50 Books I’ve Read This Year, and My Chase for 100 in 2017 (August Update)

Last month I released an article about reading 50 books, a landmark halfway to my ultimate goal of finishing 100 in 2017.

With five months remaining, I needed to finish 10 books each month to accomplish my goal.

With August wrapped up and two thirds of the way through 2017, I have read 59 books. I made it harder on myself by not finishing 10 this month. However, I need just one more in any future month to reach the goal. A few interesting points from this month of reading:

  • I was pleased to receive much feedback on the initial article. Friends and family gave recommendations to add to my list (e.g. A Fine Balance, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72). Thanks, Mom and Ben!
  • The most common question I received is “How do you turn your phone to black and white?” On your iPhone, go to: Settings>General>Accessibility>Display Accommodations>Color Filters. Turn it on, and you’re set. Try it for a week: if you hate it, switch back.
  • The second most common question: “What have I sacrificed most since starting to read more?” Listening to music and podcasts, both of which I love to death.
  • I started using Moment, a free mobile app that calculates daily and monthly phone usage. It costs $3.99 to set daily limits, with the ability to force yourself off the phone after going over. I am using the free version and will reassess next month on how helpful it is.

Below are the 9 books added to my year’s list. Each is linked to Amazon and local bookstores by title and author, and favorites are marked with a hot pepper (or square on certain browsers…):

51. What Every BODY Is Saying — Joe Navarro

“The problem is that most people spend their lives looking but not truly seeing, or, as Sherlock Holmes, the meticulous English detective, declared to his partner, Dr. Watson, ‘You see, but you do not observe.’”

52. Purple Cow Seth Godin

“In your career, even more than for a brand, being safe is risky. The path to lifetime job security is to be remarkable.”

53. Show Your Work! — Austin Kleon

“Forget about being an expert or a professional, and wear your amateurism (your heart, your love) on your sleeve. Share what you love, and the people who love the same things will find you.”

54. Milk and Honey— Rupi Kaur 🌶

“Fall in love with your solitude.”

55. Ready Player One — Ernest Cline 🌶

“No one in the world gets what they want and that is beautiful.”

56. The Hard Thing About Hard Things — Ben Horowitz

“Take care of the people, the products, and the profits — in that order.”

57. A Clockwork Orange — Anthony Burgess

“Does God want goodness or the choice of goodness? Is a man who chooses the bad in some way better than a man who has the good imposed upon him?”

58. Candide— Voltaire

“‘Optimism,’ said Cacambo, ‘What is that?’ ‘Alas!’ replied Candide, “It is the obstinacy of maintaining that everything is best when it is worst.”

59. Metamorphosis — Franz Kafka

“Was he an animal, that music could move him so? He felt as if to the unknown nourishment he longed for were coming to light.”


I am using September to continue testing new hacks to optimize reading efficiency. Come October, I will leave another update to share books, tricks, and other feedback and FAQs.

Thank you all for the recommendations and questions, which have been extremely helpful in refining my process and writing.

Lastly, I leave you with the same advice as the first piece: If you read one book a month, you will learn at least twelve new ideas a year. If you finish a book a week, you can read over 50 books a year.


Alex Biniaz-Harris is a musician, writer, and entrepreneur living in Los Angeles. Originally from Washington, DC, Alex has visited over 30 countries and continues his quest to explore every nook and cranny of this beautiful Earth. Please reach out with any questions, recommendations, or just to say hi on Instagram.