Here are the books I read in 2016 and 2015. My goal is to average three books a month. I usually read a fiction book on the Kindle (or occasionally an actual book,) listen to a business book or biography on Audible while driving, and listen to an inspirational book on Audible while running (usually a sports-related one.)
- Al Franken, Giant of the Senate by Al Franken (Audible).
- Managing the Non-Profit Organization by Peter Drucker (actual book).
- When the Game Was Ours by Larry Bird and Magic Johnson (Audible).
- The Body / Stand By Me by Stephen King (Kindle) – in King’s book, Different Seasons
- Misery by Stephen King (Kindle).
- The House at Seas End by Elly Griffiths (Ruth Galloway Mysteries Book 3) (Kindle).
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Kindle) – reading this with my 12-year old.
- Dave Barry Slept Here: A Sort of History of the United States (actual book) – reading this to my 12-year old. It’s hilarious, I’ve read it multiple times in the past.
- The Talisman by Stephen King (Kindle). Stalled on this one about 20% through, not sure if I’ll finish, wasn’t doing much for me.
In the Queue (these are books I’m going to read “next”… I’ve already bought them and loaded them on my Kindle or sitting on my desk.)
- Needful Things by Stephen King.
- Beach Music (Kindle) – One of my favorite authors is Pat Conroy, with The Lords of Discipline being my favorite book of all time. When I tried to read Beach Music many years ago, it felt like Conroy was just reliving, and re-writing, the same old story. So I put it down and never picked it up. But its now been many years since I’ve read any of his books, so I’m looking forward to diving into this one finally.
- The Start-up of You by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha (actual book).
- Coach by Michael Lewis (actual book).
- 5 Voices by Kubicek Cockram (actual book).
- Faithful Servant by James Philips (a book about my wife’s grandfather!) (actual book).
- Burial for a King by Rebecca Burns (actual book).
Read in 2017: 29 (rankings are * to *****, with 5 being the best)
***** Rabbit: The Autobiography of Ms. Pat by Patricia Williams (paperback). Wow, what a story Ms. Pat tells in this book. Like Hillbilly Elegy, this book gives a rare view into a life that is hard for me to comprehend, even though she grew up ten minutes from me. I read this book in one day.
***** Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. Absolutely fantastic book (paperback). I highly recommend it to anyone even vaguely interested in how “hillbillies” (his word) live.
** The Story of Purpose by Joey Reiman (actual book). I only got through half of this one. Wasn’t a big fan, but it did have some nice examples in it of purpose-driven leaders and companies.
*** The Elements of Style by E.B. White (Kindle). Learning how to become a better writer. Got through about half, its pretty dense, and I’m sure I’d be a better writer if I consumed it all, but…that’s why we have editors, right?
***** Start with Why by Simon Sinek (actual book). Admittedly this book hit me right at the perfect time. I’ve been working hard to nail Dragon Army’s purpose, so reading this book was like a lightening rod. Loved it cover to cover.
*** My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf (digital graphic novel). This book (actually its a graphic novel) is wacky. It’s written by a guy who was friends with Jeffrey Dahmer in high school. I was fascinated by it and I commend the guy on putting it together, but its kinda gruesome – surprise! – and super dark.
**** The Sensational Salesman by Duane Cummings (actual book). Excellent parable style business book, tons of great lessons for aspiring leaders.
** The Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah by Stephen King (Audible) and (Kindle). Couldn’t get through the first half. Just too boring/weird, sadly.
*** The Shining by Stephen King (Kindle). I want to give this book more stars, but sometimes King just goes too…weird?…for me. This story could have done without all the supernatural stuff, and just focused on the terrific characters and plot. Jack Torrence is a brilliantly developed character and the setting – a massive winter hotel that he, his wife, and son have all to themselves for months on end, where he slowly goes crazy – is brilliant. Without the crazy, out-of-this-worldness, I think it could have been five stars.
**** City on the Verge: Atlanta and the Fight for America’s Urban Future by Mark Pendergrast (actual book). Excellent book about the Atlanta BeltLine and Atlanta’s neighborhoods.
***** Golden Prey by John Sandford (Kindle). An excellent Prey book. These books just fly. Pure crime fiction fun.
***** Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (Kindle). First book with the Dragon Army book club ;) I’ve obviously read this before – it’s what my company is named after – and it’s a terrific book. Even for non-fantasy folks.
*** Distraction Pieces by Scroobius Pip (actual book). Honestly there were parts of this book that were five stars, but it’s a series of interviews and enough of it was so far off topics that interest me, that I couldn’t rate it too high. But that’s just me.
*** Michael Jordan: The Life by Roland Lazenby (Audible). It was fine, and perhaps my rating is influenced because I’ve read several Jordan books and just found this one to be s0-so.
**** Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King (kindle). Shawshank is actually a short novel (or novella if you prefer) in the book, Different Seasons. Its a great story, but since I knew it from the movie, I wasn’t as excited about it as I might have been otherwise, hence the 4 stars.
***** 11.22.63 by Stephen King (kindle). Another fantastic King book. As always, his characters are so real and well-defined – mostly through dialogue, which is the best way to do it – that you end up feeling regret when the book is over.
**** My Life Behind the Spiral by Steve Young (Audible). Nice book about Steve Young’s life. I learned a lot about anxiety, which he dealt with his entire life, and was inspired by his work ethic and desire to succeed.
***** On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King (kindle). GREAT book on writing. Only one I’ve read, if I’m being honest, but man was it great.
***** Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (Audible). Freaking awesome, one of the best books I’ve read listened to in years.
** The Road to Sparta by Dean Karnazes (Audible). Only made it through about half, was kinda boring to me :(
**** Salem’s Lot by Stephen King (kindle). Terrific King book. Close to five stars for sure.
** Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (Audible) – listened to most of this with my wife on our drive to the beach. Autobiography of Mindy Kaling. Not great.
**** Getting Naked by Patrick Lencioni (Audible). Another great Lencioni book. I really think any entrepreneur or CEO must read all of his books.
**** Beyond Entrepreneurship by James Collins and William Lazier (actual book). The first half of this book is phenomenal. One of my mentors recommended it and I can see why, it goes into the importance of culture and purpose, and explains how to construct those things for your business. Similar to my VTV platform. The first half of the book is 5 stars for sure. The second half went into things less interesting to me (though still important,) such as going public.
**** Getting Naked by Patrick Lencioni (Audible). Another great Lencioni book!
**** Dreams of My Father by Barack Obama (Audible). After the election of #45, I decided one of the best things I could do was learn more about Barack. This book is essentially a deep dive into who he is and where he came from. It doesn’t even mention him becoming President, but rather focuses on his heritage and his search for answers. He also personally reads the book, which I loved.
***** The Stand by Stephen King (Kindle). My favorite King book to date. Long read for sure, but the characters are amazing and the book pulls you along at a fast, intense pace.
***** Running Man by Charlie Engle (Audible). Amazing story, easily one of the best books I’ve read in years. I would recommend listening to the audible version because Charlie reads it himself. You won’t believe this guy’s life, truly incredible.
***** The New New Thing by Michael Lewis (Audible). One of my favorite books, this was the second time reading it. Actually I listened to it this time around, and the guy that reads it is phenomenal.
**** Taking Flight! by Merrick Rosenberg (paperback). Solid fable-style business book.