I use Audible for most of my reading. Here are the books I recommend.
- Here is a list of my favorite books
- My Goodreads profile
- My favorite books of 2017
- My favorite books of 2018
The Great Mental Models by Shane Parrish (audio version): As a fan of Charlie Munger and a reader of the Farnam Street blog, I really enjoyed this book. It compiles 9 mental models that you can use to improve your thinking and decision-making. In fact, I have already read it twice, and will re-read it again. This is volume 1 of a series and I’m looking forward to the next volumes.
21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari (audio version): It’s a good book that summarizes the key messages from Sapiens and Homo Deus and brings them to the present moment. I like Yuval’s writing and recommend to start with Sapiens if you haven’t read it yet.
Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari (audio version): After re-reading Sapiens I continued with the same author. This book focuses on the future, and what the author thinks the main directions will be. One mega-trend is the “search for happiness/meaning”. There will be a growing market for products and services in this space. I also enjoyed the discussions on “algorithms” and “humanism”.
Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg (audio version): This is another one from the category “I wish I have read this 10 years ago”. I’m currently taking a deep dive into Nonviolent Communication and am reading everything by Marshall Rosenberg. If you speak German, I highly recommend Konflikte lösen durch Gewaltfreie Kommunikation as a starting point. It’s in dialogue form and a very light read. If I ever build a school, Nonviolent Communication will be a mandatory skill to learn. It’s remarkable how much impact this can have on your happiness and ability to build deep relationships in business and life!
Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence by Gary Vaynerchuk (audio version): After reading Crush It, I discovered that there was a freshly published sequel, showcasing other entrepreneurs applying the Crush It principles. So I jumped on it and enjoyed it. It’s a light book to inspire entrepreneurs wanting to start a business or side project by showing how other people have done it.
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari (audio version): After reading Guns, Germs and Steel, I re-read this book about the history of humankind. The first time I read it it blew my mind, and it’s great to get an occasional refresh.
Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk (audio version): If I’d ever publish a “how to create a lifestyle business” curriculum, this book would be required reading (together with This is Marketing by Seth Godin, How to Make $100,000 per Year in Passive Income by Chase Andrews, and other similar books). This book has been published 10 years ago and all the principles are truer than ever. Gary’s style is loud and screamy, which I don’t always find healthy, but he applies what he preaches and has been consistent for over 10 years. I respect that, and find his material very helpful (in a healthy dosage…).
Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond (audio version): I’ve had this book in my library for a long time, as it is frequently recommended. Charlie Munger’s recommendation in Poor Charlie’s Almanack has finally convinced me to read it now. It’s a wonderful book about the history of civilization. If you liked Sapiens, you will like this as well. I didn’t take away any actionable things, but it’s still great to know how this all happened. I listened to it with 1.5x speed which I find perfect for these kinds of books.
How to Make $100,000 per Year in Passive Income by Chase Andrews (audio version): I am always interested to learn about new income opportunities. I stumbled upon this book while searching for a different one, and was positively surprised. The main message of the book was to not focus on the money, but to first and foremost provide value for a very specific audience, to solve a real problem or need. This is an important message and can’t be repeated enough: You need to provide real value. The strategies themselves varied in quality. I found 5 or 6 of them really good, especially the education business ideas.
Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson (audio version): I finally finished this 600 page book inspired by Charlie Munger’s admiration for Ben Franklin. I have to say, I was not disappointed at all. The story was well written and I learned a lot: About entrepreneurship, frugality, how to improve one’s character, and of course a lot of history. If you like biographies, this is a must-read.
Poor Charlie’s Almanack by Charlie Munger and Peter Kaufman: This is one of the books I wish I had read much sooner, and one I will re-read many times. It’s a collection of Charlie Munger’s talks and a lot of accompanying wisdom. If you are at all interested in the topics we discuss here in this newsletter, this book is a must-have. It’s not available on Amazon and must be ordered on the website of PCA Publications. And while you’re at it, simply order all the books they offer. You won’t be disappointed (and shipping costs per book get cheaper…).
The Messy Marketplace by Brent Beshore: Brent Beshore has evaluated 10.000 small to midsize businesses for purchase. In this book, he summarizes his process and offers a comprehensive guide for buying and selling private businesses. It’s especially useful for people who think about selling their business.
One Up On Wall Street by Peter Lynch (audio version): It’s the first book I read by legendary investor Peter Lynch. My main takeaways were “Invest in what you know” and “Look for stock ideas based on the products you and your family use and love”.
How to Be a Stoic by Massimo Pigliucci (audio version): Good book about stoicism with some great reminders and nuggets. If you are new to stoicisim, I recommend to read A Guide To The Good Life first.
Benjamin Franklin – A Short Biography by Doug West (audio version): Inspired by Charlie Munger I want to learn more about Benjamin Franklin. My starting point was this 30 minute summary. Now I’m in the process of reading the longer version by Walter Isaacson.
Own the Day, Own Your Life by Aubrey Marcus (audio version): I liked this book by fellow 360° life optimizer Aubrey Marcus. It’s a great summary and inspiration of how to improve your life. It inspired me to purchase a light therapy lamp to get more bright light during the dark winter months.
Blitzscaling by Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh (audio version): A great companion book to AI Superpowers, as it offers the Silicon Valley perspective of scaling up a startup. After reading both books, I still believe that China will continue to catch up to Silicon Valley.
The Fish That Ate The Whale by Rich Cohen (audio version): A wonderfully told story about Samuel Zemurray, who arrived in America in 1891 from Russia and built a banana empire from scratch, becoming one of the richest, most powerful men in the world. You also learn a lot about bananas and Central America. For example, that botanically, bananas are berries, and not fruit. Or that scorpions love banana trees, making the harvest very dangerous.
This is Marketing by Seth Godin (audio version): Seth Godin is one of my mentors and heroes. I love his thinking and I’ve read many of his books (and I will read many more). This book is a wonderful summary of how to think about marketing (and business in general) in the current age. It encourages readers to go out there and do great work. I am now reading it for the second time, so that these ideas can sink even deeper. I read this book twice.
Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Taleb (audio version): Great book about the role probability and luck, especially in the investing world. I had a bit trouble with the structure and style, but it was well worth pushing through.
Managing Oneself by Peter Drucker (audio version): Great and very short book about the art of managing oneself. The audio version is just 44 minutes. It’s a book I read regularly, as it’s quite important in today’s knowledge worker economy. I have a stack of them and gift them regularly.
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (audio version): A great window into the Roman Emperor’s mind. I wish today’s leaders were as introspective and reflective. It’s worth trying different translations to find the version that speaks best to you. I will try different ones in the future as well.
On Anger by Seneca (audio version): I loved the detailed elaborations on anger. I never thought about this topic in such a deep way. It convinced me that anger is a pretty useless emotion, and I’m now making an effort to avoid it as often as possible.
The Millionaire Next Door by T. Stanley & W. Danko (audio version): Fantastic book about a study about millionaires: Who are they? How did they become wealthy? What do they do differently? If you are interested in building wealth, I highly recommend this book.
Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins (audio version): This book has been recommended to me. It’s a deep dive into biology, evolution and genetics. The discussion of the Prisoner’s Dilemma showed the importance of the Tit for Tat strategy (= always start being nice).