I don’t just read real estate investing books. In fact, I have barely read any.
You can learn a lot about someone by learning what influences them. So if you are interested in where I’m coming from, check out the books I’ve read over the last decade.
by Steven Strogatz
Brian’s thoughts: I read a fastinating short book in high school on the golden ratio, was hoping this would be like that. Unfortunately the interesting topics were too few and far between, leaving you wanting more just when it got interesting.
by Matt Ridley
Brian’s thoughts: Liked this way more than I thought I would – each chapter is essentially an essay on how the narrative of top down organizations and lone geniuses is wrong. Draws on some of my favorites: Nassim Taleb, Sam Harris, Sapolsky.
by Michael Ovitz
Brian’s thoughts: Highly recommend – about top agent in Hollywood in 80s and 90s. It is a great business book, especially negotiation, without trying. Fascinating Hollywood tidbits about how things got made and the personalities behind it all.
by Christopher Hitchens
Brian’s thoughts: Solid quick read – I’d been wanting to read something by Hitchens. I seem to like people who hold inconvenient views and burn bridges.
What Every Body Is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed-Reading People
by Joe Navarro
Brian’s thoughts: Cool, short book in an area I have next to no knowledge of. Argues that the limbic system has automatic body movements that the person isn’t aware of. Not a lie detector test, but great tips on knowing when someone is uncomfortable, bored, etc.
Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man’s First Journey to the Moon
by Robert Kurson
Brian’s thoughts: Awesome stuff. The space race was very impressive, this book is about the point when we went from behind to winning. It made me want to rewatch Apollo 13 (which I did) and re-study physics (which I did not).
We’re Pregnant! The First Time Dad’s Pregnancy Handbook
by Adrian Kulp
Brian’s thoughts: Fine overview of pregnancy, but I can’t recommend this book. Seemed structured like it was for people who don’t read books, too repetitive.
Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets
by Nassim Taleb
Brian’s thoughts: Love Nassim, so thought I’d pick up his original book. Good read as it seems to jump around a bit more than his others like Black Swan (which I may pick as the best), so a good one to start with (I appreciate his later irreverence though). As a quick intro, check out this New Yorker article about him by Malcolm Gladwell.
Brian’s thoughts: I’ve learned a lot from Ramit and knew Jay Abraham was a huge influence. So I thought I’d see what he was about – he has no shortage of creative ways to drum up business, the book is a dated but solid.
The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For
by David McCullough
Brian’s thoughts: Nah. A collection of speeches by a historian, plenty of commencements. The best ones were too short and made me want to learn more, but overall wouldn’t recommend.
The World as It Is: A Memoir of the Obama White House
by Ben Rhodes
Brian’s thoughts: Great book by Obama’s speech writer and foreign policy guru. An interesting, first-hand view of recent history. I’m not normally interested in foreign policy, but behind-the-scenes after-the-fact is great.
Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst
by Robert Sapolsky
Brian’s thoughts: Dense, but a great overview on what makes humans behave the way they do. Tons of science from neuro, hormones, genetics, and a ton about groups (especially interesting IN-group, OUT-group thinking). Some parts were fascinating, others skim-worthy.
Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland
Christopher R. Browning
Brian’s thoughts: Oof, rough stuff. People are capable of horrible things in groups, even without a leader “forcing” them. Surprisingly minimal stuff like not wanting to leave your buddies with all the “work” and career goals for the good of your family.
Freedom’s Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II
Brian’s thoughts: This was really cool: 1943 and 1944 the US produced more war material (tanks, planes, ammunition, etc) than the rest the world combined. This incredible effort doesn’t get discussed enough.
Stranger in a Strange Land
Brian’s thoughts: Starts as a bit of a thriller with an interesting backstory, devolves into a deep and weird social commentary. I wanted to like it more, but at least now I understand where the word “grok” came from.
Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products
Brian’s thoughts: Quick read about making viral products. Plenty of “ya duh” but short enough, and some new ideas and ways to think about it. I’ll revisit the summary to remind myself someday.
American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road
Brian’s thoughts: Couldn’t put this one down. Current events that I somehow missed – interesting themes of technology and libertarianism, crossed with true crime.
After On: A Novel of Silicon Valley
Brian’s thoughts: Started slow, but I ended up loving it. Usually futuristic AI thrillers are unrealistic and way negative. This one is smart and fun.
Death in the Afternoon
Brian’s thoughts: Everything you want to know about bullfights – this was prep for heading to Pamplona. I can’t recommend the book, but do recommend Pamplona.
The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves
June 2018 (audiobook)
Brian’s thoughts: Great to get the optimist perspective every once in a while, considering all news is so negative. I think this is better than Steve Pinker’s grandiose conclusions.
Finite and Infinite Games
Brian’s thoughts: Woah. Very unique short book with concise aphorisms and conclusions. Some are extremely thought provoking and likely to stay with me, others were mumbo jumbo. Books should be judged by their best ideas and lasting power, so I recommend checking this out if you are into thinking about something different.
The Count of Monte Cristo
Brian’s thoughts: For many years I named this as my favorite book. Still good, although long. I can see the greater appeal to 18 year old me.
The Bedford Boys: One American Town’s Ultimate D-day Sacrifice
June 2018 (audiobook)
Brian’s thoughts: Getting ready for my trip to Omaha beach this summer (including watching Band of Brothers and Saving Private Ryan). This was an interesting look at the people on the very first boats to land on D-Day.
Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life
Brian’s thoughts: I love Nassim’s irreverence, he sure doesn’t care what the “intellectuals” think of him. This collection of essays is hit and miss, but since I think a book should be judged by its top 1-2 ideas, not the average, I can recommend it.
Ready Player One: A Novel
Brian’s thoughts: I wanted to reread it before the movie came out. Once you have the movie images in your mind, there is no going back and fully enjoying the book version.
Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue
Brian’s thoughts: Loved it so much I read it in 4 days. Ryan Holiday is a great author who combines storytelling with historic perspective and a central argument. Highly recommend – it may just change how you look at the world.
American History Revised: 200 Startling Facts That Never Made It into the Textbooks
Seymour Morris Jr.
Brian’s thoughts: Short fun stories about American history – some made me want to learn more, I suppose that was the goal.
If You’re Not First, You’re Last: Sales Strategies to Dominate Your Market and Beat Your Competition
February 2018 (audiobook)
Brian’s thoughts: I’d heard of this guy and after learning a lot from the last sales book (scroll down 4 books), I decided to check this out. More of a motivational speaker, light on content. Skip.
Children of Dune
Brian’s thoughts: Sometimes great, sometimes awful. Overall I wouldn’t recommend investing time reading the 2nd and 3rd books in the Dune series – just read the first book 2 or 3 times!
Brian’s thoughts: Shorter and considered the worst of the 3 original Dune series books. I agree, but will go on to the final book.
The Ultimate Sales Machine: Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies
January 2018 (audiobook)
Brian’s thoughts: This was a really useful business book. Not just sales but marketing too, some creative stuff too. I’m sure almost everyone would find value out of this book.
Brian’s thoughts: I reread this because I was was curious how it reads the second time and to continue on with the series. It is a too complex the first time, the second time I appreciated it more.
The Hero with a Thousand Faces
Brian’s thoughts: Dud. He goes deep on myths from various societies in describing the hero’s journey. Love his conclusions, but this was too dense and not as applicable. Read a more modern analysis instead.
The Old Man and The Sea
Brian’s thoughts: Good short little story. Great example of a fiction book where you learn something. Love Ernie’s writing style.
Robert A. Heinlein
Brian’s thoughts: I picked this up because I heard it was a social commentary novel kind of like Ayn Rand’s books – even when I read fiction I want to learn something. It was ok but there are better sci-fi books.
The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone–Especially Ourselves
Brian’s thoughts: I enjoyed his book Predictably Irrational, so picked up this one. It was pretty good, a couple take-aways I’ll remember. Basically just a run down of a bunch of social psychology experiments he has run and the conclusions.
The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam
Brian’s thoughts: Pretty nuts stuff to think about. Raises a lot of big questions on an issue (immigration) most pretend is clear-cut, black and white, right and wrong. Heard about on Sam Harris’s podcast and highly recommend.
Flags of Our Fathers: Heroes of Iwo Jima
Brian’s thoughts: Powerful story of the WW2 Pacific battles told through the lives of the flag raisers in the famous photo. I think the Japanese aspect of WW2 is fascinating and underappreciated due to all the Nazi focus.
Conscientious Objections: Stirring Up Trouble About Language, Technology and Education
Brian’s thoughts: A collection of essays by an interesting guy with strong and persuasive ideas. I picked it up due to my interest in tech education (which is my real job).
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century
Brian’s thoughts: Tiny little book by a legit historian with 20 conclusions about the slippery slope of tyranny, how innocent little actions at the time are in hindsight huge. Recommend, heard about on Sam Harris’s podcast.
Brian’s thoughts: Contains both malarkey and life changing wisdom, if only I could tell which is which. If you like cutting edge health ideas to test out and learning about mitochondria, this is for you.
The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea
Brian’s thoughts: Good stuff even though I knew how it ends. This is the type of book I enjoy – true events that get into the characters and teach you something (fishing industry, weather, rescues, etc.)
Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur
Brian’s thoughts: I’ve heard a lot of his stories and ready plenty of his essays, so this was mostly review. Great guy with excellent message – check him out on the Tim Ferris podcast for a good time.
The Bulletproof Diet: Lose up to a Pound a Day, Reclaim Energy and Focus, Upgrade Your Life
Brian’s thoughts: Lot’s of good background info for anyone doing the more high fat-keto-paleo type of diet. Plenty of junk science in here, but also many life changing nuggets.
The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms
Brian’s thoughts: I love Nassim’s irreverence. This is a collection of aphorisms (like “There is no clearer sign of failure than a middle-aged man boasting of his performance in college”), so it’s odd to sit down and read hundreds of them, even though some are excellent.
The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness
Brian’s thoughts: The tiny things that are easy to do and easier to put off make all the difference! Highly recommended by Gen Y Finance Guy who used this book to completely turn his life around.
God’s Debris: A Thought Experiment
Brian’s thoughts: Short and deep. The whole book is just a series of conversations between two characters, many of them are way out there, some are interesting.
Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion
March 2017 (audiobook)
Brian’s thoughts: I listen to his podcast sometimes and love Gary V’s energy and intensity. Good intro to his stuff, he reads the audiobook, which all authors should do.
March 2017 (audiobook)
Brian’s thoughts: This was an awesome audiobook read by Tim Robbins. Out of all the futurist doom-and-gloom books, I think we have the most to learn from this one. For example self-censorship with good intentions (political correctness) and more interactive media reducing social connections.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
March 2017 (audiobook)
Brian’s thoughts: Cool stories, cool guy. Makes me respect and understand his startup perspective a little bit. Biggest change in thinking is peacetime vs wartime CEO behavior.
The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution
February 2017 (audiobook)
Ready Player One: A Novel
Brian’s thoughts: Sweet! A fun futuristic world that is obsessed with 80’s trivia. This is a perfect example of a book that makes me want to read more fiction. Great recommendation for people who don’t typically read for fun.
A People’s History of the United States
January 2017 (audiobook)
Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage
The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It
Michael E. Gerber
The Fish That Ate the Whale: The Life and Times of America’s Banana King
The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future
Edison: A Biography
How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Yuval Noah Harari
Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
Robert B. Cialdini
The Road to Character
The Hunt for Vulcan: How Albert Einstein Destroyed a Planet, Discovered Relativity, and Deciphered the Universe
The Autobiography of Malcolm X
How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life
59 Seconds: Change Your Life in Under a Minute
What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful
The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI
13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened In Benghazi
The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains
Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big
Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder
Kettlebell Simple & Sinister
Levels of the Game
Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World
Peter H. Diamandis
Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think
Peter H. Diamandis
How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World
What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results
The Sun Also Rises
Profiles in Courage
John F. Kennedy
The Teammates: A Portrait of Friendship
Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture
The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance
The Great A&P and the Struggle for Small Business in America
Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator
David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants
Raising the Bar: Integrity and Passion in Life and Business: The Story of Clif Bar Inc.
The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Rome’s Last Citizen: The Life and Legacy of Cato, Mortal Enemy of Caesar
Rob Goodman and Jimmy Soni
Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy
Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead: Journeys into Fame and Madness
Chasing Daylight:How My Forthcoming Death Transformed My Life
Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community
Robert D. Putnam
Sixty Feet, Six Inches: A Hall of Fame Pitcher & a Hall of Fame Hitter Talk About How the Game Is Played
Bob Gibson, Reggie Jackson, Lonnie Wheeler
Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster
Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman
A Short History of Nearly Everything
SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper
Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin
The Pixar Touch: The Making of a Company
David A. Price
I Will Teach You To Be Rich
The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama’s Historic Victory
Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets
Survive!: Remarkable Tales from the New Zealand Outdoors
The Case of Abraham Lincoln: A Story of Adultery, Murder, and the Making of a Great President
Julie M. Fenster
Think and Grow Rich
Apples Are Square: Thinking Differently About Leadership
Susan Kuczmarski, Thomas D. Kuczmarski
Beatrice and Virgil
In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin
Freud for Beginners
Richard Appignanesi, Oscar Zarate
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck–Why Some Thrive Despite Them All
Seabiscuit: An American Legend
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships
Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin’s Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives
David Sloan Wilson
Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance
The Education of Millionaires: It’s Not What You Think and It’s Not Too Late
In Cold Blood
Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations
Mockingjay (The Third Book of the Hunger Games)
The Lean Startup
Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games)
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
The Hunger Games
Jonathan Safran Foer
The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World
The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman
by Timothy Ferriss
Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age
by Clay Shirky
Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase For Lincoln’s Killer
by James L. Swanson
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing
by Al Ries and Jack Trout
Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions
by Dan Ariely
The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
by Michael Pollan
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
by Stephen R. Covey
Do More Faster: TechStars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup
by David Cohen and Brad Feld
Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
by Tony Hsieh
The Paradox of Choice: Why Less is More
by Barry Schwarz
Free Agent Nation: The Future of Working For Yourself
by Daniel Pink
Starting Something: An Entrepreneur’s Tale of Corporate Culture
by Wayne McVickers
Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller Sr.
by Ron Chernow
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
by Daniel Pink
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
by Malcolm Gladwell
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution and How It Can Renew America
by Thomas L. Friedman
Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur’s Odyssey to Educate the World’s Children
by John Wood
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
by Anne Lamott
Losing My Virginity: How I’ve Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way
by Richard Branson
The 4 Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
by Tim Ferris
The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P. Feynman
by Richard Feynman
The HP Way: How Bill Hewlett and I Built Our Company
by David Packard
by Ayn Rand
Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life
by Neil Strauss
The Logic of Life: The Rational Economics of an Irrational World
by Tim Harford
Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis
by Robert Kennedy
The Little Kingdom: The Private Story of Apple Computer
by Michael Moritz
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
by Malcolm Gladwell
The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)
by Seth Goden
by Paulo Coelho
Things I Wish I Knew When I Was 20: A Crash Course on Making Your Place in the World
by Tina Seelig
by George Orwell
by Simon Rich
by George Orwell
Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy
by Jane Leavy
Outliers: The Story of Success
by Malcolm Gladwell
Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life
by Steve Martin
A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing
by Burton G. Malkiel
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
by Michael Lewis
Beating the Street
by Peter Lynch
Buffet: The Making of an American Capitalist
by Roger Lowenstein