For the last few years, I’ve read primarily business books. However, I focused on reading more widely this year. I think it’s important to introduce different ways of thinking into the repertoire. It also helps to introduce some perspective into life. After all, the goal is not only to be to better at your work, but be a more rounded human being. I won’t be satisfied with only 1.

Take the example of someone like Warren Buffet. He is respected by millions for his work. However, he sounds like a very average husband and a worse father. That to me will always be a limited life.


“In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote

Enjoyable. you can tell I found it engrossing by the fact I read it so speedily. However, I didn’t find myself lost in it. I’m not sure if that’s a consequence of the type of book, but it doesn’t enter my favourites as a result. The writing is very skilled and precise.


“American Psycho” by Bret Easton Ellis

I was convinced to read this, many years after it had been exhaustively discussed. I’ve seen the movie, but just about remember it. It’s written in a distinctive style. Detailed, tongue in cheek, but literary. The gory details of the murders dare you to stop reading, but the quality keeps you moving on. I found it fun, enjoyable, grossing. Not the greatest book I’ll ever read, but the writing was of a much higher quality than I expected from the hype.


“Devil and the White City” by Erik Larson

As a new resident of Chicago, this came highly recommended as a way to get to know the city’s history as it covers the period of the World’s Fair. It lived up to the expectations. I found it hard to put down as I became absorbed in both strands of the story – the World’s Fair and a serial killer. I even learnt about the growth of Chicago as well. The book is well written, following in the tradition of books such as In Cold Blood. I’d recommend this book even for non-Chicago residents.


“The End of Night” (a great book on the night sky and the impact of light pollution) by Paul Bogard

A meditation on the role of darkness in all our lives and the encroachment of artificial light. The goal allows the writer to cover a wide variety of topics, which vary in quality but are all at least interesting. I learnt a lot and enjoyed the depth behind this book.


A best of book on Robert Frost’s poems

I was initially attracted by “The Road Not Taken” but the number of great poems took me by surprise. The quality and sounds of the words were fantastic. A great collection.


“The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can: Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer” by Gretchen Reynolds

This book has literally changed how I will exercise in the future. It collects the best current scientific knowledge on exercise and explodes many myths. Stretching hinders performance, cooling down is worse than stopping suddenly, afterburn never existed (except in very strenuous scenarios), resistance exercise is as good for you as aerobic exercise and many more. I’ve already put many of them into action and this will be as important to me on exercise as “Fat Chance” was on my diet.


“The Better Angels of our Nature” by Steven Pinker 

Very long but completely worth it. I learnt new things from many different areas and it proves conclusively that it is far safer now than it has ever been. essential reading for those parents who struggle to allow their kids to leave the house.


“Fat Chance: The bitter truth about sugar” by Robert Lustig

The book has changed my diet – it shows how most of the obesity epidemic is caused by the influx of sugar into our diets. Especially at the cost of fibre. He explains why fruit juice is so bad for you and provides a list of “healthy” food types. He doesn’t concern himself with weight, just with recommending how not to get metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure, heart attacks, diabetes). Anyone wanting to eat healthily, and add over 10 years to their life, should read Fat Chance.


“The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?” by Seth Godin

A lot of people don’t know that the story of Icarus said he shouldn’t be too low either so his wings weren’t weighed down by the sea. Instead it is taken as a story of how people shouldn’t aim for too much. Seth Godin urges against this impulse and that people should aim high and expect to get there.


“Do You Believe in Magic?: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine” by Paul Offit

Most people know that the more unbelievable alternative medicines like acupuncture and homeopathy aren’t true. However, to find out that high doses of vitamins are positively harmful and shorten life is important. Most affecting are the stories of the parents taken advantage of by the purveyors of miracle cures as they try to heal their sick children, whether suffering from cancer, autistic or many others. All of which can reputedly be cured by vitamins and all manner of “natural” remedies.


“Winning” by Jack Welch

This is one of the most important business books I’ve read. And one of the simplest to understand. It is 50 years of experience condensed in easy to understand topics.

When I finished reading it, I went straight back and re-read all the highlights I’d made on my Kindle app. He covers all the most important topics in business including hiring, managing your career, reviewing your staff, setting strategy, organisational structure and more.

Anyone going through my reading list will see how many business books I’ve read. This would be in my top 3.


“The Start-Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career” by Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha

This book reads at times more like an infomercial for LinkedIn. there were some useful tips in there but surrounded by filler. The useful tips are not abundant enough for me to recommend this book.


“David and Goliath” by Malcolm Gladwell

This is a good book. It is diverting and has the strong real life examples that Malcolm Gladwell always brings to his books. However, I found myself not really having added anything to my knowledge or insight by the end. I enjoyed the style, but it lacked any real substance behind the stories.

I think this is a very good book to take on holiday where you don’t want to expend too much brainpower and want to be entertained. Sadly, this is his first book where I would say that it is no more than that.


“What a Wonderful World: One Man’s Attempt to Explain the Big Stuff” by Marcus Chown

This is not a book to start on if you’re a science novice. I consider myself science-literate, but Chown makes the concepts as simple as possible but no more than that. It covers a wide range of different concepts and I found them challenging and enjoyable. For a more basic version, I’d recommend Bill Bryson’s “A Short History of Nearly Everything”.