I read a good bit this last year and want to share the ones that made my year 10x better. I work in technology but have interest in health, psychology, behavioral economics and more. Stick around the site and check back in for more book writeups. For now though, let’s dive in to the ones I read last year that made my year 10x better.
Creative Selection by Ken Kocienda
Yes… obligatory cliché Steve Jobs book. I know — the FIRST one too. But give me a chance, this is actually written by the engineer who worked on the iPad keyboard. He gives great detail about interactions with the product team at Apple, and how they operate. Apple sold 320 million iPads since the product debuted in 2010, so Ken’s work did make quite an impact. That’s more people than there are alive in the United States. If you work in product this book is a must read. View the way a visionary ran his company. Order here.
Hacking Growth by Sean Ellis
This is one of the many books that I was late on. The book is filled with actionable advice, along with charts to support real results from methods discussed. My copy is covered with notes, and ideas sparked from the insights provided by Sean. I am a big fan of Andrew Chen and Casey Winters from Reforge and they referenced this one a good bit. I decided to pick it up and couldn’t put it back down — if you have any interest in growth then this is an essential. Order here.
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
I recently became obsessed with content creation. Steven does a great job breaking down the walls you need to destroy to be a great creator. Order here.
Blitzscaling by Reid Hoffman
I have not finished this one but am throwing it in here anyways. Reid is a total badass when it comes to story telling. I listen to his podcast “Masters Of Scale” religiously. If you love the idea of growing companies at bullet train speed then check it out. Order here.
Rework by Jason Fried and David
The guys at Basecamp get a lot of flack for their controversial approach to work. It is so opposite to what everyone in the Valley has been preaching, and I love it. This book goes deep, taking a totally different mentality towards work, and the way to get it done. These guys have gone on to write many more, including Remote which I read. Short after reading this, my VP of Engineering, Kayle and I decided to flip our processes on their head. Now we follow suit on many of the methodologies taught in this book. We agile’d agile. Order here.
Remote by Jason Friend and David.
Work doesn’t have to be done in an office. Managers no longer need to be chair counters, now they can be doers. Remote talks all about, you guessed it, working remote. Basecamp is comprised of a team of people located all across the United States. Jason and David do a great job explaining their process and how they continue to run a profitable company while having a majority of employees working remote. Order here.
Body by Science by Doug McGuff Md
I read a lot about fitness and health — this is a great book for understanding the basics of different exercises. Sure you can look up different exercises online, or purchase a plan.. but that wasn’t enough for me. I was curious as to how all these muscle groups work with one another. If you’re a health nut, pick this one up. Order here.
The Power of When by Michael Breus, PhD
If you’re in to understanding your body, and when you should do certain tasks than this is a good one. We all kind of know that some people are night owls, some people are morning people. This guy breaks it down to a science. If you are this type of person, do these tasks at this time — very specific, actionable advice. The book talks about chronotypes — which are the behavioral manifestation of underlying circadian rhythms, of myriad physical processes. He talks a lot about sleep. Check it out. Order here.
Inspired by Marty Cagan
This is a must read for any PM out there. Talks about different levels of product growth, and was the best product book I read all year. It starts out with lessons from top tech companies, get s into talking about right people, then dives in to product breakdowns. Order here
High Growth Handbook by Elad Gil
Looking for a lot of different topics about startups? The role of a CEO, Managing the Board, recruiting, hiring, managing, building an exec team, marketing & PR… You get the idea. Lots and lots of information on scaling startups from 10 to 10,000. Overall a great book to skip around to check things out — not a cover to cover book. Order here.
10 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries & Jack Trout
If you have any sort of interest in marketing than this is a must. It does a great job of breaking down the different “laws” of marketing using companies we are all familiar with, ie. Apple. One that is particularly interesting is The Law of Perception. Marketing is not a battle of products, it’s a battle of perceptions. I got this recommendation from listening to Seeking Wisdom — a dope podcast by Dave Gerhardt and David Cancel. Order here.
Bulletproof by David Asprey
I have been on the bulletproof coffee train since reading this and haven’t turned back. David did an excellent job keeping nutritional information interesting. He gets a bit in to biohacking, aka taking supplements, doing certain things in your day to day to increase brain behavior. This was the first book that has sent me down the rabbit hole that is bio hacking. If you want to live longer read his book. Order here.
Meat is for Pussies: A How-to Guide for Dudes Who Want to Get Fit, Kick Ass, and Take Names by John Joseph
As I peer over at my bookcase, selecting recommendations from the books I read this year I wonder how this one came up. I must have read some blog article about how terrible meat is for you. Anyways the name itself kicked the tempo off for the book. It is rare that I find a book that I cannot put down. This is by far the best vegan … only vegan book I have ever read. “Walk past the morgue and head straight to the vegetables.” Such imagery. Order here..
Atomic Design by Brad Frost
If you are in product you must read this. I don’t care if you’re a designer, engineer, or product manager. Brad does an excellent job of breaking down his philosophy behind UI design. The result is cleaner, more consistent products which lead to happier users. Everyone wants happier users. Order here.
Designing for Touch & Responsible Responsive Design, by Scott Jehl and Josh Clark
These books absolutely nail how to design for touch, as well as responsible responsive design. If you are a UX researcher, UI designer, or product designer you should highly consider reading these. They break things down, and give you the chops you need to work with devs on mobile and responsive projects. Order here.