For the past two years I’ve tracked the book titles I’ve read each year on a list.
I set an (overly) ambitious goal of 50 books last year (2017) – that’s an average pace of one a week, with a couple weeks off.
I fell quite a bit short with 18 books completed and 4 in various stages of progress, marking a 36% progress towards my goal (hey, PhD life gets busy).
I was on pace around early April with 13 books completed. Then my progress abruptly slowed, I figure some of this was due to summer traveling and grad school, but it was enough to halt my momentum.
This year I’ll scale back by setting a goal of 30 books.
Here’s a brief annotated list of my top five favorites from 2017:
1. The Idea Factory by Pepper White
An MIT mechanical engineer’s chronicled PhD journey.
A must-read for science PhDs and anybody thinking about grad school.
2. Chaos Monkeys by Antonio Garcia Martinez
A guy tells the ups and downs of his Silicon Valley adventure story: from fledgling startup and Y Combinator, to being acquired, to living in a sailboat.
3. The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey by Rinker Buck
A sixty year old writer decides to cross America on the Oregon Trail, modern times, but in old fashion – bringing mules, covered wagons, and his brother.
He ties his journey to the history of those who traveled the trail before him.
4. Living on 24 Hours a Day by Arnold Bennett
Reflections on life and time management in the Victorian Era.
5. Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir
Read this for a perspective on how slack (I’m referring to the concept of margin for error, not the workplace chat app) affects outcomes across many aspects of life.