You are what you read 2018 edition

Andrej Fodor
Dec 30, 2018 · 5 min read

2018 was such a great year with many events happening around. Even though I went through many things and changes (such as becoming a dad!) I realized when I was making this list I have managed to read more books than I imagined.

Below is a list of books I read this year. I have listed them in order of making the biggest impact on me and added a short summary for each one. Hopefully I will inspire my friends to read few books from the list and that the books will inspire them the way they inspired me.

As said George R.R. Martin said:

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.”


Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

by Noal Harari

To understand the future, we must understand our past first.

Book I would recommend anybody to read. Even more profoundly I would say this should be included as a book to read in elementary school. It covers basic principles of human evolution and most important milestones humans reached so far. Even though you might know 80% of all the facts already they are connected and with reading this book it connected lots of dots on understanding humans (for me).

Poor Charlie’s Almanack

by Charlie Munger

As Warren Buffet said, the smartest mind of Berkshire Hathaway. Charlie’s principles on investment strategy and even more importantly on life are full of wisdom with simple and straightforward principles to understand, yet difficult to master. With mentioning the mental models as well this is certainly the book which stroke me the most this year.

Man’s Search for Meaning

by Viktor Frankl

With one of the most horror in person experience society witnessed in modern times, Viktor pulls out important lessons on pain and how we need to find a purpose in life. Most inspiring book I read this year and a good read.

The Martian

by Andy Weir

You probably saw a movie. But this is still worth a read. Apart from the fact it is a well written book it teaches few important principles in life. Perseverance, understanding how things work and applying practical knowledge can take you long way.

Meditations

by Marcus Aurelius

Series of writings by one of favorite Roman Emperors teaching stoic lessons he learned through life.

And the favorite quote:

“When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: the people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own — not of the same blood and birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me. No one can implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I feel angry at my relative, or hate him. We were born to work together like feet, hands and eyes, like the two rows of teeth, upper and lower. To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are unnatural.”

Essentialism: The disciplined pursuit of less

by Greg McKeown

In the era of constant distractions from social media, phone, popups and 1000s of guides on what to do, this book talks about on how to do less things and focus on important things to achieve great results. I believe that focus with no distractions is one of the important lessons us and future kids will need to learn in order to survive the world of noise.

Fifty inventions that shaped the modern economy

by Tim Harford

Interesting read on inventions of the world and how they changed the world and what they caused. From barcodes to gramophone it explains why these inventions were so life changing.

High Performance Habits

by Brandon Burchard

Link

When you take data and do some research you get to conclusions on which habits make people most effective and increase chances for long term success in life, relationships and work. Brandon also runs a good blog and newsletter to follow in case you want to learn any new habit and improve yourself next year.

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow

by Noal Harari

Link

Another great piece from Noal Harari on predicting the future and what are things we need to think about when involving AI into our lives. There are some important principles and ethic we need to agree upon before involving AI on a high level into our lives.

Principles

by Ray Dalio

Link

One of the most successful investors on Wall Street shares his life lessons.

Through book Ray explains on how important is to set principles for yourself and follow them. Many times we get clouded judgement and don’t go through the checklist whether the decisions align with our principles and therefore make bad decisions.

It doesn’t have to be crazy at work

by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

Link

The shortest book I read this year and it comes from the founders of Basecamp. On their company example they show that you don’t need to work like crazy to achieve your goals. With a remote team as well. And how planning, trust and good people can take you far. Quality over quantity every day.

Tribe of Mentors

by Tim Ferriss

Link

Short interviews with successful people from different areas on what tools or habits helped them become what they are. There are many tips to be learned from this book, one I started practising are cold showers and I can say that they are one of the best love-hate decision I made :)

“Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!”: Adventures of a Curious Character

by Richard P. Feynman and Ralph Leighton

Link

Life story of an interesting Mr. Feynman, a Nobel prize winner and a physicist. A person who was present on many different and important projects show how intelligent and curious man lived a fulfilling life through many different experiences. Although book filed with many details from work book will also bring a laugh with many funny stories and moments Mr. Feynman experienced.

This was the list of 2018. Looking forward to reading more in 2019 and happy to get any recommendations!

Andrej Fodor

Written by

Thinker, thanker, observer. And a dad.

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