2019, The Year in Books


I read a grand total of 33 books this past year.  That’s about one book every 10 days. 

You can find me with a book in my hands most days somewhere between 7:00 and 8:00 am.  I come home from the gym and while I take a few minutes of quite time to recover with a cup of coffee I’ll read a few pages.  At the end of my day, between 5:30 and 6:30 pm I pick the book up again and read for as long as I can before drifting off to sleep.  Nap time is a great way to end a workday.

On the weekends, I try to squeeze in a few concentrated hours, depending on what else is happening in my world.  The result of all these reading times is an average pace of about 25-30 pages a day so with the average book being about 300 pages long the math works out.

For the most part I read three kinds of books.  I read business related books on things like sales psychology, personal development, and business management.  I read theology and personal spirituality books so I can become a better person and gain a better understanding of faith and God.  And I read about health, personal training and development so that I can become a better Triathlete.  I also read the odd novel just for the hell of it when I’m on vacation or just trying to find a simple escape from the world.

Here is the list of books that I completed in 2019, sprinkled with a few comments and reviews of the ones that really stood out. 

The Well-Built Triathlete: Turning Potential Into Performance – Matt Dixon

Read from: 10/27/2018 to 01/01/2019

I took my time with this one, dropping in and out as I learned various techniques that I could apply to my training plan immediately.  I finished it on New Year’s Day, so it just snuck in under the wire to be included on this year’s list.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things:  Building a Business When There are No Easy Answers – Ben Horowitz

Read from: 01/12/2019 to 01/26/219

Shoe Dog:  A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE – Phil Knight

Read from: 01/26/2019 to 02/03/2019

This one was a lot of fun, reminded me of the early days of my previous life as an entrepreneur in the music business.  Lots of great stories, I could really feel both the stress and elation of running a start up.

Guerrilla Marketing:  Easy and Inexpensive Strategies for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business – Jay Conrad Levinson, Jeannie Levinson, Amy Levinson

Read from 02/03/2019 to 02/24/2019

The Endurance Handbook – Philip Maffetone

Read from 01/01/2019 to 03/02/2019

The Trauma Code:  Unlocking your Performance – Doug Smith

Read from 03/03/2019 to 03/09/2019

I ate this book up, blowing through it in just 6 days.  The author is a local hockey hero who survived a life-threatening injury on the ice during a game.  His journey back and what he learned about how our brains work in the face of trauma was life changing.

Thrive:  The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder – Arianna Huffington

Read from 03/09/2019 to 03/18/2019

Zero to One: Notes on Start-ups, or How to Build the Future – Peter Thiel

Read from 03/18/2019 to 03/24/2019

Difficult Conversations:  How to Discuss What Matters Most – Bruce Patton

Read from 03/30/2019 to 04/06/2019

Blueprint for Revolution:  How to Use Rice Pudding, Lego Men, and Other Nonviolent Techniques to Galvanize Communities, Overthrow Dictators, or Simply Change the World – Srdja Popovic

Read from 04/09/2019 to 04/13/2019

Don’t let the title fool you.  While told on the back drop of revolutionary movements, like the overthrow of communist regimes in Europe, this is really a book about marketing and spreading ideas.

Made to Stick:  Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die – Chip Heath

Read from 04/13/2019 to 04/21/2019

The Upside-Down Kingdom – Donald B. Kraybill

Read from 04/21/2019 to 05/04/2019

Anabaptist theology 101.  This is a book about Jesus, community and how to read the bible without any cultural or theological bias.

Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman

Read from 05/04/2019 to 05/22/2019

Statistics meets behavioural psychology and economics.  If you are a marketer or salesperson who wants to understand how to manipulate perception and nudge people to move in a particular direction, this book could help.  Caution:  some of the ideas discussed could be considered dishonest and underhanded but I bet they would work on most people.  Turns out we’re a pretty predictable species if you pull the right levers and push the right buttons.

Cure for the Common Life:  Living in Your Sweet Spot – Max Lucado

Read from 03/24/2019 to 05/25/2019

Collaborating with the Enemy:  How to Work with People You Don’t Agree with or Like or Trust – Adam Kahane

Read from 05/28/2019 to 06/02/2019

What Should I Do With My Life:  The True Story of People Who Answered the Ultimate Question – Po Bronson

Read from 06/02/2019 to 06/20/2019

A Piece of the Action:  How the Middle Class Joined the Money Class – Joseph Nocera

Read from 06/20/2019 to 07/07/2019

This book traces the origin of consumer debt from the first credit cards to today along with the advent of discount brokerage and investment houses in the United States.  It’s a very eye-opening discussion of who we are and how we got here along with some subtle comments about the characteristics of greed and ignorance that help drive the economy. 

Master Your Money:  A Step-By-Step Plan for Financial Freedom – Ron Blue

Read from 05/25/2019 to 07/11/2019

Sapiens:  A Brief History of Humankind – Yuval Noah Harari

Read from 07/11/2019 to 08/03/2019

The Fireman and The Waitress – Dessa Kaspardlov

Read from 08/03/2019 to 08/10/2019

I finally found a book that details my own personal philosophy of financial planning.  I was starting to think I was the only one that considered debt, in all it’s forms, to be a bad idea.  And who feels that taking a long hard look at values along with goals, debt and taxes is the only effective way to plan for your future. 

Leaders Eat Last – Simon Sinek

Read from 08/10/2019 to 08/19/2019

New Power:  How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World and How to Make It Work for You – Jeremy Heimans, Henry Timms

Read from 08/19/2019 to 08/31/2019

Bucky F*cking Dent – David Duchovny

Read from 08/31/2019 to 09/12/2019

My one and only novel this year.  Baseball is the only spectator sport that I enjoy watching and any story that has a baseball theme is a good story as far as I’m concerned.  I took this book on our end of summer weekend away as an escape from the world and I thoroughly enjoyed the diversion.

The Tipping Point:  How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference – Malcolm Gladwell

Read from 09/12/2019 – 09/23/2019

I read this one a few years ago.  It’s always a good one to return to, as a reminder of some of things that drive our society.  The discussion of connectors and influencers was helpful in refocussing my business for the fall push.

Being Mortal:  Medicine and What Matters in the End – Atul Gawande

Read from 10/05/2019 to 10/15/2019

The Girl Who Smiled Beads:  A Story of War and What Comes After – Clemantine Wamariya, Elizabeth Weil

Read from 10/15/2019 to 10/29/2019

If you’ve ever wondered what life is like for children who survive genocide and then try to live a “normal” life, read this book.  You’ll never watch the news or think of war in the same way again.

No God but One:  Allah or Jesus?  A Former Muslim Investigates the Evidence for Islam and Christianity – Nabeel Qureshi

Read from 10/29/2019 to 11/10/2019

Buying Time:  Trading Your Savings for Income and Lifestyle in Your Prime Retirement Years – Daryl Diamond

Read from 11/10/2019 to 11/21/2019

Life Together and Prayerbook of the Bible – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Read from 11/21/2019 to 12/07/2019

A two for one book, Bonhoeffer wrote both books while imprisoned for speaking out against the Nazis.  The first details a community way of life based on the teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.  The second discusses how to pray while reading the psalms.  Both have been immensely helpful for me as I continue my own personal journey of discipleship.

Peak Performance:  Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success – Brad Stulberg, Steve Magness

Read from 12/07/2019 to 12/14/2019

168 Hours:  You Have More Time Than You Think – Laura Vanderkam

Read from 12/14/2019 to 12/26/2019

Forget about to do lists, or traditional time management tools like pocket calendars.  The most productive way to manage your time is with a system of “time blocking”, set your priorities and fill in the time around them.  I’m getting away from my old to do list system and implementing a plan like this in 2020.

America the Anxious:  How Our Pursuit of Happiness Is Creating a Nation of Nervous Wrecks – Ruth Whippman

Read from 12/26/2019 to 12/30/2019

I’m still digesting this one but the main thing that stats out so far is a quote from the final pages. 

“Happiness has turned inward and become entangled with the idea of a personal journey and forging ahead alone.  Our narrative of happiness has become individualistic and punitive, totally divorced from social justice or wider responsibility.  If we genuinely want to build a happy society, we need a shift in thinking, and acceptance that happiness cannot be achieved by emotionally cloistering ourselves, that it needs other people in order to flourish.”

So, there you have it, my year in books.  If you’ve also read any of these books, would like to know more about them or have any suggestions of additional reading that I should pursue, let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 

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