Books

Books I’ve Read

Inspired by Derek Sivers and James Clear, I decided to summarize every single book I read, in order to clarify my own thoughts and try to spot trends in my thinking. I have given each book a rating out of ten. This rating is completely subjective and my own opinion.

Tiny summary for now but I will be adding detailed notes for each.This page will constantly update as I read more, so bookmark it if you want to check back in a few months.

Sorted with my top recommendations up top


The List

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Ben’s rating: 10/10

One Line Summary: Life-changing. No matter how bad life gets, there is always meaning.

 

4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

Ben’s rating: 10/10

One Line Summary: Obtaining the life you dream about is a lot easier than you may think. Challenge the norm. Work smarter and not harder. Live a rich life.

 

The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts

Ben’s rating: 9/10

One Line Summary: Watts, who was a key influencer of Eastern thought on Western minds, argues that the root of our human frustration and daily anxiety is our tendency to live for the future, which is an abstraction.

 

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Ben’s rating: 9/10

One Line Summary: To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation. A fictional novel of a boy that finds his way.

 

Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

Ben’s rating: 9/10

One Line Summary: Ryan shows how ego – irrational or delusional self-belief – has long been linked with success and striving for goals yet this same drive has a dark side that could be keeping us from contentment and happiness.

 

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Ben’s rating: 8/10

One Line Summary: I found myself crying multiple times as I finished this book over the holidays.  It’s the memoir of a brilliant neurosurgeon as he dies of cancer. So touching–though it is a tragedy to have lost such an amazing thinker so early, we’re very lucky to have been given the gift of his writing as a parting present.

 

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown (audio)

Ben’s rating: 8/10

One Line Summary: What make great leaders great? Brene Brown argues that it is not steadfast courage and stone heartedly cynicism, it is vulnerability.

 

Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday

Ben’s rating: 8/10

One Line Summary: The obstacle that you think is keeping you from the thing you want may be the exact same thing that you need to go through in order to get it. A modern stoic look on the troubles of our day.

 

Gratitude by Oliver Sacks

Ben’s rating: 8/10

One Line Summary: A dying man’s last essays on how to live a beautiful and fulfilling life. Stunning.

 

Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Kamal Ravikant

Ben’s rating: 8/10

One Line Summary: You are the sum total of every decision that you have made, so hack your brain by focusing on what you are grateful for in your life and the results will be nothing less than life-changing.

 

Mindset by Carol Dweck

Ben’s rating: 8/10

One Line Summary:  An inquiry into the power of our beliefs, both conscious and unconscious, and how changing even the simplest of them can have profound impact on nearly every aspect of our lives.

Essentialism by Greg McKeown

Ben’s rating: 8/10

One Line Summary: To limit overwhelm and make a true difference in the world, one must decide on their essential intent and ignore all options.

 

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

Ben’s rating: 8/10

One Line Summary: What you seek will continue to evade you until you realize that the thing you so longed for is inside of you.

 

Status Anxiety by Alain de Botton

Ben’s rating: 8/10

One Line Summary: The immeasurably insightful psychological novel that gives you a witty and intelligent examination of the craziness we all go through in order to look successful.

 

Oh the Places You’ll Go by Doctor Suess

Ben’s rating: 8/10

One Line Summary: Life is much harder than you thought it would be, but that is no excuse for not preserving and living a life of your dreams.

 

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie

Ben’s rating: 7.5/10

One Line Summary: A rather antiquated, but relevant piece on how to squelch stress and worry by using practical strategies.

10% Happier by Dan Harris

Ben’s rating: 7/10

One Line Summary: The story of how mindfulness and meditation can enhance your success in the business world. You do not have to be a hippie with dreads to realize the amazing benefits of a calm mind.

Waking Up by Sam Harris

Ben’s rating: 7/10

One Line Summary. Sam Harris, a PhD in Neuroscience, discusses the psychological health benefits of meditation and mindfulness without religious ties or ideologies.

 

Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh

Ben’s rating: 7/10

One Line Summary: A slim, simply worded collection of immeasurably wise insights on the most complex and most rewarding human potentiality, presence.

4 Hour Body by Tim Ferriss

Ben’s rating: 6.5/10

One Line Summary: Getting skinny or ripped is a lot easier than you thought if you follow the proven methods laid out in this book. I dropped 15 lbs in 1.5 months following the slow carb diet.

 

The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin (audio)

Ben’s rating: 6.5/10

One Line Summary: An amazing examination of the decision making process of one of the world’s greatest thinkers.

Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

Ben’s rating: 6/10

One Line Summary: A satirical novel about the correspondence between a senior demon and his nephew that juxtaposes sin and truth.

 

Anything you Want by Derek Sivers

Ben’s rating: 6/10

One Line Summary: A short compilation of essays that are essential for any modern day entrepreneur looking to make a difference with their business.

 

Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach

Ben’s rating: 6/10

One Line Summary: Fear. Death. Anxiety. All negative emotions are just that, emotions. They are not who you are. Accept them. Feel them. And move through them.

Terrible title, but very practical advice on how to implement mindfulness and meditation into a modern, busy life.

 

The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson

Ben’s rating: 6/10

One Line Summary: Lack of faith in yourself may be the very thing keeping you from achieving the unthinkable.  

 

The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

Ben’s rating: 6/10

One Line Summary: Commit to getting 1% better each day and the compounding force of your growth will create massive long term benefits.

 

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Ben’s rating: 6/10

One Line Summary: Every creator struggles with the resistant fear that keeps us from doing the work that matters. Understand this resistance will never go away and commit to moving through it each and every day.

 

Play It Away by Charlie Hoehn (kindle)

Ben’s rating: 6/10

One Line Summary: The anecdote to your stress and anxiety could be your that you have forgotten how to play. Get outside and throw the frisbee around. Your life may just depend on it.

 

How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain de Botton

Ben’s rating: 6/10

One Line Summary: Philosophy is not for esoteric ruminations of words, rather it is a practical operating system for living a happy and fulfilling life in a chaotic world.

 

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig

Ben’s rating: 6/10

One Line Summary: A metaphysical non-fiction piece that examines the definition of Quality that is is intertwined with a tragic tale of mental illness in America during the 1970-90s.

 

7 Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra

Ben’s rating 6/10

One Line Summary: Freely inspired in Hinduist and spiritualistic concepts, this book preaches the idea that personal success is not the outcome of hard work, precise plans or a driving ambition, but rather of understanding our basic nature as human beings and how to follow the laws of nature.

 

Choose Yourself by James Altucher

Ben’s rating: 5/10

One Line Summary: The world is changing and it is up to us to make the decision to choose ourselves rather than waiting for others (recruiters, publishers, etc.) to choose us.

 

The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

Ben’s rating: 5/10

One Line Summary: A collection of stories about men and women all around the world that have started a sustainable business for under $500 (and most for under $100).

 

The Power of Now Eckhart Tolle

Ben’s rating: 5/10

One Line Summary: Presense is the key to abundance.

 

Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins

Ben’s rating: 5/10

One Line Summary: In order to get what you want out of life you must master both the science of achievement and the art of fulfillment.

 

The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz

Ben’s rating: 4/10

One Line Summary: The problem that is keeping you from your biggest dreams is not that you are thinking too big, it is that you are thinking too small. If you decide that you are going to think bigger and larger than the masses that is what you will get in return.

 

4 Hour Chef by Tim Ferriss

Ben’s rating: 4/10

One Line Summary: A deconstruction of Tim Ferriss’ learning methods.

 

Smart People Should Build Things by Andrew Yang

Ben’s rating: 3/10

One Line Summary: In order to rebuilt the American economy, it is vital that our smartest graduates be placed into startup ecosystems.

 

Style and the Man by Alan Flusser

Ben’s rating: 3/10

One Line Summary: The sartorial bible written by one of the thought leaders in bespoke menswear.

 

Small Giants by Bo Burlingham

Ben’s rating; 3/10

One Line Summary: A tale of the companies that choose to remain great instead of merely big.

Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross

Ben’s rating: 3/10

One Line Summary: The creator of the modern tech sales methodology, Aaron Ross, talks about how you grossed over 100mm in recurring revenue while at Salesforce.

 

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid

Ben’s rating: 3/10

One Line Summary: This book came with high reviews, but for whatever reason, I just could not get into it. However, I may try again, but the main premise of the book is that going beyond oneself, and not for the cars, deals, and power associated with riches, is something worth struggling for.