemming had a kid, it would be Tom Robbins. (Or maybe Switters…)
Read My Blog PostAmazon Link
Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha Tara Brach 02/10 04/2016 I should have suspected by the title that this books was going to be a little too much “self-help” for me, but it came highly recommended. Maybe this is the empowering kind of motivation that some people need, but I had to turn it off after a few chapters.
Amazon Link
The Magic of Thinking Big David Schwartz 02/10 04/2016 As soon as I turned on the audiobook I thought, “this sure sounds a lot like How to Win Friends and Influence People“, a book I had struggled to complete. Sure, the advice is reasonable, but the context feels dated and a little obvious for anyone with an open mind. I did not finish this book.
Amazon Link
Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future Peter Thiel 05/10 04/2016 When I last checked, the top Amazon review was titled, “A mix of brilliant, infuriating and self-indulgent”, and that about sums it up. The book is probably required of any young entrepreneur, but it doesn’t really seem to offer much substance. Yes, I felt like I could start the next Google after reading it, but still had no clue where to start!
Amazon Link
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind Yuval Noah Harari 07/10 03/2016 Okay. Despite the title, the book is not particularly brief. I felt that the beginning and end were exceptional. Lots of great ideas that I had never heard presented in such a memorable way. The middle gets a little long and feels like a well-written history book. I’m glad I made it to the end.
Amazon Link
See Spot Live Longer Steve Brown 05/10 02/2016 I try my best to give our dogs real food whenever possible. Sure, they still get kibble, but I recognize that it isn’t a natural diet. While I’m not sold on the idea of a completely raw diet for dogs, this book offers plenty of good insight into what a dog’s diet should contain.
Amazon Link
Vagabonding Rolf Potts 06/10 02/2016 This books reads more like a how-to manual for anyone looking to take on a life of travel. It offers practical advice, resources, and plenty of entertaining anecdotes. This is one book you’ll actually want to read. I don’t think it would work well as an audiobook.
Amazon Link
The 4-Hour Body Tim Ferriss 10/10 02/2016 yeah… I’ve got a workout book on the list. I’m not normally one to get into fad diets, but this seemed different. The “slow-carb” diet and fairly simple exercises are designed to provide results with the minimal required effort. So far so good! (He also backs it up with TONS of cases studies.)
Amazon Link
Lying Sam Harris 06/10 02/2016 If you’re going to read just one of Sam Harris’s books, look ahead to Waking Up. If you dig that book, come back at read Lying. It’s more of an essay than a book and makes a very good argument against lying. Sure, the topic seems obvious, but considering a life without lies (even white lies) makes for a very interesting thought experiment.
Amazon Link
Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion Sam Harris 08/10 02/2016 I consider this to be the Sam Harris book. Even if you don’t pick it up, you should take the time to check out the excerpt, Drugs and the Meaning of Life. While that does not provide an accurate representation of what Waking Up is all about, it gives you a good idea of Sam’s pragmatic outlook on things. I wouldn’t recommend this book to everyone, just people I like.
Amazon Link
When Breath Becomes Air Paul Kalanithi 08/10 02/2016 Okay, this is not the kind of book I would normally read. As the New York Times states, “this inspiring, exquisitely observed memoir finds hope and beauty in the face of insurmountable odds as an idealistic young neurosurgeon attempts to answer the question, What makes a life worth living?” Oh, did I mention that he’s DYING!? This book is super depressing, and I challenge anyone to make it to the end (including his wife’s epilogue) without crying. However, it’s a good thing. We all need reminders that life is for living and not just for working.
Amazon Link
Autobiography of a Yogi Paramahansa Yogananda 04/10 01/2016 I really wanted to like this book. Plenty of influential people cite it as a “life changing” book, but I just didn’t have the patience. The story of a young man in search of a yogi is very interesting, and I can imagine that the book gets better, but I gave up after a few hours.
Amazon Link
Daily Rituals: How Artists Work Mason Currey 04/10 01/2016 This is probably a good book to read, but terrible for an audiobook. It is essentially a list of famous people and their daily routines. Listening to this in the car was more distracting than anything.
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Dune Frank Herbert 05/10 01/2016 I really want to like this book. So many people have suggested it, and the concept intrigues me, but I continue to fail miserably. The audiobook version I have it very strange and borders on live theatre with multiple voice actors and sound effects. Very distracting. And, as much as I’d love to, actually sitting down and reading a book this big just isn’t going to happn.
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How to Win Friends & Influence People Dale Carnegie 05/10 01/2016 Everyone has heard of this book, and I was hoping it would be a little more innovative. (Maybe it was in 1936.) The ideals in the book are solid, but dated, and pretty commonplace in the workplace now. I’m glad I read it, but didn’t gain much from it. Seem like the kind of book your give your boss if they were a complete jerk.
Amazon Link
The 4-Hour Workweek Tim Ferriss 10/10 12/2015 This book changed my life. Seriously. If you feel like you’re not doing what it is you really want to, check it out. While the emphasis is on maximizing your time, it also puts a lot of focus on WHY you’d maximize your time. To actually do the things you want to do. Tim’s podcast, and The 4-Hour Body have also been increadibly inspiring, educational, and entertaining.
Amazon Link
Saga Brian K. Vaughan 10/10 12/2015 As much as I want to like comic books, they very rarely hold my attention for long. Saga is one of the few exceptions. The story is original, the content is entertaining, and the art is pretty good. There is a bit of an “anything goes” plotline, but I think that’s why I like it.
Amazon Link
The Expanse Series:
Leviathan Wakes
Caliban’s War
Abaddon’s Gate
James S. A. Corey 10/10 10/2015 This sci-fi series had been recommended to me for a while, but I kept putting it off. I like to jump around from book to book and the thought of getting locked into a series was a little disconcerting. Fortunately I had a 2,000+ mile drive to California and plenty of time to knock out a few audiobooks. As much as I like the genre, sci-fi isn’t usually at the top of my reading list, but these books are fun, intelligent, original, and quite engaging. You could also just check out the TV series for a fairly accurate adaptation.
Amazon Link
Stumbling on Happiness Daniel Gilbert 07/10 09/2015 I think I first heard of Daniel Gilbert on the TED Radio Hour, but it could have been some other podcast. Stumbling on Happiness take a Freakonomics approach to happiness by deconstructing what REALLY makes people happy. If you like correlation vs. causation anecdotes, this is a pretty enjoyable book. (ie: Does marriage make people happy, or it it that happy people tend to get married? That kind of stuff.)
Amazon Link
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams 09/10 07/2015 Many people consider this book a “must read”, and I don’t blame them. It’s fun, it’s original, and it does a good job of poking fun at just about everything. It’s pretty short too. (Although there are several more books in the series that I haven’t checked out.) For some reason I didn’t find it to be as amazing as most, but I’d still suggest giving it a crack. There’s nothing else like it.
Amazon Link
A Walk Across America Peter Jenkins 10/10 06/2015 One of the few books I’ve actually read in physical form. I even purchased a second copy with more of the author’s pictures included. Obviously I’m a sucker for any solo-traveler story, and A Walk Across America is no different. (He even brings his dog, Cooper!) The book is a great adventure, and it also gives a candid look at America during the 1970s. It’s an easy and enjoyable read. I think I got through my copy on a long flight.
Amazon Link
The Omnivore’s Dilemma
Cooked
In Defense of Food
Botany of Desire
A Place of My Own
Michael Pollan 10/10 06/2015 I probably shouldn’t lump all of Michael Pollan’s books into one, but I went through a phase where I re-read The Omnivore’s Dilemma and the proceeded to devour anything else of his I could find in audiobook form. If you have any interest in food, these books are a must. You’ll find it hard NOT to change your eating habits. Apparently his Netflix documentary, Cooked, is very good. I haven’t checked it out yet. (A Place of My Own isn’t about food, but rather an account of the author’s construction of a cabin on his property. Also quite interesting.)
Amazon Link
A Short History of Nearly Everything Bill Bryson 08/10 04/2015 Bill Bryson can make anything seem interesting, and in this book he make everything seem interesting. As the author puts it, ““…how we went from there being nothing at all to there being something, and then how a little of that something turned into us, and also what happened in between and since.” There is so much great information that I’m looking forward to reading it a second time.
Amazon Link
The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements Sam Kean 07/10 03/2015 This book almost reads like a tabloid for the history of science. Lots of dirty secrets and little known facts. This book makes chemistry and the periodic table of the elements much more memorable than any standard textbook.
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Holy Cow David Duchovny 10/10 02/2015 Yes, THAT David Duchovny. And what’s better is that fact that he narrates the audiobook. I don’t think it would have been nearly as entertaining with anyone else.
This is the story of a ridiculous adventure involving escaped barnyard animals in search of a home where they can live the rest of their lives happily. For example, the cow’s main goal is to fly to India. The book is as fantastic as it is original. Holy Cowis also enjoyable on many levels. The pages are oozing with social commentary, but in just about the most playful way possible.
Amazon Link
Eating Animals Jonathan Safran Foer 07/10 01/2015 Yes, this book is largely a case for vegetarianism. If you’re looking for proof of the evils of factory farming, this is a good place to start. If you read, and love, The Omnivore’s Dilemma this is a good followup.
Amazon Link
The Kindness of Strangers: Penniless Across America Mike McIntyre 10/10 01/2015 I’m a sucker for stories about travellers, and this is no exception. The author’s trek from coast to coast with no money is inspiring, and the people he meets along the way make the story even better.
Amazon Link
I Hike Lawton Grinter 08/10 12/2014 This is pretty much a compilation of the author’s hiking and camping stories. Lot’s of entertaining stories, and it’ll make you want to spend more time outdoors
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Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It’s So Hard to Think Straight About Animals Hal Herzog 08/10 12/2014 A really interesting assortment of viewpoints on our relationship with animals. This book is a bit more pragmatic and less preachy than some, although you’ll still come out the other side wanting to eat less meat. (Or at least think about it when you do.)
Amazon Link
How an Average Man Lived an Adventurous Life John Linnemeier 09/10 12/2014 This book is more a collection of the author’s many travels and experiences. It falls somewhere between a journal and a notebook. This makes it deceptively short for a 300+ page book. There are list of “The Best Things in the World”, and jokes, and photographs as well. A very enjoyable book to pick up, find something interesting, and come back to many times.
Amazon Link
Animals Make Us Human Temple Grandin 08/10 12/2014 As far as I can tell, Temple Grandin is THE expert on the ethical treatment of animals, but not in a creepy, PETA, kind of way. All of her research is well thought out, practical, and not preachy at all. Rather than say we shouldn’t eat beef, she developed a more humane way for slaughterhouses to operate. This isn’t the most captivating book, but it is chock full of solid information.
Amazon Link
Three Weeks With My Brother Nicholas Sparks 06/10 12/2014 This book took me two tries to get through, but I’m glad I did. Early on I realized that this was going to be the account of a family’s struggles with each other and with their faith. Not normally my cup of tea. On the flipside is the story of two brothers on a “see the world” package tour. Despite the semi-preachy message, many of the anecdotes are entertaining and it’s always inspiring to hear of someone else’s travels.
Amazon Link
Full Circle: One Man’s Journey by Air, Train, Boat and Occasionally Very Sore Feet Around the 20.000 Miles of the Pacific Rim Michael Palin 08/10 12/2014 This books reads like a diary of Michael Palin’s journey described in the title of the book. Obviously a book by a Monty Python member is entertaining, and Michael Palin has also made quite a name for himself as a travel writer and host of multiple travel shows. He also serves as the narator of the audiobook, which certainly helps keep the story authentic.
Amazon Link
Kitchen Confidential
Medium Raw
A Cook’s Tour
Anthony Bourdain 10/10 04/2014 I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a bit of an Anthony Bourdain junky. I’ll ingest anything he produces and it’s almost always solid gold. Kitchen Confidential and Medium Raw are among the few books I’ve actually read more than once. A Cook’s Tour is great, but you’re better off watching the series on Amazon. It’s his first forray into the world of TV and a little rough around the edges, but you get a neat look at how his television career started. Kitchen Confidential is what gave him his first big break, and Medium Raw gives a candid account of how his life changed after becoming a successful TV personality. Both are extemely candid and entertaining.
Amazon Link
Think Like a Freak
Freakonomics
Steven Levitt 08/10 03/2014 Freakonomics falls into my “read more than once” category simply because there are so many interesting correlation / causation anecdotes, and I like to keep them fresh in my mind. Most of what is found in these books is pretty widely known now, but they’re still very interesting to read. Also check out the very entertaining Freakonomics Radio podcast.
Amazon Link
Skin
My Uncle Oswald
Switch Bitch
Roald Dahl 10/10 00/00 Yeah, THAT Roald Dahl. The same guy responsible for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory also wrote some amazing adult literature. Each of these is a collection of short stories except for My Uncle Oswald which is a quick 200 pages. As stark contrast to this young adult books, these are pretty obscene in nature, but with all of the rediculous quirkiness that Dahl is known for.
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Ender’s Game Orson Scott Card 10/10 00/00 If I had to pick a favorite book, this would be it. The other books in the series are pretty good, but nothing is as magical as Ender’s Game.
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