2017 Year in Review

2017 Book Survey

Book Survey Hosted by Perpetual Page Turner

# of Books Read: 75
# of Pages Read: 25,322
# of Re-Reads: 8
Genre Read The Most: Business/Leadership

Best in Books

Note: The survey is for books read throughout the year, no matter when they were published. It is not limited to books that came out in 2017.

1. Best Book You Read in 2017?

Nonfiction: Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday
This book is incredible. It motivated me to write more and strive to create work that will last for decades. This year Holiday became one of my favorite authors, and this book is one of the reasons why.


Fiction: Red Rising by Pierce Brown
I can confidently say the Red Rising trilogy is one of the best series I’ve ever read. I had been looking for another series to fill the void left after finishing books like Harry Potter, The Maze Runner, and The Hunger Games. Well, this one did the trick! Brown is actually releasing a fourth book on Jan. 16th, 2018. I already pre-ordered my copy and I can’t wait to read it!

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going to Love More But Didn’t?

Focus by Daniel Goleman
Shockingly, this book lacked focus. Goleman wandered through dozens of disjointed topics and struggled to assemble a cohesive argument. I was quite disappointed.

3. Most Surprising (in a Good Way or Bad Way) Book You Read?  

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Although included in many “Top 100 Books of All Time” lists, this book was surprisingly bad. I had heard about Catch-22 for years, but never read it. This year, a few friends and I decided to read it together. I was the only one who finished it, and that was only through raw willpower. Heller’s writing oozes sarcasm, but that didn’t bother me as much as the unnecessary repetition. The book is about four times longer than it should be due to repetition of the same jokes and stories. Apparently, a lot of people out there enjoy this book, but I’m not one of them.

4. Book You “Pushed” the Most People to Read (and They Did)?

Principles by Ray Dalio
I love Dalio’s insistence that the only way to build a great business is by encouraging smart, independent thinkers to disagree with each other. Several friends checked out this book based upon my recommendation, and they also enjoyed the book.

5. Best Series You Started in 2017? 

The Red Rising series by Pierce Brown

6. Favorite New Author You Discovered in 2017?

Susan Scott
I loved her book Fierce Conversations. Now I need to read Scott’s other book Fierce Leadership. 

7. Best Book from a Genre You Don’t Typically Read/Was Out of Your Comfort Zone?

The Two Towers (LOTR #2) by J.R.R. Tolkien
I don’t read many fantasy books. The mythical, long names of places and characters don’t whet my appetite. However, I knew I had to make an exception for one of the most epic series of all time: The Lord of the Rings. I read The Fellowship last year and knocked out the other two books this year. The books surpassed my expectations.

8. Most Action-Packed/Thrilling/Unputdownable Book of the Year?

It by Stephen King
King is my favorite fiction writer. And It is one of his best works. To me, this book surpasses The ShiningThe Stand, and Carrie.

Pennywise the Clown

9. Book You Read in 2017 That You Are Most Likely to Re-Read Next Year?

Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg
A friend recommended this book to me, and it quickly became one of my favorite books on communication. I’ll definitely revisit this book soon.

10. Favorite Cover of a Book You Read in 2017?

Principles by Ray Dalio

Principles - Book Cover Spine

11. Most Memorable Character of 2017?

Dracula from Bram Stoker’s iconic novel
Stoker creatively tells the entire story through journal entries from various characters and newspaper clippings that explain local reactions to the vampiric incidents. The character of Dracula is mysterious and horrifying. He is the perfect villain.

12. Most Beautifully Written Book Read in 2017?

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Alchemist follows the story of a young shepherd boy who yearns to travel the world and become rich. The lessons he learns on his journey show him that he may very well be focused on the wrong things in life. Coelho’s book is inspiring, magical, and well-written. Check it out!

13. Most Thought-Provoking/Life-Changing Book of 2017?

Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg
This book changed the way I view conversations. My biggest takeaway was that no one can make you feel something. Others’ actions can be the catalysts of our emotions, but we need to own the emotion and recognize that we can choose how to respond to any given situation.

14. Book You Can’t Believe You Waited UNTIL 2017 to Finally Read? 

Great by Choice by Jim Collins and Morten Hansen
Despite a couple recommendations from friends these past few years, I never prioritized Great by Choice in my reading list. That was a mistake. The book turned out to be one of my favorite reads of the year. Collins delivers his typical brilliance, and Hansen proves to be a promising up-and-comer in the business book scene.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From a Book You Read in 2017?

From The Legacy of Steve Jobs by Fortune Magazine
“True to form, the shepherd to his Apple flock often teaches in parables. One such lesson could be called ‘The Difference Between the Janitor and the Vice President,’ and it’s a sermon Jobs delivers every time an executive reaches the VP level. Jobs imagines his garbage regularly not being emptied in his office, and when he asks the janitor why, he gets an excuse: The locks have been changed, and the janitor doesn’t have a key. This is an acceptable excuse coming from someone who empties trash bins for a living. The janitor gets to explain why something went wrong. ‘When you’re the janitor,’ Jobs has repeatedly told incoming VPs, ‘reasons matter.’ He continues: ‘Somewhere between the janitor and the CEO, reasons stop mattering.’ That ‘Rubicon,’ he has said, ‘is crossed when you become a VP.’”

Steve Jobs - Passion for What You Are Doing

From The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
“Effectiveness is doing the things that get you closer to your goals. Efficiency is performing a given task (whether important or not) in the most economical manner possible. Being efficient without regard to effectiveness is the default mode of the universe…Two rules of effectiveness: (1) Doing something unimportant well does not make it important. (2) Requiring a lot of time does not make a task important.

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read in 2017?

Shortest: Designed to Go the Distance by Mitch Dowell (102 pages)
Longest: It by Stephen King (1,116 pages)

17. Book That Shocked You the Most?

The Four by Scott Galloway
Two things shocked me in this book:
(1) The sheer size of Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook (“the Four”) as described by Galloway. He shares a boatload of facts that elucidate why we should fear the size of these tech titans.
(2) Galloway’s vitriol toward “the Four” is unmatched. I was surprised at his level of distain for these four companies. Proponents of “the Four” say these companies have “played the game” of capitalism better than any others in the market. Galloway leads the tribe of dissenters who believe these companies are stifling competition and ruining business. Like most things, the truth probably lives somewhere between the two extremes.

The Four Companies

18. Favorite Book You Read in 2017 from an Author You’ve Read Previously?

Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday

19. Best Book You Read in 2017 that You Read Based SOLELY on a Recommendation from Somebody Else?

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

20. Best 2017 Debut You Read?

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
Knight’s first foray into authorship produced one of my favorite books of the year. The Nike co-founder shares the struggles he faced when starting the iconic sports apparel company, including almost losing his company.

21. Best World-Building/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Yup, Red Rising takes home another award. I can’t wait until this book is turned into a movie. The film version has been in the works for a while, but supposedly the production team is taking time to do justice to the world Brown created in the book. Brown is writing the screenplay and assisting on the movie.

22. Book that Put a Smile on Your Face/Was the Most FUN to Read?

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Almost everyone has seen the movie (the old or new version), but few people I know have read the book. Reading the book gave me the chance to experience the joy anew when Charlie unwrapped the chocolate bar containing that glorious golden ticket.

Willy Wonka123. Book That Made You Cry or Nearly Cry in 2017?

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

24. Hidden Gem of The Year?

The Power of Moments by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
I am a huge fan of Chip and Dan Heath; I’ve read every one of their books. Despite not hearing much press about this book, I bought it on the strength of their past works. The Power of Moments dives into the science of memories: how they’re created, why we remember certain things rather than others, and what we can do to make events more memorable. This book is fascinating.

25. Most Unique Book You Read in 2017?

Deep Thinking by Garry Kasparov
Growing up, chess was my favorite hobby. I played for hours every day, “wrote” my own chess book (which was actually just a compilation of a bunch of chess openings I had read in other books), and was fortunate enough to win the state chess championship. Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov was one of my idols.

In Deep Thinking, Kasparov shares what was going through his mind when he faced the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue in the “man vs. machine” matches of 1996 and 1997. For those of you who think a book about a chess match would be horribly boring, you are quite mistaken. Kasparov uses the match as a springboard to discuss the development of AI and articulate the ways computers “think” differently than humans.

Kasparov vs Deep Blue

Looking Ahead

1. One Book You Didn’t Get to in 2017 But Will Be Your Top Priority in 2018?

The Upstarts by Brad Stone
Stone’s earlier book The Everything Store told the story of Jeff Bezos creating Amazon, forever changing the world of retail. Stone’s new book The Upstarts focuses on the new disrupters in business: Uber and Airbnb.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating in 2018 (Non-Debut)?

Skin in the Game by Nassim Nicholas Taleb – Release Date: Feb 27, 2018
Taleb’s books are some of my favorites: Fooled by RandomnessThe Black Swan, and Antifragile. His works are always dense, yet incredibly thought-provoking. I’m sure this one will become another fast favorite.

Skin in the Game Book Cover

3. 2018 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Thinking in Bets by Annie Duke – Release Date: Feb 6, 2018
Poker champion Annie Duke has written a few books, so this book isn’t strictly her “debut” as an author. However, her other books have been about poker, while this book marks her debut into business writing. In this new book, Duke will share how she’s learned to become comfortable making decisions amidst uncertainty.

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2018?

Iron Gold by Pierce Brown – Release Date: Jan 16, 2018

5. One Thing You Hope to Accomplish or Do in Your Reading/Blogging Life in 2018?

I just launched a monthly email newsletter. I will be investing a lot of time in that new endeavor in 2018. If you’re in the market for book recommendations, inspiring quotes, and other brain food, you can sign up here: Sign me up!

 

What were your favorite books from 2017? Leave a comment on this post with your thoughts!

2016 Year in Review

2016-year-in-reviewBook Survey Hosted by Perpetual Page Turner

Stats:

  • # of Books Read: 73 (see Book List)
  • # of Pages Read: 23,441
  • # of Re-Reads: 6
  • Genre You Read the Most: Business

 

1. Best book you read in 2016?

The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver

2. Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love, but didn’t?

Good Profit by Charles Koch

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read? 

This Will Make You Smarter edited by John Brockman

This book is full of vignettes from a bunch of incredibly smart people. However, I was surprised that so many of them struggled with simplifying complex information. That is quite an important skill, but many of the authors were impeded by either their own hubris or “the curse of knowledge” of not being able to simplify the message they wanted to convey.

4. Book you “pushed” the most people to read (and they did) in 2016?

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

5. Best series you started in 2016?

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Remarkably, I had never read this series before. I tried reading The Hobbit a couple times when I was younger, but I couldn’t get past the flowery language and dense writing style. It took me about 100 pages or so until I really started to get into The Fellowship of the Ring, but now I’m hooked and excited to finish the series in early 2017. I’m reading The Two Towers right now.

lord-of-the-rings

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?

Ryan Holiday

I read Trust Me, I’m Lying by Holiday back in 2013 and wasn’t very impressed. However, this year I stumbled upon a snippet from Holiday’s new book Ego is the Enemy and immediately ordered the book. That book and The Obstacle is the Way are both amazing. I look forward to reading future books by Holiday.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston with Mario Spezi

I don’t read many true crime books, but I’m glad I made an exception for this one. As a fan of the Hannibal television series, it was fascinating to hear about the real-life killer who motivated Thomas Harris to create the character Hannibal.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

9. Book you read in 2016 which you are most likely to re-read next year?

Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?

The Star Wars Trilogy (Barnes & Noble leather bound edition)

star-wars-trilogy

11. Most memorable character from a book you read in 2016?

Captain Nemo from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?

Candide by Voltaire

Honestly, I wasn’t a huge fan of the book as a whole–perhaps because I listened to it on audio and didn’t take enough time to fully process the story. Regardless, it was well-written and I like Voltaire’s sarcastic writing style.

13. Most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2016?

Mindset by Carol Dweck

Dweck reveals mind-blowing research about the power of having a “growth mindset” as opposed to a “fixed” one. The implications of her studies are vast–spanning education, parenting, coaching, and managing. Her research is also the foundation behind some other books I love like Grit by Angela Duckworth.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited until 2016 to finally read? 

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, as mentioned above

15. Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2016?

I have several:

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” -Albert Einstein

“As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance.” -John Wheeler

“I’ve never really viewed myself as particularly talented. Where I excel is ridiculous, sickening work ethic.” -Will Smith

16. Shortest and longest book you read in 2016?

Shortest: Candide by Voltaire (94 pages)

Longest: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (870 pages)

17. Favorite book you read in 2016 from an author you’ve read previously?

Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed

18. Best book you read in 2016 which was based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure?

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

My buddy Ben recommended this book to me earlier this year and the book was absolutely incredible. Ready Player One will be turned into a movie directed by Steven Spielberg in 2018. If the movie is half as good as the book, it will attract a lot of fans.

ready-player-one

19. Best debut you read in 2016?

The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver

20. Best world-building/most vivid setting you read this year?

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

21. Book which put a smile on your face/was most FUN to read?

 Holes by Louis Sachar

holes

22. Book which made you cry or nearly cry in 2016?

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany

23. Hidden gem of the year? 

The Fallout by S.A. Bodeen

S.A. Bodeen is one of my favorite YA authors. She has written several great books like The Compound and The Gardner. She has several other novels in publication, so I plan to check out more of her work in 2017.

24. Book which crushed your soul? 

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

25. Most unique book you read in 2016?

Fix It: Getting Accountability Right [Advance Copy] by Roger Connors, Tom Smith, Craig Hickman, Tracy Skousen, and Marcus Nicolls

This book is unique in that it gives so many actionable solutions for improving accountability in your personal life, team, and organization. It reads almost like a “choose your own adventure” book. You select areas of personal struggle, then turn to the part of the book that contains possible solutions for that issue.

26. Book which made you angry (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

The Smartest Guys in the Room by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind

This book depicts the tale of Enron’s spectacular fall. The arrogance, dishonesty, and corruption embodied by Ken Lay, Jeffrey Skilling, and the rest of Enron’s motley crew are sickening.

enrons-spectacular-fall

27. One book you didn’t read in 2016 but will be a top priority in 2017?

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

My friend Hunter recommended this book to me earlier this year, and I just picked up a copy. I’ll be reading it as one of my first books of 2017.

2015 End-of-Year Book Survey Results

2015-end-of-year-book-survey-1024x984
Hosted at Perpetual Page Turner

Stats:

  • Number of Books Read: 61 (see Book List)
  • Number of Re-Reads: 5
  • Genre You Read the Most: Business

 

1. Best book you read in 2015?

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

The Hard Thing about Hard Things

2. Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love, but didn’t?

Winning the Story Wars by Jonah Sachs

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read? 

Killing Patton by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard – I’ve really enjoyed most of the other books in this series, but this one lost its way. It was as if O’Reilly and Dugard forgot that they were supposed to write about General Patton rather than snippets on all of the most powerful men in WWII.

4. Book you “pushed” the most people to read (and they did)?

The ONE Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

5. Best series you started in 2015?

The Wayward Pines series by Blake Crouch – This story really drew me in. I pounded out all three books in a couple weeks.

Also, I have to throw out an “Honorable Mention” for The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King – I started the series last year, but I read the majority of the books this year. Awesome story from one of my favorite writers of all time!

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?

 Blake Crouch, author of the Wayward Pines series mentioned above

7, Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Psych Ward by Stephen Seager – I don’t read about the medical world very often, but this book was fascinating. Seager details all of the crazy events that progressed during his year as an intern in a psych ward.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Pines by Blake Crouch, the first book in the Wayward Pines series

9. Book you read in 2015 which you are most likely to re-read next year?

The Big Short by Michael Lewis – I’ve already read this book twice, but I just watched the new movie starring Christian Bale, Steve Carell, and Ryan Gosling, which made me want to read the book again. Lewis is one of my favorite story-tellers, and I also love reading about the subprime mortgage crisis.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?

Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath

11. Most memorable character of 2015?

 If we’re talking about memorable characters from books I read in 2015, I’d say Roland Deschain from The Dark Tower series.

If we’re talking about characters from books that came out in 2015, I’d definitely say Mark Watney from The Martian by Andy Weir.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?

 All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

13. Most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2015?

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson

The Road to Character by David Brooks

14. Book you can’t believe you waited until 2015 to finally read? 

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

15. Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2015?

“The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of a doubt, what is laid before him.” -Leo Tolstoy, quoted in the book The Big Short by Michael Lewis

“I must explore and experiment. I am never satisfied with my work. I resent the limitations of my own imagination.” -Walt Disney, quoted in the book How to Be Like Walt by Pat Williams

“In any human interaction, the required amount of communication is inversely proportional to the level of trust.” -Ben Horowitz in the book The Hard Thing about Hard Things

16. Shortest and longest book you read in 2015?

Shortest: Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (110 pages)

Longest: The Dark Tower by Stephen King (845 pages)

17. Book which shocked you the most?

Room by Emma Donoghue

18. Favorite book you read in 2015 from an author you’ve read previously?

Influencer by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler

19. Best book you read in 2015 which was based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure?

The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King, recommended to me by my brother-in-law Mitch

The Dark Tower Series

20. Best 2015 debut you read?

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

21. Best world-building/most vivid setting you read this year?

The Martian by Andy Weir

22. Book which put a smile on your face/was most FUN to read?

 Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll – Weird read, but very entertaining and creative

23. Book which made you cry or nearly cry in 2015?

The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King

24. Hidden gem of the year? 

Misbehaving by Richard Thaler

25. Book which crushed your soul? 

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

26. Most unique book you read in 2015?

Lost at Sea by Jon Ronson

27. Book which made you angry (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer

28. One book you didn’t read in 2015 but will be a top priority in 2016?

Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb