The best 9 books of 2021

Javier Rivero
The Modern Stoa
Published in
5 min readDec 27, 2021


In the beginning of the year I set a goal to read 52 books by December. I’m glad to say I’ve outdone the target and read a total of 64 books. It’s not as hard as it seems really, in this article I give you some tips on how to do it. Basically, it’s just a matter of focus and discipline but more importantly having a wide funnel and a tight filter when it comes to selecting titles, therefore, here is my effort to try and recommend some into your reading funnel and see what you find interesting. Let’s go:

Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence

by Anna Lembke

A little less academically approach on how to manage dopamine addiction, very insightful and practical advice derived from conversations of rehabilitated people coming from heavy forms of addiction

Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness

by Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein

One of the most thorough books on behavioral psychology I’ve read, going through a huge range of sectors including economy health and economics, the authors lay down hundreds of examples of how humans can make illogical choices suggesting that we should be operating under a libertarian paternalism philosophy, in which the “choice architects” nudge us into decisions that will ultimately improve our overall life.

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

by John Carreyrou

Incredible story about a professional con artist called Elizabeth Holmes, mostly know for founding a company on false premises and letting it grow to an uncontrollable monster.

American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road

by Nick Bilton

I couldn’t put down this book, the detail of reporting regarding Silk Road’s origins and eventual demise is mesmerizing.

Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts

by Annie Duke

“Figure out the possibilities and take a stab at the probabilities”.

Throughout the book the author claims that all of our decisions involve a certain percentage of uncertainty and we should embrace it, in the form of forecasts involving different scenarios. Another good concept which she introduces is how we tend to attribute good outcomes to good decisions and bad outcomes to bad luck, personally I felt identified with that finding and now I became more aware of this bias.

The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity — and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race

by Daniel Z. Lieberman

The book does a great job on explaining how dopamine interferes with our daily decision making process, it’s astonishing to think we are not driven by rationality but by a series of chemical imbalances in our brains. From making huge personal and professional decisions, dopamine levels in our brain can determine waether we choose to eat a radish over a chocolate cookie.

Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know

by Adam Grant

Not a huge fan of Adam Grant, but I must admit that the storyline really resonated with some of my own personal findings and learnings throughout life, I’m glad somebody had the capability of puting these ideas together and conceptualize the great benefits of reassessing our core beliefs and thought process. Questioning everything is a good mental exercise because it keeps our minds updated and therefore we can have more growth in our personal and professional lives

The Psychology of Money

by Morgan Housel

Most personal finance books enlist a set of “principles” on which you should act on, the difference with this one is that the author doesn’t claim these ideas will get you to financial freedom, but rather will better guide you when making financial decisions.

Short and concrete, the insights shared in this book resonated a lot with my own personal views. Would recommend to anyone being relatively new to investing

High Output Management

by Adam S. Grove

One of the most practical books regarding leadership and management. Without any fancy wording or techniques, the author lays down the fundamentals of a middle managers objective: to produce the highest amount of output from his team. As a seasoned people manager I can say that I’ve learnt a lot from this book. Link to full review here

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