My 2020 Reading List

Jun 11, 2020Blog, Books, Habits0 comments

This is what I’ve been reading lately. I’ll update as the year goes along.

A note on the reading process:

Because we retain so little of what we read and hear, I’ve taken to reading non-fiction books twice—back to back. I’ll literally finish a book on page 253 and flip back to page 1 and continue reading.1

This makes the reading process a bit longer, but the increased retention is worth it. As Tolstoy noted, reading is “communicating with the wisest people who ever lived on earth.” It pays to remember those conversations.

Non-Fiction

Stillness is the Key – Ryan Holiday

The compilation of a wide range of ancient and modern examples illustrating the effect of stillness on performance and peace.

The Courage to Be Disliked – Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga

A fictional conversation between a wise philosopher and a troubled youth about the central tenets of Adlerian psychology.

Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu, Translated by Stephen Mitchell

A classic of Chinese philosophical literature and a central Taoist text exploring the wisdom of “The Way.”

The Art of the Good Life – Rolf Dobelli

A handbook of mental tools to help us clear-headedly build a life of true success, happiness and virtue. (You can read my summary of the book here)

Fiction

I keep fiction in the rotation for a few reasons. First, because there’s something magical about beautifully written prose. Second, because reading good literature is said to increase emotional IQ. And lastly—and most importantly (for me)—because it helps quieten my mind at night.

The Gentleman in Moscow – Amor Towles

A poignant story of a Russian gentleman caught in the crosshairs of a revolution and sentenced to live the rest of his days in the tiny attic room of an upscale hotel.

1Q84 – Haruki Murakami

A dystopian epic that is part philosophy, part fantasy, part love story—a storyline that rejects the limits of a single sentence.

Footnotes

  1. Idea from: Dobelli, Rolf, and Caroline Waight. The Art of the Good Life: Clear Thinking for Business and a Better Life. London: Sceptre, 2018.
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