Books: Remember Those Things You Used to Sit Down and Read?

A full bookshelf in every home, a book in every hand!
A full bookshelf in every home, a book in every hand!

I was once told by a friend that books are one of the greatest investments one can make.  Where else can you find years of someone’s knowledge for less that $15, this friend casually mentioned.

I completely agree.  Books are an incredible resource to gather insight and experience from someone who has immersed themselves in a field for years.  Over the past 10 months, I’ve tried to read one new book a month based on different interests.  The books didn’t have to be long, overly scientific, or elitist.  I just read books on a topic I found interesting! Although difficult to do at first (it took away from my Internet time!), the knowledge I’ve gained has been well worth the initial cost and time investment.

So those of you who stopped reading over the years can easily jump back into the game, I’ve created a list of some of my favorite recently released books.  Now, when you run into your second grade teacher and she asks if you’re still reading as much as you used to you can (emphatically) say yes.

This is shorter and sweeter than most of my previous posts, so enjoy!

I want to learn how to better manage my finances and become filthy rich.  Pick up a copy I Will Teach You to Be Rich! The author, Ramit Sethi, instructs the reader to an automated financial system in six weeks. Why automated? Because, while a lot of people mention the word “budget,” it often doesn’t work. The more automatic your system is, the better.

I re-read Ramit’s book every time my income or expenses change (big raise, bonus, or I move to a more expensive apartment).

From the best credit cards to use to how to set up your Roth IRA and 401(k), Ramit’s step-by-step six-week program makes the process from a clueless over-spender to a financially savvy whiz simple.  Want to know how much money you’re losing if you don’t start investing in your 20s?  Ramit calculates that out for you, too.  Loss aversion is a powerful technique to get people motivated!

IWTYTBR book cover.

I want to eat healthier, lose fat, and gain muscle. I’m an avid fan of the Paleo Diet, and the book that best describes how to follow it (and the Paleo health benefits) is Mark Sisson’s The Primal Blueprint.

Using the fictional Grok and Korg families to emphasize the differences in past and present nutrition, Mark breaks down the benefits of our ancestor’s diet and exercise and how it compares to the modern high-carbohydrate diet.

Throughout the book, Mark gives step-by-step instructions to live a healthier life.  From supplements to take (hint: omega-3 is really, really good for you), to food to avoid (hint: grains are bad for you), Mark keeps the Paleo principle simple enough for everyone to understand.

My life is boring, I need change, and to read a book that pushes conventional wisdom. Check out the 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. I first read this book while studying abroad in London and it completely shifted the way I think about everything I do.

Tim questions general societal goals and expectations throughout the book: why do we work 9-5?  Why is it accepted we retire at age 67? And, perhaps most importantly, how can we actually do things we want to do and still make a living?!

Using Tim’s time management techniques, I became more efficient and effective in daily tasks (I use Tim’s “batching” rule regularly, which is vital for keeping my sanity while checking work email).  Some of the other principles Tim touches on is how to stop wasting time on meaningless tasks, separate yourself from your cubicle, and break down barriers to travel to places you never thought possible.  At a higher level, Tim gives the reader insight into how to accomplish things they never envisioned were possible.

Cut down on the hours you waste.

I want to be well-prepared for a bunch of different possible disasters. Emergency by Neil Strauss is an incredible collection of how-tos, tips, and best practices for doomsday scenarios.  Some of you may be familiar with Neil because of his national best-seller The Game, in which he becomes a pickup artist, travels from country to country, and meets some of the most beautiful women in the world.

Emergency focuses on a completely different subject: how can you survive natural disasters, worst-case scenario events, and live life without modern conveniences?  Although this is more focused on being a guide, Neil creates a great side story about his path from scrawny, electronics-dependent city dweller to a survivalist well-equipped to face any issue that arises.

I’m interested in space and astronomy, but I don’t know much about it! Philip Plaitt’s Bad Astronomy is a great intro to the wonderful, crazy world of space.  Phil ran a spectacular blog independently for a while (which can still be found here), and now has a blog that’s wrapped up under Discover Magazine.  Phil’s book corrects some of the biggest misconceptions about astronomy–including some that stick with a majority of people today.  Why is the sky blue?  Why do tides occur?  Is astrology really believable?  Phil answers these questions (and more).

My favorite part of Phil’s book is his ability to explain things to a non-technical audience.  I’m not a rocket scientist, and Phil doesn’t try to throw buzz words at me to show off his knowledge.  Instead, Phil gives easy-to-understand definitions and explanations of various astronomy-related events and phenomenons.

Phil's awesome book about astronomy.

QoD: What books have you been reading recently?


  1. Great recommendations Dave! I will be sure to check these out. As for books I have read recently, I would highly recommend “Where Men Win Glory,” a stunning and at times chilling portrait of Pat Tillman, the NFL star who walked away from a multi-million dollar NFL contract to join the Rangers. Jon Krakauer paints a masterful story of Tillman’s life and unearths much more in this book…he examines the history of Afghanistan, our indept leadership over the past 12+ years and how deeply we have become ensnared in the Middle East.

    Amazing read and a book that you will call one of your favorites for a long time!

  2. Dear David; I love to see that you have such eclectic tastes. I am glad to hear reading is alive and well in some circles! I can’t remember the last good book that I’ve read since I tend to look at newspapers instead, but there’s no reason not to expand my mind and do both!

  3. Hi Jim,

    Glad you liked the post! I’ll have to take a look at the book you recommended as well, thanks. I remember hearing about Tillman a few years back, but unfortunately, I never read much into it.

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