My top 5 books of 2018

Favorite books read in 2018

Reading every night continues to be a wonderful investment of my time — something I look forward to every day. Its a great way to unwind, learn something new, and achieve a more sound sleep.

Before I reveal my top 5, let me set the context with some data. This is the 3rd year I’m reading regularly each night, and this year, I’ve captured more data about my reading habits than ever before.

Total books read: 34

  • 30 read fully (100%)
  • 4 read partially (30%-60%)

I’m not counting 2 books that I only read slightly (10% — decided to cut my losses early).

All my reading is with physical books. I tried Kindle, but somehow I find reading hardcovers more satisfying.


All my reading is non-fiction.

I love reading about people as there’s so much to learn from their lives. No surprise that nearly 40% of the books I read were either autobiographies or biographies.

My next favorite genre is reading about history. History of places, events, adventures, etc so no surprise that a quarter of the books I read fall into this genre.

The remaining third were split between Personal Growth and Business. At least 3 of the Personal Growth books can be classified as Spirituality and it reflects my interest in and success with daily meditation practice.


This year I tracked when I started and ended reading a book, and the pages I read. From this, I was able to compute the average number of pages read each day. I’ve committed to read at least 20 minutes each night, and most nights I’ve exceeded that quite easily.

In 2018, I read 10,084 pages. On average I read about 28.5 pages each night.

List of Books

I’ve extended Tim Ferriss’ advice of “What excites you” to books, so the following list reflects books that I was excited to read. These are not in chronological order.

2018 Top 5

Looking at this list, there are at least 10 books that were my favorite. However, since Bill Gates came up with his top 5, I figured I should prioritize too. So here are my top 5 in no particular order:

  • Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson
  • Team of Rivals (Abraham Lincoln) by Dorris Kearns Goodman
  • The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis
  • Factfulness by Hans Rosling
  • Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

2018 Most Inspiring Books

Two books, both related to social entrepreneurship and impact, an area of interest, inspired me the most.

  • Infinite Vision (Aravind Eye Care) by Pavithra Desai
  • The Blue Sweater by Jacqueline Novogratz

2018 Fastest Reads

Four books I read the fastest (in terms of the most number of pages read on average each day):

  • Red Notice by Bill Browder
  • Bad Blood: Theranos by David Carreryou
  • Purple Cow by Seth Godin
  • Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach
  • Open by Andre Agassi

Other Notable Mentions

  • Built from Scratch by Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank
  • Push by Tommy Caldwell
  • Inner Engineering by Sadhguru

Additional Points

How I track my reading

I use Goodreads to track books I want to read, and use Google Sheets to track my reading. The vast majority of books were rented from either the Cupertino or Sunnyvale library.

Where I get ideas for books

Many books on my list I heard on the Tim Ferriss Show podcast. His guests are the best at what they do, and if I find a guests’s comments inspiring, then I check out books they gift or read a lot. You can also find book recommendations from his show here, here, and more via google. Some books were recommended by friends.

Your recommendations for me

If you found this list interesting and would like to recommend me a book to read, please add it to the comments. Thanks and happy new year!