My Year in Books

As the end of the year approaches over the last few weeks I've taken stock of what books have inspired me over the last 12 months. At the beginning of 2015, my goal was simply to read a new book every month. Reading has always been one of my favorite things to do, and I'd like to share with you the 12 books that made an impact on my year with the hope they help you. 

Zero to One - Peter Thiel - A compelling book that gives you insight into the way Peter Thiel thinks and a different perspective on how to view competition. Peter Thiel is a visionary, and it's interesting to learn from an accomplished entrepreneur, investor, and visionary. With real world examples abound it's hard to put down. 

The Hard Thing About Hard Things - Ben Horowitz - Ben takes you through the trials and tribulations of starting, funding and selling his first successful company. It's a brutally honest look at how to truly build a company and the downsides to everything.  As the Co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz - one of the most successful VCs ever - the book will teach you many things. 

The Obstacle Is the Way - Ryan Holiday - Ryan examines how the struggles we face are truly blessings in disguise - relying largely on the wisdom of Stoicism - it's a practical guide into how to turn tragedies into triumph. As the Ex-head of Marketing for American Apparel, Ryan has significant experience in doing precisely what he lays out in the book. 

Meditations - Marcus Aurelius - Written as a personal guide for himself, Marcus Aurelius invokes universal wisdom upon his readers. Filled with real world, practical and useful insight in how to handle all aspects of life, Meditations has stood the test of time for all who've read it. At the time, it was written Marcus Aurelius was the Emporer of Rome.

The Art of Worldly Wisdom - Baltasar Gracian - For a book that was written 300 years ago, it's surprising how insightful and valuable this still is today. Each page offers another example of advice and practical how-to in being scrupulous while also cunning. Not a book you can digest at once, but a guide for lie nonetheless.  

Thinking, Fast and Slow - Daniel Kahneman - Written by renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics. It provides a groundbreaking tour of our minds and explains the two systems that control how we think. It explains that we are driven by two Systems - System 1 and System 2. System 1 is fast, intuitive and System 2 is slower, more deliberate and more logical. Helping you to understand better how you think and how to greater. 

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up - Marie Kondo - It's surprising how a book that provides practical advice on how to tidy up your surroundings can have such an impact on all areas of your life. Marie offers detailed guidance that transcends your personal life and home and helps you in all aspects of your life. I found it useful in my business and personal life. The book calls for a complete and once for all overhaul, but it works.

Think and Grow Rich - Napoleon Hill - A timeless classic that resonates with any and all looking to accomplish their goals and dreams. First published in 1937 it's filled with real world advice and motivational thinking. Napoleon Hill was commissioned by Andrew Carnegie to assemble interviews of the most successful people in their day and to craft a blueprint for success that anyone can follow. It's a classic I've read numerous times. 

The Four Hour Work Week - Tim Ferris - One of my favorite books that helped me to launch Dinsmore/Steele, I've relied on this book time and time again. Tim teaches you to focus on what you are good at and outsource what you're not good at to competent people. He provides real world advice on how engineer the life you want and to rethink wealth and what it means to work anywhere.   

Letters from a Stoic - Lucius Annaeus Seneca - Seneca assembled great teachings on the philosophy of Stoicism. Seneca was Nero's personal advisor in Rome and overcame many personal challenges in his life. This book is an in-depth look at the ideas and reasoning set forth with Stoicism and how to master one's emotions. Realizing that just because something has transpired it does not define us or our future. 

The Four Agreements - Don Miguel Ruiz - Based on Toltec wisdom, this book offers a guide to free your mind from the poison of other's opinions and the self-doubt we all possess. It uncovers The Four Agreements to follow to live a happier life without regret. Be impeccable with your word, never take anything personally, don't make assumptions and always do your best. It's sound advice in every generation. 

Straight to Hell - John LeFevre - Having worked in banking on Wall Street, this book was a nice reminder and distraction to a life few will ever see. It takes into detail the author's life and career on Wall Street - including his adventures. Never a dull moment, it's filled with numerous capers and the human side of banking - an industry long thought as boring. While this book might not help your business, it's a fantastic and fast read that entertains throughout. 

And there you have it. My favorite books of 2015, some old, some new but each filled with timeless advice that leave you thinking and provide you with a different way to view things. My hope is this list of books will bring you all that it has me. I hope you have a better 2016 and each day you become better than the day before.