Inspired by my friend Paul Robichaux I took a look at the list of books I read (and listened to) in 2015.
It's an eye-opener for me. There's some clear trends (I went through a military phase on my daily commute), and I wish I had ready more (both fiction and non-fiction). But it is what it is.
I started listening to audio books on my daily commute. I quickly learned that business books weren't good to listen to while driving, because I wanted to stop and take notes all the time (or would forget to write them down when I arrived at my destination).
- The Lean Startup – playing catch up here, as this book has been well known for some time already, but it was very useful for me and changed how I look at businesses from the inside.
- Sell or Be Sold – this book is a bit over the top, and I had to suspend my normal resistance to hype. I'm glad I did, because the book delivered a message that I hadn't heard or read before. What I learned in the book helped me land some important deals and really boosted my confidence in sales situations.
- No Easy Day – an interesting version of the killing of Osama Bin Laden. I don't imagine it's 100% accurate, just like Zero Dark Thirty, but fascinating nonetheless (mostly for the training and the broader story of a career in special warfare).
- The Crossroad – the best book I listened to in 2015, it tells the story of an Australian SAS trooper who won the Victoria Cross for his actions in Afghanistan. Perfectly narrated and a great Australian story.
- Lone Survivor – the story of a Navy Seal patrol in Afghanistan. I'd already watched the movie before listening to the book and was very interested in the more detailed telling of Marcus' time with the Afghans before he was rescued.
- American Sniper – there was a lot of buzz and controversy about the movie, and I'm glad I read the book first.
- The Icarus Deception – after listening to a Seth Godin podcast series I tried this book. It was a great listen but again, I felt like I wanted to stop and make notes all the time. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the listen.
- Outlaw Platoon – this was not great, but okay. I think the narrator was the problem for me. A decent enough story, but it didn't hook me like previous books in this genre. I almost didn't finish it, but persevered since I could only download one book per month anyway. If it was shorter I probably would have enjoyed it more.
- Churchill's Secret Warriors – this was the second best book I listened to in 2015, after The Crossroad. This book tells the story of the earliest years of the British SAS in WWII.
I ended my Audible subscription later in 2015 when I became an independent consultant, because my daily commute disappeared.
A few years ago I started buying books in digital formats only, mostly on Kindle, but some as downloadable ebooks that I read on my iPad. Since they come from a variety of sources I've probably missed a few, but here is the short list of Kindle reading I did.
- Data and Goliath – Bruce Schneier's latest, about how our every move these days is tracked by corporations and governments.
- The 7 Day Startup – I read this because the author, Dan Norris, was due to speak at a conference I was attending. Dan has an interesting story to tell about his business failings, and ultimate success.
- Content Machine – Dan's second book, this time focusing on content marketing. I think I managed to get this one for free during the 2 days after it had launched. I've been applying this to my own business as well as others that I'm involved in, and early results are positive.
- Paleo for Beginners – this one is a short read (just 89 pages) and I went through it after Christmas because of some health problems I've been having these last few months. I wouldn't say I'm “going Paleo” in 2016, but with my wife's food allergies having her pretty close to a Paleo diet already, we're taking some of the ideas and recipes and adopting them to improve the healthiness of our lifestyle (and hopefully some of my issues will go away in the process).
No doubt there are some IT/technical books that should be on this list, but I wasn't able to track them all down.
So what's on my reading list for 2016?
- I have two or three Microsoft technical books to work through
- I received five Star Wars books for Christmas, so that will make up the bulk of my fiction reading this year
- I have a few Kindle orders (some freebies) that are still in my “to read” queue
Bottom line, I'd like to get more reading done in 2016 than I did in 2015. When my Kindle or iPad Mini is handy I get more reading done, so I probably just need to get used to taking one of those with me to more places. I also upgraded to the iPhone 6S late in 2015, which has a bigger screen, so I can probably sneak more reading in on that device as well.
Here's to 2016!