Books you must read in 2019

Greg Swierad
Jan 4, 2019 · 5 min read

Wow! It was a great year for the non-fiction books. We had a lot of new releases, and many of them became super popular. If you look at what people read in the last 2 months, most of the books were released in 2018.

I made a script to analyze the most popular, and highest rated books. What I did exactly was to take data from the most popular service for book readers — Then, I analyzed which books were most rated and commented on. Actually, the comments are the most important factor here. And the result was I got a list of the most popular books.

This list of books is curated by me. It contains the most popular ones, but only with a high rating (at least 4.2 stars on

Some of the positions in this list are obvious. However, there are a few surprises (at least to me).

Sapiens, Homo Deus, and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

These three books, that are in the top 10 books you should read, are written by one and the same author.

Sapiens is about the past, history of humankind. It’s in the first position on the list.

Homo Deus is about the future, that it is not exactly what we see in sci-fi movies, or what we think it will be. This book is in the 3rd position.

21 Lessons for the 21st Century was released a few months ago. It talks about the present. About important lessons for humanity. This book is in the 5th position.

Bad Blood by John Carreyrou

This book is about the shocking collapse of Theranos — the multibillion-dollar biotech startup. Apparently, this whole company was a scam, and here in this book is the full inside story of what was going on there. It’s not exactly a self-help book, but it is a real story from Silicon Valley.

Factfulness by Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling, and Anna Rosling Rönnlund

Our brain tends to worry about things that are not really so important. It’s because our brain does not always work as we want it to work. This book is about this. What we should stop worrying about, and what actually is important for the world in the long run.

Brief Answer to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking

We don’t have to present Stephen Hawking to anyone. He died almost one year ago, and 7 months after his death his newest (and I believe the last) book has been published. This book became super popular lately.

Atomic Habits by James Clear

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This book became very popular in a very short time. It presents quite a simple framework to achieve your goals. I heard about this book from 3 different sources, so people really like it and talk about it.

How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan is known from his previous books, especially The Omnivore’s Dilemma. This newest book, released in 2018, presents the newest studies about psychedelic drugs, like LSD, and how it affects our consciousness, dying, addiction, depression, and transcendence.

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker

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Well, you might have heard a lot of facts about sleep, or even read some books. This one, released only one year ago, contains the newest science about sleep. Why would you want to read such a book in the first place? Because it has answers to many questions you’ve asked yourself already. For example, how alcohol and caffeine affect sleep. And what effect can irregular sleep patterns or not sleeping enough have?

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

This was released 4 years ago, but it’s still very popular and very highly rated. It’s recommended to everyone who is over 50 or has a close family member over this age. This book is about what medicine and our current health system do wrong, especially with extending the suffering of the elderly.

Jordan Peterson became very famous lately with his unique point of view and very strong arguments. He talks about facts that no one can argue with. His books are very popular because he became very famous on the internet. This book is not part of the top 10 because of his low rating. Actually, it’s much lower than the other books. I read part of this book, and I believe the main reason for this is because his books are very difficult to read. Despite this, the rules are awesome and worth checking out.

Order by the popularity in the last quarter of 2018:

  1. Sapiens
  2. Bad Blood
  3. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century
  4. Factfulness
  5. Homo Deus
  6. Brief Answers to the Big Questions
  7. Atomic Habits
  8. How to Change Your Mind
  9. Why We Sleep
  10. Being Mortal

Don’t just read. Practice it!

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