My Top Ten Book Recommendations

My Top Ten Book Recommendations

Dec 14th 2014

I recommend the 10 books below, which include selections from business, health, economics, literature, lifestyle, writing, and even baseball.

Update: You can review a more complete list of our book recommendations for success, health & lifestyle here.

1.  Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder (Incerto)by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

Why you should read it: Periodically an author will present a big idea that is both novel and, upon reflection, seemingly obvious. Yet, you did not think of it and probably wouldn't have, but for the author's articulation of the idea. That is the idea of "antifragility" that Taleb describes here. Antifragile is not robust, but better: It improves with small shocks or damage. As you will see, it is a core characteristic that is both novel and obvious. It applies for both systems, companies, and individuals and may cause you to rethink your approach. This is one of the most enlightening books I have ever read. If you like Nassim Taleb, you might also consider reading Fooled by Randomness and The Black Swan.


2.  Perfect Health Diet: Regain Health and Lose Weight by Eating the Way You Were Meant to Eatby Shou-Ching Jaminet, Ph.D., Paul Jaminet, Ph.D. (introduction by Mark Sisson).

Why you should read it: Because most of what you have learned about diet and nutrition over the last 40 to 50 years is wrong. This is not a book about a fad diet, but a well-researched balanced analysis of what human beings should eat. The research behind the recommendations is well-documented and persuasive. Their approach has some similarities to the Paleo diet, but doesn't follow it exactly. You can read more about this book here.

If you are interested in the Paleo approach to diet, check out our review of Robb Wolf's, "The Paleo Solution, the Original Human Diet," here.


3.   The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated), by Timothy Ferriss.

Why you should read it: This book has changed many lives. Tim Ferriss is what I would call a modern-day philosopher. Not of the academic variety, but in the classic sense that he offers perspective on how to live life in a way that makes a legitimate contribution to the world. This books is difficult to put down and may cause you to start planning how to quit your job and start living. He explains how to do whatever you are doing more effectively and efficiently, but his biggest contribution is his overall approach, which includes, for example, a series of mini-retirements throughout life.

You can read our discussion of fat-loss tips in Tim Ferriss' 4-Hour Body book here.


4. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, by Michael Lewis.

Why you should read it: On the surface this is a book about baseball. That is great, but there are a lot of great baseball books. But more deeply, this is really a book about exploiting inefficiencies in a market. You can apply its lessons anywhere. And the book is even more pleasant because Michael Lewis is a major league story teller. 


5.  Memoir From Antproof Case, by Mark Helprin.

Why you should read it: Helprin is a fantastic storyteller that can expertly mesh the absurd with the serious. This novel is both hilarious and deep at the same time. A joy to read. If you like Helprin's Memoir from Antproof case, you might also like Freddy and Fredericka, which is also laugh-out-loud funny.


6.  Rich Dad, Poor Dad, by Robert T. Kiyosaki.

Why you should read it: This book has changed many lives, launching readers into pursuit of passive income, particularly real estate. The book's concepts are simple, but it may change the way you approach money. If you like it, "Rich Dad Poor Dad," has become a series of books on many related subjects.


7.  On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction, by William Zinnser.

Why you should read it: Writing well is not easy and requires practice. Zinnser offers the core principles of great writing and shows you how to apply them in various non-fiction contexts. To succeed, you almost certainly need to know how to write and write well. You can read more about "On Writing Well" here.

8.  A Moveable Feast: The Restored Edition, by Earnest Hemingway.

Why you should read it: This is not only an autobiography (of sorts) of not only Earnest Hemingway, but also of that magical time of Paris in the 1920s. Hemingway also includes great description of his writing process.


9.  Modern Times Revised Edition: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties (Perennial Classics), by Paul Johnson.

Why you should read it: Paul Johnson offers a surprisingly readable, thorough, and insightful examination of world history of most of the twentieth century. 

10. The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand.

Why you should read it: This is more a work of philosophy than literature as the characters are flat the the speeches are long. But regardless of whether you agree with Rand's views, there is something inspiring about standing up against everyone to build something that matters.

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