52 Personal Development Books to Read in 2018

Sam Tackeff 2018 Personal Development Reading

Every morning before I start work, I devote an hour to personal development (largely non-fiction) reading while I let my cup of coffee do it’s magical work. Reading is the best way to kickstart my workday – it’s flipping the switch: from brain fog to focus. Sometimes I need a mere 15 minutes, other times, I take the whole hour if I’m enjoying what I’m reading. (On the flip side, I read fiction and cookbooks in the afternoon and evening to wind down.)

Here’s [version one] of my personal development reading list for 2018. I’ll be supplementing this with plenty of fiction (usually YA novels, sci-fi,and fantasy), and other books as I see fit. I typically write out a quarterly reading list that is a little bit more robust with variety, but I wanted to work through these as a starting point. Some of these books I’ve read before, and I’m looking to read with a new lens to apply to my current work. Many are books that I’ve had on my list for years, and feel like I’m at the right moment to actually get what I want out of them.

How did I pick the books? When I sit to create lists like this, I’m interested in hitting on different aspects of “whole being development” so I try to fill up with a series of business, life, psychology, health, financial, self-help, creative and inspirational reading. I find biographies and history particularly stimulating – if anything, reassuring that you don’t have to have it all together to succeed in life…Also, it’s usually a criteria that they don’t suck. If I really hate the book 50 pages in, I can quit.

Next steps for this list: I try to keep my lists updated as I work through them – there’s no hard and fast rule to sticking to what I’ve added on here. I also want to cross check and make sure that I’m reading a good amount of books written by women, POC and global voices. Already this list is skewing a little too male for my preference. Other things notably missing: I’m a little low on health, wellness, and fitness reading – I’ve had trouble finding great books that have come out in the past decade. (Suggestions welcome here!) I’ll update the list as I make adjustments and read through these.

I’m taking any and all suggestions – do you have a favorite I should read? Anything on here that I shouldn’t waste my time with?

Sam Tackeff 2018 Personal Development Reading 2

These categories are… loosely organized here. Several of these books fit into more than one of these categories; the top of the list are one’s I’m going to likely start with in the new year.

Starting Here:
[ ] Tribe of Mentors – Tim Ferriss
[ ] Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World – Gary Vaynerchuk
[ ] The Artist’s Way – Julia Cameron
[ ] The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life – Mark Manson
[ ] The Five Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage – Mel Robbins
[ ] Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win – Jocko Willink
[ ] Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration – Ed Catmull
[ ] Autobiography of a Yogi – Paramahansa Yogananda
[ ] Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny! – Tony Robbins
[ ] The Manager’s Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change – Camille Fournier
[ ] Founder at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days – Jessica Livingston

Classic-ish Business:
[ ] How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
[ ] Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – Robert Cialdini
[ ] The Hard Thing about Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers – Ben Horowitz
[ ] Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work – Chip and Dan Heath
[ ] How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of “Intangibles” in Business – Douglas Hubbard
[ ] The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It – Michael Gerber
[ ] What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful – Marshall Goldsmith
[ ] Getting Everything You Can out of All You’ve Got – Jay Abraham

Productivity:
[ ] Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World – Cal Newport
[ ] Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less – Greg McKeown
[ ] Who Moved My Cheese? – Spencer Johnson
[ ] Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done – Jon Acuff
[ ] The 10x Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure – Grant Cardone
[ ] Daily Rituals: How Artists Work – Mason Curry
[ ] On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction – William Zinsser
[ ] The 80/20 Principle – Richard Koch

Psychology
[ ] The Gift of Fear – Gavin de Becker
[ ] Playing Big: Find Your Voice, Your Mission, Your Message – Tara Mohr
[ ] Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us – Daniel Pink
[ ] Getting to Yes: Negotiating an Agreement Without Giving In – Fisher, Ury, Patton

Finance
[ ] The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy –Stanley and Danko
[ ] The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing – Taylor Larimore

Self–Care/ Better Living:
[ ] Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End – Atul Gawande
[ ] Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Mediation and Practice – Shunryu Suzuki

Happiness:
[ ] Stumbling on Happiness – Daniel Gilbert
[ ] The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work – Shawn Achor

Health, Wellness, the Body:
[ ] Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control, and Disease – Gary Taubes
[ ] Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain – Oliver Sachs

Biography or Autobiographical
[ ] What Happened – Hillary Clinton
[ ] Promise Me Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose – Joe Biden
[ ] Find a Way – Diana Nyad
[ ] Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE – Phil Knight
[ ] Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice – Bill Browder
[ ] The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics – Daniel James Brown

Other:
[ ] Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! Adventures of a Curious Character – Richard Feynman
[ ] Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu
[ ] Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind – Yuval Harari ; THEN Homo Deus
[ ] Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl
[ ] Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone – Brené Brown
[ ] Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business – Danny Meyer
[ ] Siddhartha – Hermann Hesse

Other people’s lists of note which I used for some inspiration while putting together this list:

A few other notes:

On Application: I think it was Darren Hardy who mentioned – you are better off reading one business book and applying it fully than binging on business books and not acting on what you’ve learned. To this end, every book I read I try to apply a portion if not multiple aspects to my work. Most people read and don’t apply what they’ve learned… and that’s a shame. To push myself towards doing more of this, I’ve started taking notes in my books (GASP!), testing and applying.

But sometimes I just read for the sake of reading. One thing that I’ve learned in the past few years is that one of the best results of reading non-fiction is actually just a simple context switch and brain shift in order to get myself going in the morning. So I try to use reading as a multi-purpose tool.

On Writing: The past few years I’ve been trying to commit and re-commit to sharing what I’ve learned from my reading (as opposed to hoarding knowledge.) Each year I try to write more than I did the last. It takes a bit of a mind shift from reading for one’s self, to reading with the intention of sharing the knowledge and learnings. Friends, hold me to this! (Yes, I give you permission to guilt and shame me for not writing about what I’m reading.

Do you have a 2018 reading list? Have you ever done a reading challenge? I’d love to hear about it.

Weekend Reading + The Weekly Meal Plan

Bertram the Frenchie

This weekend, we drove into Boston to take Bertram to the French Bulldog Meetup at Peter’s Park, and hang with my friend Melissa and her pup Bentley. If you haven’t seen dozens of French Bulldogs having a total snort fest; well… it’s an experience! What I lack in extroverted-ness, this little dude makes up for as quite the social butterfly. He makes human and canine friends pretty much every where he goes.

Aside from my role as Bertram’s human, life these past few months has been overwhelmed by business ownership work-mode, a big family loss (my grandmother passed away), and the general craziness of spring time. It’s been hard to sit down to make time for reading, but in a re-commitment to self-care, I made a concerted effort to do so. Here’s a snapshot of my weekend reading.

Weekend Reading

My friend Traca turned me on to the author Dorie Clark, and I’ve been diving into her writing on marketing, branding, and thought leadership. She’s highly prolific on the internet, but I’m a fan of hardcover, so I picked up her 2015 best seller – Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It. I have a bit of an elevator pitch problem as a Jill of All Trades, and have been trying to improve my own messaging around what I do and who I can help – lots of nuggets of wisdom in this one to set me further down the right path.

Truthfully it has been more than a few months since being able to really curl up and dive into a new cookbook, but I’ve been lucky to read my way through two incredible ones over the past few weeks that I can’t not mention here. Both fall into the long-anticipated cookbook category, and neither have disappointed.

The first – Unforgettable: The Bold Flavors of Paula Wolfert’s Renegade Life – is an incredible team effort by Emily Thelin, featuring Paula‘s incredible life story and recipes, compiled by Toni Tajima, edited by Andrea Nguyen, and shot by Eric Wolfinger. Over a year ago I backed the project on Kickstarter, and had been waiting patiently for it to arrive. (In the mean time, in anticipation, I managed to score a dozen or more Turkish cookbooks from Paula’s own collection which she’s been paring down on eBay…)

Part biography – part recipe book greatest hits; Unforgettable is my favorite type of cookbook – one that I can sit down and read like a novel, featuring tried and true dish inspiration that connects deeply with time and place. The biography gripping – as a pioneer of middle eastern and mediterranean cookbooks, Paula has long been one of my heroes. Her cookbooks are almost all on my shelves, and yet in each page of Unforgettable I learned so much more – from her persistent reinvention, to her struggles with early onset Alzheimer’s. Truly thankful to Emily and team – this book is a gem. (As is Paula – if you aren’t following her on Twitter, you should be!)

The second – is Samin Nosrat’s Salt Fat Acid Heat: Mastering The Elements of Good Cooking, which I’ve been waiting patiently for since she’d come bounding into Omnivore around seven years ago telling me all about how she was going to write this cookbook, scheming, and dreaming.

Now, I’m actually fairly certain we had one such conversation in November of 2010, right around the time that I was working with my friend Karen on her cookbook Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It because in that conversation I was so amazed by her energy and enthusiasm that I distinctly remember going home feeling empowered and writing the ENTIRE outline, syllabus, and recipe index for my Turkish cookbook. Which.. of course is sitting in my Google Docs.. and hasn’t been written yet. Alas, c’est la vie!

But I mention this not to feel sorry for myself, but because seven years is quite a long time to wait for a cookbook, but this book does in fact, live up to the wait.

Salt Fat Acid Heat Samin Nosrat

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is part textbook (in the best way possible), part master recipe guideline and inspiration. And filled with Wendy MacNaughton’s cheeky hand drawn illustrations. The entire first half of the book is Samin being Samin – an incredible teacher and guide, with infectious enthusiasm for food, good cooking, and good eating. While I consider myself an adept cook, each section was filled with new easy ways to think about cooking – written in a manner that would teach and inspire novice and expert alike. How she *actually* manages to pull this off, I have no idea – this is so hard to do and it’s brilliant. (You’ll likely want to grab a copy, and go ahead and buy a second one to give to someone as a gift.)

And most importantly for me it provided a wealth of inspiration for this week’s meal plan! The best reminders from the book this week – the power of salt – and how important it is to salt your food early. In two weeks, it’s changed my habits completely – and the food all tastes more delicious.

:: The Weekly Meal Plan : Week of May 21st, 2017 ::

This week’s prep: hard boiling eggs for snacks. I bought myself a new gadget – despite committing to avoiding the purchase of uni-tasking – a bright turquoise Dash Go Egg Cooker. Cute, no?

Fitness and nutrition: I’m heading into week 4 of my online fitness bootcamp; going strong! We follow a carb cycling plan, which focuses on timing meals to match our training days to ensure we are eating enough to support our fitness levels to allow for both fat loss and muscle gain. It’s a more mindful way of eating to support athleticism.

Sunday: Braised beef, tiny baby potatoes, and sprouts. This meat and potatoes dinner is the ultimate comfort food. (Cheat sheet: buy the Braised Beef with Demi Glace from Trader Joe’s. It’s divine.)

Monday (low carb): Samin’s citrus salmon, avocado salad, and steamed broccoli. I get wild salmon, either frozen sockeye, or if the fresh catch looks good and is on sale, treat myself to King salmon.

Tuesday (low carb): Samin’s glazed five-spice chicken + bright Asian slaw. I’m always a sucker for five spice.

Wednesday: Turkish taskebab with tomato rice. This is a family favorite – a meaty tomato-ey braised stew.

Thursday: Jamie Oliver’s Aegean Kakavia. Fish stew from his travels cookbook. As we creep onto summer, I find myself consistently craving Mediterranean food.

Friday: I have a credit to Sweetgreen; I’m likely to pick up a salad; but honestly, I’m treating Friday like a free spot this week.

Saturday: out! We’ll be at a wedding. Bonus, they’ll have Middle Eastern catering, which is pretty much my jam.

2017 Reading List; Part One

2017 Q1 Reading List

(There are affiliate links in this post.)

I am a voracious reader. One of my favorite ways to transition to a new season is to making myself a list of great books to read. I see it as a personal syllabus – you are what you read (and subsequently act upon). The syllabus in itself is a great art – What do I want to learn? Who is the best person to teach it to me? Whose words will inspire me to act? I usually sit down with a list of topics that I’d like to delve into, and take great pleasure in searching for the perfect book to add. I’ll take a second look over my list to make sure that I have representation by women and POC’s.

Here’s what is on my list in the coming months. A few are re-reads related to projects I’m working on, another note is that I don’t typically list out my cookbooks, and I read dozens of them a season. I typically use this as a starting point for requesting books from the library, and usually manage to squeeze in a handful of last minute un-planned reads as well. After each read, I spend just a little bit of time debriefing: writing out my takeaways, and acknowledging the things that resonated and piqued my curiosity.

We Should All Be Feminists
by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

When Breath Becomes Air
by Paul Kalanithi

Couple Skills: Making Your Relationship Work
by Matthew McKay

The School of Greatness: A Real-World Guide to Living Bigger, Loving Deeper, and Leaving a Legacy
by Lewis Howes

Personal Kanban: Mapping Work Navigating Life
by Jim Benson and Tonianne Berry

Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain
by Oliver Sacks

H is for Hawk
by Helen Macdonald

Finding Yourself in the Kitchen: Kitchen Meditations and Inspired Recipes from a Mindful Cook
by Dana Velden

Yes, Chef
by Marcus Samuelsson

Absolutely on Music: Conversations with Seiji Ozawa
by Haruki Murakami

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
by Simon Sinek

The Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success
by Darren Hardy

The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations for Clarity, Effectiveness, and Serenity
by Ryan Holiday

Designing Your Life: Build a Life that Works for You
by William Burnett

Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley
by Antonio Garcia Martinez

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World
by Dalai Lama XIV, Desmond Tutu and Douglas Abrams

One Hundred Years of Solitude
by Gabriel García Márquez

Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success
by Angela Duckworth

A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life
by Brian Grazer

Ask For It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want
by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever

Shaping Success (dog training)
by Susan Garrett

What are you reading this winter?

Is there anything brilliant that I should add to my list?

Some quick thoughts about reading before the clock strikes midnight.

Goodreads Shelves

Here’s a public intention:

I’d like to commit to an hour a day reading throughout November. This means an hour a day that I’m not spending watching television. (Caveat that books on tape count, in my book.)

I read fiction to escape. Particularly Swedish mysteries, young adult novels, and other fast paced books. I also like literature that makes me think critically. I like the hard stuff, but it takes me a while to get through.

I read to learn. I read to grow.

I read nonfiction business books, because for every book I read, I latch on to a golden nugget, and drive myself into action.

I like the blog the millions. Do you know it?

For the past several years, I’ve used Goodreads.com to organize my reading. Today I re-organized my shelves with some inspiration from a few friends. I added several categories including business, design, psychology, tech startups, and writing. I also added two categories for female and male authors. My goal is to have the tally swing towards female authors by the end of the year.

Tonight I have a date with #Girlboss before I go to bed. What are you reading?

Some new acquisitions 

New Cookbooks at The Second Lunch

If you can’t find me, I’ll be curled up with these for the next foreseeable future. I think that’s about 1500 pages of reading right there.

Books, Lately

It’s a wet travel day on my way to Texas, and while I’ve finally arrived in the Lone Star State, unfortunately, I’ve arrived in the wrong city, and we’re currently sitting outside the gate waiting for a new pilot to get us from Austin to Houston. I spent a good long while chuckling as the gate manager has been ever so politely dealing with my fellow passengers, but there are oh so many times you can listen to someone say “I’m sorry ma’am, I really can’t control the weather,” and then continue to get berated by a irate traveler without starting to feel a little crazy yourself. So I thought this would be a good time to talk to you about some of the great books I’ve been reading lately!

Rain in Boston on Jet Blue

At the end of the month I finished an early galley copy of Jess Fechtor’s Stir,  and last night I had the pleasure of attending her spectacular author event at the Harvard Bookstore.

I’ve been reading her blog Sweet Amandine for nearly as long as I’ve been writing at The Second Lunch. We started writing the same month in 2009, albeit for very different reasons. I was feeling very lonely in my new city, San Francisco, and she was finding something to do after a devastating brain aneurism left her very, very sick. Of course, I didn’t know that at the time that I started reading her blog, and it wouldn’t be until much later that she started sharing more with the world. (Incidentally, I started reading her new blog in 2009 because she was writing about food from Boston, and I missed New England. It’s been delightful seeing this book come into fruition!)

Jess Fechtor Stir the Book

Her book, which I worked through in one whirlwind sitting (I didn’t get up for five hours) is spectacular. Beautifully written, will make you cry, AND there are recipes! Go read it!

I’d also like to say that as a book lover, the amount of people who came to this event gave me ALL of the warm and fuzzies. But duly deserved, because Jess is just as lovely in real life as she is on the Internet.

West Coast friends! She’ll be speaking at Omnivore Books on July 16th! Go! 

Jess Fechtor Stir at Harvard Bookstore

In Fiction, I just recently finished The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, another book that I’d held off on for absolutely no reason other than I thought that the popular obsession couldn’t possibly be warranted. I was wrong. It’s a great book!

A few other titles on my bookshelf include Americanah, and Jonathan Galassi’s Muse.

And of course by the end of this travel debacle, I’ll likely have finished the ENTIRE 530 pages of All The Light We Cannot See. I’m on page 363, and I started this morning after take off, after picking it up on a whim for David Leite’s new book club. I had absolutely no idea what the book was about before starting, and it hooked me from the first 10 pages.

What are you reading?

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